Simple ideas for more sustainability in daily life
Sustainability is one of the top priorities of our time, and more and more people try to live a more sustainable life on an everyday basis. It all starts with being more conscious about our everyday choices and trying to make changes for the better, towards a more sustainable lifestyle, for us, our family and the generations to come.
In a few words: Sustainability is defined nowadays as “the process and actions through which humankind avoids the depletion of natural resources, in order to keep an ecological balance that doesn’t allow the quality of life of modern societies to decrease”. While the term is often connected especially to the environmental aspect, sustainability has three dimensions: economy, society and the environment. Informally you could also refer to these pillars as profit, people and planet.
We all know how important it is to lead a more sustainable life, but with a busy lifestyle, even more so as a family with children involved, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to teach our kids about sustainability. Know that even a small step towards a more sustainable life as a family is a step in the right direction. To make things easier on you, we have put together simple ideas for more sustainability for the whole family, including tips and tricks on how to get your kids involved.
First and foremost it all starts with us! Showing up and leading by example and mimic the behavior we would like to see in our kids in the long run. The good news is that children are inherently curious about the world around us. They want to know all there is to know about nature, animals and how things work and fit together. A great basis to build on and teach them about sustainability by taking care of their surroundings and getting involved. Add a positive attitude to the mix and some fun and you have built a solid foundation for your kids to be environment conscious and to lead sustainable lives as they grow up.
More sustainability through leading by example at home and outside
There are plenty of ways on how to be more sustainable in everyday life and these might look different from family to family. But every action, as small as it might be, will make a difference. A popular slogan to guide you in your decisions are the 3 R’s – Reduce, reuse, recycle. Think reducing waste by making eco-friendly choices that come with less packaging e.g. Reuse items instead of getting new ones or using disposable ones. Recycle your trash and items that can’t be used anymore.
Some ideas on more sustainability in everyday life at home and outside:
- Collect recyclables and separate them accordingly. Get your kids involved and show them which materials belong in which bin. You can talk to them about the second life of said materials. Did you know that plastic can be used to produce clothing items, like swimwear, e.g.?
- Use reusable cups for your takeout coffee / tea, say no to straws and invest in a reusable water bottle, maybe even a stainless steel water bottle that are pretty much indestructible
- Other reusable products you probably use on a daily basis: cloth napkins and shopping bags
- Switch off the lights when not in the room
- Set the thermostat of your AC to a slightly higher temperature, a change you will probably not even notice, but that goes a long way in saving energy. And money in your pocket too for that matter.
- Switch to eco-friendly detergents for your clothes and cleaning products for your house. Not only is that step environment friendly, but also safer for you and your loved ones, especially with smaller kids and pets in the house.
- Shop locally and buy produce that is in season. If you can, opt for the organic variation.
Take your kids outside into nature
Build on your kids’ energy and urge to move and explore their surroundings. Take them outside into nature! You can go to the nearest park, take them to a national park, go on a hike with them or even go camping if that's your thing. They will feel immersed in nature and connected, while exploring and discovering the beauty of nature. By the way, did you know that 40% of the metropolitan area of Hong Kong are National Parks? That means a lot of opportunities to go on hikes and to connect with nature and teach your kids in an easy way about all the little creatures and what we can do to protect them and their habitat.
While you are out and about : How about a scavenger hunt or collecting flowers, feathers and leaves. Not only perfect to learn about the different plants and birds, but also perfect items to get into arts & crafts with recyclables with your kids.
Another great way to teach your kids more about sustainability and the impact of (plastic) waste on the planet are “green walks”. This means cleaning up a stretch in a park or on the beach as you go for a walk. An activity that will leave you and your kids with a sense of achievement for the better of the environment. We are also sure that your kids will enjoy the activity very much and go excitedly on « trash hunt » as you walk along.
Engage in eco-friendly activities
We have a particular love for being outdoors and immerse into nature with kids, but there are many other activities around teaching them about sustainability too. Reading books about the environment for kids helps children understand the concept in a more visual way. It also gives you an opportunity to connect with them and learn together. The same goes for age appropriate documentaries about sustainability. You can also build on your child’s curiosity and prepare simple experiments at home for them to see and experience what water pollution e.g. actually means and looks like. Or get into crafting and DIY items from recyclables, giving materials and packaging a second life right in your home.
If you have green thumb or just generally are interested in growing / taking care of plants, why not trying to grow your own food and at the same time teach your kids where their food is coming from. You don’t need a big outside space for this, but can just start with some pots sitting on your window, or on your balcony. Again a great opportunity to teach kids how to take care of the environment and being rewarded by yummy homegrown produce, that on top will for sure be organic. Most fascinating is to actually regrow vegetables from scraps. Potatoes and any leafy greens are very rewarding in that perspective.
In the spirit of the 3 R’s, attend or even organize a swap for clothes, books or toys in your community. The perfect occasion to find a new home for items that your kids have outgrown or no longer serve you and in exchange you might find items that you need.
A sometimes overlooked opportunity to be more sustainable is gift giving. Being thoughtful about the gift you are about to give, what a person likes and what she is interested in, can make a present unforgettable, long lasting and sustainable at the same time. Think offering experiences, services, time you can spent together or opt for a gift from a sustainable company. We have collected some inspiration for sustainable gifts for Mother’s Day or for any occasion you give a present to a loved one, really.
Favor sustainable fashion over fast fashion (for you and your kids)
First of all: what is sustainable fashion anyways. Sustainable fashion has several dimensions, which makes it a real allrounder for more sustainability in everyday life. Sustainable clothing not only involves materials that are from natural, often organic sources, but also being ethical in the manufacturing process, on top of fair wages for the people producing the clothes. It also includes transportation means and waste management during production, but also dealing with leftover clothing items, which more often than not unfortunately land in landfills.
- Support (clothing) brands that are ethical and environment conscious. Those brands will be open about the materials used and how they have been sourced, their manufacturing process and their waste management.
- Invest in organic and natural fibers, recycled fabrics and better quality items, that will last you longer. Did you know that natural materials, like organic cotton are particular gentle to your skin, are hypoallergenic and better at keeping unpleasant odors at bay, plus allow your skin to breathe.
- Become more minimalist. Opt for clothing items that are timeless in style and that you love and value. Add high quality materials in the mix and you have an item that will bring you joy for many seasons and can even be passed down when it doesn’t serve you anymore. This is especially true for kids clothing, as children tend to outgrow their clothes rather quickly. A high quality item can be passed down to siblings or passed on to friends or during a clothes swap e.g.
- Taking care of your clothes is another important, yet often under estimated part: Wash less often (fuller machine, versus only a few items for one wash, use an eco-friendly detergent and air dry your clothes).
Further thoughts on sustainability for the whole family
Sustainability for the whole family doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. As mentioned earlier even one small step can go a long way. Sit down with your family, include the kids in the discussion and decide together on the actions you want to take, fitting your interests and your lifestyle. Involving kids or any person in the decision making for that matter, gets them on board and has a higher chance on being sustained in the long run. Particularly for kids this will give them a sense of responsibility, but also independence. They learn that their ideas are valued and their engagement appreciated as well as them being able to make a difference even from a young age. It also teach kids how to take care of the environment, being thoughtful and considerate towards their surroundings. You basically install sustainable habits that will benefit them as they grow.
Finally, make the process fun and celebrate the little positive actions you have taken as a family towards a more sustainable lifestyle!
Learn more about our range of organic, sustainable clothing for the whole family, including cute Mommy & Me styles, boys items and not to forget stylish shirts for daddy too!