Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Generation Green

I’m proud to say that my household is doing its part to keep green. But I wish the experience was more positive than negative. I feel like too many families are expending energy in “ecoanxiety” activities- rather than getting invested in “eco-friendly” solutions.

Here are a few personal examples: After my son’s lunch box got stolen (for the 3rd time), I temporarily moved him into brown paper bags, and he freaked about killing trees. My oldest daughter is now refusing to flush the toilet in order to save water -- my youngest thinks not washing her hands will help with that same consumption problem! (Or is that just a typical 4-year old manipulation tactic?)

At the magical time of life when tooth fairies deliver gifts, and stuffed animals can talk, my kids are stressed by the thought that they (and worse, I) might be contributing to global warming.

As a parent, I don’t want my kids to be brainwashed into thinking that our planet is in imminent peril. (Nor do I want them insisting that to make a difference in global warming, I should keep the car at 55 miles per hour instead of 65 as we putt-putt our way from Santa Monica to Mammoth — even when the speed limit enables a faster passage!) I just want my kids to genuinely love and respect our planet then do their part to help keep it green.

The best way I believe this can be done is by providing our children with direct and meaningful connections with the natural world. That means getting our children outdoors… hiking, biking, camping, gardening, and exploring... so that they can forge their own relationship with the environment at a young age.

A New York Times article entitled, “EcoMoms, Saving Earth Begins At Home” does a good job describing how our current generation of mothers will “green” our children. And while planting the right trees in the right places can do a lot to lower school energy costs, I believe giving a child the opportunity to climb a tree is just as important.

Beyond creating waste-free school lunches and lobbying for green building codes, the EcoMom has to understand that children who grow up without much experience with nature may turn into adults who don’t think it’s important to protect & preserve it. (source: Nature Conservancy)

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." ~William Shakespeare

"Man's heart away from nature becomes hard." ~Standing Bear

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." ~Albert Einstein

"Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another." ~Juvenal, Satires

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