Going Green With Kids: Families Trying To Live More Environmentally Friendly (Interview with Rachel Downing)

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I’ve come up with the idea of this interview series, because I realised how people feel so overwhelmed about all the bad news we are flooded by media outlets. On one hand, the truth is, if we carry on like this, the future will be grim. On the other hand, we also need to read positive and uplifting stories how lots of lots of good people with green heart trying to save the planet – and they are succeeding. But we all have to be part of the change, as I’ve read it lately and totally agree with this statement form the Zero Waste Chef Anne-Marie Bonneau: “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

Going Green With Kids: Families Trying To Live More Environmentally Friendly (Interview Series)

So, with that in mind, I’ve created this interview series, to inspire and educate anyone who doesn’t know where to start. It will be about how everyday families are making small and big changes to live more environmentally friendly and sustainably. The idea is that together we can prove that no change is too small, all steps count and that maybe we can all pick up an idea or two from each other! These families are really just doing their best to save the planet for the future generations. 

Let’s show, how many of us care about the planet, share ideas and create a little community of change makers! 

Introducing Rachel from https://www.racheldowning.co.uk

blogger rachel downing

What or who inspired you to make changes towards a greener lifestyle?

Perhaps naively until recently (the last 18 months) I hadn’t put much thought in to where the stuff I throwaway ends up. I can admit that was a toxic mindset. But once I fell down a rabbit hole of research I became very quickly aware of the implications of my throwaway lifestyle on the environment. Ultimately, my children inspired the change, I want them to live on a clean, safe & sustainable planet.

Do you have any favourite site or person you follow for inspiration?

David Attenbourough probably! But there are so many blogs dedicated to living a greener life! Also there’s so many things on Pinterest that give good tips about living a greener lifestyle.

What aspects of being an environmentally friendly family did you tackle so far? (Reducing plastic, planet friendly diet, up cycling things etc…)Reducing plastic, upclying, donating unwanted things to charity

What are the changes that you implemented so far?

We’ve replaced all of our plastic straws with metal ones, I always buy loose fruit & vegetables when they’re available. I’ve also been using websites like freecycle & facebook marketplace to find old furniture to repaint or repurpose. We are also cutting down on our meat consumption.

Did you find it hard to make these changes?

Not really! Most of the changes are just about making a more conscious choice in my opinion. For instance when I’m shopping it’s easy to just pick up loose bananas rather than the ones wrapped in unnecessary plastic!

What was the hardest thing to give up or change?

We’re trying to eat less meat, which isn’t easy for us. We’re a family of four who have always eaten meat & dairy.
My children can be picky eaters so trying to encourage new foods can be challenging! But I’m hoping that by introducing a few meat-free meals a week, we’re helping the environment.

And what was the easiest thing to give up or change?

Definitely just making sure we use less plastic. Things like carrying a reusable tote bag rather than buying a plastic one!

Do you feel the changes you achieved so far are encouraging you to do even more?

Yes! I feel like I’m always open to new ways of making our lives a little more environmentally friendly. I think we can always do more.

How do you get the children involved?

My daughter & I have been going through her wardrobe and toy boxes and deciding what to give to charity. I think this has helped her understand that just because we’ve outgrown something, doesn’t mean other people can’t get enjoyment from it.
Also my daughter helps me take our recycling outside. I ask her what she thinks goes in each bin (we have one for recycling, one for garden & food waste and one for general waste) and 9/10 she tells me correctly!

Did you manage to save some money too? Or is this lifestyle change actually proving to be more costly?

In terms of furniture and upcyling – we’ve definitely saved money. But I do think more eco-friendly products like cleaning products for example are quite a bit more expensive!

How did your family respond to the changes?

I’ve had an entirely positive reaction. I’ve never really experienced anybody challenging our greener lifestyle.

Do you have any trips or trick which really helped you?

My mindset really is that you should question everything that goes in to general waste bins. Are you sure it can’t be recycled? Could it be re-purposed?  Could anyone else use this item? If the answer to all three of those questions is no – that’s the only time it goes in with the general waste.

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