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Parenting Goes Green

22 Ways to Go Green by April 22

April 2012

Parents want what's best for their kids. It's natural. One way to help ensure a bright future for the budding generation is to live a greener life now. Following are 22 ways to do just that. Talk about one idea a day with your kids as a countdown to Earth Day on April 22.

1. Clean green. Opt for earth-friendly cleaning products. Check out the book "Green Glean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home" for practical advice.

2. Use cloth diapers. Emily Sekerak, a member of the Indianapolis chapter of the Holistic Moms Network, uses cloth diapers to minimize her family's impact on the earth. She says once a family gets used to cloth diapers, they aren't much more difficult than disposables.

3. Shop resale. Goodwill and other resale shops are a great way to recycle useful items while supporting the Local community.

4. Participate in community clean-ups. Sekerak says environmental groups and parks and recreation departments often organize trail restoration projects, riverbank clean up days, and the like. They make great family activities.

5. Use cloth napkins. Cloth napkins help save paper and money while adding a little something to a sloppy joe dinner.

6. Go to local farmers' markets. Learn about food and farms while reducing your ecological footprint at Central Indiana farmers' markets.

7. Combine errands. Willy nilly errands add up. Save gas and reduce emissions by planning ahead. Make one Target run a month or one weekly trip to the grocery store.

8. Get crafty. Creative crafts can be made from items that may otherwise become trash. Empty egg cartons become paint palettes. Old button-up shirts make great pillow covers. Ideas are infinite.

9. Dry outside. Residential clothes dryers guzzle about $85 worth of electricity each year. Use a clothesline instead.

10. Recycle. It's a no brainer. Have it picked up at home or drop it into any of the many bins around the city. See if your family can recycle more than you throw away.

11. Fix things. Allyson Hammonds, also with the Holistic Moms Network, says fix things before throwing them in the trash or offer them to someone who knows how to fix them on the Freecycle Network.

12. Use the library. Why buy when you can read for free? Request a book online or enjoy a family outing to your neighborhood branch.

13. Conserve water. Visit wateruseitwisely.com for 100 ways to save water. Ideas include using a broom instead of water to clean driveways and shortening showers by a minute or two to save up to 150 gallons of water per month.

14. Let the sun shine in. Open the shades and let the sun shine in and always turn lights off when not using them.

15. Eat local and organic. Eating organic and locally grown food is getting easier all the time. You can even have it delivered right to your doorstep with shops like Green B.E.A.N. Delivery.

16. Watch the thermostat. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, people can save about 10 percent a year on heating and cooling bills by adjusting the thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Do this at night or when the house is unoccupied. In the summer keep the house warmer. In the winter, cooler.

17. Do away with junk mail. Catalog Choice (www.catalogchoice.org) helps you opt out of catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books, circulars and more.

18. Take your totes to the store. Take a reusable bag to the grocery store, book store, shoe store, or whatever store, and use that instead of the store's disposable bags. Totes are not only better for the environment, but many stores (such as Target, Whole Foods, Kroger and Marsh) will give a 3 to 10 cent discount per bag at checkout.

19. Garden green. Use native plants and perennials. Native plants are easier to maintain and support native animals. Perennials save time and money year over year.

20. Compost. Composting provides the healthy soil your garden needs to grow healthy plants, allowing you to skip synthetic fertilizers.

21. Use low-VOC paint. Most manufacturers, including Porter Paints and Sherwin-Williams, offer these greener paint options for healthier indoor air quality.

22. Join the Holistic Moms Network. Connect with parents interested in holistic health and green living. The group meets monthly at the Monon Community Center in Carmel. The April 16 meeting focuses on food policies in schools and daycare facilities.

Tags: In This Issue, Green Parenting, Local, Parenting

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