Yes. I’ve looked all over and I can’t find a spare Earth. All joking aside, the resources on Earth are finite. The best way to manage our resources is to use them responsibly. A unit of energy not used is, therefore, saved. As Ben Franklin is famous for saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Water that we don’t flush down the drain is now available for drinking, irrigation, gardening and making beer. Energy that doesn’t escape through our attics or windows is now available to keep our homes either warm or cool so that we don’t have to over-heat or over-cool our homes to be comfortable.
The other factor here is because we can. In other places around the world, the opportunities to recycle their water or have efficient homes is not available. And, again, the resources are finite. A resource saved here in America is a resource that someone else somewhere else can use. Our Earth is a closed system – we’re all connected.
I could, of course, go over the scary reasons why we need to do our best to keep our environment as habitable as possible. But, that’s not effective. Instead I’d like to tell you a story. I’m a stepfather. There are days when I’m called “stepdaddy” and days when I’m called “evil.” It goes with the territory. We have a friend that was raised by her stepfather and she tells us that she was in her 30s when she finally realized all the things her stepfather did for her that he didn’t really have to – and she thanked him. You don’t, of course, have to be a stepparent to understand this. We, as parents, quite often know that what we’re doing today may feel very painful to our children, but have very beneficial effects in the long term. This is one of those areas. I choose to look forward to a world where my children and grandchildren thank me for my efforts to preserve our environmental habitats. I know that I won’t experience that gratitude for many years. And, that’s OK. Life is long term. Parenting is a life-long experiment. Let’s make the choices that will create a future of gratitude.