For a while I was volunteering my time at an Intermediate School Home Skills class, doing a project called, “Personify the Earth”. We talked about green living and then made home made deodorant ( this recipe is no longer shared, because the deodorant is now in production and soon available on this site. It’s great! – but onto the subject at hand – ” Going Green in 2016″
It is a little difficult to talk to a bunch of 11, 12 and 13 year old students about why they should care about the planet. In addition to their age and general restlessness, the curious mix of child-like behavior peppered with juvenile flirtations and occasional wise cracks amplified this challenge even more. I very often encountered the general complacent “disinterested student in space” that is becoming more and more common these days. You know, the one that immediately starts entering a hypnotic state the minute they sit down, blank white face, eyes that seem to have their inner windows to the soul shut and sealed with Elmer’s glue, slouching in the chair, and going through the motions until it’s time for them to leave or take a standardized test. Or the other kind, the hyper, “labeled” child, who thinks you are super dumb and takes every step to let you know it. But gosh, everyone there is inherently real, and ripe and wanting to connect in a deeper way. That’s for sure.
So I said,
” The reason I am here to talk about Green Living is NOT because it’s just another rule you have to follow and thing you have to do. It’s because it feels good inside to do good things for our friends and others. It feels good when we make our friends and loved ones smile. It feels good when someone likes us, right? It feels good to show someone how much you like them too. And, did you know that the earth is alive? It is! I’m not here to give you more rules or give you a bunch of information to repeat to me and forget when you leave through the door in forty minutes. I’m here to talk to you about something we all have in common. Our planet! “
Suddenly, a few ears opened.
” Our planet isn’t alive! one student said, It’s just a bunch of rocks.” (weird teacher-lady eye roll happening at this time)
” Well, what if those rocks and mountains were the bones of the planet?”, I said.
” If the rocks and mountains are the bones, then what might the hair be?”
” Grass! Trees, Flowers!” a girl said to me.
and we went from there.
Tears – the rain
Perfume – flowers
Wind – the voice of the planet
Blood – the waterways, oceans being the arteries, and the smaller lakes and streams are the veins are capillaries
kidneys – the filter feeders in the waters, like mussels and clams
Brain – most students said the thoughts of the people and animals
Voice – chirping birds was the consensus most of the time
Smiles – flowers were the most common response, and some also said that flowers are the way the earth decorates for holidays.
Anger – thunder and lightening
Heart of the planet – most of the children agreed that everything working together created the heart of the planet
And of course, there was a cute, silly boy who said, ” What happens when the planet has to fart?”
An earthquake! ( Chuckle chuckle )
After that discussion, the atmosphere became a little more conversational and it was easier to explain to them that the planet is INDEED ALIVE. If it weren’t it could not sustain another living being. After all, isn’t everything made from some something that moves? Even rocks have moving structures at the molecular level.
And so, the first steps, folks, IS INTROSPECTION and APPRECIATION – Personify the Earth; walk a mile in someone’s shoes and suddenly, you begin to understand them a lot better, right?
How can you show any respect for anything if you don’t sit down and understand why you even should? How can you appreciate anything if you don’t bring that thing or that person into focus and understand them a little better. This goes for relationships too. A little appreciation goes a long way to healing anything. Absolutely anything.
If you appreciate something, you are more willing to take steps to preserve it. For instance, if you take some quiet time tomorrow and go outside alone, just look around you at our beautiful world and turn on your senses. Smell the breeze, look at the closest tree, look at your feet, your skin, a tiny walking bug ; feel the temperature of the wind on your skin, taste the air. Suddenly, you will understand what I mean. it’s very easy to want to preserve such a beautiful thing. We’re all in this together, after all. It starts with appreciation.
After that step, then just simply ask yourself what YOU, yourself, feel comfortable doing. Don’t work from guilt. Do you feel good about not using plastic? Then start bringing your own bag to the store. Start buying your beverages in glass. Do you feel good about using plastic but then using the bags for garbage to save a little money? Then do that. Do you feel good making home made food and cutting out preservatives ( knowing that all these preservatives end up in our toilets, to the sewers, and either soak into the soil or evaporate into the cloud only to rain back down upon us.
What resonates with you? Maybe you like to smile and be smiled at. Do that tomorrow. It’s contagious.
Do you feel like you would like to recycle more? Stop using chemicals in the home? Clean with vinegar and lemons instead? Then do that.
Perhaps you are feeling creative and want to “up-cycle” something in your home. For instance, you can cut up old sweaters and make a new coat ( A friend of mine does this) or, make a cat bed out of an old suit case. There are so many ideas. Do you feel like taking a walk to the beach, lake or ball park to pick up garbage, or maybe planting a garden this year? Then do that.
Appreciation does so much. We can start with each other. Smile at someone tomorrow. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Make an effort not to hate and to research something that interests you.
We are all a part of the heartbeat of this great ball in space. Let’s make 2016 greater than the year before.
Happy New Year from Earth Love