Since I was very young I was taught planet awareness. In elementary school we were encouraged to recycle. We were bribed into making donation for “trees” that we could plant. The “rain forest tree”, as I understood it to be as a 3rd grader turned out to be a standard shrub. The shrub is still alive and doing well on my mother’s deck of plants. Free Willy was newly filmed in Austoria, Oregon and Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” was shown during an assembly. 4th and 5th (’94-’95) grades my teacher had us turn our class into a rain forest one year and coral reef during the next… literally the class had tissue paper over the lights, we built a large tree trunk in the middle of the room out of loads of paper mache… lol, it’s no wonder Rain Forest Cafe has never impressed me. I studied the poison dart frog and some kind of fern I think. Had to make one of each. For the coral reef we made an entire wall into a reef… I studied and made a moray eel and a kind of twiggy coral which has a name that escapes me.
This is so long ago that it feel like a different person experienced those things and I’m just remembering the tale. Did the parents or teachers see Severn Suzuki speak as a seven year old at the UN Earth Summit in 1992? She is two or three years older than me; if the parents and teachers did see that speech what did they feel? What can we do? How long have the grown-ups and adults slid things forward thinking our children will pick up the burden. Kids are out living is up today while parents have have dues to pay.
The tuna, the wales, the dolphins, the salmon, the river beds, the islands of plastic trash in the oceans. Depleting forests, and ice caps, and deserts, and top soil. Food shortages, water shortages, CO2 levels, nitrogen levels, land fills, and loads upon loads of stress related illnesses. We didn’t start the fire… chicka chicka cha. Most of this only became a problem since my grandparents generation. Some of it may or may not be directly caused humans, but we’re not seeking to figure it out either. Not really. Grandparents generation will usually deny there’s a problem, my fathers generation passes it off if they acknowledge it. My generation looks set to do the same for the most part; we gotta eat and we have bills to pay.
It is encouraging to know that society is changing; people are at least starting to talk about renewable energy, even though it’s not cheap enough to actually use. There is the green/organic trend with biodegradable packaging and foods without pesticides. Water conservation, and swirly light bulbs. I can’t help but get a sense of urgency and anxiety. Do we really have time for our values to change? Should we just trust that they will?