Sustainable choices—What we need to do to leave a better planet for our kids.
We are leaving the planet for our children. There is no legacy larger than this one and it is upto us to make it the best we can.
The choices we make for our children today will decide what sort of a world we leave behind for them tomorrow. But are we making sustainable decisions even when we choose for them?
When a new baby comes home, we have a lot of choices to make. We need several baby essentials, from furniture to blankets, from baby swaddle wraps to bibs, baby cloth diapers, and bottles, rattles, and teethers, toys and books, there are many items that we need to raise a child.
So how can we make sure that the choices we make are sustainable and good for the planet and their future? Everything from how you swaddle them to bring them home to their games and toys can be better through sustainable choices.
Check the sources. Anjali Shenoi, mother of three-year-old Ananya buys only from trusted sources.
From the everyday cooking oil that is natural, cold-pressed and sourced locally to the toys that are picked up from makers that use natural materials and child safe paints, she tries to make sure she shops for organic baby products with only those she trusts.
"It is not so difficult to know whom to trust. You need to do a little research initially, and once you find something you like and which fits into your values, you can stick to that," she says.
Use with discretion. Diapers? There are times when disposables make the most sense, and no one denies the convenience they bring. However, the organic baby cloth diapers or reusable cloth pads are more sustainable than the disposables that clog the landfills.
Choose wisely after you weigh the pros and cons and try to make your baby products as eco-friendly as possible.
Teach them young. Tripti R, a mother of a tween, says that she started teaching her daughter about simple ideas like "waste not, want not" or about buying good quality that lasts, from a very young age.
"Rather than buy a cheap plastic toy that may not last and only adds to the plastic issue, we would encourage her to get toys that were simple, classic and helped her explore and discover the space around her.
We do not always buy the most expensive item, but a quality that lasts and can be passed on if possible is a good principle to follow. Her cousins and my friends' kids have used her hand-me-downs as she has used second-hand items too."
There are many sources of information including this one from NASA that make it fun and easy for kids to learn more about climate change and sustainability.
Sustainable activities. Opt for a nature walk with them over letting them watch the TV. Get them a story book for babies or toddlers instead of a tablet. Strike a balance. Children will follow your lead and exposing them to other activities will help them strike a balance later in life as well.
Recycle. Sound quality also means buying things that last. But kids outgrow things very quickly. So how does one get value for money? Pass the goodies along.
Toys, shoes, clothes, and books for babies and toddlers can always be passed along to cousins, neighbors, friends and also the less fortunate. There is always someone around who can use good quality items till they outgrow them too.
Sandhya P, a grandmother of two is proud to have her grandchildren use the same cradle her now 40-year-old son had used.
"It does not take much to preserve these items, and there are so many layers of fond memories that get built into something like this," she says.
Lead by example. Like with everything else about parenting, the golden rule is to lead by example. Make choices that they can see as sustainable.
The very young may not understand initially, but as they get older, ideas like "less but better quality is more" or "waste not," "buy responsibly," etc. will seep into their consciousness as well as help them make more planet-friendly choices.
Make sustainable choices so that we leave behind good values, memories, and a better planet. As parents we want the best for our babies and kids, and what can be better than a healthy planet?
We have the power to make choices. Do we exercise this power wisely? We would be delighted to hear your stories and experiences about making sustainable choices. Happy Choosing!!
The Shumee Promise:
All our toys are handcrafted by local artisans, made of natural wood and organic fabrics with 100% child-safe paints (no lead, no azo dyes, only water-based non-toxic paints).
For baby products, we use beeswax as a polish and no harsh chemicals. All our fabrics are organic cotton or muslin. So when you shop with us, you are making a choice that's good for your soul, for your child, and for the planet!