Thursday, April 22, 2010

Taking a rest for the Earth

The 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, and this year I'm far away from home. I'm travelling with my sister who lives in North Carolina. Once again, our angels were with us -- or in this case, our guide might have been Mother Earth. While driving, we decided it was time for a rest stop, and where did we land but at what must be the greenest rest stop ever.

The facility opened last fall and boasts a raft of energy-conserving devices (the news story contains a short video that tells more). A rain-conserving system provides most of the water for toilets and urinals, solar panels pre-heat water for washing up, even the high-up windows are designed to let in natural light so they don't have to burn electricity to light the place. At night, the inside lights are even set to go off if they don't detect motion for 15 minutes.

Even though I'm on the road, I like knowing what's going on in the news back home. So for Earth Day, I see that Environment Minister Jim Prentice is going to distribute free passes to students to encourage them to learn more about the beauty of nature. At first glance, this looked like a terrific initiative, but when I read the story and saw the park passes were going to Grade 8's, my cynical side kicked in. If he'd been serious about doing anything more than getting parents to take their families on holiday, he would have given the passes to Grade 12's -- for the most part, they can drive themselves and might actually get out on their own and see the world with new eyes.

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