My career at Jones Lang LaSalle is focused on developing and managing programs to help our clients decrease their environmental impact. While I have always taken steps to practice what I preach in my personal life, it was the arrival of my first son last August that truly changed my perspective. Parker has driven home the importance of sustainability efforts not just for short term financial and reputation benefits, but also for the future well-being of all. Similar to most sustainability efforts, there is not one simple or singular fix to reducing the impact of a newborn baby, but rather about a concerted effort across multiple areas. Below is a list of some of practices my wife and I have implemented:
– Reuse- Fortunately we have friends whose children have outgrown the items we need; we are able to share items from clothing to toys to jumpers. We’ve also decided to use furniture that is multi-functional and can be used into adulthood, requiring us to purchase items less often.
– Reduce- The greatest impact to our footprint is from the increase in laundry. We only run our machines with cold water, during off peak hours and have switched to environmentally friendly laundry detergent.
– Reduce- When we do have to purchase new, our decision always considers the environmental impact of each product. From the mattress in his (re-used) crib to the rug on the floor, we choose products that have been sustainably made, preferably recyclable and low toxicity.
– Reduce- As Parker has shifted to some solid foods, we have opted to take which ever sustainably grown and organic vegetable/fruit option we may be consuming with dinner and mash that up versus purchasing pre-processed foods.
– Recycle- For items that cannot find a happy home with a friend’s child, we have become dedicated donators to goodwill.
We want to teach Parker his impact on the world and lead by example. Our choices, while relatively new to us, will be a way of life for him. We are choosing to do this for him and for his future.