Lynn Armitage
A green balloon floating in Puget Sound

Notes From A Single Mom: Mother Earth, I Owe You a Huge Apology.

Lynn Armitage

A few years ago on Earth Day, my daughters and I did something we’ve never done before. We laid face-down on the beach in Laguna, arms outstretched, along with about 10 other prostrate people, and gave the earth a great big hug. (Think snow angels, but in reverse and in the sand.) A local photographer was there to capture the moment that looked a little bit odd, I’m sure, to curious passersby out for a Sunday stroll.  

This little demonstration was our way of telling Mother Earth how much we appreciate her and her beautiful ocean. Other than that small show of support, I have not done anything significant in my life to make this world a cleaner, more sustainable place to live, and I am certain my native ancestors are ashamed of me.

I’m not sure how many Native Americans would—or should—admit to this lackadaisical caretaking of our Mother Earth, but real change usually comes from a place of honesty, so I’m offering up full disclosure here.

I would like to publicly apologize to Mother Earth for all the sins I have committed against her through the years:

—I drove three gas-guzzling SUVs over 15 years. Helped greatly with carpools.
—I used disposable diapers with both my babies because it was easy, cheap and convenient.
—I released many helium-filled balloons into the sky because my daughters thought it was entertaining to see them get smaller and smaller.
—I drink 3-4 plastic bottles of water every day.
—I take long, hot showers.
—I have a bad habit of leaving lights on in rooms.
—I let the water run while brushing my teeth.
—I rinse dirty dishes instead of scraping them.  
—I absolutely detest those energy-saving, corkscrew-looking light bulbs and use the old standbys.
—I don’t recycle because I don’t have room in my home for more than one garbage can.
—I prefer plastic grocery bags over reusable cloth bags.

Not to shirk responsibility, but I was a child of the '70s, that junk-filled era when polyester and flashing disco lights ruled, and pledging allegiance to only one, monochromatic color like “green” was simply not cool.

But times change, and so do people. I am coming around, thanks to my children. In the parenting world, the buzz is always about “protecting our children’s future” and making it a better place for them to live. But I don’t think we have to worry too much about them. They are the enlightened generation who are actually teaching us.

My oldest daughter carries around a refillable water bottle every day, and harps on me constantly about drinking from plastic bottles. “Mom, you’re littering the Earth,” she says. On our vacation last week, she even introduced me to a new feature at the airport: Water bottle refilling stations. Genius!

RELATED: San Francisco Stopped Drinking Bottled Water and So Should You

And when we were at lunch in Seattle, at a table overlooking the ocean, a single, green balloon floated by, bobbing up and down in the waves. I immediately envisioned a delighted young child giggling as she released that helium-filled treasure into the great big sky, thinking it was floating away to heaven.

My millennial daughter had another thought: “Well, there’s the Last Supper for some poor unsuspecting dolphin somewhere,” she said.

Lynn Armitage is a contributing writer in Northern California and an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.

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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Our earth is more worthy (to me) of my worship and esteem than the God of the Bible. Nearly everything humans do affects the environment and it shames me that we here in the U.S. are responsible for majority of the garbage generated on our planet. __________________________________________________________ Sins against the God of the Bible don't affect everyone, nor are they always immediately evident to onlookers (a cheating spouse if a good example), but those who sin against the earth affect us all. Sins against the earth are easy to see. You can see it on the roadsides, in lakes and rivers, you can see it in the proliferation of mutated animals, the changing weather patterns and the number of sea creatures who beach themselves in apparent suicides (what are they trying to tell us - we've ruined their habitat?). ________________________________________________________ It seems to me the God of the Europeans is a God of money. He always needs money (thank you, George Carlin). He's an omnipotent being, but he just can't handle his money. One of the most important deitys to Native Americans is mother Earth. We can see her with every conscious moment. She provides food, shelter, water and air, in other words everything we need to survive. She doesn't require money, there are no buildings that contain her, she won't ask you to hate people for their skin color or their sexual orientation and you can see her anytime you take the time to do so. This is WHY we must urge anyone who would like to raise their children on this planet to conserve, recycle and help take care of the mother that took such good care of you.