It’s Earth Day! Let’s celebrate and talk about some earth-y.
Before I was a mom, I was a student. I earned a Bachelors or Arts in Environmental Studies (which turns out is as useful as an english degree). I spent 4 (and more) years studying community, environmental impact, urban design, and other intertwining topics. My degree is very ‘artsy,’ for lack of a better term. For perspective, I wrote my final undergraduate report on how play in nature impacts children health outcomes.
Nature, the environment, the earth, its all really important to me and it impacts many of the decisions I make on my parenting decisions.
What is eco-parenting? It’s a term that I created. It’s not. I read it once before. There are tons of other eco-parenting blogs, magazines, books, etcetera. Its a term thrown around the inter webs for a variety of different parenting methods with ties to ecological or environmental aspects (vague, eh?). I know.
To me eco-parenting is being conscious of the environment, and ecosystem during the choices we make for our children and our families. Everyday we make choices for our children, and in these choices we must understand there is an environmental impact. Whether it be in the stuff we acquire, the necessities we need, or the parenting techniques we use, they all impact our environment.
BUT like anything parenting, I don’t believe there is one way to be an eco-parent. Being an eco-parent is picking and choosing what works for YOU, your lifestyle, and your ethics.
Ethics has everything to do with eco-parenting. Making choices reflects a moral judgment. Every choice and decision I make is a reflection of my ethics, and in this area, my environmental ethics. It is about what I VALUE.
In my last year of my undergraduate degree, I had to take a course on ethics. The professor, Annie, was amazing. She makes you think, journal, and reflect on whats important to you. You have to write your own personal code of ethics, and taking the time to do so is incredibly valuable.
If you haven’t done this, do it. In her class our ethics were often environmentally focused (the nature of the program), but we should all have to sit and think about the ethics we have. The things we wont budge on, the things that run deep to our core about our choices. It’s incredibly hard, but I think it puts you in a good place in knowing yourself and your expectations.
I try my very best to make ethical choices. I’m not perfect, and there are many things that I’m okay doing, that you may not. These are my personal ethics. We all have personal ethics and I believe we need to respect that.
Eco Parent Choices I Make
- i breastfeed
- we cloth diaper
- we try to buy once, buy right
- i try to consider the impact of the products we purchase (like our carseat)
- i value time spent in nature
- i value free play
- we drive electric
- we try to embrace montessori philosophies
Eco Parent Choices I don’t Make
I’m putting this out in the open. Why? Because I want you to know I’m not perfect, and my version of eco-parenting is different than yours. Guess what, we can still be friends. Being an eco-parent is about taking a moment of consideration, and understanding that impact, and making an informed decision. At the end of the day, whatever decision you make, whether it aligns with me or not, I want it to be informed.
- we consume meat and dairy products.
- we purchase clothing without considering the ethical standards of production.
- i own plastic toys
- i use disposables on holidays
- we travel
- and so much more
Thinking Like an Eco-Parent
Being an eco-parent means thinking like an eco-parent. These are the thoughts, questions and considerations I make during a parenting choice. Maybe these are some you consider?
- What is the value to my child? What is the value to my community?*
- What is the long term impact to us, and our community?
- Where was it manufactured, and what type of standards are in place?
- Are there other options to consider?
- Can we live without it?
- Why do I need it? Why do I need do that? (reminding myself to question if its a decision for me, a decision for society, a decision for my health care provider)
- Did my grandma have it? (I ask myself this often when making large ‘stuff-like’ purchases, it reminds me to be humble and appreciate the things I do have. It reminds me I can live on less because those before me did.)
How do you embrace eco-parenting? What does it look like to you?
*Community: Community means different things to different people. To me community is about the spaces and places that you directly impact by and influence you. At times my community is as small as my family, and at others it is global and international. My community is found in not just physical places but also other social spaces. <3