Slacktivists and their children
Nothing separates human kind from other earthly creatures more than free will and our intellectual capabilities. Unfortunately, these two things have also made it hard for us to happily co-exist with the natural world.
Hindsight is always 20/20. Just look at Adam & Eve.
Things have only gotten worse since we were ousted from the Garden of Eden. In the last century alone we have caused natural disasters of biblical proportions and the worst has perhaps yet to take effect. To top it off, we’re looking to junk science to divert us from facing the consequences of our actions. The truth is just too inconvenient.
Our children, however, don’t find this truth inconvenient. To them it’s just the truth; nature is something to be cherished and protected. –and they’re ready and willing to tackle it.
One day, about a year ago when I was walking my 6 year old daughter, Charlie, home from school, she said to me: “Dad, me and my friend Molly want to create posters that say ‘No polluting’ and post them all over town, and we want a website so we can show our posters to friends who don’t live here!” “What made you think of this?” I asked. “Look around! There is trash everywhere!” she said while collecting any litter she could find in her tiny hands.
She was 6 and she felt empowered. (The irony of posting non-pollution notes all over town was lost on her, but she agreed to start with a website.) She could write, she could draw and she knew what a website was. Starting a local advocacy campaign with extension to the web was a natural beginning step for a 6-year old wanting to save the world. She drew a banner on a piece of paper that said “No Plooting” (her spelling has improved) and commanded me to scan it in and put it in the header of her website.
This crescendo doesn’t lead to a story about Charlie birthing a momentous online movement. Interest in the site lasted about as long as the hour it took to build. At least so it seemed. When she turned 7 she asked me to give her the password to the site so that she could update her age. She knew the site was still live and as far as she was concerned, visited by every person on the Internet. (You can find it here.) And although her interest in the website may have waned, her belief in caring for nature has not.
I started thinking about her site again as Charlie and I spent this morning at the beach. Sensing her deep love for the shore, I felt that perhaps I should not fear as much for the environment as much as I have, because my daughter’s generation won’t be slacktivists like me. They will do amazing things to bring nature back to us – even if they’ll have to use technology to do so.
P.S. Before you’re off to your busy day, take the time to recharge your creativity by listening to this beautiful composition called “Kenai” by former Atlantic Highlands, NJ resident Dan Wilensky, renowned Jazz musician and dad of Molly, Charlie’s partner in the fight against plooting!
The song is inspired by another coastal region, the amazing Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.
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