The other night I was humbled once again by how this generation - the Earth Day kids - is so ecology-minded. I overheard my 10-year-old talking by phone to his dad.
"You might as well save gas, Dad, and pick up a couple of pizzas on your way home from work," he said.
Of course I was proud. My generation never thought in such Earth-first terms.
I'm impressed by the ingenious ways young friends of the earth conserve and preserve our natural resources. I know one teen who made it through high school without sacrificing a single light bulb to homework. He worked by the dim light of a TV screen.
Every day is Earth Day for these young ecologists:
Tree Huggers: They instinctively scribble phone numbers and important messages on the electric bill, the back of their hands, or even the woodwork in order to save paper.
If given the chance, the tree huggers will wipe their hands on anything - even Dad's shirt-sleeve or the tablecloth - to save a precious paper napkin.
Landfill Engineers: These guys could lead a seminar on how to compact an acre of miscellaneous under a twin-size bed. I've personally seen dirty underwear compressed to the thickness of a shadow. My own young landfill engineer crammed six months' worth of school papers into his backpack.
Cloth Recyclers: They cheerfully buy worn-out, shredded jeans. In fact, they will pay a premium to dress in holes and distressed goods.
To save a little cotton, Earth-friendly teen girls will even drive all over town to borrow and swap rags with friends.
Energy Savers: These kids are naturals at supplementing air conditioning by fanning the fridge door and leaving Popsicles to thaw about the house.
One teen I know saves kilowatts by drying his hair while circling the yard, buzzard-style, on his Harley.
Trash Trackers: They watch the rummage-sale piles and garbage to make sure none of their personal items are selling for a song or heading out the door.
Wastewater Managers: They keep fizzled soft drinks on hand, in case of emergency. They gobble macaroni and cheese right from the pan and spoon peanut butter from the jar to save washing plates.
Green Watchers: These young ecologists can spot a $5, $10, or $20 faster than a parent can shout "endangered species!" And they're quite conservative when it comes to using up their own "greenery." You never need to tell them "keep the change," either.
These young ecologists: They're keepers.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society