“It’s not that easy being green,” sang poor old Kermit the Frog but perhaps, I thought to myself, he didn’t have doorstep recycling, good public transport links and a love
bordering on obsession of cloth bags.
While not an eco warrior by any means, I often wrote about the environment and lived by my words by doing my bit to be green. And really, apart from no longer flying to America see my nephew, it didn’t feel particularly hard. Looking back now, I was very pleased with myself – perhaps even, dare I say it, a little superior.
Then I had a baby.
According to the BBC calculator, Freya became the 7,138,305,288th person on the planet when she was born in 2013. And while I love that noisy little tinker with all my heart, adding to the strain on already over-stretched resources did come with a certain sense of guilt.
While not having children is, for some, the ultimate commitment to living a greener lifestyle, my heart ran roughshod over my head. Somehow though, and isn’t this often the way with things we want the most? I convinced myself that I could still make things work in a green sense.
As well as birthing a potential world leader to solve all our problems (no pressure), I could also, as far as possible, limit her impact on the environment while under my care. From breastfeeding to reusable nappies and from never using the car to not buying plastic toys. I had it all worked out. I was going to be the EARTH MOTHER of Earth Mothers.
So, 16 months on, ask me how it’s gone. Go on. I can tell you in one word.
It would be easy to blame the emergency c-section, the reflux, the intolerances, the exhaustion, the utter terror of new motherhood or the many other things that didn’t go to plan but people deal with these issues every day and still manage.
Essentially what happened was that being green just wasn’t that easy anymore (I hear you, Kermit, I hear you) and I faltered.
I couldn’t breastfeed, the resuable nappies went out the window with the billionth poop in a day, I had a kitchen-roll practically strapped to me at all times, we almost lived in the car and our living room often resembled a plastic toy production line.
I’ve spent a good few months moaning to anyone who will listen about how rubbish I have been but I can’t go back and do it again so I need to start over. While many people use January to begin overhauling their bodies, I started that in October, so instead I’m using it to start overhauling our life. As I said, we aren’t eco warriors so we’ll be coming at this as your average family of three. It’s not about stopping things but, as we say here in Norfolk, we are going to “do different”(although I actually don’t know anyone from Norfolk who has ever said that). There will be no banning television or only eating pulses at every meal but there will be changes and I will be trying to prove that “it is easy being green”.
There are five main reasons we (and by this I mean my husband is going along with me for a quiet life) are doing it:
- It will save money in the long run.
- I genuinely feel it’s important to try to limit our impact on the planet – and while people will and do say it’s pointless I firmly believe, to borrow a phrase, every little helps..
- It’s important to set an example for Freya.
- We can have fun doing it.
- It’s the right thing to do.
And while it is probably going not going to be as easy as when I was single (or even part of a couple), we are taking initial (tiny) steps, starting with the quick wins. First on my list? Ending my passionate love affair with kitchen-roll, which is essentially putting money and bits of trees (albeit wet and covered in spills and food) in the bin.
This is a long-term project so I will be posting regularly about some of the things we’ve been doing, what we have found that worked (and didn’t work) and also where I have sought inspiration.
In the last verse of Kermit’s song, he sings:
“When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder? Why
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful!
And I think it’s what I want to be.”
I think that’s what I want to be, too.
Do you think it’s important to limit our impact on the planet or a load of old rubbish? Do you have any tips (am I supposed to call them life hacks now?) for living a more sustainable lifestyle with a child? I’ll credit you on the blog if I use them.
And, just in case you read this far, for your viewing pleasure….