Menu

5 ways parents can help fight climate change—now

Greta Thunberg gave an impassioned speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit this week, and her words hit many parents right in the heart.

5 ways parents can help fight climate change—now

When teen climate activist Greta Thunberg gave an impassioned speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit this week her words hit many parents right in the heart. We are supposed to be protecting our kids, but Thunberg proves many of our kids don't feel like we're doing that.

"I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope," Thunberg said.

She continued: "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."

Thunberg and so many children like her are counting on our generation to do something, and the good news is you don't have to be a world leader to take action.

Here are five ways you can help fight climate change today, mama:

1. Ditch the disposables

It seems like a small thing, but being more intentional about what we consume is an important way to fight climate change. As National Geographic reports, about 40% of the plastic goods made every year are made to be thrown away, but they are not biodegradable and are ending up in our oceans.

Back in 1955 Life magazine published a photo of a family throwing disposable plates, cups and utensils up into the air. The headline was "Throwaway Living," and the article explained it would take hours to clean all those objects but "that no housewife need bother" because they were disposable.

"Throwaway Living" promised women freedom but it didn't deliver. We're still doing the lion's share of the housework (even if most of us aren't "housewives" anymore) but we're also tossing tons of plastics each week. By ditching paper towels and plastic wrap for more eco-friendly alternatives we can start making a difference in our own homes.

[Editor's note: Mothers should not feel guilty about using disposable diapers. While using cloth diapers is a great alternative for some it is not always feasible for every parent. We support mothers in choosing whatever works best for their family.]

2. Consider reusable containers 

So much of that 40% of the world's plastic is actually not only meant to be disposable but meant to be disposed of within five minutes of landing in the hands of the end consumer. We can make small changes to our shopping habits and eliminate everything from produce bags to toothpaste tubes by bringing our own containers to the grocery store or simply making more conscious decisions about what we buy.

We can involve our kids by asking them to help us find household containers to repurpose or get their help making our own produce bags.

3. Eat more plants

For a lot of people, going vegan today is not an option, but we can all eat more plants and reduce our dependance on meat. A report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (compiled by 100 scientists from more than 50 nations) suggests that if we just eat more plant-based meals we could mitigate some problems associated with climate change.

Cattle produce a lot of emissions. There are things cattle producers can do to reduce this, but simply by demanding fewer cattle we can reduce it. We can encourage food manufacturers to consider plant-based alternatives by buying more of them.

It's time for a #meatlessmonday, even if you can't go fully vegan right this second.

4. Travel with intention

Using public transportation or being more active can be fun for kids and a way to be intentional about fighting climate change. When possible, take the bus or train or take your kids for a bike ride. Some of your travel needs may have to happen by car, but just try to be conscious of how you can reduce the discretionary trips.

Greta Thunberg gave up flying to flight climate change. Some sustainability experts have not gone as far for practical reasons and instead do things like cut the number of their trips and/or the distance.

You may not be able to give up your car or flying right now, but we can all be more intentional about our travel and explain to our children why we are doing so.

5. Demand politicians take action 

assets.rebelmouse.io

Call your reps and let then know you are listening to the next generation, and ask if they are, too. Ask them what they are doing to ensure the children in your community will still be able to live there decades from now.

If you don't know what number to call, you can either call the US Capitol switchboard or punch your info into callmycongress.com and get the direct phone numbers. An election is looming and now is the time to ask those holding seats and those hoping to win them not only where they stand on climate change but what, exactly, they plan to do about it.

Our kids can't vote yet, so they need us to keep lawmakers accountable.

In her speech Thunberg had a message for our generation:

"You are failing us, but the young people are starting to understand your betrayal ... Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up, and change is coming whether you like it or not."

It's hard to make changes, but we need to. Our children deserve to dream about the future. They shouldn't have to be fighting for one.

You might also like:

Without camps and back-to-school plans still TBD, the cries of "I'm bored!" seem to be ringing louder than ever this summer. And if you're anything like me, by August, I'm fresh out of boxes to check on my "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys.

With that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite wooden toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this

Shop

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

Keep reading Show less
Life