by Kimberly Danek Pinkson
Just as our babies must learn to walk one step at a time, so must we walk our intentions one step at a time. To become an EcoMom start with one of these simple things, or jump in and do them all - just start. As President of the NRDC Action Fund, Frances Beinecke says "Leading scientists are telling us loud and clear that if we don't act now to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the window of opportunity will soon shut forever, and the outcome will be devastating."
You may feel like your actions don't count, but together we mothers are over 82 million strong. That's a lot of power and a lot of impact. By committing to be a part of the EcoMom Challenge, which means taking the following steps, you are joining thousands of other moms across the country in saying you believe in your self and your power to help create a better world for future generations. And, you will have significantly reduced your ecological footprint - the impact your daily living has on our planet - by decreasing your CO2 emissions by approximately 8,000 pounds.
10 First Steps for A Sustainable Future
1. Change a light.
Replacing just 5 regular light bulbs with a Compact Fluorescent bulb will save 750 pounds of CO2. If every household in America did this, it would be equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road. (Daily Acts)
2. Reduce your garbage.
69% of Americans still don't recycle. Start. Cutting down garbage by just 10% can save 1,200 pounds of CO2 and less junk around the house means less mess for you to clean up . . . so buy products with less packaging. For recycling tips visit www.earth911.org
3. Buy local, organic and fair trade.
Reduces fossil fuel waste from items shipped from far away, reduces pesticides in your body and your ground water, reduces child labor and sweat shops, and with your dollars, promotes a consumer movement based on securing a better world. Plus, I've found that eating organic and buying locally somehow leads to healthier eating habits and more walking, so you'll save a couple thousand pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere and shrink a couple of inches from your waist.
4. Turn off and unplug electronic devices.
Simply turning off your TV, DVD player, and computer will save thousands of pounds of CO2 and by unplugging chargers, etc., you can dramatically reduce you and your family's exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Candle light dinners are good too - your kids will think it's fun and it adds a little romance for you!
5. Drive less.
Carpool, walk and ride bikes - it's good for your health and your environment. If just 25% of the moms in the United States drove 10 miles less a week, over 11 billion pounds of CO2 emissions would be saved (and you'll save traffic headaches).
6. Do less laundry.
By reducing the number of loads you do and using cold or warm water instead of hot, you can save over 1,200 pounds of CO2 and countless hours of folding. If you live in a place where you can line dry, nothing beats the smell of fresh air on your clothes and you'll save even more of our precious resources (added bonus: your kids will have fun playing tag in between your hanging pants!).
7. Plant a tree.
Make it a celebration with your kids to honor special occasions and watch the tree grow as they do. A single tree will absorb one ton of CO2 over its lifetime.
8. Check your tires.
Keeping your tires properly inflated can improve gas mileage significantly and every gallon of gas saved keeps 20 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere. Plus, with gas prices as they are, save your self big $$$ too.
9. Buy carbon offsets.
Reduce mom guilt and balance out what you can't change quite yet - like the SUV. Offsets are the alternative energy option that is kind of like eating too many brownies one day and jogging an extra mile the next. For more info. check out www.nativeenergy.com
10. Treat yourself.
When you buy yourself organic skincare, body products and clothing, you feel better about indulging because you know your choice is also having a positive impact globally - our economy is the world's largest democracy. Your planet is worth it, and so are You.