Ever since the global warming monster came out of the closet and started breathing heavy on ice caps and polar bears, I’ve looked around in amazement at what a big impact we have on our little patch of the environment.
Whether or not you believe that the ice caps are melting, polar bears are headed for serious makeovers and penguin dads are going to be a little warmer during their “hold jr. on your toes” part of parenting, it’s really scary to realize just how much trash comes in a modern childhood.
First of all there’s the whole toy thing. Just buying a toy means committing to disposing of three times the toy’s weight in wrapping. I presume these 40 different zip ties and half dozen layers of plastic are designed to thwart theft.
I hope they are using these techniques on important things at the Pentagon, because trust me, no one would be able to sneak out those top secret plans if they had them wrapped up like Barbie’s doggie grooming shop.
In fact at home we have a toolbox designated for unwrapping newly bought toys which contains pliers, a flat head screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver, scissors and two knives – serrated and smooth. Pretty soon we’ll be adding a flamethrower.
And don’t even get me started on the toys themselves - which have a useful life of about an hour.
The other area where we are having a severe environmental impact is in schoolwork. I swear I never did this much work when I was at school. Was there a paste shortage when I was growing up? Was paper really expensive? Were teachers focused on doing everything on blackboards? Whatever the reason we never brought home this much schoolwork.
Then there’s the permission slips. I get several permission slips per child every week. When I was a kid I think I brought home one a year. Like seat belts, permission slips were only used for big trips – like across international waters.
I’d like to think we could reduce our carbon footprint. We’ve changed light bulbs, reduced our use of juice boxes, and tried to be less wasteful in general. We’ve tried to recycle and have created many interesting sculptures out of discarded plastic toys and bottles. But we’ve got a long way to go.
In the meantime, I’m hoping for a paste shortage.