I have heard that in order to fix the world, we must look towards the family. In order to fix the family, we must first fix ourselves. A lot of people connect the concept of “going green” with saving or fixing the earth. They recycle, reuse, and conserve in order to preserve a beautiful and amazing planet for future generations. Intrinsically driven, these people make it an integral part of their lives to protect nature from being suffocated by selfishness. Like them, my life has become integrated with green living and I am concerned about the environment. Being green doesn’t just stop at the world level for me, though. Instead, it is something that gets at my soul and the things that are the very most important to me in life: my family.
I want to fix the world and in order to do that, I need to preserve my family. I actually come from a family of ten people. My parents, amazingly enough, had eight daughters of whom I am the second oldest. The large family size made it important for us to not waste anything because of the cost, so I grew up with the mentality of being frugal. The importance of making what you can, reusing, and protecting the earth has followed me into my adult life where I am now married to a wonderful man and have a beautiful six month old daughter. Family is the one thing in life that must be protected and nurtured above all else, and this is why I choose to live a green life.
Every morning, my heart is broken as I leave my home to go to work. I desire, as do so many mamas, to spend my days delighting in my child and teaching her how to live. Unfortunately, bills must be paid and the working world offers little time for parents to spend with their children. Going green, though, gives me back the ability to spend quality time with my daughter. Instead of bottle feeding with formula, I pump mama’s milk every day at work. Breastfeeding allows families to safely bed-share, which gives me more time with my daughter while at home. We are able to snuggle each other at night, and I am given the peace of mind knowing that I’m providing her with the healthiest nourishment possible as well as eliminating a lot of waste and energy that goes with producing and packaging formula. Cloth diapering also gives us more time, as it’s a lot faster to run a load of laundry than it is to run to the store to buy a new package of Pampers or to tie up a load of garbage and bring it to the dump. Through these and other things like vacuuming less often (she plays on a blanket on the floor), not bathing every day (wiping her down with a wash cloth works great), and not allowing electronics to dominate our home, we are able to claim more time as a family, building stronger relationships and a better foundation for the future.
Being green isn’t about being “hip” or looking like an unselfish person to me. It’s about loving the things that are important to me through my actions. The earth is important to me. My family is important to me. I am important to me. I want to protect and take care of the things that I love, as well as preserve them for the future. I want to give the best things that I can to my daughter which includes safe and gentle organic clothing, food, and toys. It also includes giving her the best earth that I can and teaching her the importance of being green, as this is something that will impact all of the generations to come after us as well.
The world’s a scary place right now. I worry about what the economy, pollution, and safety will be like when my daughter’s too old to be content in my arms. While it’s impractical to think that I’ll be able to keep her away from every worrisome thing in a mother’s heart, it is practical to protect her now and to protect the earth that she will one day grow up to enjoy. Not using chemicals on her delicate skin or throwing disposable diapers into the trash every day know that they will spend the next 70 years in a landfill are choices I make that protect my daughter and her future. John Wooden once said “do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do,” and this is how I choose to live my life. While I cannot do everything, I can do something, and it starts with me as an individual working through my family to make an impact on this world.
Why have you chosen to practice green living?