A Green Light in a Red Home…
She was very young, 3 or 4, when our green light started to blink. As we drove through the streets of suburbia, the extensive urban sprawl was evident everywhere. Orange trees and grapefruit trees were plowed down quickly and furiously by developers. From her car seat she would become enraged about the trees and animals. We found it amusing… at first.
She became incessant and consistent in her convictions as the years passed by. The groves of trees all around us were still being destroyed. She wanted to write to the President of the United States. We started to become concerned. Where was this coming from? How did this happen? A green girl in our very red home. It became a joke — our little “treehugger,” we would say.
One day, standing in our kitchen, she asked me a very pointed question. “Do we recycle?” she knew the answer, by this time she was 5 or 6. I honestly said, “no” (I was a little ashamed). “Why not?” she pressed. I didn’t have an answer. What was I to say? The county provides containers for that very purpose and they retrieve the containers from the end of our driveway. Instead of answering her question I said “Let’s start now.” She was pleased. We immediately found the recycle containers in the garage and put them in a handy place. Then we went on line and looked up the rules, days and times for our area.
My green light grew brighter. She became more outspoken in homes that we visited as well. Innocently she asked them if they recycle as she finished with a plastic container or soda can. Her message was clear.
More years have passed and she is 11 now. Recently she said “I’m not a treehugger.” I asked her why she would say that and her reply was revealing. “I do care about the environment but I’m not a treehugger.” My sensitive girl had taken offense to our comments. I realized her green light, that had once shown so brightly, was an innate part of her. We were able to dim that light by our offhand remarks and basic disregard for her concerns. I regretted not allowing her to write her letter to the President years ago.
She is my inspiration. Encouraging me to passionately pursue a green lifestyle, green products and green issues in our world. She is a social conservative (at this point… I will remember my past mistakes and embrace her unconditionally no matter what her stance on the issues) and a very green girl. She is a green light in a red home. Actually, she is a green light in a red community. Her statement today, “God gave us the earth; we should take care of it.” I agree.
Photo Credit: Justin via Flickr