“Since we live in this world we have to do the best for this world.”
Aung San Suu Kyi
My daughter came home from school last year proudly sporting a badge showing she had been chosen to be on her school’s Eco-Council. I didn’t even know the school had such a thing let alone what they did (it turns out they do great work in reducing litter, encouraging children to walk to school, reducing waste and plastics in school amongst other things). But I quickly became aware that my daughter was incredibly in-tune with environmental matters and I could learn a lot from her. She is only 5 and I noticed how she is totally bewildered by how adults around her behave – why on earth would you drop a cigarette butt on the floor? Where is the sense in throwing litter out of your car window or in not picking up your dog’s mess that you’ve gone to the bother of bagging up. People of my generation and older have been doing this for decades without consideration for the environmental impact but our children are fortunately becoming much more aware than we were of how much damage we have done. Most people have seen the Blue Planet programme with the awful footage of plastic in our oceans and the little seahorse holding on to a cotton bud. We also watched the Drowning in Plastic BBC documentary which isn’t for the faint hearted, but well worth a watch.
So, over the past year we have started to make changes in our lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, we are by no means perfect but I feel a huge responsibility to the next generation to try and undo some of the wrong we have done and equip them with the knowledge to try and live a better, more environmentally aware life. Just changing one thing at a time, no matter how small it seems, is better than nothing. And tell people about it too, share your ideas and others might follow suit.
One of the first things we did was buy stainless steel water bottles. We chose to get them from One Green Bottle, who also do lunch boxes, baby bottles and lots more, but there are plenty available nowadays. 13 billion plastic bottles are used in the UK alone each year. 13 BILLION! Such an insane figure. These stainless-steel bottles keep cold drinks cool and hot ones hot. No brainer. We have also tried to limit the amount of plastic we bring into the house; changing our shower gels and shampoo for soap bars, bamboo toothbrushes (links below for where we shop), doing away with bottles of handwash in favour of soaps and making home made cleaning products. We use reusable bags/boxes for our shopping, have metal straws at home and have had a go at eco-bricking to reuse the non-recyclable plastics in the house. It’s not for everyone and it can be time consuming. There are some amazing products out there that are kinder to our planet. And by including the next generation in all of this hopefully it will be second nature to them when they grow up.
We’ve still got a long way to go in our house. This year we are going to try beeswax wraps to wrap our food. We need to further limit the plastic we bring in to the house and will take containers to the shops to bring deli foods and meats home in. Maybe this year you too could choose some ways to change your own environmental impact: walking to school/work more often, taking the kids on a litter picking challenge, being more aware of the toys you buy and how much garish plastic we bring in to our children’s lives, being mindful of who you buy from and the companies who send obscene amounts of plastic packaging, refusing straws when you go out, upping your recycling game and reusing/repurposing as much as possible – the possibilities are endless!
This is a great article. Thank you