What would happen if every blog published posts discussing the same issue, on the same day? One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.
Well that would be Blog Action Day. And that would be today. And the issue, or theme as it were?
What, you may ask, do I know about the environment? Well, I know a little. I know that environmental science was my favorite subject in high school oh so many years ago. And I know that when I was in college and decided to change majors, I thought back to my high school days, remembered my love of environmental science, and went to the college’s library to do a bit of research. It was there that I found Geography, a close cousin to environmental science, and the major I finally settled on.
If you reviewed my college transcripts from those days, you’d see that I focused much of my time and college studies on environmental hazards. Scary hazards like tornados and earthquakes and global warming and the human toll and the human response necessary to deal with to such incidents. I loved those courses and up until the horror and disaster of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, I would have told you that my perfect job, if I could get it, would be to work for FEMA. As the agency’s director. But after witnessing that embarrassment, I’ve more or less changed my mind. Plus, I have a young child and I don’t think I’m up to all the travel a job like that would entail.
And then there’s the fact that I don’t always do everything that I probably could be doing to help the environment. I think they might ask you questions about your contributions toward saving the environment for positions like that. You see, I don’t recycle much. Papers, sure. Beer bottles, sometimes. I just don’t have it in me to wash and rinse and sort ALL the varieties of trash we generate in a day. My husband though, he’s much more on top of all of that. So while I don’t do much, he more or less makes up for my slack. Except for when he rinses out a bottle or jar and leaves it on the kitchen counter for what I deem an unacceptable length of time. Then I throw it away in the regular trash can, with the chicken bones and old bread crusts.
Also, I don’t generally buy organic foods. My most recent foray into the organic world was when I bought a bunch of fruit from Whole Foods, and with it, a bunch of fruit flies that I am still trying to vanquish from my home. I’ve decided that from now I will stick to the pesticide laden apples and bananas that I can buy from my local grocery store. I’ve rarely seen a fruit fly with a stomach of steel required to feast on that kind of fruit. Plus, the well preserved fruits and vegetables don’t tend to rot during my drive home from the store.
I do however, remember the lessons I learned about the environment as a child, and I try to instill at least those values in my son:
People start pollution; people can stop it. So don’t litter. It will poison the water, the air will turn black with smoke, the fishes will die and the Indian Chief will cry.
Smoky Bear says “Only you can prevent wild fires.” So don’t play with matches.
Close the door, you’re letting bugs in.
Close the door. What are you trying to do, heat the neighborhood?
Don’t leave the door to the refrigerator hanging open. What are you trying to do, cool the entire house?
Turn off the lights when you leave a room, you’re wasting electricity! Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.
Eat your vegetables. There are starving children in other countries who would be happy to have your vegetables! (and by the way, piling them into a napkin and offering to mail those vegetables to the starving children will get you sent to your room faster than you can blink).
Don’t touch wild animals! Do you want to get rabies?
Stay on the path. Do you want to get poison ivy?
On top of all that there is a new lesson, one I’ve only come to appreciate since my son was born. TOY MANUFACTURERS USE WAY TOO MUCH PACKAGING. Seriously. Is toy theft that big of a problem? A simple Star Wars Action figure, for example, is held in place by something like a dozen twist ties when it’s already encased in cardboard and plastic. My son wants to play with the toy RIGHT NOW, but it takes me forty minutes to free the toy from its twist tie asylum…
I’ll make this promise right now: If toy manufacturers stop it with all the twist ties, I will do my part and recycle the cardboard part of the packaging. Given that my son is six with years of toy ownership ahead of him, that action alone could make a big difference for the environment.