If you’re the only environmentalist in your household, can you live in an eco-friendly way without sending the rest of your family into an anti-green revolution?
Yes, though it takes compromise sometimes. After all, a home with four teenage boys used to hamburgers and pepperoni pizza won’t easily convert to tofu-based vegetarianism. And the family shopaholic isn’t likely to quickly embrace the habits of “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
Still, there are relatively painless — even welcome — ways to slip a little more green into your family’s daily habits. Here are a few suggestions:
Focus on the Savings
For example, by choosing the most basic of cleaning products — i.e., vinegar, baking soda, salt, lemon juice, borax, rubbing alcohol and pure, unscented soaps — you can persuade the budget-minded person in your home of the dollars-and-cents benefits of going green. Or by turning your teenage fashion queen onto the local designer resale shop, you might teach her how recycling lets her use her cash for maximum purchasing power.
Make Healthy Green Foods a Daily, Optional Choice
In my house, for instance, I always include at least one vegetarian item — for myself — that can serve as a main dish at dinnertime. In this way, I’ve gotten my husband to ask to try a bite of my black-bean veggie burger … and he’s liked it enough to suggest we have an all bean-burger meal occasionally. Even fussy eaters might be surprised by how appealing and appetising-looking your organic, homegrown and vegan dishes are, and eventually give one of them a try.
Eat more greens – not only do livestock release methane, forests are continually clear-cut to make grazing land.
Inspire by Surprise
What’s the best argument against a hard and flavourless industrially farmed tomato? A juicy, sweet tomato fresh from the home garden or local farmers’ market. One bite of the real thing — without you saying anything ahead of time — might be all you need to win over the reluctant eco-eater in your family. The same can go for home-baked wheat bread; home-squeezed juices; grass-fed beef steaks; and even organic wines and beers.
Kitchen waste reduction tips
Compost your food scraps. When organic material is put in the land fill, it decomposes without oxygen, resulting in methane production, and methane is 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. And composting is easy.
Stock your fridge with local fare. Remember, the trucks and planes used to ship food release a lot of carbon dioxide (not to mention other GHGs and smog-producing chemicals), so for your next shopping trip, try to find a local alternative for as many items on your list as possible.
Buy in bulk, with the least packaging you can. For instance, buy the big tub of yoghurt instead of the single serving cups. You’ll end up with less in the bin, and many of the bigger containers make great left-over storage.