Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hunting for Tupperware and Eating Dirt--Earth Day 2010


I woke up this morning, came downstairs, and found two of my kids waist-deep in our Tupperware cabinet. Lids and containers were being shoved sideways onto the floor and sighs of exasperation flew.

"What are you doing?" I asked, pulling their feet to free them from their task.

"Can't throw anything away today," Benjamin began. "It's Earth Day."

The school my children attend asked them to be mindful today... of what they bring to school, how it is packed and what might be thrown away. Garbage pails have been removed from all classrooms and attention is to be paid to how we are treating the earth.

Since my house itself consumes Tupperware products, intent on separating forever lids from bases, this made for a busy morning. We scraped rock bottom for snack packing, resorting to packing fruits snacks for Elizabeth in a Tupperware Popsicle maker.

As we climbed into the van, I glanced around at my crew and found that each of them had located a green shirt to wear and were ready for the day ahead. Several of my kids will be planting flowers at school, hands in dirt, sun on faces, wind in hair.

All in all, I am glad it is being marked. Glad that my children, who really never consider the plastic bags they use every day, are thinking about what will come of it all... that baggie, that wrapper, that water bottle tossed. Glad that they are paying attention to the details of conservation and their part to play. Glad that they will see that it is not only about trash but about tending the earth, as well.

I thought about that a while today and have come up with a couple things I think we will try next week. Earth Day is great and all... but what does it really mean if it is only for a day? Here is what I came up with:

1. We go through a ridiculous number of towels each week. Why? Because they wear the towel out of the bathroom and leave it in a heap on their floor. Then, when it is time for another bath, there is no towel in the room and they go to the closet for another. Next week, I think I will lock the door to the linen closet and give each child ONE towel to use. Towels are used when they are clean after all! Maybe they will be more motivated to locate it or hang it to dry. I would guess that this will cut 5 loads of laundry off my list next week... saving water, detergent, electricity, gas. Seems like it's worth a try!

2. Along the same lines, we wash WAY too many clothes each week. Why? I have no idea but I swear I am washing some of these clothes twice. Next week, we will lay out 7 pairs of socks, 7 pairs of underwear and 7 potential outfits each for the week. We will re-wear (gasp!) jeans and make a pile of what is actually dirty to be washed. I cannot even guess how much this would save us since I do laundry daily and am never caught up!

3. With 4 kids on 5 teams and Noah running track as well, it is time to look at our water bottles. I know we have reusable bottles... and I only need four to get us back on track. What a great way to keep junk out of the landfill and keep us hydrated, too!

Three easy ideas. Three ways to be mindful. Knowing we are making a difference can go an awfully long way. The day will come when my children are grown and begin to look at the earth as their own. They will make more decisions for its future then and if I want those choices to be sound, we need to pay attention today.

When we look at this task as a chore, I think it's easy to lose our way. What if we incorporate a bit of wonder, a bit of beauty, a bit of fun, as well? What if we help our children notice the glory of nature... the song of the birds, the flowers blooming, the restoration of spring? What if we help them to see God's hand in all of that and lead them to know Him in a deeper way by noticing His work? Then, Earth Day has a deeper purpose... a higher call... and becomes a way of life that ties tightly to, not only our habits, but our faith.

And, well, just for fun, I think I will make this for dessert:

"Dirt" Pudding

Ingredients:

2 cups cold milk
1 package chocolate pudding mix
1 carton (8 ounces) reduced-fat whipped topping
1 package (16 ounces) Oreo chocolate cream-filled sandwich cookies, crushed
Gummy worms, optional

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Divide a third of the cookie crumbs and half of the pudding mixture and put into a large, clean, plastic flower pot; repeat layers. Top with remaining crumbs, to look like dirt. Garnish with gummy worms if desired. Add plastic flowers for a realistic effect. Serve with a new, plastic trowel. (See the picture at the top of the blog!)

Now, how fun is that?? What a perfect way to celebrate Earth Day together!

Blessings on your day!

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