Edited By: Sonaite Debebe-Kumssa
I never realized until recently how much my N.C. upbringing shaped me into who I am. I come from a military family, and my springs and summers were spent with trips to the beach, playing outside, shucking corn, snapping beans, and helping my papa in his garden. One free-spirited family in particular, whose daughter was one of my closet friends, impacted me more than I realized; looking back now I see that they played a big part in my attitude toward the Earth.
While in elementary school I remember learning about the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. The simple act of helping reduce waste by creating something new from something used was the seed that grew into a life-long commitment to caring for the Earth.
And, as in learning to ride a bike, I ran into a few roadblocks as I tried to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. When I entered college I was overwhelmed by the amount of information that was available on sustainable living. I made the decision to become a vegetarian, but I realized (after about two years) that choice did not address all my concerns about how we interact with and impact the world around us. I shifted my focus toward the slow and organic food movements. I also use products that are grown and/or manufactured outside of large factory farms. These practices help ensure that the planet remains healthy and have improved my well being.
As I started to refine my philosophy I realized that its foundation should be my faith. The green movement and faith go hand-in-hand because, while our time on earth may be short, caring for the earth provides an opportunity to glorify God by respecting and caring for His Creation.
I believe that one person can make a difference, so I hope to use Simply-Eco Online (my website currently under development) as a platform to educate people about our impact on the environment and the steps we all can take to tread a little lighter. If I convince one person a day to use locally grown organic produce, or to switch from plastic to glass, then I have helped ensure that future generations can benefit from and delight in God’s Creation.
I hope that in the future children will become involved with the green movement by way of daycare and schools. Children are our future, and their passion can persuade adults to pay closer attention.
I believe that it is never too early to begin educating the next generation. I involve my children in cooking, planting and shopping, and this instruction is paying off. My two-year-old knows the difference between the trash can and recycling bin and is willing to try lots of healthy things that most children would avoid simply because she helped purchase, grow and/or cook them.
I look forward to continuing my journey and sharing the things that I discover as I create connections with other members of the green movement. I am working with Gardening Renaissance to teach gardening techniques to the children of deployed National Guard members. I have completed the classes making me a certified square foot garden teacher. I have had the opportunity to contribute to upcycling projects with Bamboo Family Digital Magazine (premier issue May 2011) and I am proud to announce that I was featured in Kiwi Magazine’s April 2011 online issue/blog because of my commitment to teaching people how to shop organically on a budget.
So join me on my green adventure as I discover more about caring for the planet, our families and ourselves…live and laugh with me!