“You’re lucky you got your adulthood before the planet was completely ruined by climate change.”

The worst part of her tone was that it was matter of fact. It was completely phlegmatic. Like, oh well, we don’t have time to stop for a slice of pizza, and I don’t get to grow up in a world with a functioning biosphere.

I didn’t know what to say because climate change is a hot topic (sorry—no pun intended) but there was no other choice to make. I needed to talk to her about it. Knowing fully well that I’m far from an expert, I tried my best anyhow.

I stopped the washing of my dishes at the kitchen sink. She had my full attention. Oblivious, I left the water running. “Honey, my generation failed yours and I’m sorry. But there are things we can still do to change it.” My eyes fixated on her as she ingested her granola bar du jour. She took her wrapper and wrongly threw it into the garbage bin, rather than the recycling.

“There are things we can do…?” Edith questioned.

I nodded confidently. “Absolutely, like recycling that wrapper of yours. Recycling saves energy, reduces deforestation and minimizes greenhouse gas emissions from landfills!”

With a deep pronounced sigh and the rolling of her eyes Edith walked to the garbage bin. She opened it, grabbed the wrapper and tossed it into the recycling.

“See honey, if we all do our part now you will also get your swing at adult—”

She interrupted me and she had good reason to. “And what should you be doing right now to make this world a better place, ma?”

Confused, I said nothing.

She pointed to the running faucet. In a face-palm moment I turned the water off. She sighed one last time. But this time it was different… she was relieved. She cared after all. My kid was going to be OK. If anything, she’ll be teaching her ma a thing or two.

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    2 years ago

    Melissa, thanks for reminding us that the little things we do or don’t do every day can make a difference. I will make sure and turn my water off when I’m done!! (I already recycle or compost everything)

    Paul Lewthwaite
    Paul Lewthwaite(@paul-lewthwaite)
    2 years ago

    I liked how your story shows that even small changes at a personal, or household level can make a difference if multiplied by everyone doing it (says the man guilty of not always recycling!) I also enjoyed how you made the teen realise that she might be envious of her mum for living in a pre-major climate change time, but that’s not a reason to give up on doing things that can… Read more »

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 years ago

    I liked your story so much, Melissa. I now realize that even the little things we do can help our world so much. Your story has taught me many lessons, Melissa.

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Melissa Taggart
    2 years ago

    You’re welcome, Melissa. And you are right, we can help in the world, even in small things.

    Julie Harris
    Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
    2 years ago

    Melissa, my dear father would have loved your story. He and Mom grew up during the Great Depression, and were taught never to throw anything away. They either turned it into something useful, or recycled or composted it. They grew their own food, so compost was like black gold. I was raised with these ideas. When I was a kid, I really thought I would get struck by lightning if I threw… Read more »

    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    2 years ago

    Your characters are so well rounded Melissa, the concerned mum and the stroppy teenager. I liked how, in the end, they reached an understanding and agree with other comments on here, even the smallest of actions can make a real difference. Another great story that I really enjoyed.

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    2 years ago

    I agree with Linda that you made a wonderful portrait of mother and daughter, talking in a regular, daily, basic kitchen situation. I love it that although the mother takes the role of teaching, she puts herself in a position where she is taught by her daughter. Your story reminds me that I live in a country (Colombia) where there is absolutely no concern about recycling or separating garbage. Everything is thrown… Read more »

    Marianna Pieterse
    Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
    2 years ago

    Melissa, I enjoyed your story very much. It is a great reminder that each of us can do our part – even if it seems insignificant, to make things better.

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    1 year ago

    I really enjoyed this Melissa, the rapport between Mum and daughter is really charming, but I did love the little bit of sass from Edith at the end though, capturing the essence of most teenaged girls. Nicely done.

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