What's Our Earth Worth?

Today I'm thinking about Mother Earth, because of this little tree.

My husband tells me that these last leaves hanging on
is a good sign, because it means that this tree is healthy.

Makes me wish that our whole world were healthy like our tree.

But, sadly, it's not.

I can't be the only one who cringes when I drive past
those landfill mountains of garbage that we've made.

It's kind of a mess really.
A big mess. Our mess.
The mess we made.
The mess we need to clean up.
And the mess we need to do better at preventing.

Enter The Mess That We Made by Michelle Lord.

Set to release as we kick off a new decade, this sobering story about the perilous impact of ocean trash employs a sing-songy, repetitious rhyme to rock the boat that our children are in, the boat that we, as a society, have inadvertently put them in, the boat that they, as our future, will need to navigate as they work with purpose to save our planet. Our kids are in for a rough ride over trashy waters. 

Be warned: This isn't a warm and fuzzy picture book. The illustrations of the yucky ocean pollution give the reader a realistic, up-close look at the effect of our carelessness. It's at once a wake-up call and a call to action. 

But there's also a message of hope, so that we don't get 
swallowed up in the current of catastrophe.  

With one turn of the page, that heavy feeling of deep-sea despair quickly becomes a promise for a healthier, happier tomorrow when the boat reaches the shore and the kids join the Beach Clean Up Day in progress, one small way in which our young leaders can have a big impact.

In real life, we know that our waste issue isn't going to go away with the turn of a page and that changing our habits won't happen by default. It's going to be a long, arduous, and intentional process that won't be for the faint of heart. But the health of our Earth depends upon our perseverance, endurance, and grit.

Use this ocean gem to springboard not only a discussion 
but also to ignite goals for actionable ways
to reduce our landfills and conserve our resources.

How many things do we throw into the garbage
that could just as easily be recycled?

This is just one week's worth of packaging that
my husband and I were able to save from a landfill.

Want your children to track their trash?
Ask them to wear their trash for a day or longer.

My fifth-grade friend Everett did just that, for 14 days;
you can read all about it {here} and {here}.

I was so proud of him.

Make a list of what you'd be willing to do differently, 
then practice, practice, practice.

Need some conservation ideas for your family?

Catch rain water in a rain barrel.
Be a Watt Watcher: Turn off the lights when not in use.
Catch water as it warms up in the shower to water your plants.
Recycle and/or reuse your wrapping paper and gift boxes.
Bring unused medications to a Drug Take-Back program.
Turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth.
Buy gifts that don't require a lot of packaging.
Use cloth dishtowels instead of paper towels.
Switch from plastic bags to reusable cloth grocery bags.

Recycle the plastic bags that you do have. Plarn Mats anyone?
Avoid fast-food and all that to-go packaging; eat inside instead.
Put reusable silverware in your child's lunchbox.
Take things you no longer want or need to a resale shop.
Use grass clippings from your yard to start a compost pile.
Drink your water from a washable water bottle or tumbler.
Drink soft drinks from aluminum cans instead of plastic bottles.
Donate the tabs from your aluminum cans.
Repurpose old crayons into candles.
Repurpose your holiday cards.
Plant a tree or two. Or ten?
Recycle old electronics.

Easy breezy? Not necessarily. Some of these ideas will take grit; in order to recycle our electronics, for example, we rely on our community to host a Haul-Away Day. So we keep them around until that day comes around. Putting a metal spoon in your child's lunchbox for their yogurt might be a little risky as it could get thrown away, but it'll also be an opportunity to teach responsibility. The benefits usually outweigh the cost. 

Because, at the end of the day, what's our Earth worth?

Check out this timely treasure for your budding environmentalists;
I think it'll especially open the eyes, hearts and minds
of our upper Elementary students who will certainly connect 
with the Call To Action pages with more ideas about what 
they can do to help fix The Mess That We Made.

Want to research further?
Check out the book's resource page {here}.
Learn about the work of 4ocean {here}.
Learn about 101 ways to live sustainably {here}. 

Here's to working together to give Mother Earth 
the gift of health and happiness in 2020 and beyond.

1 comment

  1. I have never heard of wearing your trash...what a great way to demonstrate just HOW MUCH we are quick to throw away without a second thought. Genius! What an amazing role model you are, Everett!


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