I am not the outdoorsy type. My idea of a wonderful nature encounter is seeing the bunnies run across our yard while I’m looking out the front window. I’m not the type to go roughing it. I like a nice hike along paths. Looking at animals from a distance. That’s my kind of thing.
I have come late to the game when it comes to environmentalism. It took two kids growing old enough to be aware of the world around them to make me really aware of it. I still don’t revel in the idea of rolling around on the lawn – there are bugs! – but I don’t mind the idea of getting my hands a little dirty growing things or turning a compost pile. I know, I’m a strangely persnickety sort of environmentalist.
My kids growing up and loving to play outside has made me aware of the air they breathe when they’re out there. Thankfully it’s not too bad, but there are people for whom air quality is an ongoing and major concern.
My kids love splashing in puddles and want to go in the water at the beach. There are some beaches in the area that have to close periodically because they are too polluted to be safe for people to swim in. And what about the water they drink? Medicines get flushed down sinks and toilets and cannot always be purified out of the water supply. As I write, parts of the state of West Virginia cannot use their tap water at all – not for drinking, cooking, washing, anything – because of a chemical spill from an unregulated chemical storage tank. The chemicals weren’t considered harmful enough to merit being inspected regularly, or indeed at all. Not harmful, huh?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against chemicals. Plastic has its place, as do many chemicals. I’m just saying I, personally, want to be more aware and super careful about what goes into my childrens’ developing little bodies. I never thought it mattered. I ate complete crud. The going joke between me and my husband was, “If I eat enough preservatives can I live forever?” It’s different now that I have kids that I need to feed and take care of. That’s what caused the change in me. Many people don’t need anything nearly as profound to be brought to care about the world around them.
I have begun to want to be a better steward of the planet, and raise my kids to be as well, so that they and their children and as many generations as we are lucky enough to have, will have a world as good, if not better than the one I was bequeathed. There’s nothing worse than a convert and I’m one!