Making these four intentional choices can lower your family’s carbon footprint

Fires are raging on the West Coast, hurricanes are striking the southeast, the polar regions are heating up at an alarming rate—and our kids are hearing about it.

For Texas-based mother of two, Savannah Pistole, who has been working towards living a zero-waste lifestyle for the last few years, sustainable living simply means making intentional choices that are earth-conscious. It also means leading by example and helping her kids develop habits that are good for the environment.

“This lifestyle is hard where I live in Texas, especially with COVID, because everything is to-go. There’s a lot of Styrofoam, they won’t let you use your reusable bags... here you can’t even bring them into the store,” says Pistole.

“New York, where I was living the last couple of years, was a lot more accepting of living a zero-waste lifestyle, and it is a lot more common than where I am now. Here in Texas, people look at me strangely if we go to Chick-Fil-A and I bring a to-go box,” she adds.Savannah PistoleMaking a few small, intentional choices can lower your family’s carbon footprint immensely, and make an impact on your children.

“Add little pieces and changes at a time. You don’t have to change everything at once, which is what a lot of people think, that if you go zero-waste, you have to go all in. As long as people make small changes, I think that will help in the long term.”

Change is hard to implement because if people don’t see a benefit for themselves, they think ‘it’s not hurting me,’ making it harder to change.

“We’re a toxin-free home, and plastics are one of those toxins. We don’t use plastic containers for food, or plastic cups and straws,” says Pistole. “If you implement those things as being normal, it just becomes the lifestyle.”

“When we go to a restaurant and I take out my reusable straw, my daughter understands why... knows it’s not good for the ocean and that it’s not good for us to drink out of. The older generation doesn’t like change, but if we, the younger generation, can bring to light that lifestyle—that one change like not using a plastic straw, it does have an impact,” adds Pistole.

Here are four simple ways to live more sustainably with kids...


1. Use reusable shopping bags

better basicsBetter BasicsThis one is a no-brainer. Teaching your children to remember to pack reusable bags (like these from Better Basics) is simple and when they see you saying no to plastic bags in grocery stores or while you shop, it sticks.


2. Switch to plastic-free laundry detergent

Tru EarthTru EarthKids get dirty—often. Tru Earth’s laundry detergent strips work just as well (or might I even say better?) than your regular liquid detergent that comes in wasteful plastic packaging. It’s ultra-concentrated, hypoallergenic, liquidless and comes in compostable packaging.


3. Grow your own food

garden vegetablePhoto by Jonathan Hanna on UnsplashGetting kids interested in gardening will help them understand the importance of soil, as well as eating local and seasonal food. Grab some seeds or seedlings this spring and start your own vegetable or herb garden.


4. Cut out plastic straws, cups and containers

silver metal strawPhoto by Mollie Sivaram on UnsplashThis is a very simple change to implement. Purchase reusable straws and keep them in your purse at all times. Let your kids pick out a fun reusable cup, and always keep clean glass containers in the car for when you get takeout.