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Top 10 Things You Can Do for Your Children

  • Walk or bike your kids to school, or if that's not feasible, go for frequent rides on weekends – a family that bikes together saves the planet together!
  • Keep them inside and out of the downtown core on smog-days (going for a car ride when there's a smog alert on is a big no-no!)
  • Make sure their toys are PVC-free – keep them from breathing in any potentially toxic plastic softeners.
  • Do not reward them with toys. Try to teach them that happiness doesn't comes from buying new things, and the planet does not need the resource extraction, chemical-pollution and landfill-clogging that comes with making, and eventually, discarding them.
  • Use natural or biodegradable shampoos, creams, and soaps. What you put on your young one's body is as important as what you put in it.
  • Choose organic foods whenever possible, so your children get a pesticide-, hormone-, and antibiotic-free diet.
  • Say no to high-fat, high-sugar, chemical-laden processed foods. There are plenty of natural alternatives, even for packaged kids' snacks.
  • Create a non-toxic nursery or kids' room full of earth-loving children's books.
  • Resist the urge to use landfill-clogging disposable diapers. If cloth is out of the question, using unbleached, chlorine-free, throw-away ones is a good alternative.
  • Teach them to love nature: take them to the park, on little hikes or picnics, or to a local nature center (i.e.: the La Fontaine Park, the Botanical Gardens, etc).

Top 5 Eating Habits to Heal the World

  • Support local growers, be it through farmer's markets, farm-fresh food box deliveries, or simply keeping your eye open for local labels at the grocery store.
  • Go vegetarian or reduce your daily meat and dairy intake – meat production uses up 20 times as much energy as growing grain.
  • Choose fair-trade coffee, sugar, chocolate, and anything else you can find fair-trade to be sure not to support "sweatshops in the fields".
  • Buy certified organic products to avoid pesticides and spare waterways, wildlife, and workers encounters with toxic pesticides.
  • Pass on resource-intensive, heavily-packaged, and heavily-processed fast food and junk food.

Top 5 Eco Packaging Suggestions

  • Choose recyclable glass.
  • Know your (plastic) numbers. If you're buying something packaged in plastic, check the bottom of the container for the number that tells you whether or not that type of plastic is recyclable in your area (ex: #1, #2). (See the City-by-City guide to learn what can be recycled in your city.)
  • Buy dry: if you're picking up something like chicken broth, the powdered kind goes a lot further than the canned.
  • Buy in bulk, and bring your own containers.
  • Good things come in small packages. Often foods like cereals that come in smaller boxes contain the same amount of, say, Mueslix, as the bigger boxes that are just full of air. Compare product weight to be sure.

* Sources: Ecoholic: Adria Vasil, Oberlin Online, and Recycling-Guide