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A Framework for Thinking "Green"

As soon as you found out that you were pregnant, you probably had an idea in your mind about what type of mother you would become–protective, laid-back, loving, etc. I knew immediately that I would be a “green” mother. To me, green parenting meant that I would always look out for the health and safety of my family, particularly my children, and also that I would teach my children to be stewards of the earth and its resources. As I brainstormed and researched ways that I could become the mama that I wanted to be, I came up with a basic framework to help me reach my goals:

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Many people forget that the words of this old environmentalist mantra are in this order for a reason! The first rule is to reduce, or to minimize all of the “stuff” in our lives. The second rule, reuse, is made relatively easy these days thanks to the likes of craigslist and ebay. And by now, all of us should be recycling any item possible. Most municipalities make this convenient by providing curbside pickup of household waste. Upcycling is a relatively new term indicating a twist on recycling. According to, “upcycling is designed to work in opposition to consumer culture encouraging people to think of new and innovative ways to use things instead of simply buying new consumer goods.” I couldn’t have put it better myself. One fun example of upcycling might be turning an old pair of old socks (washed, of course!) into hand puppets for your little one!

Reduce Exposure to Environmental Toxins - It turns out that this step can take many many forms when it comes to raising a child. As I mentioned in a previous post, some of the ways to do this are by being cognizant of the ingredients in products that we apply to our and our children’s skin. Other examples include growing or purchasing organic produce, cloth diapering, and using houseplants that are known to be good at purifying and removing toxins from the air. I will discuss all of these topics in more detail in future posts.

Conserve Resources – Not only does this concept refer to the conservation of water and avoiding excess packaging; it also has to do with green in another sense…money!!

I am not a chemist, a researcher, a politician, or a doctor, just a mom who has taken an interest in all things green and who would like to raise her children in the healthiest possible environment. If you are interested in pursuing green parenting, perhaps the above guidelines will help to give you some perspective when you are making decisions that involve your child.

In upcoming posts, I will discuss how I have been able to pursue green parenting while keeping the above framework in the forefront of my mind.

Now that I’ve told you about my own parenting style, I’m curious…what type of parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, role model are you?

photo from iprole

  • Beth T.

    I think I am the stereotypical liberal, environmentalist, alternative-to-mom-and-dad aunt. While I share many of the beliefs of the parents of my nieces and nephews, I am the "black sheep" Democrat in a mostly staunchly Republican group. But we practice tolerance, and the kids think it's funny or awesome that at our house we have pictures of President Obama displayed, or that he is my ringtone. I like to think that watching us interact respectfully is a good example and creates a healthy template for their future relationships.

    • MeganBLife360

      Love it, Beth. Sounds like a great family and I would tend to agree that tolerance is the lesson here.

  • Christopher Chambers

    One way to live a greener life is to create grocery bags out of old shirts!!! If you looking for a new way to carry your groceries or a second use for your favorite concert t-shirt, simply turn the t-shirt inside out and stich along the bottom hem. Now turn that t-shirt back and cut along the arm holes. You now have a one of a kind grocery shopping bag that will put those plastic grocery bags to shame.

    • MeganBLife360

      Cool, Christopher! I have used reusable cloth grocery bags for years but never thought of that! :) Great example of upcycling.

  • Andrea S

    I definitely try to be as green as possible, although I am not a parent yet! I am about to be an aunt for the first time, though, and I'm so excited! I am different from the rest of my family, like Beth was saying above, as none of them are big on being green or recycling. I am also a Democrat, while they range from more to less strict Republican. As a future parent, I am hoping to continue my green ways, and I look forward to teaching my child those ways as well!

    • Beth T.

      Hi Andrea–Sounds like we're kindred spirits. :) Don't you think that the environmental habits we learn as kids really set the tone for our attitudes? My mom was a huge recycler, and growing up in California during the water shortages of the 1970's we had conservation drilled into us. These are things I don't even think about as an adult; they are automatic decisions. Once your kids come along, they'll pick up so much from your family culture. What a great thing to pass down.

  • Cindy Merrill

    I'm a frugal yankee lady, married a man with three grown kids and I'm an "extra granny" for Julia, Kai and Jack. My hubby and I make do with a little cabin on a dirt road up here in far Northern NY, just 40 minutes south of Canada! Seeing how we're nearly 15 miles from the nearest store, recycling what we have is a way of life. One fun thing we do with our grandkids is wild blueberry picking, complete with a picnic lunch- lots of fun.

  • Michelle Lovejoy

    When I found out I was pregnant, I decided to go as natural as possible with them. Breastfeeding, cosleeping, cloth diapering, and I think things like that really impact the environment.

    • MeganBLife360

      A woman after my own heart, Michelle. Hopefully you will relate to my upcoming posts. I'll look forward to hearing more about your experiences!

  • Julie Hawkins

    I try to reuse or repurpose just about everything. I think if we teach our children now, they too will learn to treat the earth better.

  • Jeremy Brown


  • amynluv

    I will be the type of parent who is warm, caring about both my family and the environment, and understanding of my children’s mistakes (I hope). :-) I plan on raising my child around animals so that he Mommy and Daddy do. I think and dogs that his Mommy and Daddy do. I think green parenting is a WONDERFUL idea, and I got some great ideas from this post. Thanks!

    • MeganBLife360

      There will be plenty more ideas to come on modeling an environmentally responsible lifestyle for your future children, so please continue to tune in!

  • John Green

    As well as reusing and recycling, you can help in other ways. I have taught my kids to plant trees from seeds which have fallen in the park in autumn. We now have a little forest of trees which we will donate, and it's helped them understand how important trees are to our environment.

    • MeganBLife360

      Yes! Love it, John! Thanks for the idea.

  • Cindy Merrill

    I'm thrifty and frugal- but fortunately, some of the cheapest "green" items are very affordable! For example, white vinegar kills weeds, freshens clothes in rinse cycle, cleans windows and dozens of other things, also! I try to buy organic- but sometimes the price, particularly on food is not possible on my limited budget. Hubby and I grow as food as we can, given our zone 3 season and acidic soil type.