Last night it was my pleasure to be invited to the first meeting of the newly formed Bennetts Brook Green Group. Melissa has decided to get off her duff and get mucho involved in spreading the word about all things environment so with the help of her neighbor Julie, some suggestions from the cool gals at EnviroMom and a passionate desire to buck the perception that suburban moms do not care about the planet, the group met at her place last night.
There were twelve of us in total and a mix of not only gender but age as well! Her neighbor directly across the street is definitely over fifty and proudly admitted to having been doing this type of stuff for years (most notably saving all his coffee grounds to utilize for his acid loving garden plants). If possible the three guys who showed up were possibly even more vocal than us gals. Yippie!
The forum was open, more a share and chat style, but still maintained a loose organization of topics, themes and issues that Melissa and Julie shared responsibility in putting out there. If I did not know better there is no way I would have known this was their first meeting. It all flowed seamlessly.
Most of the food and drink were organic options (from the beer to the wine to the coffee to the crackers) and since she was not sure how many people would show up Melissa also purchased plastic cups, which she made a point to mention would all be washed and reused or recycled. After some quick introductions and a little snack it was time to get down to business.
The night began with an introduction to how and why the group formed, an impromptu discussion of local organizations and potentially forming a neighborhood share style program where sharing of tools or even grocery shopping will become forefront instead of everyone driving all over to do these things individually or purchase items used only once when a neighbor might have it to lend.
Later in the evening we shared our confessions of what we all do that we wish we did not (I of course admitted to smoking and was surprised that some attendees would not have thought of this as environmentally harmful). Everything was shared from driving large gas gulping SUVs (due to the size of her family of six and not finding an alternate reliable option as of yet), to tossing paper to (shock!) not recycling at all. The good news is that clearly we all want to change those ways or we would not have been in attendance.
The confession portion of the evening was the perfect segue into what each of us are currently doing to, as Melissa put it, “get off the fence” and get involved by doing. Melissa has signed up with 41pounds.org and will let us know how it works as soon as her kit arrives. Other attendees have begun sending credit card offers back in the enclosed prepaid envelope (I also know someone who does this and it greatly reduced the number of offers he received), using Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and composting.
When I first asked Melissa to allow me to interview her for Green Leaf Reviewer she was nervous that as a “suburban mom” she would be flamed for trying to say she was environmental. Well to be perfectly honest, if anything, it made me more excited to interview her and last night was the culmination of proving that no matter where a person chooses to live they can still be interested in helping the planet; no matter what a person drives they might just be doing 1000 things to offset that impact. The first step, just like Julie and Melissa showed us last night, is to stop talking about it and simply make the change in our own lives because how does that saying go again? Oh yeah…
Even the longest journey begins with the first step.