International Day of Families 2019 and climate action

A concept image showing an adult handing the world to a child.

Today is International Day of Families. This year, the UN observance is focussing on Sustainable Development Goal 13, climate action. We all need to do our bit – even on a micro level – so this is a great opportunity to assess whether we’re doing enough.

I’m forever fretting about whether we’re doing a good job as parents, but it turns out we’re actually doing very well on this front at least. Still, there’s always room for improvement so here are the changes we’ve made as well as things we could do better at as a family.

Energy use

We recently changed our energy supplier. Admittedly, the original reason for doing so was to save money. Our old provider slapped us with a hefty price hike so we shopped around. Most of the deals we found were much of a muchness, so we chose a supplier that provides 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon neutral gas.

We also have a smart meter and smart thermostat and both really focus thinking on energy use. The latter in particular is so visual that the kids understand it and I think this is so important. If we ever manage to move home, we’re going to make sure these devices are installed.

The area for improvement is to teach the kids not to leave lights or the telly on – all three of them are guilty of this!

 

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Getting around

We don’t have a car and none of us have been on flights since I went on a press trip to Germany almost four years ago. So we’re already doing pretty well here. We regularly visit my parents, however. They live three miles away so we normally go by bus.

That said, we’ve resolved to walk – or scoot – there once a month instead. It feels really good getting the fresh air and exercise and saves us the best part of a tenner each time too.

Food

Eating less red meat is high on the list of ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve long since replaced beef mince with turkey mince, which has the added bonuses of being healthier and cheaper.

We can do more though. While I have no intention of going vegetarian or vegan, it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple of meat-free main meals every week.

Elsewhere on the food front, we’re already good at avoiding food waste and end up throwing away very little. We could do better at growing our own vegetables though – particularly as two out of my three kids seem to enjoy gardening so much.

 

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Recycling

We fill our recycling bin much faster than our household waste one and that can only be a good thing. The kids are well versed in what can and can’t be recycled too.

The next step is to reduce the number of things we buy that come in plastic packaging. Shops and brands need to do more to make this easier though – particularly considering lower-income families like mine.

Talking about climate action

I’m proud of my kids’ approach to sustainability and, as a result, of us for teaching them well for the most part. Most of this has been via example, but we talk to them about climate action too.

They already know that Greta Thunberg is talking sense and that the likes of Donald Trump don’t know what they’re talking about with regards such issues.

Ensuring that they know about these issues from an early age is essential.

What about you? What are you doing well with regards climate action and what could you do better?

Comments

  1. Mike

    Great to see others being motivated about this stuff! It’s such an awkward situation where half of me feels like we have to do EVERYTHING we can…and the other half feels completely helpless. We have to try though…

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