With so many families taking steps to "Go Green," it helps to know how green you already are. Get to know your family habits with the quiz below. Select the answers that best reflect the way you live now to find out how green your lifestyle is, and how you can become more eco-friendly.
1. Is your home well insulated?
a. No; it's an old, drafty house.
b. No, but we shut windows and doors, and close curtains at dusk to keep in the heat.
c. Yes; our house is a qualified Energy Star home.
2. How green is your energy?
a. Not at all; we leave appliances on standby all the time.
b. We use energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances.
c. We buy green electricity.
3. Do you recycle?
a. We're not very clear about what can be recycled.
b. We put out everything for a curbside collection.
c. We have a compost pile and don't create much waste because we refuse, reuse, and repair things.
4. How do you save energy?
a. By turning down the thermostat?
b. We unplug everything when not in use.
c. We got rid of our TV and turn off lights if we're not in the room.
1. What do you usually eat?
a. Convenience food.
b. Home-cooked dishes.
c. Vegetarian home-cooked dishes.
2. Where do you buy most food?
a. At the supermarket.
b. From the local organic supermarket and health food store.
c. At the farmers' market.
3. Where do your organic fruit and vegetables come from?
a. Overseas, via the supermarket.
b. A CSA subscription.
c. We grow our own.
4. How do you carry your shopping?
a. In plastic bags from the cashier.
b. In heavy-duty reusable plastic bags.
c. In fair-trade cotton sacks.
1. Where does your baby's milk come from?
a. Regular formula.
b. A combination of organic formula and breast milk.
c. Breast milk.
2. If you're breastfeeding, what body care products do you use?
a. Whatever I find on sale.
b. Certified organic products.
c. Nothing I wouldn't eat.
3. What are your baby's first foods?
a. Store-bought purees.
b. Homemade organic purees.
c. Regular family food mashed or cut into pieces.
4. What does your toddler eat?
a. Packaged toddler meals.
b. Mostly home-cooked organic children's food: fish sticks, pasta.
c. Whatever we're eating.
1. What does your baby usually wear next to his/her skin?
a. Sleepers from an economy pack.
b. New organic cotton, hemp or bamboo.
c. Cotton hand-me-downs.
2. Where are your baby clothes from?
a. Manufactured in East Asia.
b. Made in the US.
c. Fair-trade products.
3. What do you do with old clothes?
a. We throw them away.
b. Put them in the recycling.
c. Hand them on to friends or charity.
4. How often do you wash baby clothes?
a. After each wearing.
b. When they need washing.
c. Only once we have enough for a full load, along with your regular laundry.
1. What do you use as a teether?
a. A plastic teether.
b. Organic cotton.
c. A wooden teething ring.
2. What are your soft toys made of?
a. Synthetic fibers.
b. Organic cotton, hemp and bamboo.
c. Fair-trade organic fabrics stuffed with untreated wool.
3. Where do you buy toys?
a. From the department store.
b. From natural baby stores, catalogs and websites.
c. From garage sales, secondhand stores, and online auctions.
4. Does your child have any battery-operated toys?
a. Yes, many.
b. Yes, but we only use rechargeable batteries.
c. No, we prefer wooden or wind-up toys.
DIAPERS AND WIPES
1. Which type of diapers do you use?
a. Regular disposables.
b. Fully biodegradable disposables.
c. Reusable diapers.
2. How do you wash reusables?
a. At 140°F with regular detergent and fabric conditioner.
b. At 140°F with eco-detergent.
c. At 104°F with laundry balls.
3. Do you use baby wipes?
a. Yes, all the time.
b. Yes, but the organic type.
c. No, we make our own.
4. How do you deal with diaper rash?
a. With regular diaper-rash cream.
b. With certified organic cream.
c. We use homeopathic cream.
1. What do you wash clothes with?
a. Regular detergent.
c. Laundry-balls or soap nuts.
2. How do you dry clothes?
a. In a dryer that turns itself off when the clothes are dry.
b. At the Laundromat.
c. We mostly line dry.
3. How do you clean surfaces?
a. With bleach-based cream cleaners.
b. With an eco-spray.
c. With lemon juice or vinegar.
4. How do you clean carpets?
a. Steam cleaning.
b. A sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda and vacuum cleaner.
c. We don't have carpets.
1. Where does your baby sleep?
a. In a brand-new crib.
b. On an organic crib mattress.
c. With us.
2. How is the room furnished?
a. From Wal-Mart.
b. With secondhand furniture.
c. With furniture we already had around the home.
3. What DIY materials do you use?
a. Regular paint from the DIY store.
b. Low or no VOC paints.
c. Baby-safe eco-paints and bamboo wallpaper.
4. What body care products do you use on your baby?
a. Supermarket baby products.
b. Certified organic baby products.
c. Olive oil and Castile soap.
1. Who do you socialize with now that you have a baby?
a. We mostly stay at home and stay in touch with people online.
b. We trek across town on the bus to meet up with old friends.
c. We've found many new friends via a local baby-massage group.
2. Where do you hang out?
a. At friends' homes.
b. In a local baby-friendly organic café.
c. At baby reading/play sessions at the local library.
3. Do you use daycare?
a. We travel to a recommended Montessori preschool.
b. We walk to a local playgroup.
c. We set up a local playgroup ourselves.
4. Do you use your local park?
a. We use a better one farther away.
b. Yes; we've become quite friendly with the local teenagers.
c. Yes; we joined a committee to raise money for better facilities.
1. How do you get to work/school?
a. In our car.
b. On the bus or train.
c. We walk or cycle.
2. Where do you take vacations?
a. Wherever we choose.
b. At an eco-destination abroad.
c. Within this country.
3. What type of fuel does your car use?
b. Biodeisel or electricity.
c. What car?
4. How do you get around locally?
a. We drive everywhere?
b. I have a baby seat on the bike.
c. We put the baby in a stroller and walk most places.
You're not very green yet, but you are taking some tentative stops to changing the way you live for the better. Can you change your life a little further now by thinking a little more deeply about some of your lifestyle choices? Try adopting some B and C answers in the future.
You're making a good effort at leading a greener life. Perhaps there are a few more simple steps to take you a little further? Could you cut back on buying brand-new items (even if they are organic), walk more places, and try to reuse things more?
You're many times greener than the average family, and so you're making a difference already. Keep up the good work! Who can you pass this book on to once you're finished with it? And what else could you do to become "deep green"? Could you add a layer of sheep's wool insulation to your attic, or even consider generating your own green energy at home?
What categories did you score best in? Comment by Tuesday, September 23rd for a chance to win a copy of the book, Green Baby. Gather will select two respondents to win one copy each.