When my son, Ethan, entered first grade and the extracurricular rat race, I was appalled by the over-consumption of bottled water and other waste. Parents with cases of bottled water in the back of their cars to dole out between activities, garage refrigerators stocked full of bottled water and Gatorade, as if their children were in training for a triathalon.
I was already concerned about the environment and the plight of the polar bear, but it was my son who inspired me to take action.
The school instructed all parents to pack water for our children daily. I packed a reusable bottle for Ethan. The first day, he whined about being the only one' without a "plastic" bottle (bottled water). My explanation about the waste and cost of bottled water-not to mention the obvious negative impact on the environment-fell on deaf ears. Or so I thought.
One day, Ethan found bottled water (one lonely half-full bottle that my husband, Craig, had somehow purchased under the radar) in our refrigerator and just about hit the roof. "Mom! What is that doing in our refrigerator?!" Another day, Ethan tattled on Craig for having an empty bottle in his car's cupholder. And Ethan began reminding my husband to turn off the lights and hoof it to the next errand if it was within walking distance. Ethan took great pride in alerting us (yes, even me... I'm not 100% perfect. Yet.) of our own environmental mis-steps. It hit me. Wouldn't all children, if so inspired, serve as daily environmental champions within their homes, too?
I custom designed reusable water bottles and developed I Count for myEARTH, an environmental awareness campaign geared toward elementary school children, which launched in January at Ethan's school. Neighbors and friends started asking my advice about other things and myEARTH360.com was born to support my passion for helping families transition to an earth-friendlier lifestyle.
When I go out with Ethan and talk to people on the streets, he (now 7-1/2) speaks up about bottled water, why we say no to plastic bags (recently, a cashier asked him if he'd like a bag for one pack of gum and Ethan laughed... "of course not" and turned to me shrugging and said, "Mom, why'd he ask me that?!) and blurts out the website address and phone number! He's been on playdates and forgotten his reusable water bottle and my friends admonish me about his refusal to accept bottled water, even when thirsty and nothing else is available on a 90 degree day at the park (I am not kidding). He thinks twice about how to spend his money at Target, although I'm planning an intervention for his and my husband's Lego addiction. I have to tell him not to point at people who carry bottled water or don't bring their reusable shopping bag. I tell him we're not here to judge, we are here to inspire others, to help them transition to an earth-friendlier lifestyle and understand why that is good for the earth and the health and well-being of generations to come.
Check out myEARTH360.com where everything you buy counts for the earth. From the eco-practical to the eco-chic. A portion of all sales benefits the National Environmental Education Foundation.
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