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A day in the life of living green

By MELANIE VOLLICK

Posted 2 years ago

Think about a day of your life and what you can do to decrease any harmful impacts on the environment.

My typical day incorporates my knowledge and passion for sustainable living.

AGENDA:

6:45 a. m.: Get up out of bed and begin the day. Get breakfast ready for my two boys, using stainless steel pots and pans or cast iron.

A common industrial chemical used to produce Teflon and other products has been linked to cancer and birth defects in animals. Ammonium perfluorooctanoate found in Teflon accumulates in human blood and demonstrates toxic properties.

7:00 a. m.:Wake up my boys and get my seven-year-old dressed. Change my 15-month-old baby using a reusable cloth and certified organic balm or protective oil.

7:15 a. m.: Time for breakfast; free ranges eggs, cereal with soya, rice or almond milk and some fresh organic fruit. Don’t forget to feed myself! Feed the baby a whole organic banana, fresh organic oats with a bit of maple syrup and wild, organic berries.

Buy organic for a healthier and pesticide-free diet when possible. Support local growers, thus reducing transportation and further carbon impacts on the environment. When we buy food from a local farmer, we support a neighbour.

7:40 a. m: Pack a healthy ‘litterless’ lunch. Include a piece of organic fruit, juice (avoid drinking boxes and plastic bottles); a couple of snacks without packaging and a sandwich packed in a stainless steel sandwich holder or a glass one, or just use a cloth napkin!

The widespread use of plastic is causing unprecedented environmental problems and leaches substances into food and drinks which may impact the health and reproductive system of my boys.

The chemicals used in the production of plastic are responsible for many human health issues, including risk of certain cancers, hampers fertility and could contribute to childhood behavioural problems such as hyperactivity.

Children are particularly vulnerable since their organs are developing. Take extra care when packing lunch for children.

8:00 a. m: Time to clean up after breakfast and lunches and brush our teeth. Use natural toothpaste, make sure the tap is off when brushing; remind boys to turn off the tap to save water. Wash with natural, organic and fragrance free soap.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a harsh surfactant in toothpaste, shampoo, and other products. In the same way as it dissolves the grease on car engines, sodium lauryl sulfate also dissolves the oils on your skin, which can cause a drying effect.

Once it has been absorbed, one of the main effects of sodium lauryl sulfate is to mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen. This has many health implications and may be responsible for a variety of health problems, from PMS and menopausal symptoms to dropping male fertility and increasing female cancers such as breast cancer, where estrogen levels are known to be involved.

8:15 a. m.: Get ready for work. Use make-up that is free of animal ingredients and harsh chemicals. Simply use jojaba oil to clean and moisturize my face.

Jojoba is 100-per-cent natural, renewable and remarkably similar to the natural sebum secreted by your own skin, and works very well as a make up remover.

Find out if the products you use are safe by searching the online database called Skin Deep from Environmental Working Group, containing the ingredients and degrees of safety of thousands of popular cosmetics: www.cosmetics-database.com.

8:30 a. m.: It is “Walking Wednesday.” Participate in the active and safe routes to school program and support my son by walking and leaving earlier ( www.environmentnetwork.org/school-routes. htm).

8: 50 a. m.: Drive to drop the baby off at day care and head to work. Send the baby with his own food to ensure that he eats organically, and use glass baby bottles.

You can be an ecoDriver by driving efficiently. Drive the speed limit, be idle free; slow down and save-for every 10 kph you go over 100 kms, fuel efficiency will drop by 10 per cent, and try to travel light.

9:15 a. m.: Begin workday. Make fresh organic and fair trade coffee. Choose supplies that are made from recycled material. Compost yesterday’s coffee grounds in vermicomposter (worm compost) that we keep in the kitchen for convenience.

Fair trade: an organized social movement aiming to help producers in developing countries promoting sustainability. The payment of a “fair price” as well as social and environmental standards in the production of certain goods is enforced.

After work: Pick up my youngest from day care and then, homeward bound. Stop to get groceries on the way. Use cloth bags and be very careful when purchasing.

Buy from companies that are as ecofriendly as possible and affordable… watch out for “greenwashing.”

2:30 p. m.: Arrive home and put groceries away. Turn on the power bar for the television and AV equipment; if we don’t use it, be sure to turn it back off. Same goes for lights and video games.

It is important to teach your children about saving energy. Reducing energy consumption helps to reduce CO2 and saves money.

2:45 p. m.: Tidy up using homemade cleaners and other cleaners that have been researched and bought and are free of harmful chemicals. Use essential oils, vinegar, and baking soda, to name a few. Keep our home environment as toxin free as possible.

There are far too many chemicals on the shelves today that have been introduced in the past 20 years have not been researched so, take the necessary precautions and contribute to a cleaner environment and a healthier lifestyle.

3:15 p. m.: Get the stroller out and load up the baby. Get the leash and the dog and head out to walk to the school to get my son.

3:40 p. m: Arrive home and relax. Let my seven-year-old play outside with his friends and ride his new bike while the baby and I enjoy a bit of time before supper preparation.

4:30 p. m: Prepare our supper; veggie stir fry, salad, and baked potatoes.

Meat is a very carbon-intensive commodity, and the methane produced by livestock gas and waste creates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trains and planes combined.

If you do eat meat, try to eliminate it once a week. This will help to cut down on methane and carbon dioxide emissions.

You can also buy free-range meat which is growth-hormone free and shop at local butchers and farmer’s markets.

5:30 p. m: Let’s eat!

6:00 p. m: Clean up after dinner and help my son with his homework. We use both sides of paper when studying and making notes.

When printing, consider using GOOS paper (good on-one side).

7:00 p. m: Get the kids ready for a bath. Share the water to conserve and only fill it half-way. Low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators are installed.

Have a ‘navy shower’ which is less than five minutes long. A five-minute shower with a standard showerhead uses 100 litres of water. A five-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead uses 35 Litres of water. Think of all the money you can save!

8:00 p. m.: Bedtime, stories and lights out!

Use CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs). They should last 10 times longer and use less energy thus reducing energy demand.

Living green can be easy, and it is for us. Everyday we are learning new things and better ways to be good to the planet.

We do what we can and, at the end of the day, when the kids are tucked in bed, I can rest assured that I have made

About the author

Melanie Vollick

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