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Growing up it was the three ‘R’s’ that we learned in school, however, I would like to add a fourth ‘R’ if school administrators would listen – recycling.

Now I understand that the original three are vital to children and adults alike, but if we do not teach the next generation about how to be good stewards of the Earth, education may be the least of their worries.  Just like my son has homework to complete each and every night, we need to look at recycling the same way.  Learning from our past mistakes we need to teach that recycling is not a feel good project that we do once a year, it is a lifestyle and something that must be practiced each and every day.

Our neighborhood recently adopted a curbside single-stream recycling program, which I know makes the process a bit easier, but the results have been dramatic.  Most residents say that their garbage they used to throw out has been reduced by more than 50 percent.  Just imagine if the next generation could reduce it by another 50 percent and the next another – the possibility of living a ‘zero waste’ lifestyle seems to be something that could be accomplished.  It would more than likely be accomplished faster if everyone knew what we are playing for – parks with trees, streams with fish, prairies and wide opens spaces.  I know that may sound somewhat idyllic in nature, but if you look up the definition of idyllic it says picturesque in natural simplicity – that is the end goal, to preserve nature so that we have places to run, play and experience life outside of the subdivisions of America.

If the educational system will not approve the fourth ‘R’, I have one simple ask – teach children about the great outdoors – take your kids to places that exemplify the beauty that is all around us – walk, or take a bike to show that you care about the world around us.  Our children look up to us – let’s not fail them with such an important outcome on the line.