Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day In My Town

How does one spend Earth Day in my town? By wasting as much water as you can, of course!

It started off with promise. The kids and I began discussing who started Earth Day, when and why. We talked about ways we could help the environment, big and little. I made Alec in charge of keeping the lights turned off in rooms no one was in. Alec also tried to make solar panels with straws and aluminum foil but since there was zero sun today, it kind of failed. At least he tried! I had Carmen make a colorful "Earth Day" banner for the kitchen.

And then I reminded Carmen to use the bathroom. She came back and said that something was wrong with the water in the toilet. This commode has had some issues so I got the plunger and worked away at it. Several flushes later, I asked my son to check my bathroom - if it was o.k., then the problem was just in the kids' bath. If mine was the same, the problem was with the outside line or further out. Bingo - ours had the same problem. Bummed that I had wasted all that water and arm strength, I called the city water dept. And what do you think they are doing on Earth Day? Flushing all the hydrants, of course! But they weren't in our area at the time, so she sent a workman out to our house in case it was a different issue. He arrived in record time and I answered the door, sans make-up (he didn't care but I did - at least I was dressed!) I offered to show him a sample of the water (yes, I actually got a cup of toilet water to show him - I cringe about it now!) He said it was just "compressed air" or something like that. Said it would clear up by evening. Then he ran our outdoor hose for awhile and flushed the hydrant at the corner, and then went up the street to flush another hydrant. Water poured down our hill, around the corner and headed straight for our driveway. Picture a fake flood in a disaster movie. Fortunately, our driveway has a drain built into the side - right where this flow of water went. The builder of this house must have been told that when the hydrant is flushed at the corner, our driveway is the target for the run-off. Bless him.

I was aghast at how much water had been wasted today! Just in my little block alone! And much of it was my own fault! Sigh. I was truly, truly bummed. Nothing I can do about it now except try to make up for it somehow - I know, I won't shower tonight, there's a start. I hate to think of the extra $$ on my water bill next month. I just felt like a failure, you know?

On the other hand, my kids got to see how to handle a water issue. How I interacted with the workman, thanking him for his quick response. In other words, a life issue. So, my kids learned in spite of their mother. How often this is the case.

On a positive note - my sweet oldest son, Chad, makes it his mission to pick up trash on our street on Earth Day. I gave him the route he could take. We live on a block full of women living alone (at least 6 that I know of) and I suggested he clean up in front of their homes. I gave him a trash bag and gloves and proudly watched him work. I was thankful it wasn't snowing (like yesterday) or raining, like it did later. God gave him a window of good weather to work in. I applaud my son for his efforts. It was all his idea.

All is not lost. My husband did the ultimate Earth Day thing - he bought me a Toyota Prius hybrid. It hasn't sunken in yet. I haven't had my own car in years. I don't deserve it (he disagrees with this, what a guy!)

Actually, in our home, everyday is kind of an Earth Day, as we do all we can to help the environment. We talked about ways we could up the effort (composting came to mind). So, tell me ... how did YOU spend your Earth Day? I think the international Earth Day was March 20, wasn't it? But I'd love to hear if anyone else greened up their curriculum for today.


Emily said...

you got the Prius!!!!! Now, I know you can afford a camera to take a picture for me. Or at least find a generic picture on google for me.

Rebeca said...

Can I just say how happy I am that you celebrated Earth day, and that you care about the environment? We try to do our part too, and I think this is in keeping with God giving us dominion over the earth- we should take good care of it! So, it's nice to find a fellow Christian homeschooling mama who feels the same way.
Completely unrelated, buy my little brother is now living two out of every three weeks in Astoria. He does sales for a construction company, remodeling, that sort of thing. So I think of you often when I talk to him, and maybe sometime we'll make it up that far!
Enjoy your new car!

Leingang Family said...

Congrats on the new car!

We had a bumper sticker once that said "If you love the Creator, take care of creation".

I wish I still had that thing! I have been feeling a burden to be more "green" lately. I am even going to buy cloth napkins this week. I think it will be fun. I'm even going to make some napkin rings!