Written by guest blogger, Gwendolyn Tornatore, NatureBridge
Every holiday season I pull out my supermom costume and attempt to single handedly power through the decorating, shopping, mom duties, work responsibilities, fruit cake dodging and more!
There’s a lot to think about and in the back of my head I’m always pondering how I can do all of these tasks without harming the environment.
Not even my supermom alter-ego can manage to “leave no trace” over the holidays, but this year I’m adding green to my list and vowing to make new traditions and resolutions that will positively impact the environment.
In the spirit of giving and new beginnings, I’d like to share a few simple steps all of us supermoms can take now and throughout the New Year to help teach our children how to give back and to protect this great planet:
1. Start new traditions
As more toys arrive during the holiday season, the toys of last year end up under the bed, behind the couch or in other random invisible spots. Rather than let these cast-offs gather dust, start a new tradition: grab a box and teach your child about the spirit of giving to those less fortunate. Not only are you providing for those in need, you are keeping toys out of landfills.
Each day for a week, have your child choose one toy and one book for the “giving box.” Choose a non-profit organization in your area that supports homeless families, single moms or battered women with children, and set a date to deliver these special gifts and spend some quality time with your kids. Repeat every year and let this become a life-long tradition for your family.
2. Introduce new and fun ways to reduce, reuse and recycle
Teaching good habits is an everyday must for moms, especially when it comes to little items that add up when we toss them in the trash like plastic water bottles and apple cores. Here’s a game that is fun, interactive and educational (my 4-year-old loves it!) and I’m proud to say it was created by an organization that inspires me every single day:
NatureBridge is a nonprofit focused on connecting youth to the natural world and inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards through immersive educational programs in our national parks. Recently, we launched MyGarbology.org, a website that provides interactive activities to teach kids how to reduce waste and become more aware of their impact on the environment. It’s a great way to get kids involved in sustainable activities while having fun!
3. Give and get (rid of) electronics
Give your kids the #1 present on their wish list and play a part in reducing the toxic waste in landfills. Then, hand over your kids’ old electronics to sites like gazelle.com; you can claim cash to pad your wallet post-holiday while reducing your family’s additional strain on the planet and cutting down on household clutter. Your iPhone could be worth upwards of $200, but even older electronics still have value. This can also give you a head start on that New Year’s resolution to sock away extra savings.
4. Reduce waste and eat healthier
It takes 18 years for one corn cob to decompose in a landfill, but only a couple of months in a compost pile! Create a compost pile in your backyard or get a green bin from your local garbage man if you don’t have one already. The backyard compost pile is a great activity for the whole family and once it turns to soil, kids can help plant a garden. You can actually save hundreds of dollars a year by growing your own veggies. Check out some info on how to get started.
5. Get rewarded
Recyclebank rewards people for taking everyday green actions, including increasing your household recycling. Go to Recyclebank.com to see if they are in your town or look for other ways you can “do well by doing good.” An average Recyclebank member can save over $130 a year through discounts, coupons and deals in their rewards program.
6. Start a new you
Nothing rings in the New Year like a new wardrobe, but after buying gifts for everyone but yourself, it’s hard to imagine doling out hundreds more for new clothes! Treat yourself to a revitalized closet that doesn’t put a heavy toll on the environment by trying “swap shopping,” where shoppers literally trade clothes with other like-minded ladies. This new eco-fabulous phenomenon is on the uptick in big cities like New York and San Francisco, but you can get started at swap.com … think Craigslist, but without money involved!
A Note from Stefanie:
Now that the holidays are over, I hope you can take some time to reflect and make plans for a greenier, healthier 2012. I am thrilled to have Gwendolyn Tornatore, of NatureBridge as a guest blogger to give us tips and websites we can use to teach our children about recycling and reusing so it is part of their everyday lives and something they can improve on each year.