Monday, February 11, 2008
By Leanne Italie
Associated Press Writer
The couple cares deeply about the environment, but if you ask their kids, 12-year-old Sinika and 8-year-old Soren, it's sometimes not deeply enough.
"My hopeless mother is obsessed with plastic bags," said Soren, a third-grader and huge fan of Al Gore's global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."
"A lot of plastic can't be recycled," chimed in his sister, who's in the seventh grade. "The turtles can get suffocated and it can go into the water. My dad gave her a cloth bag but she doesn't use it. Plastic drives me nuts!"
Say hello to Generation Green. They're young, well-researched and mad as heck — inspired by an outpouring of movies, TV shows, books, websites and "green classes" at school. They've been learning how to save the planet since toddlerhood, and they're taking on their parents to do more, do better.
While some parents fret that the pop culture tidal wave amounts to environmental indoctrination, others are looking for ways to accommodate their kids — and compromise when the price tag or the convenience factor come into play.
"I get it, I get it, I'm a bag lady," Martin said of her plastic-wrapped groceries. "But I'm always doing spontaneous shopping so it's hard. It isn't always feasible. Of course it's making me feel guilty. I know I shouldn't use them but in everyday living it's hard."
Tiffany Bluemle in Burlington, Vt., knows exactly how she feels. She and her partner, Elizabeth Shayne, drive an environmentally friendly hybrid and live a generally green lifestyle. When their 8-year-old son, Will, wanted a "global warming" birthday party earlier this year, they treated him to a cake decorated as Earth, a bike repair workshop for his guests and a piInata in the shape of a gas-guzzling Hummer that partygoers beat to the ground.
"He's adamant that I drive 55 but I'm naturally a speedster," Bluemle said. "We have a bumper sticker on the car saying '55 slows down global warming.' It's killing me." [LM comment: Sticker designed by Local Motion member Leah Wallace]
Will has begged his parents to buy a new dishwasher to cut down on energy use. He imagines redesigning their house with solar and wind power and a passthrough of used kitchen sink water to flush toilets. Earth, he said, "is a lot of animals' home. If a lot of animals become extinct it would be hard for us to live."
Bluemle shares her young eco-warrior's passion but said she's careful not to over-promise while encouraging him to dream big.
"I want to make good on any pledges that I make," she said. "At this point it's pretty doable, yet we don't use a renewable form of energy to power the house. Very frankly, we don't have the money."