With the Earth becoming an increasingly fragile place thanks to factors such as climate change, pollution, environmental degradation and global warming, many of us are left wondering what kind of a world we will leave behind for our children. The good news is, you can do your bit to protect the planet. And in the process, you can teach your child the importance of going green so that she grows up to be an adult who is conscious of the environment and the need to protect it.
The best way to start is by turning your kitchen into a green one, encouraging your child to help at every step. So, how does a green kitchen differ from a normal one? It is more environmentally friendly. To turn your kitchen ‘green’, you would have to make choices which aren't wasteful and are sustainable. Here's how you can go about it, with the help of your child.
Educate your child on how his favourite non-seasonal fruit gets to the table. Explain to him that to get such food to his plate takes a lot of manpower and fuel. Tell him it is best to buy local and eat local. You can go a step further and grow your own vegetables and fruits if you have the space for it. If you are strapped for space, you can have a tiny herb garden in your kitchen.
What your child can do: You can get your child to help water and maintain the plants.
Being eco friendly
Your child will probably want to know how else you can make your kitchen eco friendly. There are many ways. For example, if you are redoing your kitchen, you can get it fitted with eco friendly cabinets which are made from recycled wood. Explain to your child that there are many materials out there which will truly make your kitchen 'green’. Tell her you can use recycled materials around the kitchen such as bottles and glass jars. When you are remodeling this space, try to use the cabinets that you already have instead of buying new ones.
What your child can do: Get your child to help you repaint the old cabinets to make it a fun activity for her.
The stove debate
You can talk to your child about the dilemma you are facing in choosing between the traditional gas stove and the modern electric stove. With the gas stove you get to control the temperature with ease, while that's not the case with the electric one. Not much heat is wasted when using a gas stove. If you choose to use a gas stove, get it serviced regularly so that it is energy efficient. Induction stoves are very energy efficient as well. Since the pan gets heated quickly, cooking is faster and energy is saved. Weigh these pros and cons carefully before making your decision.
What your child can do: Teach your child that carbon monoxide emission is high when using a gas stove and let her decide what could be the ideal choice of cooking medium.
The kitchen can be one of the messiest places in the house. It takes a lot of cleaning products to keep it in good shape. Show your child the array of products available in a supermarket nearby that can be used to keep your kitchen clean. Explain to him that it is not really sensible to use them as they are made of harsh chemicals which do a great disservice to our planet. If you are the do-it-yourself kind, tell him that you can make eco-friendly cleaners at home which can tackle all the mess that is part and parcel of the kitchen.
What your child can do: Get your child to save peels of the fruits he eats every day and show him how to make a chemical-free cleaner with them.
Talk to your child about the appliances in your kitchen. Tell her that though appliances make your lives easy, they do consume a lot of energy. So, it's always better to look at how energy efficient these appliances are before buying them. If your fridge is over a decade old, explain to her that buying a new one would make sense as it would be more energy efficient. Also, tell her that buying a smaller fridge will help you save energy and cut down on unnecessary hoarding of food in your house.
What your child can do: Teach your child to do her chores wisely and to use appliances when necessary. It will save her energy and time.
The old adage ‘waste not want not’, is really the mantra to live by in the kitchen. You can use this opportunity to show your child the problems caused by wasting resources. Tell him to avoid over-sized meals and to only take as much as he can eat. This will not only teach him to eat healthily but will also make him mindful about conserving resources. Also, teach your child about reusing things like grocery bags or jars and containers. Explain to him that organic waste can be turned into compost, which in turn can be used to yield more home grown organic vegetables, fruits and herbs.
What your child can do: Get him to start his own compost bin.
Running a green kitchen might seem intimidating at first but once you get the hang of it, you will find that the benefits far outweigh all the hard work you’ve put in. More importantly, it will teach your child the value of maintaining an ecosystem which is sustainable and profitable.