The Footprint We All Seem to Have Forgotten

I remember, in my elementary school days, every single kid was rushing to reduce, reuse and recycle.

In first and second grade, we were introduced to the three R’s and its importance and we soaked up the information almost immediately. I remember watching my sister and her class’ performance of “Friendly Lunch” and my classmates and I were mesmerized by the song.

In third grade, we did a performance of our own and many of us rushed to join our school’s Eco Club. We partied at the thought of earning the school another award. The school clean-ups were bursting with energy but that lead to our recession.

In fourth grade, I found a banana peel in a recycling bin and I quickly returned it to its proper place. A few days later, I found more leftovers in the bin. It didn’t take long for me to realize no one cared.The Eco Club had nothing new to offer so the members gradually started skipping out.

In fifth grade, my final year in elementary school, my close friend and I were one of the few remaining in the Eco Club. My friend worked really hard to maintain the status of the club. She later received the Environmental Award at our graduation.

In sixth grade, my French teacher was committed to rejuvenating my new school’s Eco Club. She did….kind of. Only one of my classmates volunteered to join. I found it a waste of energy.

In seventh grade, I found a bunch of apple cores, banana peels, plastic bags, etc… in the recycling bin but this time I looked over it and threw away a pack of paper into the garbage.

I am now in my eighth year and my current teacher had shown the class the Me-to-We live stream, about a week ago. It brought up memories of my time in third grade working with my classmates to happily sort out compost, accompanied by happy trips to the composter. Why have I (we) forgotten?

That slight spark in first grade gradually became a burning flame but there was no one there to kindle it so we burned out and returned to our old ways.

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