By Lura Frazey
Congratulations Portlanders! Our efforts to create an eco-friendly city are paying off. In fact, we’re often recognized as one of the most Earth-friendly cities in the nation and in the world. Keeping our city green means getting the next generation involved, here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Be a role model. Make sure you practice conservation. Your kids will notice and eco-friendly habits will become part of your family culture.
2. Make green living a game. Catch each other being green and reward positive efforts, perhaps with a token system or star-chart that leads to treats. Don’t just catch your children being green, ask them to watch for your efforts and reward you as well. Kids loving having a “grown up” role. Plan friendly contests to see who can recycle the most or come up with the best energy-saving idea.
3. Use your sense of humor. Come up with funny sayings to remind each other about conservation. One family says, “Water the fishes!” whenever someone is being wasteful with water.
4. When you’re doing something green, be obvious. You don’t have to lecture, just involve your kids. If you’re buying an energy efficient refrigerator, take the kids and have them help you check the energy efficiency ratings as well as other features. Shop consignment and thrift stores as a family. Xeriscape together.
5. Make it convenient to be green. Instead of expecting your family to unplug the myriad cords behind the television one-by-one, plug everything into an electrical strip with an on/off switch. When television time is over, the kids can flip one switch to start saving energy. You can do the same with groups of kitchen appliances, stereo equipment, etc.
6. Keep your perspective. It’s easy to go overboard as parents, especially when we feel passionate about something, but becoming an “eco-nag” can be a big turn-off to kids. Shoot for “going greener” rather than perfection.