Letter from the CMO

By Doreen Greiner-Marino

  FEELING AT HOME  Mom and Max at the arboretum in Holmdel Park, NJ. Max thinks we need to save as many trees as possible, and not cut them down. We couldn’t agree more.

FEELING AT HOME Mom and Max at the arboretum in Holmdel Park, NJ. Max thinks we need to save as many trees as possible, and not cut them down. We couldn’t agree more.

 
 

Just When I Thought He Wasn’t Listening. How highway conversations with my five-year old son helped mold a passion for the environment.

My son Max and I have been driving the East Coast from New Jersey to Florida since he was six months old. I would always talk to him, keeping our conversations appropriate to his age. Now, 100,000 miles under his belt, and 5½ years old, I take the topics to a deeper place (still keeping in mind his age). One topic frequently discussed is about being aware of the issues that plague Mother Earth. Education definitely starts in the home (or car). Max is beginning to understand just how important keeping our environment clean and healthy is. This way she can provide us­—people, plants and animals alike—with what we all need to live a healthy life. One day along our travels we passed a house where a very large tree was being cut down. I decided to ask Max what he thought about that:

Me: Max, is it ok to cut down the trees?
Max: No Mommy.
Me: Why?
Max: ‘Cuz the trees give us oxygen.
Me: Can we live without oxygen?
Max: No, Mommy, oxygen is the air.
Me: Oh, what about fish, they live in the water. Do they need oxygen?
Max: Yes, they breathe the air with their gills. 
Me: So, if the water isn’t clean, and full of dirt and garbage, what will happen to the fish? 
Max: They can’t breathe, and they will die. Mommy, we like to eat fish.
Me: Yes, indeed we do baby. 
Me: So, is it our job (yours and mine) to keep the Earth and water clean so we have fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink and good fish to eat?
Max: Yes Mommy, it is all our jobs.

Although Max is in Kindergarten for 6-1/2 hours a day, five days a week, with some very amazing teachers, I am the first and most influential teacher in his life. Now I know he was definitely listening during our (sometimes one way) conversations. Educating our children on how we should all take responsibility in keeping our beautiful planet clean is vitally important. We all have a right to live a happy and healthy life, especially children. And teaching them to be responsible for how we treat the environment will give them a sense of pride, and a deep respect for Mother Earth.