Dear Greta

Dear Greta,

I am a mother. And, by nature we mothers tend to worry.

We worry, will our children be warm? Will they grow up to take care of themselves well? Will they know what to do if they get into trouble? Will they develop good coping skills for when disappointment arises?  It never goes away, that need to worry.

When I was young, though. I didn’t worry. I just believed. I believed I would not have kids because the world was too dark and too cruel to bring another life into it. I believed the planet was too crowded. Too filled with un-recycled trash. One more human would just make more. I believed we needed to do something about the environmental mess we had inherited and contribute to if we did not change our ways.

Then I grew older. I forgot about my strongly-held beliefs. I forgot about my passion for recycling and living lightly. For skipping fast food and meat. I knew I needed to make money. Pay bills. Maybe reshape myself into someone else more befitting of a well-adjusted and thriving American adult.

And I wanted a child. And I had one. And I also continued to tiptoe into two worlds. The world of forgetting, and the world of remembering those beliefs onto which I held so strongly when I was younger and had more hope.

It was easy to teeter between these worlds because when I would forget the mess in front of us, I felt safe, and while that safe feeling was illusory, it was a temporary comfort. Then I would remember my values and life would become difficult, dark and anxiety-inducing once again. I felt powerless, and feeling powerless when you are raising a child is a tough road to navigate.

Then you took our world by storm. Granted, I had big glaring reminders along the way about what I should be doing, but regardless, your thoughts are easy to ignore if it is just you hearing them in your head. It is easy to put your actions off one more day, because no one is holding you to it but you. TV makes it even more easy. So does fast food. And the lies we tell ourselves that it will all be okay.

It won’t be okay though. We all, deep down, know that in our hearts. Not if we don’t do something big and lasting, and right now. You brought that to light. You reminded me that I cannot sit idly by if I consider myself a responsible citizen of this planet.

A lot has happened since that initial realization that I am wasting time and my own energy not doing what I should to help turn things around, and that brings me back to my worry.

There is a new one.

Have I taken enough responsibility for my actions toward this planet, and am I modeling that for my son?

I worry I have not. I started the Dirty Boots Project back in 2013 when my son was much younger. I wanted to help guide children toward developing a strong healthy relationship with nature, and a foundational sense of responsibility toward caring for our planet.  My efforts, while well-intended were slow to start. And life still gets in the way.

I recently saw you pop up again when I was online, and I was reminded again of where I want to go. Sometimes we need those reminders. Thank you for being that light in the darkness. The fierce force pushing toward positive change.

Thank you for showing the world that we have no excuse for not doing all we can to make big waves of change happen toward turning this ship around.

Greta, I want my worry to be, “has my message reached enough people?” Setting a reminder to check myself in six months to see where I am at. No excuses.

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