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Tuesday, November 4, 2014


My mother was the first environmentalist I knew.  Growing up we had no harsh chemicals in the house.  I think the harshest was Windex and on occasion the dreaded Clorox.   She taught us not to waste, not to spend on worthless items and where you saw trash – you picked it up.

From the earliest years I was aware of the importance of protecting nature, and I believed it was a privilege to live in a clean environment.  Now, in dealing with my own children I am finding more and more that our environment is in crisis and it is imperative that they know it is their fundamental right to live in a clean and safe environment and that right is in jeopardy.

I am not Al Gore, nor am I David Suzuki, but I can be a responsible human being who takes action and who emboldens others to step up and take the initiatives to protect the environment and the encroaching climate change.   For a society to promulgate any change it means sacrificing.  It means taking the time to educate our children and it means being willing to take drastic measures in our day to day existence.

I calculated roughly the amount of waste I could be generating from the school/work lunches I make each day.  With five lunches a day with trash estimated at 8 oz per day (I am including juice boxes) times 5 days (one week) times 180 days (school year), my family would produce 450 lbs of trash a year just with school lunches.

However, this is not a reality in our home. There is nothing to throw away in their lunches. I have.  Every thing is reused.  It is, nevertheless, a good estimate of the probable waste one family might generate.  And it is a heads-up for those people that are not paying attention.

Everyday in each of our little corners of the world we find ourselves in situations that could generate more environmental awareness and ultimately - change.   And on these frequent occasions we need to be responsible human beings and promulgate action.  The experts will decide on alternative energy solutions or minimizing carbon pollution.  Our job, in our homes, on our streets is to do what we humanly can to protect what is around us. 

My son asked the other day for a capo for his electric guitar and a foot stool.  I asked him, “Why? The inverted basket was not working for your foot?” He gave me that look that usually mimics something that smells bad.  I told him he could get the capo  – it is necessary.  But on the issue of the foot stool I simply replied, “hold on – I want you to watch something.”  The following is the video we all watched together at the dinner table.

When it was finished I asked my son if he still needed the guitar foot stool.  His response was a simple no.  

There are no magic moments waiting for us to impose our desire to protect our world around us.   Every day countless opportunities arise that require our attention and our immediate and subsequent reaction.  Look around you.  Be aware.  My youngest son saw a boy throw a paper on the ground at the market one day.  He was upset and didn’t know what to do.  Should he go pick it up or tell the boy to do it?  He decided he was not ready to confront the older boy and his very large father so my little pip squeak walked over, picked it up and threw it in the trash.  “Bravo”, I told him. “Sometimes we just have to do things ourselves.” 

My mission in life is simple – to make the world a better place for my children.  Sounds cliché – ish.  But it is a much harder task than you think.   A task that commences with the picking up of a single piece of paper.

Ten steps in saving the environment:

Cut Energy Consumption

Produce and Use Sustainable Energy
Conserve Water
Buy Energy-efficient and Eco-friendly

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Drive Less and Drive Smart

Support Climate Change Initiatives

Live Where You Work, Eat Where You Live (my personal favourite)

Plant Trees and Protest Deforestation

Encourage Others