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What’s Your Earth Day Resolution?

Whee…it’s Earth Day, a Hallmark holiday for green living.  Just like Valentines Day is the one day a year we’re all expected to be lovey-dovey and buy heart shaped chocolates and flowers for our sweethearts, Earth Day is the day we clean up our local parks, turn off lights, forego the hairdryer and the car in lieu of air drying and walking…all of which is just great, but we only have to do it today, right?!

Yes We Can (Be Prepared for Inauguration Day in DC)!

Much has already been said, recommended, and warned of with regard to the 2009 Inauguration of the President of the United States already — some of it is essential and not necessarily obvious to someone who doesn’t live in DC, but other advice I’ve read has been so basic that if you didn’t already plan for it, I am curious about how you’ve made it this far without falling into a well-marked hole somewhere. For instance, I trust The Window Seat readers who plan to attend are smart enough to know to wear comfortable walking shoes and expect to get a lot of use out of them over the next couple of days. And if you didn’t already plan to bring a warm jacket and dress in layers with a granola bar or two tucked in the pockets (Secret Service says no backpacks or bags allowed), you should probably just plan stay home and watch it on TV at this point.

Mud-pies, Camp Fires, and Butterflies: Ingredients for Creating the Next Generation of Earth Stewards?

Editors’ Note: To celebrate Earth Day on April 22, The Window Seat is devoting this week to exploring some of the world’s natural environments, hereby declaring this Nature Week. Through our Nature Week posts, we hope to inspire all travelers to get outside and interact with nature no matter where they happen to be. For more ideas, visit our collection of Children & Nature road trips and volunteer opportunities.

I did Disney World. I was five. I remember the haunted house ride because I went on it with my grandpa and I worried the entire time that he would have a heart attack right there in the cart next to me. I remember being absolutely wrecked after running as fast as I could to chase down Goofy to get my picture taken with him only to have him disappear through an invisible door in some fake wall before my little legs could catch up to him. And that’s pretty much all I remember from the Magical Kingdom.

The truth is, the truly magical moments I remember from my childhood didn’t come from any sort of manufactured fun. My most vivid memory from that trip to Florida is climbing a ladder in an orange grove, picking an orange, and having the farmer squeeze the juice right there in front of me and tasting the best thing I’d tasted up to that point in my life. Later that night we wandered out back behind my Uncle Roger’s house to look for the crocodiles that supposedly lived in his pond. The thought of those crocs lurking in the waters made my heart race with a delightful terror the haunted house could never have. No animated characters or movie theater popcorn necessary to create those memories – just the pure beauty and thrill of nature.

Summer Lovin’ Reaches New Heights

I swear this post is about the mountains, despite the apparent lack thereof in the picture. (If you squint really hard you can see them in the background I swear – but isn’t my dog cute?) Today is my one-year anniversary of having left my mountain town for the city, and while I have very few complaints about the relocation, I still desperately miss the mountains – particularly in the summertime. While the picture might not scream mountains, it reminds me of all the things I love about them in the warm weather months.

A Grey Area in Green Europe

I’m just back from a trip to the Czech Republic and still suffering from some serious jetlag, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. On the way across the pond I read a stat in Vanity Fair’s Green issue that seriously bummed me out: the U.S. will likely emit 19% more greenhouse gases by 2020 than it did in 2000. Meanwhile, our friends over in the European Union have committed to cut those emissions by 20% by 2020 from 1990 levels. Ouch! I’m pretty sure I winced visibly at that one.

The staggering difference in priorities reflected by those numbers made me wonder if I would see a major difference in the day-to-day eco-consciousness in Europe in comparison to the U.S. To be fair, I was coming from one of our country’s greenest cities to a country led by a man who recently said that government spending on global warming studies were a waste of money and who has compared environmentalism to communism (which, if you know anything about the anti-communist sentiment that pervades the Czech Republic, is a pretty brawny statement). So perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me when recycling bins were nearly impossible to find, or that there was a shocking number of massive SUVs bumping over the cobblestones despite the tiny streets upon which they have to maneuver. I can only hope that a country which loves beer as much as this one does might find the effects that the current multi-year drought are having on their barley crops at least mildly concerning enough to consider that climate change might have something to do with it.