When I was in school (many years ago) I used to fret about the future of the world. I worried all the time about environmental issues, whether people and animals would have enough of what they needed to survive. I was concerned because it seemed like not enough was being done to ensure a brighter future.
Fast forward to now and I'm feeling much better about the future, much like most parents (between 70-80%) who believe that, compared with themselves, their children will live longer, have a better education and better job prospects, and will enjoy life more, even if they will have to work harder to reap the rewards of the greater benefits ahead.
In the last few years I have made a few small changes to my everyday tasks that make me feel better about ensuring a brighter future. We keep a large cardboard box in our kitchen to keep all the small recyclable cardboard in before putting it into the recycling bin. Doing that has completely changed our recycling habits and we actively search for things to recycle now.
We also keep our plastic bottles and put those in the recycling bin too. The boys help us when it comes to recycling day by squashing all the bottles for us so we can fit more into the bin. I tend to keep the smaller empty plastic bottles to re-use for LP who takes them to his sports clubs after school. I fill them with squash and they're a handy size to keep in his sports bag so I don't have to worry about him drinking enough while playing sports. He stays hydrated and we're helping the environment a little too.
One of the main changes we made in the last few years though, and one that I think has made the biggest difference is swapping our BMW 3 series for an Audi A1. The BMW emissions were not good, it was an old car (about 9 years old) and guzzled fuel and after doing a little research we realised that we could get by perfectly well with a smaller, more efficient car. We use a lot less fuel, the emissions are very low, and we save money too. Swapping our car was one of the best decisions we made.
As a parent it's important that we teach our children about the small changes we make too. I love chatting to my boys about the reasons why we recycle and why we swapped our car. The best bits are when they ask questions and suggest other ways we could make a bigger impact. I think it's great when the children get involved, did you know that six out of ten parents say that they have started to live in a "greener" way at home at the suggestion of their children? They're thinking about their future, and how their actions will make an impact. Brilliant.
As part of the #brightFuture challenge Unilever have asked what every day actions we take as a family to change the future for the better. As well as the recycling and swapping our car I tend to park further away from places I'm visiting, like the supermarket and the school. Even with a low emissions car driving less is not only good for the environment but it helps to keep me healthy. And like 9 out of 10 parents and 8 out of 10 children I agree that if everyone does small things to improve the environment "together we can make the world a better place".
Unilever's brightFuture initiative focuses on small changes that can make a big difference and how we can build a world where everyone lives well and lives sustainably. Since the launch of the Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever has helped 482 million people (!) to improve their health and hygiene, including through hand washing, improving self-esteem and oral hygiene.
Big names helping to make the world a better place
By using different everyday products you can make small changes to daily tasks that contribute to a more sustainable way of living.
Products like Domestos to keep our bathrooms clean, we all know how important sanitation and hygiene is. Domestos has committed to helping 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020. Access to clean sanitation can protect people from preventable diseases, reduce mortality rates, help reduce school dropout rates and improve quality of life. I use Domestos to keep the toilet bowl clean, with two boys (who have trouble aiming!) it can be frustrating but ensuring the toilet is germ free is a top priority to keep those bugs at bay.
Persil encourages our children to get outside and play, inspiring them to grow and learn in an interactive way. LP loves to be outside exploring the garden and he particularly enjoys it when things get a little muddy! Using Persil means we can use less water and wash at lower temperatures, helping to educate our children about the little changes we can implement to make a difference. Not only that but Persil has backed a global initiative "Learning for Tomorrow" partnering with UNICEF to help give children in some of the world's toughest areas the opportunity of a quality education.
The confidence and self-esteem of our children can play a large part in the difference they believe they can make to their own future and the Dove self-esteem project has worked closely with leading psychologists, academics and experts to create materials, making a positive impact on 19 million young lives. With a hormonal tween at home I try my best to boost his self-esteem, believing in himself makes him feel like he can make a difference. I hope he would count himself in the 83% of children that continue to feel optimistic about their own future and the 59% who feel optimistic about the future of the environment.
These days I am a lot more confident about the future of the environment, while things still aren't perfect we're making changes that impact the sustainability of living well. I make conscious choices on a daily basis that I hope helps with our family's impact on the earth and by teaching my children about the difference they can make with small changes I believe we're creating a #brightFuture.
This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever.