Happy Mother’s Day! It goes without saying that Moms are truly super heroes, somehow “doing it all.” While we don’t know how they do it, we do want to say thank you so much for all you do.
We also had the opportunity to tap into some mom super powers, and learn sustainability tips that make a positive impact today and for the next generation. We connected with Amy Karr, super hero, mom, and a full-time special education teacher, working remotely with a 2-year old at home. She’s also the force behind Green Chic Life, a blog exploring sustainable fashion, eco-friendly living, and how to do good in the world. Amy describes in her humble, shining way that, “Things get a bit busy during the day, but routine helps us to make it work. We spend as much time as possible outside, even if it's just on our tiny 3rd floor balcony.” When Amy isn't working, she and her family are outside, exploring their home town of Golden, Colorado.
Here are this wonder woman’s top 5 Sustainability Tips:
1. Save glass jars.
Amy’s take: If you purchase pasta sauce in glass jars, save them. They are great for storing fresh berries, for carrying milk in a size that is enough for your kiddo to drink while also being able to fit into a cooler, and they are also fun for collecting things like rocks and sand while out adventuring. This re-use of an everyday product that isn't plastic helps to prevent more micro-plastics in the environment and it simplifies the process of transporting goodies when out and about.
2. Less is more.
Amy’s take: You probably don't need 12 different diaper bags. While kids come with a lot of assorted stuff, sometimes, less is more. Since our son was born, we've only used 2 different bags to transport his snacks, drinks, toys, and books on out-of-the house missions. We started out with a backpack made from recycled plastic bottles that I'd been sent about 5 years ago and rarely used, but then we discovered Terra Thread and their organic cotton backpacks and we haven't looked back since. I picked one in a color that I love and it's been a great way to stay organized on the go. It's got what is technically a laptop pocket that I use to store wipes and diapers. I also got a matching zipper pouch to hold lotions, to-go snacks, etc., and the front pocket easily holds sun protection products. The main pocket is ideal for both of our water bottles, more snacks, a few books, and a selection of toys. It's comfortable, purchases generate donations to Feeding America, and since I started to use it regularly, I've been inspired to start volunteering at a local food bank. Oh, and it's just plain simplified the quantity of stuff we feel like we *simply have to have* when we leave the house.
3. Hand-me-downs are what’s up.
Amy’s take: Reducing and reusing are seriously what's up. We are lucky to have friends and neighbors with kids who are just a little bit older than our son and when their kids grow out of their clothes and toys, we've become the happy recipients of these items. When our son grows out of his things, we also like to hand them down to friends. This sharing of garments and goodies eliminates demand for more new stuff, which helps to eliminate waste, increases the lifecycle of these products, and saves a ton of money each year.
4. Go outside!
Go outside! Since I work at home and have my 2-year old at home with me during the day in our tiny condo, things tend to get a bit chaotic. Something that I realized when we began this new arrangement was that on the days when we don't spend time outside, my son and I really tend to get on one another's nerves. He feels cooped up inside and starts climbing the walls, I have to try to manage him while teaching a class, and by the end of the day, we're both frustrated and exhausted. However, if we're able to carve out time for a quick walk around our condo complex, a visit to our community garden, or a wander over to our local coffee shop (with reusable coffee thermoses, of course), we tend to feel brighter and our days are happier. When we can't get out for a prolonged period of time, doing something as simple as playing with toys in a bucket of water on our balcony, a quick painting project outside, or even reading a few books near our open windows- even those little bits of fresh air help us through our day.
5. Hit up the library.
The library and little free libraries are great ways to sustainably promote literacy in a kiddo. Local libraries usually run tons of free programs, offer freebies, and feature plenty of opportunities to get books into the hands of kids at little to no cost. If you have a little free library in your neighborhood, this is also a way to keep your home free of clutter while passing books on to others who may enjoy them for free. Both of these systems are also great for the environment because they keep books out of landfills.
Bonus tips and insights from Amy…
As a mom, why do you feel making the effort to seek sustainable actions is important?
Even before I was a mum, I was big on protecting and preserving the environment. The older I've gotten, the more I've seen the planet deteriorate, and now that I'm a parent, I sometimes experience the eco-anxiety that my son won't have fresh air to breathe as he grows up. This year is our second time participating in the 1000 Hours Outside initiative and it's truly helped our family to see how little time we actually spend outside, despite considering ourselves "outdoor people" and how much healthier we feel when we are able to explore outdoors. Last year, we spent 472 hours outside. As I write this at the beginning of April, we've already spent 130 hours outside and the healthy, happy feeling we all get from these hours has made me see that our society may truly benefit from preserving and connecting with nature.
What do you like about Recover goods?
The process of keeping our excess of plastic out of the landfill to recycle it in a way that also provides comfortable clothing is a win to me. I like that the line is classic, comes in a range of fun colors, and is for the entire family. I'm also a huge fan of the vintage-inspired Women’s and Men’s National Parks tees. The designs make me happy and bring additional awareness to our great National Parks, which is a unique way to inspire others to connect with nature.