Frugal Family

2 Big Decisions And The Environment

I honestly still sometimes feel that I am not yet an adult. Despite being 28 this year with 4 kids, a husband and a working household. I just want to play with Tamagotchi’s and read Jaqueline Wilson books.

Every adult has to make all sorts of decisions, and each one has an impact on something or someone, not least yourself. It is estimated that adult makes about 35,000 ‘remotely conscious’ decisions a day. That’s a lot of decisions. Ice-cream or Wispa bar? The extent to which they are conscious does not depend so much on how many hours sleep you got last night because your baby was crying, but more on whether the person making the decision is doing so with some self-awareness or whether it is subconscious. However, most of these decisions will not be life-changing.

If you are deciding whether to buy a chocolate bar on an impulse at a supermarket checkout, the worst that can happen is that you will take on a few calories. Sometimes though, the decisions that you have to make and live with are important. As a parent, your decisions could seriously affect your children so considering them carefully is imperative. This is especially true if you are concerned about the environment too. My readers would know by now how passionate I am about living a simple, eco-friendly and frugal life. It has become my dedication, to teach my children how to excel at this style of living.

In that case, things that would seem otherwise minor can take on a greater significance. While it is difficult to acknowledge, dropping litter can seriously hurt all sorts of creatures. A particularly unpleasant example is a whale which was found beached in Norway. It had 30 plastic bags in its stomach (warning: unpleasant images) which scientists said could have made it difficult to digest food as well as causing pain. Another very real reason to ditch plastic from our lives. I hate it when I see people dropping litter and it seriously bugs me when it’s kids that do it in front of their parents, when the parents then just ignore the issue. Sure, kids do silly things but it is our job as parents to teach them right from wrong.


Home Sweet Home…

Helping the environment is something that people need to do all the time and with regard to every decision, after all we only have this one planet, and whatever we do will affect our lives, our children’s lives and their kids to come. Some of the biggest decisions that a person makes are not exempt from this. If you are looking at new homes, you may be wondering how to go about making the most environmentally friendly decision. Well, you are already doing quite well. New homes are more energy efficient than homes built less recently. Many new properties will also already be fitted with things like double glazed windows and insulation which prevent heat from escaping, which necessitates you spend less on burning fuel, which means there is a lesser demand on the industry that retrieves those fuels from the earth, polluting it in the process. Not only that, you will save money too.

BUT, there are 2 sides to this. Many new homes are being built across the UK, most of us will know of a new development a mere stones-throw from our own homes. Eco-systems, homes for wildlife, nature spots, flood plains and our beautiful green-and-pleasant land is being replaced by concrete and rubble. Sadly it seems that more green space is being built on rather than brown sites, and many towns and villages are loosing their green doorstep right before their eyes.

I am passionate about helping people understand that their homes are the best place to start their journeys to save the planet. You can easily keep your home warm with some of my personal DIY tricks and home improvements don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Another alternative is to build or buy your own house that is specifically designed with the environment in mind. For instance, you can now get houses that are built from bales of straw, or which have a living wall. I would absolutely love to build my own home, and I’ve chatted with my dad in the past about building our own round-house, made from completely eco-friendly resources that have minimal impact on our environment, and being as close to zero waste as possible.

Dear Petrol Heads…

The car that you drive is another thing that has a big impact on the environment. The dichotomous decision between petrol and diesel (which research shows is the worse option) is not what we have to choose between anymore. While hybrid cars are still reasonably new, they are a much better option. Electric cars are not environmentally neutral since the production would have resulted in carbon being emitted, just as the delivery and sale of the car would necessitate the same. However, they are much better than their conventional predecessors. They may be a little more expensive and harder to keep (there are petrol stations all over but few charging points), but if you care about the environment, it is the right thing to do.

On a daily basis (several times a day in fact) I witness parents driving their children to school. Many of these parents only live a short walk from the school. I understand when these parents have to drop off the kids and go straight to work, but many just take the car to save a few minutes of walking and drive straight home again. Why not grab your scooter (oh c’mon, you know they’re not just for kids!) and scoot along together? Take the dog with you and get him out for a walk too. There are lots of fun ways you can get out of the car, save petrol costs and get fits and healthy too.

Look at car-shares online. Many people offer seat space for a chip-in to the petrol cost (and its often cheaper than the bus). Explore your options and you’ll be surprised at how much cash you can save (and have a guilt-free-plane-loving conscience too!


Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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