Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lights, Tamara, ACTION...3 months later

Tomorrow, Kaya will be 27 months. Not a very significant number at all, except as it relates to a post that I wrote around Kaya's 2nd birthday this year. The Unconventional Birthday Gift was one that I was very excited to give: instead of giving her a boat-load of unnecessary things that would pile up and take their toll, I wanted to give her something that would make a real difference in her world...and in ours as well. I ultimately decided that I wanted to inspire others to do something, to take on an action to be completed within 3 months, that would make some sort of difference for our planet, for her world.

Some people jumped on the idea right away, sharing within days, their excitement, intentions, and in some cases, the completion, of the action they had in mind. Their comments are there and I encourage you to check them out for some great ideas and inspirations.

Others of you mentioned to me that you had something in mind, and would be working on it over the months. This post is partly for you, to provide you that place, and my follow-through, so you can share your action with the rest of us.

And for the rest of you, who either didn't see the post, made no promises, or had no intentions of taking action, I write this for you, too. Let me explain.

You may have seen my post about the movie, HOME (which, by the way, can be watched in other languages, too--in my quick search, I found it in Italian, Spanish, German, and Russian). I'm still feeling VERY motivated and inspired from that movie, and wanted to share a conversation that ensued with my neighbor about this whole bilingual child-rearing thing.

She was telling me about a conversation she'd had with her Austrian mother-in-law a month before she died, in which her mother-in-law shared with her some of her regret at how she'd raised her kids. "I'd throw them in the car on the weekends and we'd head out on various camping trips to different countries," she shared, in so many words. "I wanted to teach them that the world was their playground, that they could go anywhere, and do anything, where ever they wanted to do it... And now," she lamented, "they are gone or soon-to-be-going." By instilling in her children this perspective that the world is their oyster (as well as by speaking to them in Danish), she ended up spending her aging days alone, with two children in Denmark and the other in the States. Naturally, they'd come visit from time to time, and were with her in her last 10 days, but that's no clearly substitute for relations built in the same vicinity.

I know that I can't guarantee that Kaya will stay close as we grow older. In fact, as our culture dictates, she will probably leave, and may not return. 'If you love them, set them free...', of course. I am in now way opposed to doing that. But what this conversation had me realize is the tendency that we have these days, that we've had in the past 50 years, to be off, to go, to fly away, to drive into the sunset just for the sake of driving, just for the sake of visiting...because we can. Planes are so affordable now, and despite the rising oil prices, so is gas. What is there to keep (most of) us from flying to Germany to visit relatives, or to do an exchange program in Spain? Money aside, nothing really. It's the way it is these days. It's just what you do. At least in my circle. Traveling internationally felt like a badge, road trips were something to brag about. They still are, actually. And my point is this: what am I doing? Why? Do I really want to instill in my daughter the importance of flying all over the world, to possibly fall in love and live 4500 lbs of CO2 away (in Germany)?

Not really, now that I think about it.
Not really, at all.
And not just because I want her close.

It's that movie. It's the reality.
Changes have to happen or we'll be living under conditions that we've never encountered before.
And what could that mean for Kaya? For all of our kids? And theirs?

I hate saying stuff like that, especially in that way. I know that there are many people who hear it and turn their cheek. For good reason. It's f-ing overwhelming. What I'm supposed to do about it? What can I do? What is little old me really going to be able to do to reverse the trends of 50 years? I'm sure it isn't as dire as they say. The Great (insert term of choice) won't let that happen.

And that's exactly why I write, publicly now. Because I'm confident that each one of us, and thus all of us together, can make a difference, can un-do some of what has been done to this earth. It's just a matter of keeping our heads in the game (i.e. looking at it head-on, sans overwhelm, sans guilt...), sharing our efforts with others, and remembering that everyone has choice. No one likes to be "should" upon.

I have plans. Many of us do.
I've taken actions, as most of have.
And in due time, I will share more of them.

But for now, I'm hoping that you will write about it the one/s you were inspired to take 3 months ago on Kaya's birthday, or the ones that you just take because you, too, recognize the importance of loving our planet and inspiring others to do the same.

Sharing inspires others.
Hope you'll consider it.


  1. Dear Kaya,

    Happy 2nd Birthday! I would like to share some of my research on recycling water bottles and what impact water bottles have on our precious earth if not recycled properly. Better yet, at the end of my research you will find that I’ve come up with a solution that will help our environment immensely. My wish is for people reading this “comment” to hopefully think twice about how they recycle their water bottles and what they can do to lesson their consumption of water in disposable containers…....and that some day you will do the same!


    Recycling is an easy way to help the environment. In addition, many people purchase water bottles, and water bottles are a great item to recycle. Also, if you save your used recyclable products, you could end up making a decent amount of money off of them if you live in a state that charges and redeems deposits for water bottles.

    It's important to recycle plastic bottles because if they are just discarded in your regular garbage they go to a landfill with the rest of your garbage. Plastic will last forever in a landfill (1,000 years to degrade) and will just take up space there. That is one of the primary reasons plastic bottles need to be recycled. Plastic bottles are easily recycled. They don’t take up a lot of space in your recycling bin at your house. The best way to recycle is to rinse out the bottle and squeeze the bottle together and put the cap back on it. You will have to check with your local area to find out if the caps can be on or not. If they can be on, they are processed with the bottle. Once the plastic bottle is recycled it goes to a recycling center or a material recovery facility (MRF, pronounced “merf”) and goes through the system. The bottles are mulched up, sterilized, cleaned and turned into pellets. Then the pellets are made into brand new plastic bottles. Most plastic bottles used to drink soda or water is made from recycled plastic with help from a solid waste planning engineer and recycling program coordinator.


    When plastic is recycled, it is sorted into separate different types of plastic, after which it is crushed into a cube and bailed. Plastic is recycled by being sorted into numbers. The 1’s are sorted from the 2’s, the milk jugs from the water bottles, because of the fact that those materials are going to marketed separately. When it comes into a facility it is pushed into 1 hopper in the floor. That material is pushed up through a conveyer system to the top of the compactor and is dropped into the bailer facility where a ram crunches the material and makes a cube out of it. That plastic is then banded up and pushed out of the bailer and loaded onto trailers to be shipped off to markets to be remanufactured for a number of uses, one of which is to make more bottles.

    to be continued......

  2. Continued.....


    The Container Recycling Institute thinks a nationwide bottle deposit law would create the incentive to recycle, especially when it comes to plastic bottles, and ease the burden on taxpayers, who pay for cleaning up litter. New York State (where I live) recently implemented a bottle deposit law on water bottles. Personally, I hope this means less trash in our streets of Buffalo, NY and our suburbs!! If you return your plastic bottles at the store the same measures are taken to recycle your water bottles….the bonus is that you receive your deposit back!

    Statistics - Only 23 percent of the water bottles that Americans use are ever recycled. This means that 38 billion water bottles are filling up landfills instead of being reused.

    Decomposing - It takes a plastic water bottle 1,000 years before it will even begin to start decomposing.

    Danger to the Environment - When water bottles are not recycled, they can do serious damage to the environment. If a water bottle is burned, it releases toxic smoke which destroys the ozone layer (which we need to protect us from UV rays and skin cancer).

    Uses for Recycled Bottles - Recycled water bottles can be turned into many useful items such as carpet, clothing, new bottles, electronic parts and car parts.

    The Truth - The truth is that recycling only marginally helps cut down the amount of resources needed to make packaging products such as water bottles. The root of the problem is that there is too much consumption and production of plastics. Try to buy fewer water bottles, because in many cases, tap water is just as clean if not cleaner than bottled water.
    Since the start of my research I have purchased 6, 16oz. Eco water bottles by Tupperware to fill up and reuse for personal use. I even gave 2 of them to my parents (your Great Uncle Eugene and Great Aunt Shirley) for the same reason!

    For me, I know that there will be times when I purchase and drink water from a disposable container but I’ve made a commitment to myself, our environment, and you that I will recycle the bottle(s) at the store and get my $.05 back!

    Your 2nd cousin Jennifer

  3. Jen,
    I am so honored, and excited!!, that you took the time to write so much, to do so much, to learn about it, in the end, for you and all the people you will come in contact with. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


I LOVE reading your comments, they make such a difference! Thanks for sharing!