Mar/10

22

Try New/Old Forms of Entertainment

About nine months ago, my husband and I moved our boys to a small East Coast town. Small towns create a lot of gossip; these days it’s not just the moms at the playground that know the secrets of everyone in town, it’s your local barista. And just as Starbucks has become our generation’s version of a soda shop hangout, we have started to create a new kind of trash. As our landfills and oceans fill with plastics, grease-coated paper, and aluminum, we are just starting to see the impact on our Mother-ship. We are lucky enough to live in a town where plastic bags aren’t even an option, Newman’s Own has made organic “cool,” and Melissa & Doug have given kids great alternatives to toxic toys.

We moved our kids to a place where people meet up at the library and feed ducks stale bread by the river. We have found ways in our new town to entertain our family with minimal negative effects on the land. By checking out books at the library, we not only save money but paper as well, since many people can read one copy of the same book. We take the kids bowling with friends instead of playing video games that simulate bowling. And we ride the train to the city to visit museums and zoos and great shows instead of taking our car.

Don’t get me wrong, my kids do their fair share of staring at the tube, and they know just about every Disney movie by heart, but we allow more of that than most families I know because our boys tend to be so into puzzles and riding bikes for a large part of the day that we don’t see much harm in some quiet movie time in the late afternoon or in the backseat of a long car ride.

I guess what I am trying to say is that because of our move (and also the benefits of our new town), we have had our eyes opened to new experiences and forms of entertainment. Maybe you have most of these similar forms of entertainment nearby but haven’t yet given them a try. Sometimes you get so stuck in your daily routines and kids’ schedules that you don’t realize there is a library in town that has a million things to offer your family. Or maybe there is an aquarium a few towns over that you have yet to visit to help educate your children about our planet and all its occupants. When you are driving around your town this week, keep your eyes open for new adventures that your family can enjoy that will help reduce your carbon footprint. And make sure you carry your own water bottle and Starbucks cup along for the ride so we can reduce those waste bins’ waist lines.

Melissa Joan Hart

Read Melissa’s previous post, Are YOU in the Dark?

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