Saturday, April 25, 2009

Not So Green Green Day

I'm not a super granola muncher, but I try to take care of my stewardship of Mother Earth. When I camp I always try to "leave no trace," I am careful to refrain from littering, I recycle, we walk a lot, I turn off lights and caulk around windows and doors, I hang my laundry in the summer, and I water in the evening.

Today, in honor of Earth Day, my city had an Environmental Fair. There were scores of booths set up in a big park--each reminding us about our new recycling program, teaching us how to plant trees properly, handing out free tomato seedlings, instructing us to stay on the trail, and entering us into a raffle for riding our bikes to the park. It was kid-friendly, and all, but there was a major problem with the event: it was not environmentally-friendly.

To be fair, there were a few booths that were quite green--handing out xeric plants, making crafts out of completely recycled materials, demonstrating how to spin wool, etc--but most were not. Seven of us went and seven of us came home with plastic buckets FULL of junk. Each booth had a flyer, a magnet, a pencil, or a toy. The children were given "passports" to fill with stamps and stickers. If they answered a trivia question correctly, they could walk away with a plastic beach ball or carabiner. I'm sure most of these things were made from recycled products or are intended to be used for a long time. It was hard for me to see past the waste.

The most ironic Earth Day booth was the T-shirt painting arena. The children were given organic cotton T-shirts. The organic word was the only green thing about the activity. The T-shirts were all XL (remember, little kids). The paint cans were all placed in the center of a very large fenced-off area. The children had sticks which they dipped in the cans, dripped all the way back to their T-shirt, then worked their art on the T-shirt. By the end of the day, the grass was completely painted. Just a couple of booths down, they were telling us in every possible way not to put paint in the garbage can, don't pour paints or other toxic substances on the ground, take those toxins to the hazardous waste drop site, and so forth because it leaches into our ground water (read drinking water).

I know everyone can't be perfect like me (guffaw), but if you claim to be something . . .

1 comment:

  1. I hear you. I'm all for taking care of the earth-- but I often think all this "taking care of the earth" causes the earth more trouble!
    Well written!