Green is Not Just a Crayola Color…
Teach Your Children Well
Children learn by what they see, not what we tell them. Okay…that was not meant to be a guilt trip; I just want your attention. You need to understand that our actions have a direct impact, not only on our daily lives, but also on future generations. For those who came before me, being green or eco-conscious would never have entered their minds; the concept didn’t exist. Science had not yet come up against overpopulation, carbon emissions and super storms. Our parents and grandparents believed that working hard and living the American dream was their only lot in life. But that’s all changed now. Like them, we must work hard to provide for our families; but now we are also held accountable for their future. How we spend our time and money, and how we present our environment, both in our homes and our surroundings are vitally important as part of the rearing of our children.
Here are two ways we can help our children become more eco-conscious and acquire a more sustainable mindset.
- Live by example:
What matters to you will matter to your children. Make a decision to engage in at least one or two new green initiatives around the house. When you throw something away…away is a place. Have you ever gone to your local landfill and seen the difference recycling makes? Teach your children that each item sent to the dump has consequences for their future. Learning to donate, recycle and repurpose is a great game changer in the home. Even if this is all you do in 2015-16, that’s a huge start.
- Play Green
Play has long been associated with achieving higher IQs. But this sort of play is not watching TV or video games, but the kind that fosters creativity
The search for toys that are both environmentally safe and imaginative can be overwhelming, as very little advertisement money is spent on such toys. But if you do your research and seek out local toy stores, you'll find a treasure trove of new discoveries. In the meantime, let me tell you what may be lurking in the toys your children already have. Because once you understand such hidden evils, I’m betting you'll be more willing to seek out safer alternatives.
In February 2009, Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act adopted the ASTM F973-07 standard for allowable levels of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, and chromium. Toy cars in particular can be laced with some or all of these dangerous metals. And even though the law passed, you can’t assume that all toys are now safe. You see, the Act didn't incorporate the inclusion of Bisphenol-A or polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Now you may be wondering: Why are these chemicals in toys in the first place?
Plastics, fabrics and paints often contain a variety of substances that allows them to be durable, flexible, colorful or flame resistant. Your local ACE and Home Depot hardware stores carry a lead detector kits for under $15.00 (A small price to ensure lead isn’t lurking in your toy’s paint.) Unfortunately, there are no detector kits for toys containing Bisphenol-A or PVC (such as teething rings and bath toys).
So how Do I Find Safer Toys?
Ask yourself two questions.
- Where is it made?
Many toys are made in China. If you are looking for toys in a big box store, you'll be hard pressed NOT to find a toy not made in China! After the recent onslaught of recalls in toys a few years ago--and continuing recalls–we are all are much more aware than we used to be. And while not all toys made outside the US are bad, if you have the choice to buy local, our economy will thank you for keeping your dollars here.
A perfect example of a good place to shop is HYPERLINK "http://www.greentoys.com/" Green Toys. All their toys are made in the U.S. from recycled milk jugs.
- Who can you trust?
Online shopping makes it easy to find out which toys are safe and where they are made. Most "green" online shops are family run. As they would want no less for their own children and grandchildren, you can be sure their standards are as high as yours. Just be sure to investigate their standards and ask questions. You will find the owners are more than happy to tell you what you need to know".
Here are some of my favorite sites:
So you may be asking yourself, what does all this have to do with organizing? Everything!
Organizing is not simply making your environment neat and stress free, it about adopting change. Changing the way you think about your daily habits and consumer choices going forward. As an “ECO” organizer, I find my clients are very receptive to adopt a greener or eco mindset as the session’s progress. Organizing shines a spotlight on your current habits and as you change, adopting greener choices enhances this process.
One day, Green will be just another color, and our lifestyles will reflect a more intentional and sustainable quality of life. But our children have to learn it from somewhere, and they are not going to retain these teachings taught in schools. Parents, like the old Crosby-Stills-Nash-Young song, you have an obligation to “teach your children well.”