Going Green Was The Only Thing That Made Sense To My Kid & Me!
by David and Joseph
(Cedar Rapids, IA, USA)
Father & Son Go Green, Together
We all know how having children changes your entire life, but for me having children made me more aware of the world around me and my place in it. I believe I was like millions of other Americans in that I never thought much about the environment or considered how my lifestyle impacted anyone other than myself. Then my son turned 5 and he asked a single question that awoke my conscious.
After his birthday party he was helping me carry out tons of trash and empty boxes from his presents to dump into the canister that sits outside our back door. He asked where all that trash would go and I quickly responded “to the dump.” He asked a few more questions and I explained how the trash man comes once a week to get our trash and all of our neighbor’s trash. Finally, he asked the question that I had a hard time answering: where does it go after the dump?
That was when I started thinking seriously about everything our family put in the dump week after week. Obviously, the dump is the end of the road. Bags of discarded trash just sit there and collect. Some may rot over time but most of it does horrible things to our environment. I started to realize that our lifestyle impacted the rest of the world more than I ever thought.
At the end of that week when our trash canister was heaped up so high the lid couldn’t shut all the way my son commented that it was a lot of trash to just sit in a dump. I knew he was right! It was kind of defeating to realize I was learning this lesson from a 5 year old, but sometimes that’s how we parents have to learn I guess.
I decided that day that I wanted to live more eco-friendly because heaping all that trash into the dump and making it sit there didn’t make any sense. It didn’t make any sense to my 5 year-old who didn’t understand the full issue, and it definitely did not make sense to my adult mind. What that trash as well as so many other aspects of our lifestyle would do to the environment was no longer acceptable in our household.
We started making compost for our garden from a lot of our kitchen and household scraps and our flowerbeds have never been more beautiful. We started recycling a lot of what could not be composted. The biggest perk was that we saved some money canceling the big garbage truck since what little trash we had to contribute to the landfill wasn’t worth the price of it being hauled.
The best thing is I was finally able to answer that question. Our trash was going to make new things to be used by people in the world, not to sit in the dump!