Our family has had a very exciting summer, but unfortunately, I didn't take the time to write about it. Hopefully, there will be time for introspection later. But for now, it seemed like Blog Action Day would be a good re-entry point into the blogosphere.
We drove over 5,000 miles this summer, passing through at least 14 states on a road trip that makes our Road Trip to the Edge of Sanity look like a little jaunt to Starbucks. Even though I had visited most of the places we went in my youth, visiting with my own children and seeing American's wild places through their eyes was nothing short of exhilarating. The prairies and one-of-a-kind rock formations of South Dakota, the beauty and bison of Yellowstone, the grandeur of the Grand Tetons. In our visits to over 5 national parks this summer, I was reminded again of the foresight of our forefathers in preserving the massive and beautiful lands of our amazing country for everyone to enjoy. These places are truly amazing gifts for the future.
The main reason for our huge road trip was our family's move to Oregon. Having lived in Alaska while growing up, I've always been very conscious of nature and our impact on it, and now that we are in Oregon, it is easy to see the impact humans have on the earth... much easier than when we lived in Texas. What concerns me most is America's seemingly short sighted view of climate change. Usually we are the leaders in the world, but for some reason, on this topic we seem to be lagging behind and jeopardizing our children's future in the process.
My son loves Arctic animals and many of our conversations center around whales, walruses and polar bears. I will never forget the day that Jack said he wanted to grow up and go to the Arctic to see polar bears. It was soon after they were added to the Endangered Species list and I couldn't believe that it was actually very likely that they would not be around by the time he was grown. I had never had a realization like that before.
So, at the risk of repeating everyone else on the earth, here are some things we do to try and help save the polar bears, walruses and other Arctic animals that are being urgently threatened by the receding ice:
Recycle. We now recycle more than we throw away. We also try to consciously buy things that are used or have very little packaging. This is especially difficult when it comes to toys!
Drive less. We are very fortunate that we now live in a place where taking public transportation is easy and considered quite normal. The kids just love taking the train into town.
Unplug. Did you know that cell phone chargers that are plugged in, but not being used by a phone still use electricity? I didn't until recently. Now I'm vigilant about unplugging things we're not using... even the television.
Buy less. I know that is totally un-American of me, but I'm trying to raise children who are content without a lot of stuff. Cheap toys are so easy to come by these days the kids don't appreciate what they have, and who knows what the factories (mostly in China) are doing environmentally while they produce $3 toys for America's children.
I know there's not much new here, but I would urge you to educate yourself -- for your children's sake. This issue is a huge one, and one that can no longer be ignored. American's traditionally have a spirit of ingenuity and a reputation of rising to the occasion. I think it will take an entire generation of American creativity and knowledge to help make an impact of change. The best place to start is at home with our own families. For a good jumping off point, visit the EPA's climate change site for kids, and in the process help save the future for our children.