In the Make Just One Change series, I'm challenging you to change just one thing in your lifestyle in order to show your love for Mother Earth.
With the help of lots of folks, I compiled this MONSTER list of 60 things for you to consider choosing for the challenge. Everyone is different; we are all at different stages of trying to live sustainably. Whereever you are on your journey to living a sustainable lifestyle, I'm right there with you.
Why not make this a family project? Involve the kids! When you involve them in the decision and planning process, the impact will be greater. It won't just be something your family does for the earth, but it will also help develop their character and values. Read HERE for tips on making this a family project. You can download a modified, family-friendly list of choices and find out how to make your project super Wike Baby OFFICIAL and get a FANCY certificate for doing so here.
We might not be able to do everything, but we can all do something! And maybe, just maybe, that one thing will inspire you to do even more!
For the Entire Home
Set your heat to two degrees cooler. You might need to wear a sweater, but it will save precious energy!
Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. It’ll save you money in the long run, too!
Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use. Making a conscious effort to do this every time will really make a difference over time.
Commit to turning out the lights when you leave a room. It’s easy, just make it a habit.
Invest in renewable energy for your home. Consider buying or renting solar panels. If you're like Alina from Explore With the Millers, you might put solar panels onto your travel trailer, which you moved into in order to live more sustainably!
Make sure your home is fully insulated and sealed. A little extra sealant can make a big difference!
Use windows to regulate temperature. Close the curtains when the sun is shining in the summer to keep the house cooler. Open windows when there is a wanted breeze. Keep them tight and sealed in the cold winter.
Use ceiling fans instead of air conditioners. They use way less energy!
Recycle everything possible. Research your town’s rules for what and how to recycle.
Purchase organic and sustainable textiles when possible. This is one way Mama Earth-lover Sarah helps out.
In the Kitchen
Give up paper towels and give in to unpaper towels. Emily from @hiking.home does this, and Hike it Baby mama Kristi gives you lots of tips and explains how her family made the switch in a guest post, which you can read here!
Use cloth napkins. You’ll feel fancy AND be helping the earth. Janine from A Kitchen From Scratch is making eliminating one-use items in her kitchen a priority.
Phase out plastic baggies, and use reusable lunch baggies. Contributors Jamie and Peter, Boston mom Elizabeth, and my BFF Jen all recommend this one.
Phase out plastic wrap, and use reusable food covers. My BFF Jen recommends reusable beeswax wrap.
Give up straws, and refuse them when out to eat. Bring stainless steel straws with you when you eat out. Hike it Baby Boston Admin Heather and my work partner/wife Katie make this one a priority.
Carry reusable silverware with you when you’re on the run, so you never need to use disposable utensils. Boston mom Megan finds success with this.
If you drink a lot of carbonated water, consider purchasing a SodaStream. Boston mom Amy loves it for “puffy water”.
Turn off the faucet when soaping your dishes. Violetta makes this happen in her house.
Be sure to have a fully loaded dishwasher before running it. It will waste less water.
Cut out disposable dishware. You just use it when you’re lazy anyway!
Participate in “Meatless Mondays.” Eat a more plant-based, locally sourced diet.
In the Laundry Room
Use cold water to wash your clothes. It’s more energy efficient!
Make sure you have a full load of laundry before running. Save water and energy.
Switch to a more eco-friendly laundry detergent, or make your own. What is in your detergent… do you even know?
Switch from dryer sheets to dryer balls. My friend Calla made the switch and thought it was easy and effective!
Hang dry/air dry clothing. Sometimes old-fashioned is just best.
In the Yard
Ditch the pesticides and chemical weed-killer. Those chemicals you dump on your lawn are making their way to human water sources and animal habitats.
Switch to natural fertilizers. Keep more harmful chemicals out of the earth.
Harvest rain to water your gardens. Free water!
Plant only native species in your yard. My sister Katie considers this a must-do if you have a yard!
Start composting your kitchen and yard waste into new soil. Wike Baby contributor Caitlyn recommends the Boston-based company Bootstrap Compost, which will compost for you, or there's a ton of resources online for doing it in your own backyard.
Use a water-wise lawn cover as an alternative to water-guzzling grass. No need to water a lawn to keep up with the Joneses.
Water your lawn in the morning or evening when less evaporation is likely. If you must, be smart about it.
Plant more trees. Trees absorb and store carbon.
In the Bathroom
Turn off the sink when brushing your teeth. Boston moms Violetta and Trisha make this a priority.
Install low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators, and toilets. If you’re a homeowner in Massachusetts, MassSave will do this and a whole bunch of other things like it in your home for free!
Buy green cleaning products made from all natural or organic ingredients. A simple switch can save harmful chemicals from entering our earth.
Make your own cleaning products using all natural household products, like vinegar, salt, and baking soda. These work wonders in my home!
Replace bathroom toiletries with eco-friendly alternatives. Amy from Purely Living will share her favorite eco-friendly toiletries for baby in an upcoming post on her site.
Switch from disposable tampons and pads to cloth or menstrual cups. This is another recommendation from Amy!
Use a shower timer and set a goal for the length of your showers. I saw this super fun one in a hotel while on our trip to Rocky Mountain National Park!
Switch to cloth diapers for baby. Amanda shows us that it’s not difficult at all in this Wike Baby guest post!
Switch to bamboo diapers for baby. For Boston Mom Elizabeth this is a happy medium between cloth diapering and disposable.
On the Go in the Community
Become a member of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and enjoy locally grown produce. Brookwood Farm of Canton, MA will explain how it works and all the benefits in an upcoming post.
Make a recurring monetary donation to an environmental protection non-profit that you love, like Friends of the Blue Hills or the Audubon Society.
Join your city’s or town’s environmental or energy committee. My friend Nate has served his community in this way.
Carpool, walk, bike, or use public transportation whenever possible. Save energy, emissions, and make a friend, too!
Buy items with less packaging. Sometimes the packaging is bigger than the item. Why??
Bring your cup for to-go coffee. Boston Mom Jacqueline makes this a goal.
Buy locally. You’ll save the wasted energy in shipping and transportation and support your local economy.
Purchase pre-owned toys or use hand-me-downs. You'll save money and keep old toys and new packaging from making their way to the dump, not to mention the energy savings from production and transport.
Adopt a trail and keep it litter-free. You can get outside as a family on a regular basis and do something to help your local environment at the same time.
Avoid online purchases of one item at a time. This is a message to myself. #addictedtoAmazon
Opt out of junk mail and move to paperless billing. How much junk mail do you throw away or recycle each day?
Discontinue purchasing bottled water and use only reusable bottles. Mothers Michelle and Kimberly recommend this one. You can find a few great recommendations for reusable water bottles on the Wike Baby gift guide.
Purchase quality over quantity when it comes to apparel for your family. That's Shannon from Littlest Sidekick Outfitter's advice. She says, "It may cost a little more but we know we'll have it for years and it will last longer."
Invest in planting trees when you fly in an airplane to offset huge carbon emissions. Boston area mom Caterina suggests checking out Trees for Life.
Wrap your gifts in reusable fabric using the Furoshiki Japanese technique rather than disposable wrapping paper. My sister Katie wrapped my Wike Baby’s first birthday gift in a beautiful scarf!
Remember to use your reusable shopping bags every time you shop. Wike Baby contributor Kendra keeps a fold up bag in her purse at all times!
Become a one-car or no-car family. Adventure Mama Morgan from @outandbackwithkids downsized to become a one-car family in the name of the environment!
Which change will you make to help the earth this month? We challenge you to make just one change! Read the rest of the series HERE.