[S] and I spend many days drawing pictures. Typically, she dictates what she wants me to draw and, like any dutiful parent, I draw it. Like most young children, her instructions are simple and clear. Today, she wanted me to draw a butterfly and a boat. Yesterday, she asked me to draw a fish. Many days, if not most, she asks that I draw the ocean. Having spent two of her three years of life living on an island with pretty (and plentiful) butterflies, such requests are to be expected. We walk the beaches. We feed the fish. We study butterflies. We travel by ferry. Her world is colorful, filled with bright blues, vibrant greens, and stunning yellows. It is, I dare say, just as it should be.
This week, we took our final trip to Sea Glass Beach. Watching her play alone–contently–in the surf made me reflect about her growth. Nearly two years ago, [S] arrived to that same beach in tears, terrified of the sand and scared of the waves. Then, that too–fear of the unknown–was to be expected.
As our family transitions from one adventure to the next, I spend more time than I care to admit contemplating how our actions will affect [S]’s world. As a recently minted three year old she craves security and affection, while engaging her curiosity with the spirit of an adventurer.
When I read of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord, I was saddened. Aside from the U.S. aligning itself with Syria and Nicaragua rather than the nearly 200 other countries committed to the Accord, his decision is an affront to our future. And by that, I mean my daughter’s future. The environment, like many other issues, such as health care and assistance to the poor, doesn’t require one side to lose for the other side to win, just as we no longer need to embrace coal to grow jobs in the energy sector. Rather, each step taken to heal the damage we’ve caused our environment is a win–rewarding renewable energy sources, implementing stricter emissions standards, restricting the use of damaging chemicals.
Our family takes great effort to explain why paper isn’t merely thrown away, but recycled. We explain why we pick-up discarded plastic bottles on our walks. We explain why we run errands together, rather than separately. It is my hope that we are teaching her to respect–and care for–her beautiful vibrant world. Despite this recent setback, I believe with the support of true world leaders, U.S. business leaders, and dedicated U.S. city mayors, we can Make the Environment Great Again.