Big Hopes and Plans for the Environment

I’m from Switzerland. I have two daughters. When my oldest was about five, she discovered some butterfly eggs on the nettles next to our house and was excited about it. After a while, she started to worry that the farmer could cut the nettles when he was cutting the grass. She spent a whole morning making a sign to put in front of the nettles. She asked me to write on it, “Don’t cut the nettles. Butterfly eggs!” I did that, and she was happy for a while. 

When the farmer started to cut the grass, she got worried again. What if he didn’t see the sign? What if he cut the nettles? She started crying and asked me to tell him to leave the nettles. I did that, even though I felt embarrassed. He agreed to leave them. 

In autumn we had many butterflies around our house, and my daughter asked me why there were so many. I could see on her face what she was thinking, and I also remembered the sign she had made. I said, “I think it’s because we protected the nettles.” She beamed at me and said, “Yes, I also think so!” 

Now she is almost twelve, and her projects are becoming more and more complex. I would love to draw a sign with her that says, “Stop polluting the planet, life!” and see the effect of it a few weeks later. 

It’s heartbreaking for me to notice that I don’t know how to save the planet. As a young person, I had big ideas and hopes for the environment. I wanted to change the world. It’s my aim to get back there, to discharge my hopelessness and get back to having big plans for our world. 

My younger daughter, who will turn nine next week, still loves to save animals. She picks up every snail, worm, and slug from the street and finds it a safe place to live. It makes her happy for the whole day to know that she saved a life. It’s good for me to support her with that. And sometimes when I’m on my way to work, I do the same and enjoy it. 

It’s good for me to do simple things. It’s good for me to go back to a time when I was convinced that I had the power, knowledge, and ability to change something. I keep discharging on having lost this. 

I think it’s important for us parents to both support our children with their projects, be good allies to them, and give them space to discharge and have our own projects for the environment, and discharge, discharge, discharge.

Claudia Joller
Urnäsch, Switzerland
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list 
for leaders in the care of the environment

 


Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07