Family Lifestyle Changes For An Impactful Earth Day

I must admit, my drive to “save the Earth” started only six years ago after having children. It’s not that I was a litter bug, or running water excessively before becoming a mom; I simply did not have a deep understanding of how some of our everyday habits harm our planet.

After deepening my knowledge, I now try my best to educate myself and my children to pursue a lifestyle that positively impacts the Earth. Here are the simple shifts we’ve embraced that you can introduce to your family’s lifestyle to celebrate Earth Day this year.

Don’t Give In To Fast-Fashion

I know the sales are hard to refuse, especially when trending fashion and home decor is in our face on every social media platform. Keeping up with trends and splurging on “fast-fashion” is actually hurting the environment.

Clothing and home goods trends change like infants change their habits. One lifestyle change than can impact the Earth is to avoid getting caught in the cycle of buying inexpensive click-bait. If the dress costs $5.00 and can ship to you next day, it’s likely fast-fashion. Aim to purchase in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the environment. Instead, research companies that use sustainable manufacturing and fabrics, or buy from brands known for having long-lasting products.

Better yet, find something new-to-you secondhand. Thrift stores are making a comeback and if you haven’t been to one lately, you’re missing out on some real steals. The majority of the clothing we purchase as a family is secondhand. I’ve found new shoes, toys, and sports gear on local Facebook mom-to-mom groups for free. We also have great luck on reselling apps like Poshmark and Mercari, too.

Incorporate Plant-Based Meals

We have all heard that animal agriculture is harming the planet. The most meaningful lifestyle change my family has made is going vegan. Aside from my kiddos enjoying their favorite box of mac and cheese a few times a week, we have cut out the consumption of animal products for two years now. It was a relatively smooth transition. Even my meat-and-potatoes-eating husband could appreciate it after quickly reaping the health and physical benefits.

Now, I’m not suggesting you take the plunge cold-turkey; rather, replace one to two meaty meals a week with veggie-packed substitutes. Swap out chicken for tofu, or even ground beef for lentils. The impact is huge. If Earth Day, or every Monday, is when you make a meatless meal, you’ll be celebrating not only our planet, but your body, too. And, there’s so many delicious vegan hot spots in metro Detroit!

Let the Dandelions Live!

Dandelions support some of nature’s most important pollinators. Butterflies, birds, and most importantly bees keep the ecosystem thriving. In Michigan, dandelions are the first sign nature is preparing for spring and summer months, and the first source of nectar and pollen these pollinators need to support nature.

Letting them flourish in our soil also helps protect from soil erosion. If you just can’t stand the sight of dandelions (like my husband), consider planting wildflowers whose deep roots nurture soil, and that pollinators love.

Pick Up Trash

Instead of sending your grocery bags to recycling centers, use those bags to pick up trash. This is my most favorite way to celebrate Earth Day. We gather our neighborhood friends and hunt for discarded garbage until our bags are full.

In my opinion, it is one of the most rewarding habits we have instilled. So much so, that it’s nearly impossible for my kids to avoid picking up trash wherever we go. Furthermore, by preserving the vitality of nature in our own stomping grounds, we foster empathy and leave an impression on passersby.

Recycle, Correctly

Have you ever heard of wishcyling? It’s a newer term describing how we send items to recycling centers we “wish” will be recycled. I’ve always thought if it’s plastic, just put it in the recycle bin, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

So, take action at home and research the best recycling practices in your city or county. There are three key points to keep in mind:

  • First, anything smaller than a credit card should not go in the recycling bin.
  • Second, as time consuming as it may seem, plastic containers, cans, and aluminum must be free of food waste and dry.
  • Lastly, grocery bags, sandwich bags, and produce bags–as much as we want to recycle them–don’t go in the recycle bin. In fact, they cause damage to recycling machinery. Swap out grocery bags and even sandwich bags for reusable alternatives.

Stop Using Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles

The impact of eliminating single-use plastic water bottles is enormous. Consider the life of one bottle: the bottle alone must be manufactured in a facility that requires heat, electricity, and water to produce it. The water to fill the bottle requires manufacturing to pull water from natural springs or wells to go through a filtration system. The bottle then must be labeled and packaged before being transported to a store for purchase. One, single-use, 8 oz. water bottle requires an outstanding amount of carbon emissions.

These are solely facts on producing single-use water bottles, not the negative effect improper disposal of them has on our environment. All that to say, buying reusable water bottles for the family is a simple and impactful way to celebrate Earth Day.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Finally, the renowned environmentally conscious phrase that is widely misused. Understand that the first and foremost way to make an impact is to REDUCE. Reduce what we use, reduce how we consume, reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our spending on new goods and daily Amazon deliveries.

I admit, I have overlooked this term on my journey to an Earth-friendly lifestyle; convenience tends to trump conservancy. It is, however, the key argument to combating our global environmental crisis. Use less of our water, less of our natural resources, and less of the habits we rely on for convenience. Think of the amount of plastic trash you would keep out of a landfill if you swapped out one child’s prepackaged snack for a fruit, veggie, or homemade treat.

Even when we donate to local non-profits like Goodwill and The Salvation Army, a large percentage of items donated end up in the trash. (I know, I worked in one for 11 years and disposal costs regularly surpassed charitable earnings.) These stores sell your donations to fund their charities. But, if your donations do not meet their quality standards, your goods can end up in a landfill. Certain unsellable items like clothing and shoes are sold in bulk and shipped overseas.

Equally impactful: focus on reusing what you have. Many recyclables don’t have to leave your home to start a new life. Glass condiment jars are perfect for new kitchen storage. Milk jugs, cardboard, and even the back side of used paper are great for crafts and decoration.

Incorporating these small, simple lifestyle changes is a great way to celebrate and make an impact this Earth Day. If your family is ready to take the next step to make this Earth Day even more meaningful, consider something more aggressive:

Happy Earth Day!

Have you started your spring and summer gardens yet? Charmaine shares five simple steps to stress-free gardening.

Previous articleCelebrating National Library Week
Next articleRamadan Lessons: Sacrifice, Self-Discipline, and Gratitude
True generalist. Habitual giver. Lover of Christ. Baker. Home maker. Career oriented. Chronically under self-valuing. Elder millennial. Momma to 2 boys. Wife to police officer. Born in Detroit, Michigan to a black dad and a white mom. Eighties baby with a 90's heart and old school soul. Raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan along with 4 brown-skin siblings. Second oldest of a forever grieving widow. Biracial. Mixed. Red-bone. Curly Haired. Light skinned. Halfie. From struggles with identity, family, death, discrimination, spirituality, mental health, motherhood and everything in between, my soul is revealed in my stories. My experiences have shaped the way I understand the world and perceive its challenges. My writing is a way to express how they have shaped my relationships, perceptions and why and how I do my part to make the world a better place. And stay sane.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.