Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Literary Mama Rewind: Earth Day

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Welcome to Literary Mama Rewind! Every few weeks we'll round up some of our favorite essays, stories, poems, columns, and reviews from the Literary Mama archives relating to a particular theme. April 22 was Earth Day. We are going green this week with a collection of pieces from the archives that explore a range of environmental topics from renewable energy to compost. Dig in!

That's not to say these panels worked, because they didn't. Well, they did, but not as well as, not as reliably as, say gas and electric. Fossil fuels. Fossilized fuels. The ancient remnants of life. The ones we were going to run out of.

  • Surfacing by Karen Barnett in Creative Nonfiction

The next day, aching with exhaustion, I resolve to do something. I will not sit idly by during a moment of planetary emergency. I will not sink into inaction with the future of the human race, the future of my children, at stake.

On our way back from the compost heap tonight, I showed Esphyr the moon.

In her backyard, shells scattered from the morning's boiled eggs made compost for the crocuses transplanted from Mother's Day gifts.

With varying levels of dedication, I've been an "enviro" my entire adult life. Before we moved to South Africa, before the twins had even turned two, I bought a thick manual called Teaching Green. I intended to continue green living in Cape Town, and I intended to give my children a precocious environmental education.

So what does it take to get turned on about being planet conscious? How can we shift the mindset from guilt and shame, from pointing out the didn't-do's (a là the one-sided copies), to one of affirmation and empowerment?

Because when you become a parent, you make an implicit commitment to the future. And while most of us know that global warming is a problem, we might not realize how urgent a problem it is before watching this dramatic presentation of photos, facts and figures.

My passion for the nexus of environment and health had been fueled in part by Sandra Steingraber's books, Living Downstream (1997) and Having Faith (2001). Both of these books are meticulously researched, lyrically written, and deeply personal accounts of how our assault on the environment affects human health down to the cellular level.

Amanda Jaros is a freelance writer living in Ithaca, NY. Her essay “Blood Mountain” won the 2017 Notes From the Field contest at Flyway Journal. Other work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including, NewfoundLife in the Finger Lakes Magazine, Highlights for Children, and Cargo Literary. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Chatham University.

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