This morning, while eating breakfast, my 4 year old starts this conversation: "I wish everyone in the world cared about the Earth. Then it wouldn't be such a disaster."
I couldn't believe it -- this is what he thinks about early in the morning? Being a "green freak" myself, I was really proud of him, but I was truly astonished. This is not a quote he was repeating from anywhere; this is his own thought, and he's right.
I mean, the Earth is kind of disastrous, because so many people didn't care in the past, or didn't know to care. Now, yes, there is a big movement to take better care of the planet, but we have to work so hard to try to undo the damage that people in the past have done and not everyone is really aware of it.
It's great that younger people are thinking about this stuff and it's being taught now, but many adults don't actually think about it enough themselves. It's not that they don't care, it's just that they don't think about it.
Most of us were never taught to "think green," but in schools now, our kids are starting to learn about the environment and many of us are learning from our kids.
To really start helping the environment, we as a society need to start actually thinking about it all the time. We don't need to worry ourselves, but rather change our habits to fit into what the earth needs us to do. Once we start doing this, it becomes our way of life. Once we seriously think about the consequences of our actions -- you know "carbon footprint" and all -- it's in the back of our minds and we can easily adjust our behavior to be more Earth friendly.
I myself can't throw anything recyclable into the regular trash anymore without feeling guilty. Here I'd like to share some things that I've been thinking about.
- Driving: Living on Long Island, we tend to feel like that's just the way to get around, but do we need to do it so much? So many of us automatically hop into the car, but if we're not going far and the weather is good, it's refreshing to take a walk. Maybe driving takes a little bit less time and it's just habit for most of us, but it's nice for the kids to take a look around and get some fresh air. There's a good chance of seeing some birds or butterflies, and it's exercise too! So not only is it good for us, it keeps a little bit of pollution out of the air.
- Air Conditioner: I personally hate it -- it's loud, expensive and when you do go outside you're in for a sweaty shock. Yes, if it's 100 degrees and 99 percent humidity (not too far fetched on Long Island) who doesn't use it?! But opening windows give us fresh air and fans circulate it well. If we try a fan or some open windows first, then even if we end up switching the AC on later, at least we tried! Then at night we can check back out there to see if it has cooled off outside, and if it has, then let's turn it off and lower that electric bill!
- Lights: One day there was a power outage in the area on a summer day and this is what I realized: we don't actually need those lights! Unless you're searching for something in a dark corner, you don't even need a flashlight! The sun is a pretty good light; why not save lights for nighttime or dreary rainy days? Even better if we remember to shut them off when we leave the room. Cutting down on the lights is also another way to bring down that pesky electric bill.
Lights, cars and air conditioners -- these are just a few of the things I think many of us overuse without realizing. But there are so many other things we can start doing to save our resources: use two sides of a piece of paper, unplug things when they aren't being used, eat leftovers before they go bad -- these are just a few more.
And do you know what else these things all have in common? THEY SAVE MONEY TOO. Less driving, less electricity, less everything means you are spending less money! Who doesn't want to do that? There's another great reason to start thinking green.
Every once in a while I will write a little here, under "Get Yourself Green" about what my family does to help the Earth. We would love to hear about anything that any of you are doing for it as well!
Contributed by Christina