Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Raising Environmentalists Without Rallies

Ever since I was 4 years old I have been going to a rustic cabin on a remote lake in Ontario Canada with my family. The water is clean enough to drink right from the lake, there are few people and there are more stars at night than a city dweller could ever imagine. Over the years this became a place where I recharged my soul for the year ahead. It is where I feel one with all of creation. It became sacred to me by the time I was 8. Around that time, we heard that the government was going to open up the land to logging and a road was going to be built near our cabin. Prior to that time we had to take a boat across a 10 mile lake to reach our cabin. I am sure the adults initially saw this as a relief and a welcome convenience. My brother and I were horrified. I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach. After I cried over the news, I became angry and wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Canada letting him know how logging was going to ruin this place for my family and all the animals that lived here. This was my first act as an environmentalist.

I share this story to illustrate that I did not learn to protect the earth from anything I was taught at school, from Earth Day celebrations or from hearing about pollution in the news. I learned to be an environmentalist when something I felt a deep connection to was about to be taken away. I felt the wrongness of it in my core, even at that young age.

As an environmentalist I hope to share my convictions with my own children in hopes that they too will learn to live lightly and make the world a better place. I have been tempted to take my children to rallies and I admit that I have shared too many of my frustrations about the latest political/environmental clash from the news. Our young children don't need to know what is wrong with the world, at least not yet. Adult problems are for adult to work on. Children these days have enough of the despair of the adult world to carry around on their shoulders. What young children need is to spend time in nature in a state of wonder and awe. They need to find their own sacred places that become a part of who they are. My hope is that one day they too will be enraged at threats to the environment, but not because of what I have taught them, but because of how they have lived.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Somehow I came across your blog by googling for a salmon sale at my local Piggly Wiggly. I still can't figure out how that led me to this blog... but, what a pleasant surprise! I am a mother of a 2 year old girl who has been striving to green my lifestyle and parenting. How wonderful it is to find a blog of like-minded parents in Hartland (where I also live). I was just thinking how I feel like there is a great deal of on-line support nationally but I hadn't yet found a local group who were supporting each other in these efforts. I am so happy to have found you!

Sincerely, Laurie (