A Blogazine, based out of Park Slope, Brooklyn, that features fun and interesting articles. Topics include: parenting, society, real estate, career, style, spirituality and more. Written contributions are always welcome!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Meeting "Pint-Size Eco-Police" In Person

By Mark Caserta

On October 10th, the New York Times published an article titled Pint-Size Eco-Police, Making Parents Proud and Sometimes Crazy, which described the growing trend of children monitoring their parents eco-do's and don'ts with sometimes annoying results.

It seems that as the "green" trend has grown, children young and old have become more and more exposed to environmental issues in stores (like mine), in school, on television and even in movies. This has created a whole new class of eco-conscious youngsters who are always monitoring their parents' energy use, driving and even eating habits. Sure, most of the parents in the article were proud that their children had become so eco-conscious, surpassing even their own understanding of environmental issues. Some, however, (as the title of the article suggests) were annoyed with their children's' constant prodding.

As a shop-owner, I have started to notice this trend playing out right in front of me, in our Brooklyn and Maplewood stores and, very recently, at Maplewood's "Green Day" festival. Sure, parents who visit our stores are usually pretty familiar with "going green" but there really is something special happening to their (our) children. Instead of asking to leave the store, so that they can go shoe/video game/toy shopping, the kids are leading their parents through the store. Often, they are able to tell what a recycled product is made of before their parents and, in many cases, I have seen children look at a recycled item, marvel at it, and then begin thinking about products that they could make out of recycled goods! Even more encouraging, I have had a lot of conversations with kids, discussing what they are learning about recycling, endangered species and global warming in school. Conversations of that type seemed like just a distant dream just a few years ago.

So, while I can relate to the parents being annoyed by their children's' prodding (my two-year old's prodding is mostly of the "Daddy, can we watch Thomas? Daddy? Thomas? Daddy?" type), I can't help but feel that the future is a little bit brighter. Let's hope that there is still enough time for these children to grow up and make a difference in our world. We need more prodders on our side.

Mark Caserta has over 10 years of experience in environmental policy and politics. In 2004, he opened an eco-friendly home and lifestyle store in Park Slope, Brooklyn known as 3r Living, with his wife Samantha.

Their products are carefully selected with the principles of reducing waste, reusing unwanted or discarded materials, and recycling in mind. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. 3r. Mark is also a regular contributor to Hip Slope Mama.