By Melanie Lewis
I recently watched an episode of American Experience on PBS about Rachel Carson. Carson’s “Silent Spring” was published in 1962. It was a work that set her apart and “woke” many people up to environmental impacts of spraying DDT. My “greening” started with the first Earth Day 1970 and continues today. I’m trying to pass along this ecological compassion to my children.
Growing up, I loved the idea of saving baby birds and copied bird pictures from the encyclopedia. In order to build appreciation of nature I spent a lot of mornings with the kids walking along the beach, or around ponds finding the biggest bird or the most colorful. A science or art museum provides many opportunities to drill nature into young minds. But experiencing the great outdoors in fresh air lends itself to hands-on experience.
I grew up with our family growing our own food naturally and canning it for the long winter. This was my first action towards environmental awareness. Sowing seeds of ecology with real seeds is a great way to learn about earth sciences. Grow something. Try a Dixie cup filled with dirt and sunflower seeds or sprouting potatoes in water. Learn the lessons that instant gratification of computer games can’t.
I was a member of kids’ Smokey the bears prevent forest fires team. An organization like scouting has an ecological affect. Many activities promote knowledge of the surrounding environments. It also hones betterment for the community in general. My friends tease me when I pick up trash. It’s ingrained from getting involved on town clean up day. Please people, my son says, “Stop smoking and don’t throw the ends in the street”. He gave up trying to pick up the copious amounts. Same goes for water bottles, “nips” and anything McDonald’s.
However, everyday things I do aren’t a burden. It’s so automatic and I don’t think about it. I purchase non-gmo organic soy, corn and wheat. The effects of glyco-phosphates are real. MIT released a study correlating use of herbicides to autism. Eat meat sparingly. Have more meatless Mondays or go grass-fed. Meat production takes up a lot of resources. It’s so much more difficult to retain palates once you’ve grown accustomed to it. Do the ecological thing from an early age.
I bought solar panels for my house and crank out my usage of electricity every day. The electricians who installed the panels had a real impact on my son. He’s interested in solar projects and is thinking about solar engineering as a profession.
Find your own method of saving the planet for future generations. Learn how reducing, reusing, and recycling can help you, your community, and the environment by saving money, energy, and natural resources. Nothing is wasted or taken for granted. My motto is “why buy new when used will do”. I want to be able to leave the earth better than it was given to me. My kids will need clean air, water and birds.