Green Corner (Sept. 2016)

Hello MPS community,

My name is Becky, mom to Cadel (4’s class) and Charles (19 months). My family and I moved to the neighborhood from Seattle at the beginning of this year and felt very fortunate to discover this great preschool right down the street. I’m looking forward to getting to know the MPS community more throughout the coming year, and I’m also excited to be writing this column, which I hope will be useful to many of you and a starting point for further conversation.

I’m a full-time mom right now, and I have a background in environmental science. For me, parenthood and sustainability go hand-in-hand in that they’re both challenges I’m passionate about, and also because both of these realms demand us to delve down deep to our most basic human longings. What do we desire for ourselves, our children, and our planet? How can we live in harmony with the rest of the natural world? We want healthy children and a healthy planet. We want to leave behind a world more vibrant than the one we were born into. We want to teach our children to protect the beauty they see so clearly around them, the beauty they teach us to see with every dandelion they lovingly shove up to our faces.

I believe that by being involved in our children’s lives at this early age, we give them the confidence they need to internalize the message, I matter. From there, they can reach a place where they realize that what they do matters, that every tiny action creates ripples. They can then grow up to become citizens who care about finding a balance between meeting our human needs and protecting wild spaces, who care about living in a way that doesn’t sacrifice the ability of future generations to live as well.

The magnitude of the environmental crises of our time is so huge, it’s tempting to feel overwhelmed, even depressed; you might think, What difference can I possibly make? I am a firm believer that the little things matter, and I want my kids to know this too. Our daily lives are filled with dozens of decisions that we make that affect how much resources we use, how much waste we generate, how much greenhouse gases are emitted to power our lives. We can make a difference with our choices every day.

Since it’s back to school time and many of us are back on new, fast-paced schedules, shepherding our kids here and there and running errands to get everyone what they need, and the weather is cooling as well, I thought we could think about those Starbucks cups that we all clutch from time to time. Although Starbucks had released a statement a few years back announcing a goal to have recycling in all of their stores by 2015, those cups are still not recyclable anywhere in Portland. They’re actually a mix of paper and plastic and so are difficult to recycle. That goes for coffee cups from any shop, unless they happen to be compostable ones. But then let’s be real–most of us are drinking on the go, and when it’s time to get rid of the cup, the nearest garbage can is typically where we reach, no matter what kind of cup it is.

So why not commit to taking a reusable cup with you wherever you go? I have a vacuum-insulated thermos from Klean Kanteen that I use for just about everything. I’ve used it to keep my cold brew cold in the summer, my hot coffee hot in the winter. I’ve used it to buy deli take out as well. How about get one on AmazonSmile and benefit MPS too?

If you have suggestions for future topics or questions you’d like to see explored in the Green Corner, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Becky Buck Douville

(Cadel, 4s)