My son is five years old. His favourite movie is The Lorax – so much so that Santa even brought him his own Truffula Tree for Christmas last year. He loves the outdoors and being in nature – turning over rocks and skimming ponds, exploring trails and blazing news ones.
Animals of all shapes and sizes, domesticated or wild are his ‘friends.’ He’s gentle, compassionate, and even avoids stepping on an ant on the sidewalk if he can help it. He also knows dinosaurs are extinct, and it breaks his heart that he will never be ‘friends’ with a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a Triceratops.
What he doesn’t know, and what will be difficult to explain to him, is that his ‘friends’ are going extinct at a much higher rate than he could ever imagine. The planet he loves so much is in trouble, and no creature – big or small, human or non-human, is immune.
That is what I worry about most for my son; that the world he knows from Disney movies and from our family adventures, is changing so rapidly that he might never see a shark, or a rhinoceros, or an arctic fox, or a grizzly bear, and on, and on… I worry that through human kind’s quest for progress, we are losing site of the creatures we share this planet with, and they matter.
My hope is that one of the quotes hanging in our home, that he sees every single day, will resonate with him as he gets older – it’s an old Greek proverb that has really helped our family define our values and our commitment to our planet and every soul we share it with – it says: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
My hope for him is that he plants trees, figuratively and literally, when and where he can. My hope for him is that he is a voice for the voiceless, and speaks up for humans, non-humans, and planet earth. I want him to be able to one day see a grizzly bear, and appreciate the diversity of life and our fragile eco-systems. Ultimately, I hope he is like the Lorax, and ‘speaks for the trees…’ before it’s too late.
– Lindsay, mom, wife, wine-lover, environmentalist, activist