Thursday, June 5, 2008

World Environment Day

Happy World Environment Day! Not sure how it is different than Earth Day, but you can go ahead and click on those links and let me know. Wellington, NZ is the host city this year and the school and community are abuzz with activities to commemorate the day.

As part of Zoe's homework this week, she was to visit There the children can make pledges to reduce their carbon footprint to fight climate change. The pledges are things like "I will check my car tyres are the right pressure," and "I will recycle all my paper for 30 days," or "I will use reusable shopping bags instead of plastic ones for 30 days." Excellent ideas, all! There are some less practical and perhaps somewhat questionable ones, as well, such as, "We will unplug the computer for [x-amount] of days" (impractical), "I will not open the fridge for [x-amount] of days" (huh?) and "I will use reusable nappies for [x-amount] of days," for which I could find no takers at our house, seeing as we've all chosen to be toilet-users for quite some time now.

While going over the list, Zoe encountered a problem she has had many times before with this sort of thing. (warning: here comes the part where I smugly pat myself on the back) Our family is already very green. We walk to school, we own a very infrequently used, small, petrol-efficient, car, we compost, we recycle, we hang the wash on the line to dry (washed in an energy-efficient front-loader in cold water, I may add), we use both sides of our paper (they call this GOOSe paper at Zoe's school, for "good on one side"), Steve takes the bus to work, we drink tap water, I use reusable grocery bags, we use reusable containers for the girls lunches, I buy locally grown produce and buy meat from the local butcher, we buy our power from the most green of the power companies, and on and on. Short of wearing recycled hemp clothing and washing it in baking powder (is that done?) there are very few changes we can easily make as a family.

That said, we have all made pledges to further reduce our carbon footprints. Steve has agreed to cut his shower time, I have agreed to not buy takeaway coffee in paper cups, and the girls are going to put 5 cm less water in their baths. I tried to convince the girls to pledge to "go to bed an hour earlier than normal for [x-amount] of days," but they weren't buying it.

I love that my almost 10-year-old has so wholeheartedly gotten into the spirit of environmentalism. I love that she goes around turning off all the switches on the outlets (for those of you back in the U.S., the outlets here all look like this and have switches on them). I love it even when I discover I have no internet access because the router has been shut-off from it's power source, or when my laptop shuts down because it was disconnected while the battery was charging. I remind myself to laugh when I come into the house, arms full of groceries, to discover she has turned out the stairway light on me. These little inconveniences are reminders to me of how earnestly she has received and interpreted the messages of conservation. I'm very proud of my little Earth girl.

1 comment:

Steve said...

I can attest to Zoe's dedication. I was admonished in the shower this morning by a disembodied voice in the other room.

I called back, "I'm shaving this morning, it takes longer."

"Ok, dad, but you made a pledge..."