I have the great privilege in my everyday life of sharing the gift of reading and environmental awareness messages with 3-8 year olds. I am always tickled by the ideas they have, impressed by the questions they ask and thrilled when I receive an email or phone call from parents letting me know the master plan to get all adults to think green, via their children, is working! Each day this week I wanted to share a child’s comment, view or observation with you coupled with some facts about the topic.
Please write me with your experiences as well.
Best to you,
Jeanine Behr Getz
“Mommy why is that person still using a plastic bag?”
When I was young my mother used to remind me not to stare, not say inappropriate things in public about people’s appearances, not to speak with strangers, along with a long list of additional manners and rules to live by. So imagine my surprise when my 5 year old asked me in a loud enough voice that all the nearby checkout lines at our local grocery store could hear, “mommy, why is that person still using a plastic bag?”…
Before I tell you what my reaction was, I have to share with you several plastic bag statistics:
- Plastic bags were introduced 25 years ago.
- The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.
- According to the EPA, U.S. consumes over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps each year.
- More than 1 million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals, and countless fish die annually through ingestion of and entanglement in marine debris, including plastic bags.
- Less than 1% of all plastic bags get recycled in the U.S.
(Thank you Alex for sending me this wonderful video from across the pond)
…Well I stood still, in shock, mouth & eyes wide and a bit flush, questions running through my head, should I remind my daughter not to talk about other people’s appearances, like mother did? Should I let the person, who clearly heard her, answer? Should I hug my child and tell her how proud I am of her for noticing and knowing? Should I just pretend I didn’t hear a thing and ignore the situation? I had to think quickly and do the proper parenting and as it turned out… I didn’t have to say a word. A lovely man behind me quickly came to my rescue by saying, “look little girl I brought my own bag”, then his quick thinking prompted another person, one line over, to lift her bags high so my daughter could see them and then with great pride and camaraderie a swell of others held up their reusable bags as well for the 5 year old to see. She turned to me with a great big smile and said, “Wow, so there are more people thinking green here!” I smiled back, held her soft little hand and as we walked away assured her that we are all trying to change our habits, make a difference and think green!
I think the question is a reasonable one, do you?