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NOW CLOSED Universal Children's Day: Why in the UK are we less optimistic about global issues than developing countries - share your views - you could win a £100 voucher

(108 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-Nov-13 12:04:41

Mumsnet are working closely with Unilever (now a member of our family friendly programme!) to provide opinion on a number of sustainability projects.

On Monday we asked whether your children inspired you to live more sustainably? Thanks for all the responses.

And today (Wednesday) Unilever say "Today is Universal Childrens Day and research from Unilever Project Sunlight reveals that 6 in 10 children are worried about global issues, but in spite of this remain twice as optimistic about the future than their parents. In fact, UK parents were less optimistic than those in developing countries"

So the additional question today is why do you think we are less optimistic in the UK?

Let us know on this thread your views on both questions and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £100 Sainsbury's voucher.

Thanks and good luck


PoopMaster Tue 19-Nov-13 08:30:39

Before DD1 was born we started to look into cloth vs disposable nappies. This led us to realise how much landfill we were contributing to in general (we ended up going for cloth with Eco disposables for out and about), it focused our attention and we've tried since then to cut down on packaging.

Now she is 2 we never forget our bags for life when going shopping, as she loves to carry them!

We also save a lot more food than we used to, most meals we try to keep back a small portion for her lunch the following day, and we're a lot more creative with leftovers.

CrewElla Tue 19-Nov-13 08:44:39

To be honest I wonder if some of our changes will be short lived, e.g. we have only gone on holiday in the UK since our boys were born but I think that have more to do with us having less money than a conscious decision to lessen our carbon footprint.

We already recycled as much as possible and generally eat home cooked from scratch meaks rather than ready meals, so that hasn't changed.

I think the only real changes I can point out are buying organic when we can (sometimes it isn't available or is prohibitively expensive) and using a steam cleaner as much as possible instead of chemicals.

Womblemom Tue 19-Nov-13 09:04:26

Having kids makes you think about the future more and therefore your impact on the environment.

My kids are pre-school age but they understand the importance of recycling and help remind us what can be recycled and what goes in the bin. I use the bus with them rather than the car as they find it such a novelty, and it saves on the family fuel bill!

Christmas and birthdays always make me think what an impact kids could have on the environment - all those bin bags full of wrapping and packaging on toys and the attitude that the old toys get thrown out in favour of the new ones. I think carefully about what to ask family to buy them as gifts i.e. choose those with less packaging and which will last a few years, rather than a baby toy which will use lots of batteries and be used for only a few months.

SaltySeaBird Tue 19-Nov-13 10:43:13

Having a child has meant a drop in income so we have to be a bit more sustainable in the way that we live now.

I'm more likely to mend and make do than to spend money replacing things. I also walk a lot more too than I used to as fuel was getting expensive going between different baby related groups and activities.

Crumblemum Tue 19-Nov-13 11:28:35

Hi there

I think the best thing is making me a bit less cynical. Our local A&E was recently facing closure. Lots of petitions/ posters/ marches. Although I opposed it I was really cynical that the local action would do anything. My son, after hearing about it at school, really wanted to get involved, so we did and the campaign actually won. After a legal challenge in the courts the planned closure was ruled unlawful!

HannahLI Tue 19-Nov-13 11:44:05

They like the sustainable stuff more so they remind me to take reusable bags when we shop, we make more meals and bake from scratch as they enjoy helping so we don't get as much packaging, and the love sorting out the reycling we do make into the right places. If they had it there way we would grow more too.

weenwee Tue 19-Nov-13 11:51:42

There is something to be said for fear scenarios. I was in terror during pregnancy that the kid would get ahold of a bottle of cleanser, or try to eat a (clean) diaper and get those little gel balls in him, so I threw out the old cleansers and learned how to make my own, naturally. We also cloth diapered (without a dryer, I might add!), so I knew exactly what was going on his skin, as well as cleaning the floor/his high chair/the walls every day. Those little changes have made a big difference for our family, both in our 'green' status as well as our wallets - homemade cleansers and cloth diapering worked out to be MUCH cheaper than store bought nappies and cleaners! We now container garden and compost, and love getting the kid involved with both those activities!

Geckos48 Tue 19-Nov-13 11:54:26

Well I suppose the obvious one is that I am much poorer with children than without, so I have ended up finding ways to stretch things further.

We have a refillable tub of washing up liquid that we fill up every month

we have a woodburner so that I know if nothing else, if all the electric goes off and gas goes off, we can heat our home and keep the kids warm.

Kipsy Tue 19-Nov-13 12:13:52

- Less food waste - as a result of better food planning, cooking from scratch
- More recycling and up-cycling.
- Safer and eco cleaning products - better for the skin and better for the environment
- Walking/scooting/cycling to places rather than driving as they enjoy being outdoors
- Planting/Growing own vegetables

VerySmallSqueak Tue 19-Nov-13 13:46:36

Yes,I am definitely more mindful of what I am putting in,and on,their bodies.
I certainly try to source stuff that is as unprocessed,natural and organic as my purse will stretch to,because I don't want their bodies full of chemicals.

MadMonkeys Tue 19-Nov-13 13:59:12

Dd1 wants to know all about everything, nothing escapes her notice so u have to make sure i always recycle or compost everything I can... Also out budget is rather more squeezed,since having kids so i really do have to make do and mend. I buy and sell on ebay all the time and eeuse anything i can.

Purplehonesty Tue 19-Nov-13 14:55:34

My son learned all about recycling at nursery and so he loves to do it at home. We also have a compost bin and some ducks so he loves taking the veg peelings etc over to the paddock. If it weren't for him they would probably go in the normal bin!
I also save materials for his craft projects so I guess that's recycling (until they get thrown in the blue bin!) but I suppose it saves buying craft materials.
I also am much more conscious of turning off lights and not using the heating too much but that's more to do with not having much money now I have two dc grin

Purplehonesty Tue 19-Nov-13 14:57:33

Oh another thing I definitely buy second hand stuff which I never did before and sell things I would have previously thrown out so things go around a few times now.
I would rather mend his jeans than chuck them out and we grow loads of veg in the garden which I started doing for weaning so that it was all good quality veg the kids were eating. It's fab and gives me a lot of satisfaction to see then tucking into something we have grown.

CheeseTMouse Tue 19-Nov-13 15:27:16

Having a baby and being at home all day has really made me think about energy costs and energy waste and so we are trying to do something about that. We are getting some windows double glazed (the cost to do them all is prohibitive) and also about to put additional insulation in the loft so that we use less energy keeping the house warm at home all day.

We have also done some simple things like insulate the back door with an old curtain to try and stop so much heat escaping. It made a 2 degree difference!

We recycle as much as we can - we found some old furniture in the loft left by previous owners and that has been donated to a charity who picked them up yesterday. We even freecycled our old doors when we got them replaced.

WowOoo Tue 19-Nov-13 16:54:26

Having children has made me think about problems that will increasingly affect the world when I'm gone: overpopulation, water shortages, pollution and energy consumption.
So, we've tried to do our bit. Reusable nappies, growing our own and recycling and using second hand or hand me down things for the kids.

I've been encouraged by the dc to do the 'walk to school'. But in all honesty, they only want to do it for the cool badges and tend to forget about the other benefits.

10thingsihateaboutpoo Tue 19-Nov-13 18:27:49

We've cut down massively on the amount of things that come into the house, there's less waste if there's less stuff to begin with. I try to buy food with less packaging (I get wound up when people do things like put bananas in a small plastic bag, er you peel them?!?). I involve DD1 in recycling. I'm definitely trying to be more sustainable and teach her good habits.

NotCitrus Tue 19-Nov-13 18:43:13

I'm a lot more conscious of litter after years of ds asking "why's that bottle/can/whatever on the pavement?" and take home lots of glass bottles to recycle before they smash. MrNC is worried people will think we're alcoholics but I don't like litter on my street.

I already recycled lots and used cloth nappies - mainly for cost and then non-rash reasons. Ds used to demand 'Orange nappy!' or "want red nappy" so thinks of them as normal. He's seen us do loads of building work on the house so knows about the importance of insulation! We also walk places a lot and don't use the car much - public transport is more fun with small children, but it also means my kids know how to find a bus or train and get where they are going. Walking is also good exercise which I'm not a great role model for otherwise!

GetKnitted Tue 19-Nov-13 20:47:44

ds is my inspiration to recycle, had become rather jaded about the whole thing when i heard they were shipping it out to china (literally)

supergreenuk Tue 19-Nov-13 21:39:35

I've always felt guilty for the amount of nappies that go to landfill. We looked into a company that recycles them to make various products but we never did it after researching the company.

MistyB Tue 19-Nov-13 21:51:26

I have always been averagely environmentally conscious but still fly, have a car, buy new clothes, toys etc so my halo has never had a chance to grow or an opportunity to be shined.

However, having DC3 has lead me down all sorts of avenues I have never dreamed of. He reacts to anything with petroleum in it, rubber, latex, toys, toothpaste, and many many food items. I shop at a fantastic organic supermarket where I buy things in brown paper bags that have mostly been sourced locally and transported without unnecessary cold storage or air freight.

We choose our toys more carefully, have replaced his mattress with a coconut fibre one, we use even more limited and simple cleaning products than before and eat food cooked from basic ingredients (though I do dream of eating a really unhealthy takeaway out of polystyrene followed by the brightest most sugary sweets, it is unlikely to happen any day soon!)

I know more about nutrition than I has ever wanted to and delight in making fabulous snacks out of things that your body needs that also taste great!

prettybird Tue 19-Nov-13 22:24:05

I was already consciously trying to avoid waste, so in that respect ds hasn't changed anything.

Ds has already shown signs of being a hoarder though - won't let me throw things out 'cos he might use them hmm

Oreocrumbs Tue 19-Nov-13 22:30:04

Since having DD, I have become more aware of setting a good example of how we should be living . Pre children our lives were full of convenience.

Little things like taking time out when walking the dogs to pick berries and take them home and eat/cook with them. I walked in the same places before - but it just didn't occur to me to pick blackberries. I would order them with the weekly shop.

I buy more fresh local produce too. I didn't use the greengrocer or farm shops before. I was too busy, (clearly not, as I have since found out! Where do the hours come from that children need?) But now I make an effort to walk up to the village and spend a little time choosing food, as local and seasonal as possible.

My main motivation is in teaching my DD about these things - but I enjoy it.

I also am so much more aware of my effects on the planet. We walk rather than drive where possible, I am far more savvy about how much energy we use - I want to set a good example, to teach her the cost both financial and on a global scale of how we live.

I didn't really think about 'the big picture' that much pre DC, but now I have a little person to bring up, I want to do what I can, even though it is miniscule in the grand scheme of things, to make sure there is a good future for her, and that she grows up equipped with the knowledge and skills to live in it as well as possible.

Ruby6918 Tue 19-Nov-13 22:39:35

Because of the amount of litter that kids and adults can throw away even on a day out, i realised very quickly that most bins are always full and people litter everywhere so i always brought black bags, always got my kids involved in tidying up where we had been and they now never litter and know where to put certain items in the right bins etc at home, and they are 11 and twelve, i hope that my kids will pass this on to their children so that we can all look after our lovely world, its easily passed on but schools need to get more involved as well to educate them there too,

starfishmummy Tue 19-Nov-13 23:07:37

I have been interested in environmental issues for a long time - back to the times when those of us who recycled were thought to be a bit strange. As governor, I went on a training session and subsequently managed to persuade the teacher governor/headteacher to set up an eco team. The staff and students have really taken an interest in this and hopefully take the ideas home to their parents.

IAlwaysThought Wed 20-Nov-13 00:06:03

We lived in a very poor country and my kids worked with children from disadvantaged communities as part of their schools outreach program. I think it has helped them realise that you can live with very few possessions if you need to. They are happy to make do with old things or to buy cheap alternatives. I am glad because we have enough money to buy what we want.
It makes me look at what I buy.

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