Respecting This Planet

So it seems the year 2017 has every major holiday falling on a Sunday – which is the day I post on my blog. Bad planning on my part, but Happy Easter anyway folks!

My husband and I decided to take a week off from work, coinciding with the kids’ spring break, but we stayed in Chicago this time. We entertained out of town guests last weekend, accomplished a few tasks (1st quarter taxes – submitted!). I prepped fabric for new ice dyed napkins and posted new listings on Etsy.

Also, we took a trip to Oglesby IL to hike at Starved Rock State Park. It was my first time there. I was thrilled to see such tall canyons, with beautiful waterfalls, strenuous hiking, and climbing. It was a fun day – and luckily the weather was perfect.

Waterfall at Wildcat Canyon.

I saw two plastic water bottles in our hikes, which was disturbing to me. The signs were pretty clear – any trash you make is trash you take. What’s so hard to understand about that?

Later my daughter and I were discussing this, and she mentioned that during our hike, while Mitch and I took a break by the bridge, she and my son climbed their way up to a high-up cave. There they saw the remnants of someone’s lunch: an unopened package of Lunchables, wrappers, plastic bottles, a couple of unused Crunch bars (said my son incredulously, who would leave an uneaten Crunch bar?!). It was disheartening, and my daughter was disgusted. We were both bewildered and saddened that this still happens. I literally cannot drop a piece of trash on the ground, it just feels absolutely wrong – it’s like coming to a party and taking a big dump in the middle of the room in front of everyone. You just don’t do that!

My husband asked a good question. Why do people visit places like Starved Rock, and then dump their trash there? If they appreciate a natural place like that, why would they even consider leaving their refuse behind? How thoughtless!

There are so many reasons why we love nature. It brings us peace, serenity, and a place to unwind from our busy lives. It calls us to climb its walls and mountains, sleep under the stars, explore its treasures. Nature inspires us with its ability to live, age, die and regenerate, all in such unique and remarkable ways. It inspires us to write, to create…it inspires some of us to live in nature and live off nature in a sustainable way. Many of us take our blessings for granted…that untouched forest nearby, the amount of fresh water we use, the air that we breathe. Most of us don’t even want to think about the amount of garbage we make (plastic bags, paper napkins, plastic disposable bottles). Do we know where the nearest landfill is? Have we checked it out recently?

French Canyon in Starved Rock State Park.

I asked my daughter, how is it that people still don’t understand that we cannot litter? She said they teach it in school all the time. In Environmental Science classes, biology, health, they teach it constantly. The scouts teach it. Summer camps probably teach it. Some families teach it. Her guess is that most adults understand it, but many young kids still don’t. Perhaps they leave trash and their parents don’t notice or forget to check. She said that most young children don’t understand the long-ranging effects that leaving your garbage behind has on the planet. I asked, how? How can we do this? PSAs during cartoons? She said maybe, but most importantly, we need to reach kids in a way that they can understand – that they can relate. We need to give children examples of how nature is such an integral part of their lives, and how what they do today will affect nature in the future. Teaching kids to respect our planet should be as important as how we teach children to respect themselves, and others.

April 22nd is Earth Day, right? It would be nice if everyone considered every day to be Earth Day. Next time I go hiking, I’m going to bring a bag and a glove with me. If I see something that doesn’t belong there, I’ll pick it up and put it where it does belong.

Left to Right: persistent roots on river trail; waterfall under a bridge; vines reaching toward IL River

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