There's a feeling of continuity, when you have kids, that wasn't there before. Once I looked into Raines' face for the first time, everything changed. I realized that I would never be able to look at anyone again without - at some level - acknowledging that they too came from someone. They have a mother, and a father and a grandmother and a great-grandfather and we are, ultimately, connected to all of our ancestors and to each other. Once upon a time, we all opened our eyes and stared at the world with wonder.
So it's hard, I think, not to care about the environment once you have children. Once your kids have spent their tummy time staring intently at a blade of grass, or cooing happily at the wind blowing through the trees, or eating their fair share of sand, mud and - ugh - lake water....these things suddenly become so much more precious than they ever were before.
The whole concept of "saving" the environment is a tough one. Each time I take one of those quizzes to calculate my environmental footprint, I'm often discouraged by the fact that the low-ish use of my car is offset by all of the flying we do. Or my recycling isn't enough once you consider the length of my showers. And I'd love to compost, but I can't seem to figure it out. (Although, my mother-in-law just throws all food scraps outside of her door. No fancy equipment, no turning things over, no reading endless blogs about it, just BAM. Out the door, in a pile.)
But I do believe in doing something. Something beats nothing every time. And a big part of my something is simply making sure that my kids grow up loving the outdoors. Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, talks about how the most passionate environmentalists are simply the ones who've spent lots of happy time outdoors. (Hunters are high on this list, by the way.)
So in honor of Earth Day, I've come up with a few resolutions for the year that will help me to celebrate, honor, and hopefully preserve this amazing world we live in.