All you need to know about…

giving happiness global impact

Top 10 Ways to Be Vancouver’s Greenest Family

Do you want to be Vancouver’s Greenest Family? I kinda think it is a good goal to work toward and am inspired to try and see if we can come close. Two years ago I committed to “give” every day for one year. I did this to teach my 3 year old son the importance of giving and to inspire people to give more in their lives. This journey mimics how we could become Vancouver’s Greenest Family.

Two years later and only a few new posts after completing our 365give journey my husband and I have adopted two more children. Every moment of my day is now dedicated to giving back to my family.

This week VancouverMom wrote an article that has inspired me to find the time to write again. Along with Earth Day fast approaching- April 22, 2013 – this post is all about giving back to our planet. VancouverMom in partnership with is looking for Vancouver’s Greenest Family. When you have a large family ( we are 7 plus 2 dogs) you have to consider the carbon footprint you make every day. We make choices in our family on a day to day basis to make a positive impact on the environment. After completing 365 “gives” I came to realization that many of our daily gives were giving back to the planet. We have started to teach our 2 year old many of these green lessons and our 1 year old will soon follow.

365give Top 10 Ways to Give Back to the Planet.

Just follow the link for a full post on each daily give and you too can change the world one day at a time.

1) Day 2: Saving the Planet One Step at a Time

Walk, walk and walk some more. We committed to being a one car family a long time ago. The one car we do have is an eco-friendly car (a 7 seater at that!) and we walk, bus and bike our way around our neighbourhood, to work and to school. This give will help you discover your carbon footprint by using alternative methods of transportation. We saved .52 tons of CO2 by just walking to complete our daily activities instead of driving. What about you?

2) Day 27: My Bag and Me

My Bag and Me is still one of my son’s favourite stories and is fast becoming his younger brothers. This story is about a boy that brings a shopping bag to the grocery store and how it helps the planet one bag at a time. During our year of giving we brought bags with us shopping to Whole Foods. With every bag we bring and fill with groceries Whole Foods donates 10 cents to a local charity. We calculated a donation of over $50.00 that year and we helped the planet one bag at a time. Giving at it’s best!

3) Day 90: Out with the Old in with the New

I have 3 boys and I can only imagine the number of running shoes we will go through in the coming years. Not only have I kept my oldest son’s shoes to reuse for his younger brothers but when they are truly worn out including my own and my husbands we bring them to a Nike Store. Nike’s Reuse a Shoe Program turns old shoes into playing courts for kids to use again and again.

4) Day 134: Beyond Green

This green give featured a book called How to Reduce your Carbon Footprint: – 365 ways to save energy. I soon realized we were doing many of them. Find the Top 5 every day things my family has implemented including composting, recycling, reusing, energy conservation and more.

5) Day 167: Easy Solution to the Laundry Dilemma

I wish I lived somewhere that I could hang my laundry to dry outside but Vancouver happens to be a very wet place most of the year and my area of town does not allow laundry lines in your yard. I researched what my best alternative may be to do our families laundry as eco-friendly as possible. First step cold water washing and second the Laundry Ball. When you do up to 8 or 10 loads of laundry a week like we do this gadget really makes a difference. Read on how you can do your laundry with a little less guilt.

6) Day 173: Recycle, Reuse, Restore

I have a dirty secret. I like to garbage pick. I don’t mean dumpster diving for food but finding items for free that others have discarded and turning them into something usable. I shop almost exclusively at second hand stores for my children or on the Craigslist. I believe there is so much “stuff” already out there for kids that there is no need to by new all the time. But my true passion is finding an item that someone may have left outside their home with a sign “free” on it. I pick it up and restore it. I have done it again and again with furniture and toys. Just a little elbow grease and maybe a paint job and you have a brand new item. Take a look at the before and after pictures of a toy cabinet I still use to this day. You know the saying “someone else’s garbage is another’s treasure.”

7) Day 195: A Recipe for Giving Back to the Planet this Spring

My son Nicolas Building His Garden

This recipe is simple. It’s called grow your own food. You can do it in pots, in your garden, in your window sill – where every you can in your home. If you need the official recipe follow this give to see the impact growing your own food makes on the environment. If you can teach a child this environmentally friendly practice you will have made an impact on them for their life.

8) Day 208: Give to the Planet and Give to Charity

When you get on a roll to give every day you discover ways that can give not only once but twice in one act. Donating your bottles that can receive a deposit back is one simple and effective way to give. It gives to the planet by recycling and gives to charity by donating them. In one year alone we recycled over $150 worth of bottles, juice boxes, milk cartons and donated the money to charity. Take a look around your neighbourhood and see if their is a charity drop box you can give to.

9) Day 231: Be Straw Free

If you have children in your life there are never enough activities to keep them busy on a rainy day. This idea came to us when I came across the site Be Straw Free. Did you know that over 500 million disposable straws are used every day? Enough to fill 46,400 large school buses a year. My son and I came up with a great way to use straws to create fun art projects. Take a look and see what other ideas you could come up with to reuse straws for creative good.

10) Day 246: Stop and Smell the Flowers:

This is an easy and fun way to teach your children – even at the ripe old age of three – the connection between our planet and keeping it clean. We are in full blossom in Vancouver right now so it’s time to get out and walk with your child. Stop and smell the flowers. While you are there pick up some garbage in your community at the same time. Smelling cherry blossoms and picking up someone’s stray plastic bag will remind you it’s worth keeping our planet clean and healthy.

Our environmentally friendly practices don’t stop here. There are many daily “gives” including water conservation, eating organic foods, saving electricity and more that we do every day. (Day 7, Day 10Day 25, Day 159, Day 204, Day 222 and more)    365give was a great project for our family to inspire us to give in so many ways and giving back to our planet was one of our favourites. No matter how busy your family is teaching our children the value of being environmentally friendly has to be a priority.

A special thanks to VancouverMom for inspiring me to write about giving back to our planet and reminding our family of how we do give every day.

If you have any ideas you practice in your family please share them with us so we to can bring them into our daily lives.

What people are saying about 365give

“I wanted to express my gratitude for the teaching you provided today. Your message was delivered eloquently, compassionately, and without judgment. The kids were engaged, and now have knowledge with which they can change the world. We all appreciated how you took the time to help us learn to build positive mindsets and practice happiness.”
Shelley Gardner, Grade 6 Ridgeview Elementary (West Vancouver)
“Actions really do speak louder than words, which is why I believe the 365give Challenge has resonated throughout my community. Every give we do is so important to us and leaves us happier and appreciating our lives a little bit more than before.”
Mahina Niyozova (Tajikistan)
“After watching the 365give TEDx Talk, I was inspired to join and begin a daily giving program in India. Today, along with 12 other volunteer women, we provide 100 meals to local underprivileged children in Bangalore for school every day.”
Deepika Ahuja, Mom (Bangalore, India)
“My life has greater meaning now.”
Renate Jorge, @BeKindBrazil and 365give Member, Family Program (Brazil)
“I just wanted to share that 365give really helped me. I am a better person now, thank you.”
MayLee, 365give Member, Individual Program
“This 365give Challenge has really injected excitement and extra enthusiasm in each work day as I think about what we can do. It has motivated me and the students.”
Cristina Peters, School Counselor (New York City, USA)
“I have seen a huge shift in energy throughout my classroom since doing the 365give Challenge. The Challenge has empowered my students to make a positive difference in the school’s community and beyond.”
Cella Adriana, Special Needs Educator /The Holliswood School (New York City, USA)
“The 365give Challenge helps students understand their impact on others. It opens avenues for introducing and discussing global and local issues in classrooms. It is powerful to watch students of all ages think about how they can make a change in another person’s life with one small act.”
Jessica Hall, Primary Teacher, French Immersion at École Pauline Johnson (West Vancouver, Canada)