Going green – Babies make it difficult to be environmentally friendly

Babies are hard work. They also cause a lot of waste. I’m not saying anything bad about babies, it’s just a problem that comes with the territory in our modern time.

I recently had a baby, and I have realized it’s hard to be environmentally friendly with a newborn. It’s not impossible, but it’s hard. I have learned as a mom that I need to give myself grace. I can only do as much as I can do, and as long as the baby is happy and healthy, it’s OK.

There might be some dirty dishes in the sink and some other household chores that don’t get done and that is OK. I’ve also realized it is important to give yourself some grace when it comes to being environmentally friendly.

We need to try to make good environmentally-friendly choices, but we can’t be really down on ourselves when it doesn’t happen. Some of the things I struggled with the most are disposable diapers and disposable wipes. I have some cloth diapers that I’m getting ready to try out, but I haven’t had a chance to yet. Something about having an infant keeps you pretty busy.

I have many nieces and nephews and they have used cloth diapers, so I’m familiar with the concept and have changed several cloth diapers. But this will be my first time running the cloth diaper show. I am excited to go on this journey and will keep everyone updated on how it progresses. 

I love the Earth and I want to do as much as I can to protect it, however I draw the line at reusable wipes, and I think that’s okay. A few years ago I was talking to someone who was extremely environmentally conscious and who I look up to as an environmental mentor. She was telling me that it’s OK to use disposable diapers when you go on a trip and it’s OK if you don’t want to use reusable wipes.

It’s all about finding something you can do and do consistently, because if you take on too much you will get burned out and stop. Making environmentally conscious choices is all about consistency and longevity, so make sure that whatever you do to help the environment is something you can keep doing for a long time.

At the end of the day — and I know I’ve said it before — the biggest impact we can have on the environment is voting for people who share our environmental concerns and who will enact environmentally conscious legislation that can have large-scale impacts. Speaking of which, all votes matter and if you want to vote in the election this year you must register to vote by Oct. 7, 2019. For more information visit govoteky.com.

 I know I can only keep so many straws out of the ocean by myself and I can only keep so many dirty diapers out of the landfill by myself. It will take companies making large changes and governments enforcing regulations to enact real, tangible, large-scale changes that will make a huge difference — the kind of huge difference we need right now, since the globe is warming and pollution is such an issue. 

But that being said, I also don’t feel good knowing that the diapers that I put in the landfill are going to stay there for 500 years. My daughter’s 14-greats-grandchildren could be born before her diapers go away.

We might not be out of landfill space now, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to run out. And I don’t want my diapers that I throw away to outlive myself, my daughter, and my daughter’s children. That is why I’m going to use cloth diapers.

We have to think about what we’re doing to the environment, and we have to educate others about their impacts on the environment. I know lots of people who have never thought about how long a diaper will last in a landfill. That’s not their fault; no one has ever brought it to their attention.

In addition to electing environmentally minded officials, educating people about their impact on the environment is another huge way that we can help protect it. So educate your friends, neighbors and anyone who will listen (in a nice way) and educate your kids.

As I get older I realize that a lot of my early environmental education was just from watching the way my parents lived their lives, so don’t underestimate the power of your words and actions because as I get older I realize that if you have kiddos in your house they are watching and listening even if you don’t think they are.

 

Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week: 

Moray eels have two sets of jaws, their second set extends from their throats. 

https://pixabay.com/photos/moray-eel-fish-sea-nature-589400/

 

About Amanda Wheeler

Amanda Wheeler is the children and teen services librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library. She has a master's in zoology education from the University of Miami and has taught as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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