A few months ago I experienced the joy, excitement and terrifying reality that I am now a father. In choosing to add a +1 to the world of 7 billion, my partner and I made a decision that affects not just our lives, and those of our families, but also the planet. The small feet that came forth on that wonderful snowy day will walk a path towards a much larger footprint down the not too distant road and we’re the ones responsible from bringing him about.

There are many choices we face when becoming parents. Have no fear, “they” (who are they anyway) say,  an endless supply of books, groups, websites and forums exist to tell us how to do it “right” –  many, but not all, with the caveat following a “you must always” statement with a wee asterisk stating that every child is different.

Unfortunately, these resources are quite unhelpful, and sometimes damaging, with prescriptions for  everything from whether or not breast is best to sleep training. I’d like to say that these end when it comes to more science-based things like raising an environmentally friendly – or dare I say that evil word sustainable – family… but alas, it is not true. The same absolutism and self righteousness that permeates the rest of parenting found a welcome extension in the niche called green parenting.

The simple truth is that your vision of sustainability may very well be different from mine. Judging by what I’ve seen out there this could very well be the case. Do I know the ultimate truth? No. Do you? I don’t know, but if you do please share.

My mission in starting this site is to provide a simple and accessible resource  for normal people looking to responsibly raise the next generation. That generation being the little ones sleeping in the next room.

My launching this site isn’t about trying to push my views and it’s not about trying to tell you what you always must do in order to be green. I actually want to encourage the different views that others may have and invite new contributors to take part. The only requirement is that whatever is said is based on evidence.

I’m doing this because in all of the research I did to answer what I thought were some quite simple questions – like whether reusable nappies are really better than disposables – turned out to be almost impossible to answer from objective sources. That I am a sustainability professional capable of knowing exactly where to look for this information and came away confused highlighted the challenge I think others may be facing.

This site will be different in that it doesn’t fit in what I call the two “green” categories of resources I found in my quest to get answers:

  1. green chic where the message is that we can consume our way to one planet living (e.g. solar power e-reader chargers)
  2. zero footprint land where the message is we need to strive for zero impact (e.g. living in tree houses eating carrots)

With green chic being inaccessible (and sometimes perverse) and zero footprint land being impractical (and not necessarily correct), what are rational green parents to do?

So from now on there will be this site. Right now it is just a blog, but there is much more coming. Over the next few months I will compile evidence that fairly describes what things we actually need to be concerned about (hint: not plastic bags from the supermarket) and provide the resources you may want to read to learn about the issues and form your own conclusions about how to be a green parent. Getting off the ground could take a while and if you’d like to help, please get in touch!

It will be a journey. This is the first step.