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From the moment your child was born, that sweet baby became the center of your world. As a parent, you don’t have to be in a marriage or partnership to be fully devoted to your children. The same can be said for going green; even as a single parent, you can find ways to make sustainable living work for your family.
The United Nations predicts that the global population will rise to 9 billion people by the year 2050. Meanwhile, each child’s carbon emissions may fully exceed the lifetime of his or her parents. Knowing this, how can parents reduce their family’s contributions to global warming?
If you’re an environmentally conscious single parent who is interested in reducing your family’s carbon footprint, here are some ways you can implement a more eco-friendly lifestyle:
Going (and Staying) “Green”
The concept of “green parenting” doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can start with a few small changes, such as switching to reusable cloth diapers rather than disposable ones. After seeing how easy it is - and how much money you’ll save - by transitioning to environmentally-friendly lifestyle habits, it becomes easier to maintain your “green” lifestyle. In fact, you may even notice a snowball effect as you begin incorporating more and more eco-friendly habits into your daily routine.
Stop Junk Mail
Nobody has time to sort through all the unsolicited advertisements or “junk mail” we receive each week, especially not as a single parent. Luckily, you can help save the trees (and save your sanity) by removing your name and address from senders’ mailing lists.
The US Federal Trade Commission offers this advice on opting out of these mailing lists for five years - or for life. Outside of the United States, many other countries have similar procedures.
If you have a green thumb or are interested in learning to garden, creating your own sustainable home garden can be a fun, eco-friendly hobby that the whole family will enjoy. You can start by determining what types of plants you’d like to grow. Some ideas include growing your own fruits, vegetables, herbs, or spices and seasonings. To be even more environmentally friendly, you might also consider starting a low-water garden by choosing plants that don’t require frequent watering.
In addition to providing you with homegrown foods, your garden also provides a way to reduce your trash and waste. Since much of our garbage is made of food scraps, you can start using those scraps as compost for your garden rather than throwing them away with the trash.
If, like many single parents, you are on a budget, you can still find some very affordable ways to make your home more “green.” For less than $10, you can invest in some good LED or CFL light bulbs, which will in turn save you money on your monthly energy bills.
If your budget is slightly higher, you might consider switching to solar power. Although they are more expensive to install, solar panels make up for it by saving you money over time. In addition to lowering your energy bills, they also help the planet by reducing your carbon footprint.
Another energy conservation method you might consider is hanging your clothing outside on a clothes line rather than using a drying machine. You’ll save money on your energy bill, help the environment, and enjoy the fresh, sunkissed scent of your clean clothes.
Reducing Plastic Usage
The world’s oceans are becoming littered with trash, including plastics and bottles. You can do your part to help by reducing the number of plastic bottles you use (and recycling whenever possible).
A good place to start is by investing in a water filtration system so that you can avoid purchasing plastic water bottles altogether. You might consider purchasing eco-friendly clothing, such as these materials that are made from special fabrics created out of recycled plastic water bottles.
As you can see, being a single parent doesn’t have to limit your options when it comes to eco-friendly living. There are many affordable ways that you and your children can “go green.” Not only does this save you money on energy bills; it also helps sa