Katie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

Earth Day is on the way and families worldwide will celebrate.

I think that it is great that there is a day dedicated to awareness about the planet and that people everywhere will pause for a moment to think about their own carbon footprint. Earth Day should, at the very least, make us pause and think about what we could do better.

One day is clearly not enough to make a real difference, of course. For families, convenience often takes the place of true environmental advocacy. You do not have to be a tree-planting, hemp-wearing, dolphin-saving momma to make a difference, however, on Earth Day or any other.

There are so many minor things that we can all do everyday that impact the environment in a positive way.

Here are three easy ways to celebrate Earth Day year-round:

Use reusable shopping bags. Just about every major grocery and all-purpose store sells cloth shopping bags now. You can pick up enough to carry your weekly load for around $10 or so. I like to keep a few in my car, my husband’s car and in various places around the house to have on-hand for any purpose. Some stores will even give you a small discount for bringing your own bags along. If you have a gift to give, consider buying a reusable shopping bag to package it in. Can you imagine how much energy would be saved if everyone, everywhere used reusable bags instead of landfill-clogging plastic ones? Bonus: No more loss of hand circulation from carrying those darn plastic bags weighed down by milk jugs.

Get out from behind the wheel. Sometimes driving is just a plain fact of life, especially if you are carting around several small ones. Still… do you find yourself driving places that are clearly within walking distance? Combine exercise and environmental savvy by walking that mile to the post office or library. Bring along a stroller or wagon if your kids are coming. A few days ago my daughter complained about having to walk a very short distance to the library. She told me that we should have taken the car. I was convicted. Not only did we NOT turn around and get the car that day, but we will not be taking it in the future. If walking is not an option, ride a bike, carpool or take public transportation as often as possible.

Shut off the TV. Okay, so the TV is always the bad guy, right? I don’t mean to single out this one energy-sucking household staple, but it is the first that comes to mind. If you are not actively watching something, shut it off. The same goes for your computer, ceiling fans and lights. You know that phone charger that stays plugged in 24/7, even though you only use it about 2 hours per day? It is still using energy. Only 5% of the power from a phone charger is used to actually charge up your electronic baby. The other 95% of the power is expended simply from being plugged in. **pauses to unplug two phone chargers before proceeding**

The U.S. Department of Energy tells us that not only do appliances continue to draw  electricity while the products are turned off, but in the average home nearly 75% of all electricity used to power electronics is consumed by products that are switched off. So shut off — and unplug — the electronics and appliances that are not in use.

How does your family celebrate Earth Day?

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Category: Family Free Time

Tags: conserving energy