Thursday, April 17, 2014

Honoring the Earth -- how my family is making a difference

Welcome to the April 2014 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Honor the Earth.  

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and Crunchy Farm Baby through the Green Moms Network. This month, our members are talking about how they honor the Earth year round. Stop by all of the posts to get ideas on how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. 

How does my family honor the earth?

I pondered the question for awhile and kept coming up with an alternate question: 

How does my family not honor the earth?

Grandson rocking the cloth right away!

* Cloth diapering. When it comes to living earth-friendly lives, it's not like we're perfect or anything. Far from it. But I'm proud to say we're doing our part, starting with what we put on our babies' bums. I'm delighted my daughters decided to cloth diaper my grandbabies right from the start. They're honoring the earth by not dumping countless disposal diapers into the landfill.

Jess breastfeeding at a Pittsburgh Pirate game

* Breastfeeding is another way we've honored not only our babies, but the earth as well. After all, there is no production impact on the environment when it comes to breastfeeding. It was my only choice when I had babies, and it was/is their own choice as well. 

Of course, it goes beyond what we do for our babies. Some of the changes we've made are doable for everyone who is reading this.

* Reusable bags. There is no reason . . . NONE . . . for you to continue using plastic bags at the store. The choices in reusable bags are vast, and include many that fold up or roll up and slip easily into a purse or pocket so they are readily and always available.

But I need plastic bags at home for things like cat litter and trash, etc.

I hear you. We use plastic bags for those purposes as well. But we just get them from others who, for one reason or another, continue to acquire vast amounts of plastic bags every week. They gladly give some to us, just to get them out of their own homes. I'm sure you can find others who will accommodate you as well.

I admit it took me awhile to get into the habit of always having reusable bags with me, but habits are like that. They take time to develop. This is a habit that is well worth it.

* Forsaking disposable products. Other than toilet paper, for the most part, our home is free of products like napkins and paper plates. We do have a roll of paper towels stashed under our sink, which is only used for the occasional massive amounts of puke one of our cats manages to deposit on the floor for us. Other than that, we use, and reuse, rags. There's no reason to waste paper towels to clean up average messes and spills. None.

Same with paper/plastic plates. We have a set of splattered metal dishes which is perfect for dining out on the patio. Why would we use something that would just be thrown away after one meal? It makes no sense.

Paper napkins are also a ridiculous waste. I don't even even use them for parties or showers. For the last couple baby showers, my daughters made cute napkins out of receiving blankets we picked up at garage sales for next to nothing, or out of soft fabric they bought. After the showers, the napkins became cloth wipes for the babies delicate behinds. Perfect. 

I must confess, between the homemade ones, inherited ones, gifted ones, and ones I bought, I probably have close to 100 cloth napkins. That keeps us covered when it comes to wiping our hands during a meal . . . even when we're feeding a crowd. 

* Reusable bottles and cups. As much as possible, I do not use Styrofoam or paper cups or plastic bottles. Of course, sometimes I must, but I try to remember to carry my own cups or bottles with me to functions so I don't contribute to the ongoing landfill crisis that is growing with every Starbucks cup that is tossed in the trash.

What's not to love about Earth Mama Angel Baby?

* Personal care products. We're all doing our part here by reducing the amount of toxic personal care products we use. From conventional shampoos to colognes to hair dyes to body lotions, we try to make the best choices possible for both our health and the environment. It takes some research, but it's so worth the effort.

* Household products. Again, it's about choices, and we try our best to keep harmful chemicals out of our kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
* Lawn and garden.  I look out my window and see the lush green lawns starting to appear in my neighborhood and I'm struck with a bit of envy. But only for a moment, as I realize the environmental cost of that lushness. We opt to keep products like RoundUp off our properties and cringe as we see it being applied to yards so close to ours. 

We choose plants for our gardens free of neonicotinoids. The last thing I want to do is to be responsible for the killing off of even more bees. This is important folks, and I implore you to not buy plants from Lowe's or Home Depot until they agree to stop using this toxic pesticide. Ask your local gardening centers if their plants are free of it. It's that important.

Obviously, I've given you quite of lot of ways to Honor the Earth. I believe in leading by example, so these are things I am doing . . . except the breastfeeding part. I will say I'm not currently engaging in that!

I'd love to hear that you've committed to one or more of these suggestions. What changes are you willing to make to celebrate Earth Day 2014?

Visit Happy Mothering and Crunchy Farm Baby to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:


  1. We do most of these as well - its always a work in progress...:). I love the part about not buying plants that kill honey bees - we are hoping to raise bees on our farm next year and certainly don't want them all to die off. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

    1. Thanks, Amy! And good for you for having bee aspirations!

  2. We do most of those things, but I have to admit that I was uneducated about Home Depot and Lowe's using neonicotinoids. I do not want to contribute to killing bees. We get quite a lot of them in our yard. They fly into our house frequently and I'm very careful to remove them gently. The only place to buy plants locally is Kmart. I'll have to look into whether they use neonicotinoids.

    1. Chrystal, Kmart sells plants from Burpee and from what I've read, they do NOT use neonicotinoids, so you're probably safe. :)

  3. Very cool info--I had no idea about neonicotinoids! So glad you pointed that out!

    1. Wouldn't life be easier if we could all bury our heads in the sand sometimes? I'd sure like to.

  4. I read an article about some ladies who make plastic bedding mats out of plastic bags. I think it's a wonderful idea for recycling plastic bags.

    1. Thank you for such wonderful tips. :)

    2. You're welcome. Yes, I've heard about that. Thanks for the link!

  5. This is a great list and similar to one for my family. I am with you on the reusable bag thing...there are so many bags available these days that it is a simple task to use them!


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