Having kids has caused me to re-examine my lifestyle and make some changes. I think that’s true for most people, really. For me, some of these changes have been philisophical. I want a good future for my kids, so I work to make the world a better place. Some of these changes, on the other hand, have been very practical. For example, I pack a bag with spare clothes everywhere I go, because being without these things at a critical moment is no fun. Been there, done that, had to take the kid home in a borrowed diaper and a winter coat.
Some of my more practical changes have actually made my lifestyle more sustainable. This surprised me, because in general we look at having children as an environmental negative. After all, you’re creating entirely new people. In my case, two entirely new Canadians, with some of the biggest ecological footprints of anyone in the world. But, as it turns out, even having kids hasn’t been an all-or-nothing decision for me, environmentally speaking.
Here are just a few of the ways that having children has led to a greener lifestyle for me.
The great thing, though, is that the changes that I’ve made aren’t just easy on the planet, they’re also easy on my wallet. Gas is expensive, so using less saves me lots of money. The playground and the library both offer free family fun. Staple foods are far cheaper than packaged foods or restaurant foods. And, of course, buying second-hand will always cost less than buying new.
Sometimes living a more sustainable lifestyle can seem expensive. Organic food costs more than its conventional counterpart, for instance, and a stainless steel water bottle costs more than a plastic one. And, in honesty, it can sometimes cost more to make the more sustainable choice. But it doesn’t always, and that’s the great news. Sometimes the most sustainable choice is just to do less. Buy less, do less, re-use what you already have. And that pretty much always costs less, too, which is something to be happy about no matter how you look at it. I’d like to thank my kids for teaching me that particular truth.