I love Earth Day. It speaks to my inner crunchy hippie girl. I love the Earth Day events (like the one NASA is holding on the National Mall), the Earth Day crafts that the kids make in schools, and the freebies (oh, the freebies!) the stores hand out.
Every year, I try to make a few more changes to help ol’ Mother Earth out. Easy and fun stuff to do, like making my own cleaners and reusable Swiffer pads. Using LED lights. Planting a garden. Packing bento-box-like cubes for my kiddo’s lunches. Painting some rain barrels. And you already know how much I enjoy a good cloth napkin.
That said, I have a small confession to make: lately I’d been struggling with a sense of eco-futility. It was so easy a few years ago to feel like you could make a difference by switching out your old light bulbs for CFLs or by carrying a stainless steel canister filled with tap water instead of buying bottled water.
But now what? Not everyone can afford to rework their plumbing to catch gray water or buy a Tesla.
So although my inner crunchy hippie girl was looking forward to Earth Day, she’s been, frankly, a little mopey because I couldn’t think of a Great Change to Make this year. To cheer her up, I decided to walk the kids to school instead of taking the bus.
We were halfway to school when suddenly C ran ahead of me. I called out for him to come back, but he charged on and then stopped to pick up a crushed plastic water bottle lying by the sidewalk.
He jogged back with it and said with utter sincerity, “Sorry, Mom. Had to save the Earth.” And he carried it along until he reached school and dumped it in the recycling can.
Yeah. I know. Kids. They make you crazy, make you laugh, make you mad, make you worry…. But sometimes they hit you with a simple statement so profound, it silences all the noise for a second. It never fails to amaze me.
So my Great Change this year is to be conscious of how our choices and decisions impact not only the Earth, but also the next generation’s attitude about it. I may feel a little helpless when I read articles about the state of our environment, but if I can show my kids by example how much I value a cleaner world, they may internalize that and influence others to do the same.
Hope you have a happy weekend and a happy Earth Day!