They Call me Tree Hugger . . .

EarthBy Pam Denholm

My mom often used to shake her head, and teasingly tell me I was the postman’s child, or that she didn’t know where I came from.  I got her good looks and brains, she used to say, but the farm girl part – the part of me that prefers rubber boots to Prada heels and camping to room service; that I got from somebody else.

Before South Shore Organics, I was the one to start recycling initiatives at work, get rid of bottled water, and replace the donuts with a fruit bowl.  I was THAT girl.  I have been called ‘tree-hugger’, ‘earthy-crunchy’, ‘hippy-dippy’ and more often than not people have gone along with me a) because it was easier than having me harass them or b) to humor me, like patting me on the head and going ‘there-there, you can have your recycling station if it means that much to  you’.  I confess, I don’t think I have always been taken seriously.  But I’m okay with that, it’s a badge I wear with pride, and there are far worse things I could be called.

Doing what I do, I have the opportunity to reflect often on the choices we make, and how those choices impact our community, and our environment.  And I was talking to my mom on Skype the other day when she was telling me about an article she read that discussed our impact on the environment, and she said one thing in particular stuck with her: these choices we make are not important for the earth, the earth will be fine.  The planet has been around for 2 billion years, and it will more than likely be around for another 2 billion.  These choices are important so that we can keep the environment on planet earth conducive to supporting human life.

There you go, in that one statement, a lightbulb went off for my mom, and she understood what her tree-hugging-rubber-boot-wearing daughter had been trying to tell her for years.  Caring for the earth is not an act of generosity, it’s not an act of nurturing, or about placing a premium or value on the life of the seemingly insignificant, we are not saving trees, we are saving ourselves.   I learned something too.  I had been explaining it wrong.

So, to that end, as I, like everybody else, have been reflecting on the gifts and challenges of 2014, and pondering what I would like to do differently in 2015 – I realized that making pledges about me, my life, and my world are important.  Eat better, make more time for meaningful conversation with my children, or rather, communicate more mindfully so that I am not just asking for homework to be done and laundry to be put away – but actually having conversations with them – they are good resolutions to make positive changes.  And then too I decided I needed one extra, something that extends beyond me, an extra pledge or resolution that is about the big picture – I haven’t decided what it is yet, but it has to be outside my home, or business, and something that requires me to donate my time, even if it’s nominal.

I have asked my children to do the same, think of something they want to do, and we will be talking about it here as we pack boxes too.  And I would like to invite you join us!

The thing that we never get over, is that we contain our own future.

~ Barbara Kingsolver


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