Teaching children to be eco-friendly can be made simple and easily evolve into a routine family project. Since children love being helpful, teaching them the ways to be earth friendly can become a life long habit for them. The trick is just to get started.
Recycling is one of the easiest ways to get your child involved in household tasks. Recycling everyday objects like cans, bottles and paper is a good way to get your kids started on the road to good habits. Having a recycling receptacle with with easily identifiable separate bins will help the child perform the tasks on their own. When grocery shopping, bring along recyclable bags and maybe allow them to help bag the groceries.
Gardening is an excellent way to teach your children about the earth. Planting seeds, nurturing their growing plants, the effects of the weather and the eventual green bounty that result from their efforts, will help to encourage a child to want to continue the project. While you’re in the garden, you can also encourage them to compost left over scraps of food that will eventually turn back into the rich soil that will enrich the environment for their seeds again. A field trip to the farmer’s market or the grocery store can also give you an opportunity to have your child identify the produce that they are sustaining as well as show them what happens to their produce once it is harvested. It’s a chance to show them how people in their community and the world are fed.
Conserving energy in the house is another easy habit for your child to develop. Turning off the lights when leaving a room, turning off the water when brushing your teeth or even turning off the video game are just a few of the ways to teach your children to be responsible for their environment. Showing your kids how valuable a resource that water is to them and the environment can be one of the most important lessons that you can instill in your child. Household chores like loading the dishwasher, and the clothes washer only when full are good assignments to get them to take charge of. Guiding your children in the ways of good environmental habits can almost ensure that they will pay it forward.
In 2013, two lines intersected. They swapped places. One line followed the meteoric decline in solar-powered electricity. The other measured the steadily rising cost of retail electricity. In 2013, the first ducked under the second. For the first time since French scientist Edmond Becquerel discovered the photoelectric effect, the cost of solar electricity was less than utility power.
The United States bursts with mind-blowing figures and factoids about solar power. In 2012, the industry grew by 41 percent, a record-breaking performance it broke yet again the following year. The costs of solar panels – industry manufacturers call them “modules” – plummeted by 80 percent between 2008 and 2013. On December 1, 2014, Soitec scientists announced a new record in solar cell conversion efficiency: 46 percent.
But no statistic is more important than the first. It anchors the promise. It transforms idealism into capitalism. In 2011, nationwide, homeowners paid an average of $17,056 for a residential solar system. In the years since, that number has dropped, with most of the upfront price due to “soft” costs like installation, maintenance and financing. In some places, like California and New York and Louisiana, the cost of a solar power system was $10,000 or less in 2011.
Yet the costs of the system paled to its potential savings. A California homeowner who installed a solar panel system in 2011 would immediately save $143 every month. Over 20 years, that number would mushroom into a whopping $34,260. Nothing, not even the S&P 500 market index, could promise better growth.
Homeowners without the capital to upfront a solar energy system have turned to 20-year leases, home equity loans and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to foot the bill instead. In fact, about 66 percent of new residential solar systems are owned by third parties. Industry experts estimate that a solar lease will save customers an immediate 10-30 percent on their energy bills.
America continues to compete with other countries in the development of solar panels and the accompanying industry. A new solar system is installed approximately every four minutes. The nation boasts more than 10 gigawatts of cumulative capacity, one of only four countries in the world that can make such a claim, and in 2013, the United States, for the first time in 15 years, installed more photovoltaic energy systems than Germany, the previous world leader.
Edmond Becquerel would be proud.
These days everyone talks about being green, and they don’t mean the color. Instead, they’re discussing how to best use our limited resources without damaging the Eco-system any more than we have. Many will tell you they do it for our children and grandchildren. People have begun to demand that big companies become more transparent about how they cut back on pollution. They want to do their share.
It’s not difficult to lead a more green lifestyle if you use a frugal or simple life model than you are already doing many green things. It seems they often overlap. Here are some tips on how you also can live a greener life.
Food and Gardening
Growing your food will help you save money and live a greener life. If you reside in an apartment, you should look up information on container gardens. Many vegetables such as peppers, onions, tomatoes and potatoes do very well in containers. They can be moved to take advantage of natural sunlight. This type of garden also tends to have fewer pests since they spend so much time indoors. Plus they look nice.
If you garden outdoors and find the bugs like your food as much as you, don’t run out for pesticides that can harm our environment. Instead pour generous amounts of beer on the weeds you find. Yes, you read that right beer. Most insects love beer and will then concentrate on eating the weeds instead of your crops. Beer is biodegradable and cheaper than pesticides.
Cut back on meat products of all types. Raising animals for food contributes a great deal to greenhouse gases such as methane. It also damages rivers, killing off fish and hurts the land. A few vegetarian meals a week will save you money and create a greener environment. You should also reuse containers for food storage. Large coffee cans can hold flours, sugars and other bulk items. Glass jars will keep leftovers. Just be careful though, many of these containers won’t work in your freezer.
Cleaning products contain chemicals that harm both the environment and the people in the home. There are a lot of frugal and green products you can make in your home. For instance, grate a bar of pure soap into a saucepan and cover it with water and a little vinegar and let it melt you have just made dish soap.
Products such as lemon juice for grease, vinegar for antibiotic properties, as well as baking soda, can clean your house as well as help the environment. If you have a lot of wood to clean just dampen a cloth with beer (yes beer again). Next wipe the surface of the wood you will find it cleans and shines just as it would with a store-bought product.
The above tips are just a small sample of what you can do to help keep our world safe and to ensure the future for our children. There are hundreds of things that can make life greener.