I’m noticing an exciting movement brewing and it really became apparent watching the social media mediums talking about Earth Day this year. There’s been a big shift to simplify purchases and reduce our insatiable appetite as consumers. The movement to drastically reduce what we are spending combined with saving our money for quality and locally produced items will be a huge difference in the North America economy in 2010. When you are shopping – are you asking where things are made? Is this influencing your decision?
Many parents are putting a big focus on re-using what they already have. If you resist the urge to go out and purchase items you think are needed – you’ll always be surprised what you can make do with at home. I found it so interesting reading moms posting on Twitter wondering why to celebrate Earth Day this year they needed to go out and purchase a gift for the planet? A great question and hopefully not the message parents were getting from the media this Earth Day. Even though I’m a proud owner of a green business, I’m hoping it was the message for families to re-connect with nature and eco-activities that made Earth Day celebrations truly special this year. When talking about North America’s problem with over-consumption – even greener options – would not have been the true message of Earth Day this year.
Back to the topic of supporting local. For years we’ve now listened to the words ‘reducing your footprint’ ‘smaller footprint’ and this no longer only means recycling. To me, these words truly mean better decisions, asking questions, and supporting local whenever possible; from the food we eat, to the everyday items we use. I have stopped saying “but everything is made in China!” Why? Because it’s simply not true. We simply gravitate to all the choices from China because they are the cheapest. When I am buying something that is made overseas – it’s not because I can’t find it….it’s because I want that low price. The only thing that will help this problem is supply and demand. The more people that join together to support our local businesses – the cost for these quality items will go down. You can ask Europeans what the cost is for their lovely wooden toys. It’s not what we pay here because these items that are known for quality and safety, need to be transported which costs money. I find it impossible to believe we can’t find the same things here and support a local farmer or artisan that is gifted with quality craftsmanship, etc.
It’s sad to think that our economic struggles in North America could be lessoned if we followed what all other countries do – support our own manufacturers. Network within your own group of friends or social media forums and ask who around you can sew, make quality items from wood, or where you can purchase food locally. Following a path of purchasing less and reusing what we have, then following a blueprint as a consumer of quality, sustainable, locally made items that can be recycled or are made from recycled materials will change the way we shop this year. I’m excited for Earth Day 2011 because I think these concepts will truly be understood and followed by parents.
Please share your actions that help make everyday decisions more earth friendly. Here are a few fun ways to talk to children about reusing household items and reducing purchases that might not be required. Examples include:
Making home made play dough. Did you know that traditional play dough containers are not recyclable and the quality of the play dough cannot compare (or last as long) as the home made version?
Don’t throw away your broken crayons – save them for a rainy day project of melting them down and making new crayons to use.
Understanding that children simply don’t need buckets of new clothing that is made overseas, printed with traditional inks and materials. It honestly feels better to purchase less, spend more, and support a local “made in North America’ clothing store.
** Badger sunscreen contest note ** The winner Jen has been contacted and the contest is closed. Thanks to everyone that completed the referral form or posted a comment to the Mommy Footprint fan page!