It’s no secret that there is an ever-growing trend for more natural, healthy, and organic products in our mainstream media. The idea of being more eco-conscious is no longer a taboo or unheard of. Being environmentally friendly, or eco-conscious, is now more popular and accessible than ever.
Just think: in the last few years, we’ve discovered a large amount of plastic plaguing our oceans; that Tom Brady, one of America’s best football quarterbacks, enjoys a plant-based vegan diet; and let’s not forget the viral meme of Bernie Sanders wearing a pair of locally made recycled mittens at the 2021 U.S. Presidential Inauguration.
For those looking to raise a more eco-conscious family in 2021, it may seem a little daunting to know how to start. I want to take away that daunting feeling and help you adapt 5 proven habits to be a more eco-conscious family.
What does it mean to become an eco-conscious family?
By definition, eco-conscious means living with the environment in mind. This could look different for each family and should be tailored to what works best for you! At the end of this post, I’ve listed 20 practical ways to be a more eco-conscious family in 2021.
Let’s talk about how to turn these lifestyle tips into long-lasting change!
Based on my six years as an environmental educator and my continuing eco-conscious journey, the most successful eco-conscious transformations I have found, utilise the habits listed below.
Remember, eco-conscious means living with the environment in mind. Release yourself from the burden of a complete life overall. Instead, practice each of the steps below until you’ve completely adapted to being more eco-conscious in your everyday life.
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How to create an eco-conscious family in 2021
Research is your most powerful tool. If you’re reading this blog, you’re most likely already beginning your research journey.
According to a 2019 study, 77% of people in the United States and Australia want to learn how to live more sustainably.
Doing adequate research helps you learn the benefits of eco-conscious lifestyle choices and points you in the most practical direction for your family.
Here are some areas to start your research:
- Plant-based and flexitarian diets
- Ways to reduce plastic
- Eco-friendly swaps
- Reducing food waste
- Non-toxic cleaning products
- Water sustainability
#2. Discover what is practical for your family
Don’t overcomplicate the process by trying to imitate what you see others do.
As mothers, we have this habit of comparison. Whether secretly or boldly, we tend to compare our kids, our homes, our relationships, and our lives to other moms.
The same can be true when it comes to becoming a more eco-conscious family. Don’t compare your journey to someone else. Set practical goals for your family.
Here’s an example: I am able to use cloth diapers for my son who receives child care from my mom. A good friend of mine can only use cloth diaper on her daughter at nights and weekends because her day-care will not support cloth diapering.
Instead of comparing our differences or imitating one another, each of us embrace the fact that we are still saving thousands of dollars a year, reducing the number of disposable diapers being sent to the landfill, and doing what is practical for our family.
Remember, the goal here is to live with the environment in mind. Be sure to release the pressure of perfection and do the best you can.
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#3. Make it convenient
Adapt convenience to your new lifestyle changes to help your family become more eco-conscious.
One of the most powerful strategies to create a habit is to make it convenient. Just think: most of our bad habits are created out of convenience. Imagine what would happen if we make our positive life changes more convenient!
How can you make your eco-conscious family journey more convenient?
- Place the recycling bin near the trash bin. To go the extra mile, make your recycling bin bigger than your trash bin. Psychologically, this encourages us to recycle more and create less trash.
- Buy items that are already in recyclable packing or don’t use packaging at all! Try buying items in bulk and buying items in paper packaging instead of Styrofoam or plastic.
- Leave your reusable bags in the car or hanging by the door. As soon as you unload the groceries, return the bags to your car (or hang them back by the door).
- Incorporate visits to the farmer’s market or local thrift shops as a family outing on the weekends. Farmer’s markets are usually in kid-friendly locations and filled with interesting new foods and local artists.
"Don’t overcomplicate the process by trying to imitate what you see others do. As mothers, we have this habit of comparison. Whether secretly or boldly, we tend to compare our kids, our homes, our relationships, and our lives to other moms."
#4. Be consistent!
Consistency creates commitment. This is the core of real change. Becoming consistent with your steps to be more eco-conscious will create a lasting habit for your family.
What does consistency look like when trying to be a more eco-conscious family?
- Get the whole family on board. Whatever eco-conscious changes you choose to incorporate in your family journey must be discussed with the entire family. This way, everyone is on the same page. For example, my family has eliminated the use of single-use paper towels. In order to do this, we used up our remaining paper towels and once they were gone, we didn’t buy anymore. My husband needed to understand this so he wouldn’t go pick up more paper towels, when he noticed they were gone and start the process all over again. He knew what the goal was, so he was prepared to switch to cloth napkins when the paper towels were gone.
- Allow yourself to mess up. I hear so many people get fearful or embarrassed when they make a mistake or revert to conventional practices. IT’S OKAY! We’re not perfect, and we’re all allowed to make a mistake or forget. I’ve forgotten my reusable straw and reusable bag so many times before. Instead of beating myself up about it, I make sure I do the most environmentally responsible things I can with that item: reuse, repurpose or recycle - whatever is appropriate.
“We don't need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
- Anne-Marie Bonneau.
- Find bloggers, YouTubers, and influencers who give you fresh ideas and keep you motivated! I find inspiration from these sources all the time. In fact, this is how I find out about new products and new ways to be more eco-conscious. By remaining inspired, you will find it easier to be consistent.
- Don’t take on more than you can handle. This goes hand-in-hand with tip number 5!
#5. SLOWLY add more
Gradually and intentionally add more eco-conscious practices to your family’s lifestyle over time.
When I began my journey as a flexitarian, I decided to stop eating red meat. This was one action I took to decrease my impact on the environment. I removed this one food group from my diet and stayed consistent for years. Eventually, I gave up other items such as cow’s milk. Now, I only eat meat such as chicken or turkey on rare occasions. Most often, I practice a vegetarian diet.
Perhaps one day I’ll give up meat altogether, or maybe I will even consider giving up all animal-based products (like cheese and eggs). However, by slowly increasing my journey into vegetarianism over time, I’m allowing myself to adjust and thoroughly incorporate the lifestyle change before adding more.
This is single-handedly the most important habit to be a more eco-conscious family. Don’t rush and incorporate all the things. Take your time and know that the smallest change can make the most significant impact.
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"Consistency creates commitment. This is the core of real change. Becoming consistent with your steps to be more eco-conscious will create a lasting habit for your family. "
Are you ready to create an eco-conscious family in 2021?
Here are some practical ways you can begin your eco-conscious journey.
20 Ways to create a more eco-conscious family in 2021:
- Use reusable glass Tupperware instead of single-use to-go plates or plastic Tupperware.
- Choose reusable dinnerware instead of Styrofoam plates.
- Use reusable napkins instead of paper towels.
- Eat less meat and add more plant-based food to your meals.
- Refuse disposable straws at restaurants and bring your reusable straw.
- Sip your favourite beverages from reusable cups.
- Ditch disposable diapers and use cloth diapers instead.
- Compost your kitchen scraps and yard clippings.
- Garden with your family.
- Grow your (own) food (start with small plants like herbs).
- Recycle correctly by putting the right items in the right bin. Remember, everything is not recyclable.
- Buy sustainable and organic products when you can.
- Volunteer for local environmental organizations in your hometown.
- Never litter and pick up litter when you see it on the ground.
- Shop for local food at a farmer’s market.
- Enjoy more time outdoors in nature.
- Switch to non-toxic cookware.
- Purchase more items at second hand/thrift stores.
- Use a coffee pot with a reusable filter instead of a single-use Keurig.
- Add more plants to your home to clean the air.
Being an eco-conscious family means adapting lifestyle changes with the environment in mind. Try to incorporate these 5 habits and be prepared for lasting environmental change! Let's keep dazzling together!
Lacie Wever is a wife, mom, and an eco-conscious mom blogger! During the week, she works as an Environmental Educator for a local agency in Virginia, USA. In her spare time, she’s busy blogging, enjoying her family, and finding quiet time to read.
Her passion for the environment began in high school while
reading the book ‘Silent Spring’. Lacie was fascinated by the way science determines environmental and political decisions in peoples' lives and even in our government. She adjusted her lifestyle to decrease her impact on the Earth while still living life to the fullest.
If you're interested in learning more about environmentally-friendly living, balancing working mom life, and tips to maximize time with your family, follow Lacie’s Blog at BrainsBibsandBiz.com.