“I know I should change my ways,” Huey thought to himself. “But I like the way I do things now. And besides, I really don’t know where to begin.” This troublesome thought nagged at him all day.
That night, tossing and turning in a fitful sleep, Huey dreamed he’d shrunken down to the size of just one small Hugh Mann living in the beautiful Driftless Area of Southwest Wisconsin. A gentle snow was falling and there, standing in front of him, was the Ghost of Christmas Present. “I know what’s troubling you,” she winked. “Let me show you something.”
The next instant, they were standing outside a large kitchen window peering at a cozily dressed family decorating Christmas cookies. “The Olsens lowered their thermostat a couple degrees; now they wear an extra layer,” the ghost explained. “In the summer, they set the AC a few degrees higher. It’s their small gift to us all for a healthier planet.”
All through that night, the Christmas Ghost showed Hugh many ways Iowa County families were giving similar “gifts” to their neighbors across the globe. Anna was purchasing weather stripping to cut down drafts and reduce her energy use. She toted her items out in cloth bags she’d brought with her. In the coffee shop, Ralph sipped his beverage from an aluminum thermal mug. No single-use container with plastic lid for him! Behind him, Maisie filled her water bottle at the fountain instead of buying a single-use plastic bottle of water.
At the Schneider’s, Tom was helping the twins finish their bath. Earlier he had turned down the thermostat on the water heater. He’d also wrapped it in an insulated heater jacket. Downstairs, Chrissy was collecting recyclables for pick-up the next day and flipping off light switches as she left each room.
“You see,” said the Christmas Ghost, “it’s easy to shift to more Earth-friendly habits. Each small change we make toward a more thoughtful use of Mother Earth’s gifts is, in turn, a gift to us all. This season, plan on sharing your gifts for our common home where we’re all forever…Earthbound.”
*Current Earth population = 7.7 billion compared to 1 billion just 200 yrs. ago