The oil spill in the gulf has started a lot of great conversations here at home. It started when Holden spotted an oil drenched pelican on the Washington Post. I showed the boys all of the photos from the Washington Post, explained what had happened and tried to have a bit of a chat about energy policy. I think the energy policy discussion was a bit much for them, but the conservation part they got.
Over the last few years, we've made an effort to change the consumption habits of the Lawyer Mama family. We've reduced our energy bills significantly, we started a garden, we try to buy locally (well, at least as much as we can here in Chesapeake) and we always send reusable containers to school in the boys' lunches.
The boys were horrified by the photos of the damage to the fish, animals and water in the gulf. And, because we all know that nothing will change unless the consumption habits of our country change, I tried to relate it to their lives as much as possible. I think they're getting it.
Then this afternoon I picked up my kids from camp. It's a great program here in Hampton Roads. The boys are having a blast. But when I picked them up, Hollis's camp counselor asked me if I could send Hollis in every day with a sack lunch. He explained that, because they have limited space and activities and field trips almost every day, it's hard to keep track of lunch boxes.*
I had heard about the sack lunch policy before camp began yesterday, but I intentionally ignored it, thinking they couldn't possibly have that policy now in 2010. (As if a year would make that much of a difference.) But still, I have to admit I was surprised at the request from the camp to intentionally create waste.
I was quite proud of myself for the way I handled it.
I remained calm, I shook my head sadly and said, "But that's so wasteful." As the counselor explained why they have the policy (see above) I just continued to shake my head sadly and said, "I'm so sorry, but I can't do that." I told the counselor I understood why they wanted sack lunches but that we were making an effort to teach the boys about conservation and reducing waste. I told him Hollis would be responsible for keeping track of his own lunch box and when the counselor again protested, I politely and firmly told him, "I can't do that. No. The boys' will be bringing lunch boxes and reusable containers."
I'm a little horrified at the camp right now because I know that this is not the policy of the organization running the camp. In fact, a friend with a son at another camp a few miles away from the same organization, told me they are strongly discouraged from sending in paper or plastic with lunches.
At one time I would have said, "Well, I don't want to be a rabble rouser, so I'll just let it go." I can't do that anymore. We've gotten into so many messes because everyone just goes along with the status quo. I'm putting my foot down. There will be no sack lunches coming from my house.
* Although I'm quite tempted to name the camp here, I'm not going to because I have 2 children currently attending. I'm not afraid of backlash. (Trust me, the camp is hearing this from me as well.) Nope, I'm afraid of the crazies, so I won't be giving them a road map to my kids' camp.