As your teenager straddles the space between childhood and adulthood, it's important for them (and you) to realize that everything they do--from keeping the lights on to not recycling--can have a negative impact on the environment. Help your teen make informed choices by suggesting ways you can become a "green" family with these helpful tips.
Recycle. Techno-savvy teens can recycle their used cellphones and computers after they upgrade. Recycle old clothing, bedding, old homework, notes and notebooks. Speak to the school administration about recycling at your school if there are not already measures set in place. Encourage other students around you to recycle.
Buy vintage. Create a new wardrobe filled with unique vintage pieces bought at the thrift store. You will break the cycle of consumerism while still looking fashionable. Buying vintage ensures that no one else will show up at school with the same outfit.
Eat organic (or even from your own garden) and vegetarian. Even eating vegetarian meals once per week will cut down on your carbon footprint.
Turn off the lights and computer and unplug chargers when you are finished using them. Do not leave devices on stand-by, because they still draw energy, called "phantom loads"; turn them off instead. A dedicated power strip makes it easy.
Replace your shampoos, cosmetics and other beauty products with natural, organic alternatives. Natural beauty products are gentler on the earth and are safer to use on the body.
Speak up about environmental issues and start a "green" group at your school. You might consider meeting up to discuss issues, organize a community clean-up or plant trees in your neighborhood.
Catch the bus instead of driving, or carpool if your state allows you to have passengers with you who aren't family members.