Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Green Baby Shower

Several weeks ago, my wife insisted on having a Green Baby Shower for our adopted baby. (We are going to China in a few weeks to bring her home.) She asked our guests to bring green gifts [no Mattel toys, for example]. Then, in the days leading up to the shower, events conspired to make my wife look wiser and wiser. This is what my wife wrote and said to our guests at the shower.

I want to thank C- for all her hard work putting this baby shower together and I want to thank everyone for your kind thoughts, gifts and for coming here today.

Ever since Katrina I have been following the news related to global warming and B- knows I can be a little obsessive on this issue. But, after the week we’ve had, I think a green baby shower is more appropriate than ever.

On Wednesday morning B- and I woke to the sound of yelling and sirens in the street. I looked out the window to see fire trucks, police, neighbors out on the sidewalk, and the street roped off to traffic. Upon my insistence, we went downstairs to see what was going on.

We couldn’t get all the way out to street because the entire lobby was under water. The furniture from the entrance was floating in the water. It seems a flash flood had strained the sewer system and all the rain had washed into our building. Everyone in the lobby level apartments had to abandon their homes and just about everything they owned was destroyed. The apartments and lobby looked like pictures I had seen of New Orleans after Katrina. We found out while talking to our neighbors that this was the second time this summer our lobby had flooded. This time was much worse.

The fire department turned off the power in the building and began to drain the water. You could see a waterline on the walls made by mulch from the garden in front of our building. The water had washed it in and the line made by the mulch was over four feet high. Needless to say this was a frightening experience for everyone in our building and a devastating experience for the people washed out of their homes.

The infrastructure in our city is old and inadequate for the population it now supports. This is bad enough, but the people who built it did not plan for the extreme weather we are now having. This city was not built to sustain the effects we are now experiencing from global warming.

A baby shower is a party to celebrate the arrival of a new child. Children are the way we look to the future. What kind of future are we going to give to our children? Will our children suffer the worst effects of climate change because we are too busy with day to day life to stop and think about how our lifestyle is effecting the environment we are dependent on? Will our children and grandchildren look back at us and wonder what we were so busy doing that we could not make some changes in the way we use the earth’s resources? I hope not. I hope they will look back and thank us for seeing the future and preparing for it. If our children are to have a future we should be protecting the environment and conserving resources now.

So, that is why when C- offered us a baby shower I asked her if we could have a green baby shower. And that is why I’m giving everyone a little green party favor. Most of you are familiar with these compact fluorescent light bulbs and know they use forty percent less energy than regular incandescent light bulbs. I’m sure you have already changed most of the light bulbs you use at home and at work to these but please accept one more as a memento of our party today.

Since I insisted on no wrapping paper, I wrapped the bulbs in some literature from Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The paper is recycled.

They make a lot of suggestions, and I know it’s impossible to do everything all at once. However, maybe, one more compact fluorescent bulb at a time, one less car trip at a time, we can help create a safer, greener earth for our new baby, your babies, and for people, penguins and polar bears everywhere.