Delicious produce, extended daylight hours and warm weather make summer one of the easiest seasons during which to make and keep eco-resolutions. Adopt one planet-conscious routine at a time until your baby steps add up to a great, green leap into the approving lap of Mother Earth.
Be a pedal pusher
Leave your car keys at home and take a ride on the ol’ bicycle. Once baby boasts adequate head control and has his pediatrician’s blessing, strap him into the bike trailer and cruise around town to run close-by errands. (Don’t forget helmets for both yourself and your tiny passenger.) Trips to the post office, bank or drugstore will suddenly become thrilling adventures when you’re self-propelled. Plus, powering your own transport will diminish any guilt you may have about not making it to the gym. In fact, all that energy you conserve by getting your heart rate up via bike instead of electricity-dependent treadmill should make you feel extra proud of yourself.
Bonus: Spare the earth and your wallet! Riding your two-wheeler instead of driving your four-wheeler can help save big bucks on gas.
Put your green thumbs up
Few things are more satisfying (or healthier) than consuming foods you’ve reaped and sown yourself. Start small with something easy to grow (like tomatoes), then add a fruit or vegetable to your repertoire each year. The tradition of cultivating your own produce will help instill an awareness of health and self-sufficiency in your little one—plus he’ll love to help you dig in the dirt as he gets older.
A garden doesn’t have to be just about food! Plant a tree to provide extra shade as the years go by, or add luscious greens to your yard to improve air quality. Ask the experts at your local nursery which flowers will thrive in your particular conditions, then create a beautiful, inviting landscape that encourages you to get outside and enjoy it.
Tip: For a double dose of green goodness, begin your garden by planting seeds in repurposed baby food containers. Once they’ve sprouted, you can transfer the buds to more permanent pastures.
Befriend the farmers
If this will be your inaugural year of gardening, chances are it won’t quite provide all the produce you desire. Supplement your homegrown fruits and veggies with others from nearby neighbors. Visit localharvest. org to find a farmers market near you, and make a habit of stopping by regularly to pick up fresh produce. Be adventurous and choose one or two things each week you wouldn’t typically buy, asking your farmer for serving recommendations.
Bonus: Pick up ingredients for your munchkin’s meals too. Making your own baby food adds an extra element of earth-friendliness: Not only does it provide baby with super-healthy and tasty cuisine, it also cuts back on packaging waste and transportation pollution.
Instead of relying on indoor entertainers (including everything from the television and computer to battery- and electricity-dependent toys and games), power down and let nature amuse both you and baby. Enjoy a nice breeze swaying back and forth on a swing, feel the texture of cool grass between your toes while chasing butterflies, and take time to explore the colors and scents of blossoming flowers. A morning filled with fresh air will ensure an afternoon filled with the Zs of a sleepy bambino.
Tip: Be mindful of baby’s sun and bug exposure while outdoors and consider using all-natural protection as necessary.
Air your clean laundry
Baby’s tiny clothes can add up to a lot of laundry. (Blame it on the countless outfit changes that spitup and diaper messes require.) Compensate for extra loads in the washer by taking some of the workload off the dryer. Hang damp clothes and linens on a line in the backyard to let the season’s heat bake them dry and leave them subtly scented by the great outdoors.
Bonus: The bright summer sun will naturally bleach and whiten stained burp cloths and cloth diapers so you can ease up on harsh chemicals and bleach.