“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain the artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso 1881-1973
Sustainable is all about legacy. What ‘cha got? What’s gonna be left? Not only what’s left for the next generation, but also what’s left from your generation? Conserve valuable resources now, for the future. But also, preserve your value by passing on conceptual resources to the future. How do we inspire and educate the progeny? Garden.
Now that the kids are yawning, quit talking and start playing. Get out there and muck around. Dig in the dirt. Turn over rocks. Pry under a log. Stir it up and see what comes out. OK! You’re right! Stomping around in sensitive areas that don’t belong to you is totally not cool. But, we’re just talking about the back yard.
What?!? Your yard is too tidy to allow such hooliganism? Wow! Get over yourself! OK, fine. Then, designate a space for spontaneous exploration; use fencing to draw a line around it if you must but find the space. Whatever! Just do it. Leave a cubic yard of mulch in a pile so that creepy crawlies can live in it. Lay a board or small piece of flagstone down and see what moves in over the season. Build a bat house. Plant a spruce tree and see how fast Momma Bird stakes a claim. Set up a sprinkler that keeps one area just a little bit mucky all the time. Count all the critters that take advantage of the wet. Fill pots with fast germinating seeds like sunflowers. Plant a section of Lovage and Milkweed to encourage caterpillars and then butterflies. Build a fort out of simple materials like tarps and twigs. Supply the tools of the trade – flashlight, magnifying glass and rubber gloves for the things that bite!
In short, teach the next generation of Nature’s stewards to see and love what’s out in the world. The electronic babysitter ain’t gonna a do it worth a hoot! So, unplug and get dirty!