Sunday, February 20, 2011

"I'm only trying to love my kids the best I can..."

A line I get from parents all the time:
"I'm just trying to love my kids. How do I have time to worry about the environment?"

And when the dinner needs to be made, Johnny needs help with homework, the car needs an oil change, Sarah's being bullied, the bills need to be paid and I may get laid off from work... then worrying about the environment falls pretty low on the list of "things to do right now." I understand that.

I also understand that we're living in crazy times. The 21st century is the most exciting time in the history of the world to be alive. Like it or not, change is upon us. Some say we're in an age of information. Bill McKibben prefers to say it's an age of distraction. Yes, we're bombarded with messages, but most is delivered in shallow sound bytes, and much comes from advertisers hawking goods and services for consumption. I'll argue we owe it to ourselves and our kids to dig deep and learn what's really going on. What kind of world are we giving our kids? What does the world look like past the Industrial Revolution?

If there's one book I'd recommend for parents ('green-minded' or not) looking for answers, it's The Ecology of Commerce (revised edition, 2010). Author Paul Hawken comes at it from both a business and environmentalist perspective and leaves us with hope. He makes sense of business, it's relationship to the environment and then articulates a plan of how doing business and doing good can become one in the same. In fact, we're already on the path. It's early and the powers of status quo are strong, but the opportunities are HUGE.

So, being an environmentalist won't add more to your to-do list. Rather, it'll be like falling off a log and improving your quality of life. And for most, that probably means spending more time with the kids they love so much. Hopefully, some of that time is spent playing outdoors. :)

OK, enough with adult books.
These days most of the books I read are for kids and as long as I refer to re-reading books, I picked up Maniac Magee from my shelf last week and didn't put it down 'til I finished it. It's a super entertaining story about a wunderkid and at the top of my recommendation book for any 5th or 6th grader. Or adult...

Quote of the day:
“Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire."
-William Butler Yeats

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