We can’t deny that our environment cannot withstand man’s behavior forever. Nor can we, as fragile humans, sustain a healthy, full lifespan in an environment filled with toxins and poisons. Living in closer harmony with the natural world may seem impossible and incredibly inconvenient, but with these ten easy steps, you’ll create a greener environment for your children, improve the World, and save a few bucks.

1.  Go organic whenever possible.
Buy, consume, and grow organic foods whenever possible. See our article on Saving on Organics to ease the cost of buying organic. When looking at the alternatives, like feeding yourself and children GMO foods with up to over 60 toxic chemicals. Eating organic is an investment today in your body’s future health and disease prevention. Also consider buying organic clothing and using organic detergents for your family, like undergarments as the skin can absorb chemicals (think topical ointments and nicotine patches).

2.  Get rid of the plastic.
Not only is plastic trash an epidemic all over the World, it’s bad for you and can be absorbed into the body through plastic drinking bottles and containers, but also in glasses, keyboards, canned goods, and toys. In a 2003-2004 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, “nearly 93 percent of the people tested, age six and above, had detectable bisphenol A in their urine; females had slightly higher levels than males”. Furthermore, plastic waste does not break down over time and is overtaking every landfill, floating ocean barge, and can even be found in natural water sources due to the plastic microbeads in cosmetics, cleaning products, and personal hygiene products. To reduce your plastic consumption and exposure, teach your family to drink from glass or stainless steel bottles and use glass storage and plates. Buy or free-cycle toys made out of natural materials, and always recycle properly rather than throw plastics and electronics away.

3.  Buy or exchange second-hand clothes for your children.
Kids grow at such an alarming speed that clothes seldom last for more than a year. Buying used clothing and passing clothes on to others or non-profit organizations lessens the impact on the environment and reduces the World’s waste.

4. Teach your kids to conserve water whenever possible.
Turn off the tap while brushing teeth or washing. A small kid pool full of water can cool children down with less water than a running sprinkler. Explain the water process and how others around the world don’t have the luxury of endless water and that conserving helps the planet as a whole.

5.  Pass down and free-cycle your children’s toys and costumes.
Avoid contributing to ever-growing landfills filled with synthetic materials and plastics that take centuries to break down. Try to repair broken toys and show your children the importance of fixing things rather than replacing them.

6.  Repurpose and Reuse Toys and Clothing
Toys, clothing, and bedding that is in great shape for passing in, can be re-purposed before recycling. Old, stained t-shirts make great painting and crafting clothes. Puzzle pieces and Legos can be glued into a multi-media art project. Old bedding and clothes can be made into fun banners, artwork to hang, or doll clothes.

7.  Buy local, eat local.
Buy everything possible, even non-perishables, locally. This has a huge impact on the environment as you save shipping packaging and fuel used to fly/drive your purchases to your door. Teach your children about Farmer’s Markets and craft fairs by bringing them along and explaining the impact online shopping has on the planet.

8.  Start a garden with your children.
Show them the process of sewing seeds, daily care, then harvesting your delicious fruits and veggies. The entire process brings mindfulness to where our food comes from and a sense of pride while eating your homegrown goodies.

9.  Don’t idle your car.
If you are waiting outside a store or outside the house, turn off your car while you wait. If it’s too hot to stay in the car, maybe take a moment to stretch your arms and legs.

10.  Teach respect for the outdoors and the animals who live there.
Correct your children if they are cruel to animals or throw waste on the ground. Explain the impact on the environment if everyone disrespected nature or harmed animals. Teach then about the delicate ecosystem to demonstrate the long-term consequences of their actions, such as killing bugs or throwing gum on the ground.

Learn more ways to reduce your carbon footprint and buy reusable objects such as sandwich bags and water bottles. What ways is your family changing or holding traditions that create a greener family for generations to come? We want to hear your tips!

There are multiple ways to get involved and support the Potluck Happiness community. Join our newsletter for giveaways, discounts, and site updates (Never any spam). Search the site for Recipes, Adventures, and Simple Home living, or check out our Shop of handmade artisan goods. Share your happiness with the community by posting recipes, DIY tips, and home remedies. Follow us and share us with friends via Instagram andFacebook. Thank you so much for sharing in the space and making this online community a reality.