Many Canadians are empowering their kids to develop and oversee eco-friendly household habits by teaching children to have a green conscience around the home.
From planting organic backyard gardens to harvesting rainwater, young "chief environment officers" are sprouting up across the country and working with their parents to reduce the size and impact of their household's carbon footprint.
"Going green as a family can be easy and fun. Even small things like switching to energy-saving light bulbs and non-toxic cleaning products can make a big difference to your local environment and your wallet," says Mary Desjardins, executive director of the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.
"Why not hold a family meeting to elect your own chief environment officer and brainstorm some creative ways your whole family can improve your household's carbon footprint."
Your carbon footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions, or carbon dioxide, produced as a result of your lifestyle. For example, every time you use your air conditioner or drive to the grocery store, you emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
One of Canada's longest-serving environmental charities, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation offers six simple ways to lower your household's carbon footprint:
Complete an audit of toxic cleaning products, dispose of them safely and replace them with environmentally friendly ones.
Take shorter showers and turn off the tap when you're brushing your teeth.
Avoid using the dryer and only wash full loads of laundry and dishes, preferably with cold water.
Make sure everyone in the family understands which household products can be recycled and which cannot.
Start a compost pile for food waste, and use it to nourish the soil in your vegetable and flower gardens.
Unplug appliances when you're not using them to avoid phantom energy use.
Each year, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation supports hundreds of grassroots projects dedicated to preserving Canada's environment. For more information, visit www.tdfef.com.