Earth Day Tips – A Dad Tries To Do Eco and Teach The Three R’s

Earth Day

Earth Day

By Trey Burley

Dan here – With Earth Day on April 22rd we asked Trey Burley to give us his ideas on how to teach Reduce, Reuse and Recycle to our kids. Take it away, Trey…

When my wife and I were planning for the birth of our first child we explored using cloth diapers. After speaking with a couple of parents who used them; but fervently did not recommend them due to leaks, we stopped exploring that idea.  We also looked at the idea of using ‘green’ diapers, but their cost factor quickly made that a non option.

Trying to do right by the planet and raise your child can sometimes be a challenging thing.  If money and time is not an object, then you can raise super eco baby and still work out at the gym.  However, for most of us, either time or money is a leading factor in what we’re able to do regarding being a responsible eco steward.

By the time your child gets to school age they’re bound to have a myriad of eco programs in place.  So for the sake of this post I’ll keep the tips geared to the under six set.  Having said that, how can a busy Dad do the best for the environment and their family?

Reduce, recycle and reuse

Any environmentalist worth their salt will try to live their life by the three R’s.  However, with infants and toddlers it’s challenging to use the three R’s as much as you would otherwise.

  • Remember that you can recycle those plastic cups that are dropped on the floor.
  • Ditto those books that get ripped beyond use. Just because it’s not readable, doesn’t mean you can’t recycle the paper.
  • Wash out the yogurt cups and recycle them too.

For the younger set it’s worth adding Use Less to that category. Granted, it doesn’t start with an R, but it helps save resources.

  • Be sure to close the lid to the package of wipes. A dried wipe is a wasted wipe.

Vinegar-It’s Not Just for BBQ

White vinegar is a great for three reasons it’s cheap, does a fabulous job cleaning and is 100% natural.  In the words of my bride, “if you spill some or use too much of it, just clean it up with water”.

I was skeptical of using it to clean with at first. However, after using it for a couple weeks I can honestly state that it kept the house clean. The only downside is that it has a sharp smell that took a couple of uses to get used to.

Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk

Just like the Nature Boy Ric Flair, your children will do what you do.  As long as you try to do the best things for the environment they’ll try to be like you.  This can include telling them why you’re recycling, asking them to put items in the recycling bin or picking up a stray bottle in the parking lot.

Environmentalists Don’t Have To Be Annoying

Any bad characteristic that you may have about environmentalists or the eco scene has some merit for being there.  Nobody likes people who are preachy or overbearing and passionate people of any belief can be like that.  For me being an environmentalist is about using fewer resources and saving money. Nobody, within reason, wants to spend more money than they need to; just like nobody wants to drink dirty water or breathe dirty air.

For the reading set, a good book is I Can Save The Ocean! It’s a children’s book about a green monster that learns about how the water gets dirty and the beaches get polluted. For the visual set, the first season of Captain Planet and the Planeteers is out on DVD.

TreyTrey is a stay at home dad to one growing toddler. Prior to being a SAHD he worked in media, communications and traveled around quite a bit. Currently he’s got his own PR and social media company and blogs as Daddy Mojo. You can also follow him on twitter @Daddymojo

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