As a mother of two small children, I often feel like I live under a rock when it comes to current events. Sadly, I get most of my news from a small but trustworthy publication – my daughter’s preschool newsletter. I happened to glance at it on the bulletin board last night and saw with a jolt that Earth Day was today. While we are not an extreme “green” household, we do our best to reduce, reuse and recycle. I have to confess that I do toss the occasional peanut butter jar or yogurt carton. I’ve tried and failed at cloth diapers. And I keep meaning to find out what my carbon footprint is so I can reduce it. All this aside, I do actively try to teach the girls that it is up to us to take care of the world we live in. So how could I, in good conscience, fail to honor Earth Day in some way?
I didn’t have time to research what, if any, activities my hometown might have planned, so I came up with my own small agenda for Earth Day. You may think it’s just ridiculous, or that it makes no impact on global warming or saving the Arctic or any of those other large and complex environmental problems. But I firmly believe the best thing I can do to ensure the health of the planet is to teach my children how to respect it. If we raised a whole generation that valued earth’s well being, imagine where we’d be tomorrow.
For Earth Day, I decided we would 1) walk rather than drive home from preschool; 2) try line drying our clothes;3) creatively reuse household stuff to make new toys. When I mentioned to Sonya that we were going to walk home from preschool, she one-upped me by very excitedly pointing out that we could also bring a bag to collect garbage. I was one proud mama!
Here’s what really happened: 1) we did walk home from preschool and it went much better than I ever expected. Abigail slept most of the way and Sonya walked all 1.5 miles without whining – a new record. She couldn’t wait to put on a vinyl glove and start saving the planet one scrap of litter at a time. We filled a whole grocery bag with cigarette butts, plastic straws, half-filled water bottles, old lollipop sticks and, oddly enough, a slew of broken pencils. I had to apologize profusely for failing to bring more bags. We vowed to take more trash walks in the future, albeit much shorter ones.
2) I line-dried sheets. Well, three sheets and a pillow case, to be exact. I was off on my timing and didn’t get the laundry out earlier enough and etc., etc. My fault. But I will try again, as who doesn’t love the smell of sunshine in the sheets!
3)We succeeded in reusing paper towel tubes to fashion a nifty and oh-so-attractive ball run that is now part of my family room decor. (For anyone interested, just save your paper towel and toilet paper tubes, tape ’em together, and attach them to the wall at an angle with painter’s tape. Will fit beads, cheap rubber balls from vending machines, and other small objects – get creative!)
When all’s said and done, it’s been a great Earth Day. We’ll try to continue what we’ve started for the whole year. Next Earth Day, the girls will be a little older, mama will be a little saner, and we’ll aim a little higher.