Family Life


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Raising Davis: How Green is Green?

Davis is holding a banana peel and asking me for the
hundredth time, “Which one, Mommy?”

Fall09 momdavis - raising davis: how green is green?We have a garbage container with three bins; green, blue and general waste. He’ll get it, eventually. And maybe even my husband, who, when tossing into the in– correct bin, just shrugs his shoulders. Davis is learning that garbage goes in different places, and that’s that. He’s accustomed to learning new things. But his parents have to train themselves for a new way of life. (I remember having to learn the metric system in grade school and yet I still cook using ounces and tablespoons. I weigh myself in pounds – although kilograms sound much lighter. And I have no idea how many centimetres tall I am. I do know my gas price in litres and know that a sunny day at 21 degrees Celsius is perfect.)

So going green is the new way of life and you can feel the social consciousness changing around us. Try forgetting your recyclable bags in the grocery store and take that dreaded walk of shame with your plastic bags. People notice and transmit their disapproval.

I try to remember to take my travel mug to Tim Hortons but I swear it doesn’t taste the same! What is it about their cups? However, I do it because it’s the right thing to do. Our generation has learned to text on a cell phone, download from the Internet and understand what ‘LOL’ means. We will learn to recycle, reuse and reduce, too.

I am also aware of what products we are buying and how they are packaged and the social ramifications. Are dolphins killed so we can enjoy a tuna sandwich? (We all know they’re getting caught in the tuna nets.) Am I enjoying chocolate on the backs of child labour?

Not so long ago I would go about my day, unaware that I was leaving a carbon footprint. Today, I’m beginning to understand that everything our family does needs to be assessed on a new level. For Davis, he will grow up in this new world and it will be his normal. Paul and I feel the pressure is up to us to ensure that these habits will be ingrained in him and will become as automatic as brushing his teeth in the morning. And I’m committed to it, even though I slip now and again. ‘Do as I do’ is how Davis learns, not ‘do as I say’. Kids are too smart for that.

Our family has a long way to go. We don’t drive the most ecological vehicles because there are five of us and we can’t fit into a hybrid. We are still using bottled water now and again when we forget our sport bottles when venturing out on our weekend hikes. We have not yet replaced all of our household cleaners to be environmentally friendly. We still use our large appliances too often, and we still have incandescent light bulbs in some areas of the house. Our meal planning could be better as there are still groceries wasted at the end of the week. But we’re getting better. Paul is in the heating and cooling trade and we do keep our home warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter although, truthfully, that’s motivated by economics.

As for Davis, he’s learning about the garbage, fixing toys when they break, using things around the house instead of buying new, turning off lights and not squishing bugs because they’re part of the planet, too!

So far so good, but we have some green miles (oops, I mean kilometres) to go!

ParentsCanada Survey: It ain’t easy being green, is it?

Take a bow by taking action:

  • 82% install eco-friendly light bulbs
  • 76% use reusable water bottles
  • 89% go grocery shopping with cloth bags
  • 80% do their laundry in cold water

We’re still married to our cars: only 19% use public transit.

92% of families say they talk to their kids about being environmentally friendly.

97% are recycling but only 22% drive a fuel-efficient vehicle.

68% of readers start teaching their children about the environment before age 3.

KIDS GET IT! 56% of parents say their kids remind them to be eco-friendly.

PRICE TRUMPS GREEN: 63% don’t buy green if it costs more.

Green guilt! 56% say there’s the beginning of a social stigma if you don’t think green.

More guilt: 18% say they sometimes feel guilty because they should be a role model for their kids.

a man carrying two children

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