The Mom’s Guide to Growing a Green Family {with free printable charts}

04_Earth DayHappy Earth Day Jacksonville Moms!! It recently occurred to me that the way we maintain (or not) the health of our planet has so many parallels with how we maintain our bodies and the resulting outcome. My son is beginning to have greater awareness of how what we eat affects our health. He recently said to me “Mommy… when I get older you have to eat healthy food so you don’t die.” But of course he’s missing the point a little… it’s important to be healthy now and not wait until later.

So what then about this planet we call home? What can we do now? What if we don’t have money to spend to make our lives greener? What if we are not owners of a major corporation that produces green house gasses? Nor are we politicians, lobbyists, or activists with great influence.

So what is our role as moms in making our planet healthier? My answer is that we are consumers (one of the biggest groups of consumers actually). And… we are the single greatest influence on tomorrow’s consumers! Our lifestyle and habits are affecting the earth both today and in the future when our children become consumers. So let’s act today… not by spending money (on a tree… sold by a major corporation), but by instituting some new habits of consuming less! Today, I’m sharing a handful of ideas to help get us moving in a greener direction!

Conserve Water & Save Money

  • Teach your kids about our water resources by showing them good habits of conservation.2014-04-21_0005FB-2
  • Do you have a low flush toilet? Yes? Good! No? Convert your existing toilet to low flush for free!
  • Install low flow aerators on faucets and showers. (This is cheap and easy.)
  • When appliances bite the dust, invest in new ones that use less water (and don’t forget about the JEA rebates).
  • You should know that you are charged additional fees when your water usage goes over 6000 gallons so be sure to track your water usage on JEA’s website.
  • Bonus points: Use our printable charts to track your usage with your kids and set goals for reducing!

Save Energy & Save Money

  • Teach your children about where our electricity comes from and the fact that it’s important to conserve our non-renewable resources.
  • Turn off lights when you leave! So simple, yet such a pain; we’re always in a hurry! Our solution… make the kids the light police!
  • Upgrade those light bulbs to CFLs or LEDs!
  • Adjust your thermostat and your clothing! Your air conditioner is one of your home’s biggest energy consumers so a small change will save you big. This winter we kept our temp set at 68 and it will be at 77 during the summer. We’ve already seen a big savings over last year.
  • More bonus points: Track and chart energy usage with the kids too!

Get Better Gas Milage

  • Did you know that by changing your driving habits you can improve your gas mileage by up to 37 percent? Here’s how!
  • And for the brave few who can manage it, commuting to work on your bike sure would help the planet and your body at the same time. If you’re willing to give it a try you can find lots of local biking information at Bike Jax.

Think Local!

Anything that you can buy that is made locally or in the region will help the planet buy reducing the emissions resulting from transportation. I feel a little guilty thinking about all of the plastic junk in my house that was made in and shipped all the way from China!

Here are some resources to help make sustainable and local choices:

  • Sustainable North Florida – Their goal is to “strengthen Jacksonville and NE Florida’s economy and self-sufficiency by creating more locally-focused, sustainable communities.”
  • Local Food Markets – Mary Lauren’s post about where to find local food sources.
  • Wings, Worms & Wonder – A Guide for Creatively Integrating Gardening and Outdoor Learning Into Children’s Lives, by local author Kelly Johnson.
  • Local Etsy Artists
  • Want a career in sustainability? JU has the degree for you.
  • Check out this great Green Map of Jacksonville. You can see some of the local business that are dedicated to sustainability in various ways.  This project is a coordinated effort of JEAUSGBCThe GreenTeam Project, EMMAPS Lab, & UNF Environmental Center. I would be excited to see this map grow to include more local green businesses that aren’t currently shown. If there’s a green business that you love, let them know about this cool map!

So moms… it’s up to us. Really! We have so much control over the choices and habits of our families that I’m pretty sure that moms really are the ones who keep the earth spinning… so let’s keep it going even longer!


Megan Johns
Megan grew up in rural central Florida building forts and feeding cows with her 3 younger sisters. Her youth led Megan to believe in the amazing power of female ingenuity and to put a high value on positive and supportive interaction among ladies and girls. As a graduate of the University of Florida Mechanical Engineering program, Megan moved to Jacksonville to pursue a career with a bio-medical device company and to begin a wonderful life with her amazing husband Patrick. During her years working as an engineer, Megan developed an interest in photography. When she put her career on hold to take on the hardest job a person could love (Mommy to Evan 5 and Lilla 3), she discovered her love of "life" style photography as seen at Megan Johns Photography. Megan carries her camera everywhere and sometimes refers to it as her "third child!"



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