Earth-Careful Diapering

Last week I wrote about my longing (and failure) to care for the stuff around me. I don’t want to be careless, not with my things or my money, not with my relationships, and especially not with my children.

Lately, I’ve been more and more reminded of the needs of this planet I live in and how God is asking me to live carefully in it too.

I said in another post that I was “medium crunchy” which led to some funny responses from people obviously more earth-kind than I who thought they were medium crunchy. Obviously, I realized, I must be more like “mild crunchy” or “crunchy lite.”

Whatever the shift, I’ve sensed from God a nudging to care more, to sacrifice more, to up the crunchy, if you will.

This is why: I’ve moved from a city where I walked more than I drove (only filled up our gas tank once a month), where it rained a lot, and where we didn’t need air conditioning to survive. Now I live in a city that demands air conditioning constantly (well, at least so far. It was in the high 90s yesterday), where most families need two cars and walking anywhere is almost impossible, and where we’re in the midst of a drought with little water in sight. This is no thumbs down to Austin; it’s just the honest truth. There is not a large amount of fresh water here and my family has moved here, adding the amount of water being sucked out of a small supply. Every time I wash the dishes or feel relieved to walk into the AC, or sigh at the nearness of Target, I remember that I want to be careful with this world. I want to believe that God has made it good and has given me an opportunity to be a good steward of his creation.

So, I’m stepping up my game. Recently (when? how? I can’t remember) I was inspired by the lovely SortaCrunchy to “Change 3 Things,” a movement to get parents to commit to using 3 cloth diapers a day. When August was born I did research into cloth diapering. A read some of a book called Raising Baby Green, which surprisingly brought into question the actual carbon footprint of using cloth diapers. Yes, cloth diapers make less trash and contribute to less consumption overall. But the amount of hot water that has to be used to wash those things sucks a lot of energy from the earth. Just at that time Nature Babycare came out with a fully compostable, disposable diaper. I thought, hey, this is easier and maybe even better for the environment, even if it’s a little more expensive than Costco diapers. My problem? I couldn’t really compost them in San Francisco because I had no yard for that and the city’s FREE composting service (yes, SF is the best!) was not okay with human waste. (ummm, good idea.) So, I was sending them in sad little compost bags to the landfill, knowing they’d decompose but not do much else for the land around them.

I began to feel like I needed to do more. It was less about the carbon footprint of biodegradable verses non-disposable. It was more about trash and consumption. I just don’t want to consume just because I can. I don’t want more stuff to be made and then be sent into the ground. I want to be careful.

Once I became a bona fide house-dweller with a fenced-in backyard, the first major purchase I made was a tumbler compost bin. In go the diapers! And, two weeks ago I made a deposit at Jillian’s Drawers with their “Changing Diapers, Changing Minds” program, where you make a deposit, are given 21 days to try several different types of cloth diapers, then given the freedom to return them or keep them.

My goal has not been extreme. I’m not cloth-diapers-all-the-time lady. In keeping with my “Crunchy Lite” title, I’m cloth diapering at home and Nature Babycare diapering out in the world and at night. Urine-soaked disposables are going in the compost. The rest are going in the trash.

And, just because I was feeling inspired, I bought more cloth towels and put away the disposable napkins. I love cloth napkins anyway! They’re so pretty and August is loving choosing his color at mealtime.

So that’s my story. I hope it’s not preachy preachy. I am the girl who has always had a love-obsession with my paper towels. I’m just making some changes a little at a time and I like it that way. Moderation is good and taking care is even better.

If you’re thinking about the “Change 3 Things” movement, you should join me and “Like” it here.


Filed under Motherhood

3 Responses to Earth-Careful Diapering

  1. danielle

    that Jillian’s Drawers program is great. (i did it, too, with my first.) and their local store in upstate NY seems phenomenal. i wish i had one near me.

  2. When I was four or five I had a great aunt die. My sisters and I each got to pick out one item from her house that we wanted to keep. There were all kinds of knick nacks and jewelry, but in the end each of us picked out our very own…roll of paper towels. We never had them at home and I thought they were so pretty with their blue geese print.

    Despite my early love of paper towels, I’m very fond of cloth now. It makes everyday meals feel a tiny bit more fancy.

  3. Andrea

    Yay for cloth diapering! We’ve done it since Sam was 1 month old, which was good because we never knew any different. You just get into a cycle of washing, drying, stuffing. We use disposables at night because he soaks through even those sometimes. Remember- with cloth, it’s all about timing. Not seeing how long you can let him go with it on, but remember to change about every 2 hours, unless he poos. That way you are preventing leaks instead of waiting for his pants to become wet. good move micha :)

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