Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Teach your children well...

Tonight, I remembered that I had bought a book for my son at a conference last summer. I had put it away because it was too complicated for him, but I flipped through it and decided he was ready. Plus, it seemed to fit right in with what we are trying to do...change, in little increments, each day, for the betterment of ourselves, our family, and our community. No reason not to drag him into it right from the get-go. He especially liked that the main character shared his name (which was the whole reason I bought the book).

See, the thing is, the changes we make now will end up just being the way things always were for him. He will have no memory of a time when people didn't recycle everything they could. He will have no recollection of a past that included junk food and daily television and advertisements urging him to buy everything his parents won't. These are amazing times in which change is imminent and imperative.

Not long ago, I taught a class to a group of very motivated young people. The discussions we had about energy-saving practices, recycling and reusing, doing without unnecessary items, avoiding the temptation to buy expensive branded clothing just to be free walking advertisements for companies who do nothing to help the world around them...were inspiring and relieving. Their ideas were ingenious, though maybe not so new in a scientific and engineering sense: solar-powered cars, stainless plates and utensils in the cafeteria rather than plastic or Styrofoam, waste water recycling stations that turn sewer water into drinking water. Refreshing (not the water idea...just the conversations!) None of their ideas were new to the world, but they WERE new to them...and that was the whole point. They were excited about it. They were enraged by what they were learning about the waste occurring on the planet. This generation could very well save the world.

And it starts immediately. Our ability to influence the leaders of tomorrow starts in the nursery. Recycled plastic or wood toys, hand-me-down or gently-used children's clothing, books and films that teach the lessons that we so desperately need them to learn, healthy snacks, and outdoor activity.

I saw a story today about a solar-powered airplane. I'm telling you, this world is headed for a new and very interesting journey toward survival. We cannot continue to live the way we do and expect the planet to sustain us. But we can make some monumental leaps in ingenuity, break out of our tunnel, and begin to trust that it will all be okay if we stop doing what we've always done and start doing something new.

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