This post is excerpted from an open letter in response to a news segment that aired on our local television station.
The segment was a story about a High School that was going to start an organic garden on their grounds:
"While the school is to be commended for attempting to teach the children about organic gardening, please give your students a proper perspective of history..."
One of the students was seen stating on television in answer to the reporter's question as to whether students are taking a deeper interest in the environment that,
"Yeah, I always had interest in it but, like, when I came to this class it really got me to save energy and pick up litter and yeah, it made me more interested, once I took this class."
She continues by saying that she feels her generation is much more environmentally aware than previous generations:
"Yeah, definitely I think we are because a lot of people are doing, like, environmental science clubs and re-cycling clubs and everyone's getting more into it than back in the day, I think."
In my opinion, this statement is very disrespectful to past generations and very prideful for anyone, but especially someone only in their teens, to think that they know more than those that have come before them.
I am not necessarily singling out this student per se, but her attitude seems to be one that is becoming more and more prevalent among many of our youth.
I would really like to ask, however, which 'back in the day' she believes was not so 'environmentally aware'. Our family, for instance, has been living in a way that I believe is respectful of our 'resources'.
My two sons are in their late teens, and they have grown up with organic and whole foods, as well as other natural products which their parents have chosen and provided for them.
My husband owns and runs a remodeling and design company that is also what might be called 'environmentally friendly' in its daily business practices:
They are very careful about how and where leftover construction materials are disposed of, as well as offering re-usable 'extra' items to the general public when possible rather than placing them in a landfill.
None of these practices are really all that out of the ordinary, but rather just good common sense, whether ethically, or nutritionally in the case of our food choices.
After all, it's not the 'teen' generation that is holding up the organic food market as it is not they, but their parents who are doing the bulk of the grocery shopping.
So, since it's not the generation just above them, maybe it was their grandparents' generation that is to blame. Well, let's see about that one, too.
My husband's parents had 7 children and they were able to send many of them, including my husband, to parochial school through economic self-sacrifice.
They truly re-used all they could (especially shoes and clothing!), and made do with what they had. His mother also still 're-uses' and recycles all of her plastic and aluminum.
Or perhaps it was their parents above them. However, I recall that my grandfather had a large organic garden. He recycled and composted way before it was a 'fad'.
My grandmother hung clothes to dry on the line outside. In fact, they even remember the days of outhouses, and washing clothes by hand (once per week on 'laundry day' - truly water conservation!).
The children of today have not grown up with any of these sacrifices or lack of convenience. They have electronic gadgets and many plastic toys and off-the-rack clothing.
Conversely, my husband's grandmother, who was a very talented seamstress, made most of the clothing for her five children, as well as many of her own grandchildren.
Well then, maybe it was the generations even before their time that weren't very 'environmentally aware' and that were living in a way that didn't respect the land or its resources.
However, the truth is that many modern practices that we take for granted, such as factory farming, clothing mills, or even grocery stores didn't even exist back then, for the most part.
For most of history, people either subsisted off their own family farm, and/or gathered and hunted only what they needed to survive.
If people didn't live on family farms, then they might have lived in a small village or town where they would by locally produced goods.
All farming for the centuries, and even millenia before that, were of choice and necessity organic in nature.
The chemical pesticides and fertilizers now used in farming were not even around until the 1950's. So, it wasn't that generation either.
Let the children of today be aware of the hardship and sacrifice of the generations that have come before them. Let us honor our elders and our ancestors with the credit and respect that they deserve.
They are the ones who got us here and who have done so much for us to even be alive in the first place.
To have students believe that organic gardening and recycling is something 'new' is just outright erroneous and only amounts to environmentalist propaganda.
Let's see how far these students would actually get trying to grow the organic garden on their own, without the help of their teachers. Teachers who are from a generation, by the way, that is supposed to be 'less aware'.
(Let's have the students also install the new solar panels being installed for the school's roof since they have no need of older, more knowledgeable persons such as contractors or electricians either.)
In times past, an organic garden was much more than just a 'school project': your very survival - and that of your family - depended on the success or failure of that garden.
Of necessity, they had to be very 'environmentally aware' as to the weather, soil conditions, the seasons of the year, the quality of the air, and the viability of the seeds planted.
Let's stop lying to our students and teach them true history. Teach honor and respect for our elders. Teach them to humbly be good stewards of the earth that God has created for our use.
And, most of all, not to 'worship' the earth, but rather the God who created it. Remember, again, that these are not the 'new' ways, but the 'old' ways that have sustained you:
"Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." (Jeremiah 6:16)
Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.
Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:32)
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