Environmentally Friendly…

As I have said before, the primary motive for my passion for the environment can be found in the faces of my children. I want to leave them a world capable of supporting them and their children’s children. But I like many others fear that the damage has been done…that we are leaving our children environmentally bankrupt.

Growing our own...back when I first learned of climate change.
Growing our own…back when I first learned of climate change.

I remember well the first time I heard the words…climate change and global warming. It was seventh grade social studies. As I heard what was then considered just a theory, I was frightened. I am more so today as we see the beginnings of those predictions. I hope that it is not too late to reverse it…and I wish that our governments and we as individuals had taken this ‘theory’ seriously long ago.

Of course, like my opponent on the BBC’s The Big Question on Mother’s Day, you may feel that having six children is itself environmentally burdensome. I disagree. Size of family does not necessarily directly correlate to environmental footprint. Our family, for example, drives on average ten miles per week; instead we walk or take public transport. We recycle far more of our garbage than ends up in dumps. In fact, we usually have only one 13 gallon bin bag per week. We even compost our food products.

On the other hand, there are single people and couples, who drive more than ten miles each day; often in sports cars or SUVs that are anything but environmentally friendly. They may throw out everything; producing far more than our one bin bag. They may travel long distance several times a year for either business or pleasure.

In fact, I see the inter-connectedness of the core values on this issue. I would argue that large families such as mine may on average do less damage to the environment. First of all, as I said as a mother of six I feel passionately about the future I leave for my children. I believe this is a common concern among large families…a strong sense of moral responsibility. Secondly, there is often a strong link between saving money and being environmentally friendly. Large families holiday closer to home; rather than spending money on expensive and polluting air travel. So you tell me, which would have more impact on our precious environment?

Just for the record, during my master’s programme in management, I minored in environmental management. While I do not hold myself out as an expert on environmental science, I do feel that I have an above average understanding of the concepts and issues. I have even delivered a presentation to the National Association of Environmental Professionals in the US. It was on the competing smog capitals of Houston and Los Angeles, both places I have called home.

So, for personal and professional reasons, I believe strongly and am personally connected to saving this precious resource, which is the world in which we live and her creatures. I do as much as I can; little and big things that I hope other families large and small will take up. Things like growing my own, composting, recycling, and walking to the store. Is it enough? I hope so…for all our sake.

One response to “Environmentally Friendly…”

  1. No one can question your commitment to the environment: it is outstanding! Stereotypes can be very unfair; after all, one or two demographic criteria say nothing of people’s character. The issue of family size though is less concerned with this generation’s impact than in the impact perhaps two or three generations from now. Two people who have six children, each of whom have six children, each of whom have six children… you get the idea. Hopefully the responsible environmental values you are teaching to your little ones will be handed down through the generations, but unfortunately there is no guarantee. Each child may find a wonderful partner, but one whose parents had different values – so the message may become diluted. The answer, as always, is to concentrate on the present moment, on what we are doing today to help ensure that our children are the environmental leaders of tomorrow.

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