One evening my husband and I were at a child’s first birthday party. The house was packed with stylish mommies and daddies, family, and family friends. We wove a delicate tapestry as we slid between one another to mingle and sample the hearty buffet.

I was pregnant at the time, and my husband and I didn’t know many of the guests there, so we were happy when the time arrived to open presents (which meant the party would soon be wrapping up). We watched with smiles as the toddling babe ripped through his mountain of generously-wrapped store-bought plastic toys and new clothes with the help of his little friends.

Once the mountain had transformed to two – one of toys and one of paper and bags – I proclaimed that I would gladly take any of the paper and bags that they had planned to throw away and reuse them. This statement triggered the necessity to inform the questioning guests that I am an environmentalist.

One of the stylish mommies said,
“Really? That’s weird.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Oh, I guess I just never got into that stuff,” she replied and happily changed the subject.

The rest of the night, the rest of the year, in fact, I could not get that statement off my mind. From the few encounters we have had, the woman seems, in fact, to be very sweet. I have or hold nothing against her or anyone else with different views. But the situation I just explained brings me to this point:

There are numerous reasons to devote mindfulness to the effect our actions will have on our planet. Some may believe that within their own lifetimes, quality of life will suffer because of environmental degradation. Some may have compassion for the other creatures on this planet that are suffering due to human actions. Some may even care about the Earth itself for no other reason than because it is beautiful.

But here is something that perhaps this mom has not yet contemplated. Our actions today have a direct impact on our children’s future quality of life. Every action we take to keep the environment cleaner will make the environment that much more enjoyable for our children (and grandchildren, and so on). And every action we take that degrades the environment, unfortunately, will likely negatively affect the lives of our descendants.

When I make my boys’ beds, I want to put clean sheets on them, straightening and folding blankets so that they have a pure, restful, healthy sleep. I don’t go throw dirt in their beds and start busting springs. We have opened savings accounts for them, not created debt in their names. Protecting their future home is quite similar. We all love our little ones, so let us make them a clean bed. Let us be mindful of the one planet on which we know we can live. I think they will be thankful.