It was a brutally long winter where I live. Most of the people who live here hibernate in the winter – Hubs braved the cold three times daily with the dog – but in the land where Costco thinks that dog poop has a “season”, he was pretty much the only one out there. We know it’s spring out here now because Hubs found a large display of poop bags at the local Costco…and people are now out and walking their dogs – and their children.

While I don’t brave the cold too much (my twisted leg makes slipping in the snow a real danger), my kids do get out in the winter with Hubs, and they have been out regularly over the last few months. Now that the snow and ice are gone, it’s safe to play at the local park now. They have a large play structure, several slides and some swings. Bae’s even getting into it – his brother and sister have taught him how to run up the ramps and get down the slide.

Last week the weather hovered around 50 degrees. No ice and snow means I can get out though – and out we went, spending several hours on our bikes, and landing at the park. The day we went was a bit cooler, and when we arrived, there were no other children there. Even though they weren’t there, we could tell that there had been some activity as a result of the weather warming. There was garbage everywhere.

Now, the city usually puts a bin fairly close to the play area when it gets warm enough. I suspect they remove it so they don’t have to worry about running it over in the snow. There is one at each of the park exits though, a mere 50 meters from the play structure.

I just don’t understand how anyone could think it was OK to just drop their juice or soda bottles, Starbucks cups, chip bags – there was even an empty box of Twinkies. It’s not just about pride in our neighborhood. The park is supposed to be a nice place for our kids to get out and enjoy the sunshine. You literally pass a garbage can on the way out.

Puck not only saw how upset I was by it all – he started to pick it up and walk it over to the garbage can.

We’re learning about Earth Day at school Mom. You shouldn’t treat the Earth this way. We all have to live here.

I was struck with pride. My children understand that we only have one planet. If we all mess it up, what are their kids going to have to look at?

For Earth Day, we’re going to head back next weekend with a couple of trash bags and some work gloves. My children understand though that we don’t just pick up our garbage on Earth Day. As long as we live here, every day is Earth Day.

How do you nurture respect for others and for planet in your kids? What are you doing for Earth Day?

Image Credit: (Edited) ponsulak /

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