I took a breath and closed my eyes. For the first time today, silence. Pure, unadorned silence. The kids had gone outside with dad on a bike ride. Picking up shoes and art work strewn across the family room floor, I headed back through the hall.
The very brightly lit hall! Darn it. The kids had left the lights on in both of their rooms. I filed away their treasures and hit the switches, then walked past my husband's desk to put my shoes away. I glanced in his trash can. An empty can of Hansen's soda! Several sheets of paper and some envelopes! All recyclable.
Back in the kitchen, I opened the lid to the trash can to find coffee grinds and a banana peel. Both of which belonged in the compost bin - just one door over, under the sink.
Don't get me wrong. Mr. Green Bean is a very green being. He cares very much about the planet and votes for measures that will protect it. He looks for recycled or second hand products on the rare occasions that he engages in consumerism and, as a businessman, is very interested in companies going green. He spent a summer building my chicken coop and thoroughly enjoys our CSA.
My boys are also very eco-learned. Most of our longer excursions have been camping trips, in some shape or form. First choice for spending allowance is usually a thrift store or garage sale and they've been to the farmers' market almost as much as a regular market.
Still!! Lights left on, recyclables tossed out, compostables mixed in with regular garbage? If my family cannot live green, who can?
At dinner time that night, I remind the boys to turn out their lights. I re-explain climate change in kid-friendly terms and I wag my finger at Mr. Green Bean who promises that that trash can was a way station en route to the recycling bin. Mmmm, likely story.
Everyone promises to think more about our planet and I pass out the dinner plates. It is a casual meal of leftovers. Tugging open the silverware drawer, I spot a handful of wadded paper napkins that Chipotle stuck in our bag the last time we ordered take out. I had meant to stop them but it was raining, I had two kids and a migraine. Sighing, I set the paper napkins in front of the boys.
"Mom," my six year old piped up. "We shouldn't use these types of napkins. They cut down trees to make them."