Monday, March 24, 2008

Minimalistic Lifestyle: Influencing Others

The main reason I wanted to write this blog was to have some influence over others behavior. That is to say, I want people to reduce what they buy by buying quality items that last, recycle as much as they can, reuse what they can and just start thinking about a sustainable lifestyle.

If you think you can't influence others to help our planet, here's a great example:
Seeing as it is spring break, my neighbor Kembol, who teaches eighth grade math and I took our babies, (dogs) for a long walk along the beautiful Willamette River. As usual we talked about our life concerns, our husbands, children and yes, politics. As we talked about the different candidates and how they would each handle the economic problems our country faces, it led us to a larger concern that we both have, our planet. I remarked that packaging is one of the biggest contributors to our landfills and why can't the companies that sell things help to fix that problem.

Then, Kembol tells me about her math lesson plan for last week. First she says she gave her eighth graders three types of snack cakes, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, and Little Debbies.

The kids had to calculate the surface area and then they could eat them. Okay, great, we've done that type of stuff before. The difference in this lesson was what she challenged them with next! She asked them to find a way for each prospective company to save on packaging and to calculate the difference. Apparently, each group was able to come up with different designs that would save packaging. One student even came up with a triangular package. I ask you, if eighth grade math students can redesign a product to save packaging, why can't the companies who sell it do it? Or why won't they?

My friend then told me she wasn't sure if she influenced the kids at all as they didn't seem very impressed. I had to remind her that eighth graders are seldom impressed and if they are they don't let their teachers know, ( yes, I taught eighth grade once.) I am sure she influenced her math students and why don't we have more great teachers like her? At any rate, she surely earned her spring break!

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