This is a guest post by children’s book author Sabrina Chamberlain-Parks:
This past week I have been huffing and puffing, this time for no other reason then having come down with bad a cold. This particular cold has affected my breathing which has rendered me miserable and tired. However, for me this is a temporary condition, unlike millions of others who suffer from lung disease, including my asthmatic husband and son.
Years ago, when my husband and I purchased our house, the realtor informed us that the property was located under a flight path. Subsequently, constructing a pond or water feature on the land would be prohibited, as the water could attract migratory birds and interfere with the flight path of planes.
At the time, our only concern when finalizing the deal was the level of noise that we’d hear from the planes passing overhead, and the landscaping limitations. We hadn’t any idea how low the planes would fly, nor the amount that would pass over us in a day. Upon settling in, exhaust tracing the sky became commonplace.
Eventually, I made the connection that what I was seeing in the sky would not be good for us to breath in. To make things worse the government decided to close the majority of air bases within the country, making the one closest to us, one of largest and most heavily trafficked in Canada.
Before making the connection, I spent a substantial amount of time and money focusing on the indoor air quality in our home. Buying HEPA filter this, and dust collector that, eliminating plush toys from my son’s bed and adorning it with microbial allergen resistant covers instead. When I cleaned, it was with naturally-derived cleaners that were fragrance-free, and when making cosmetic changes to the house, I chose low VOC finishes and materials.
Finally, it struck me in an Ah Ha moment if you will (thanks Oprah for the term), that I was naive to think that I could raise my family inside a bubble (not to undermine the steps that I and many other parents take to make the indoor air a little lighter). Try as I may to construct a pollutant free interior environment, I concluded that for the most part, it was in vain. I say this because every time my family and I stepped out the front door, the reality of our sick earth sunk in. The skyline was heavy with smog, and the dry earth crackled beneath our feet.
In the clean equation I could not neglect the greater environment to which we live. Nothing I could do inside my home could duplicate or replace the benefits of a clean and healthy earth. Subsequently, I made it my resolve to pay it some heed, and clean it too. Like the time I gave our Mayor a gift of a small recycling box, with a card that was made out of an old cereal box. I placed a picture of my then 4 year old son sitting inside the box, and a message asking him to consider putting recycling receptacles within our city’s downtown core. A year later, it was announced that recycling bins manufactured by a local company would replace the old open style garbage cans downtown. Last year, our family planted a garden for the first time. I got to make a lot of homemade spaghetti sauce and I was excited to feed our baby daughter some of her first solids from it – pesticide free!
Like many moms out there, I love to read to my children. I often choose books that reflect the values I want to instill, or books that enable me to vocalize how much I love them. I searched high and low for a book that would let them know how much I loved them and the environment too. Noticing that in the children’s lit market these kinds of books were hard to find, three years ago I was happy take up the challenge to write, illustrate, and self publish my first book entitled “I Leave You this World.” The book’s publication last month is my latest green initiative. I chose to publish it as an eBook because I didn’t want my work to leave a paper trail (that would defeat its premise). Also, as an alternative to illustrating on paper, I taught myself how to render on the computer, adapting my photo editing software into a makeshift drawing program.
“I Leave You this World” reads as a pledge, written as a love story between Mother and child, and the world they live. The main character is a Mother, I saw this fitting because Mothers have an innate ability to nurture, and when it comes to looking out for the well-being of her child, there is often nothing that she won’t do to protect them.
In my opinion Mothers will be the ones who’ll ultimately change the gloomy outlook on our planet and their children’s futures. The path to do this is not clear, when we know better, we do better. When Mothers share what they know and ban together, pathways and airways will get much clearer!
Has the birth of your new baby got you thinking a little “Greener”? “I Leave You this World” is a modern picture book for a modern day Mother and child. Why not share your budding enthusiasm for all that is “green,” while sneaking in a little snuggle or two at the same time. “I Leave You this World” was written to honor new mothers, the love they are fostering for their new babies, and the love they are rekindling for an old world. “I Leave You this World” is available exclusively in e-book format guaranteed to save a few trees!