Walking the Talk: "Be the Change You Want to See"

 Helen Files sits atop a ladder at the Kenilworth underpass in Oak Park. Her portion of the Girl Scout mural encourages people to use solar panels.

Helen Files sits atop a ladder at the Kenilworth underpass in Oak Park. Her portion of the Girl Scout mural encourages people to use solar panels.

By Lisa Biehle Files

Some kids worry more than others.  But what do you do with a kid who says, night after night, "I'm really worried about global warming, Mom."  This was my dilemma a few years ago with our daughter, Helen.  I couldn't look under the bed or in the closet for the global warming monster and say, "Nothing there, dear." Instead, as a Girl Scout troop leader, I guided my daughter's troop through two new books: "Breathe," about air pollution, and "Sow What?" about eating local, organic food.  These materials really got everyone thinking about what they could do to make changes in their lives.

A group of five girls (including Helen and her twin sister, Grace) decided to paint a mural in Oak Park, teaching people about individual choices they can make to minimize global warming. Their mural is at the Kenilworth underpass, and topics include using wind energy, driving less, installing solar panels, walking or biking, and bringing your own bag to the store when shopping.  It's called Solutions to Pollution.

As a troop, we all visited Angelic Organic Farm in Caledonia.  The Sugar Beet arranged a tour of the vegetable fields and greenhouse.  There the girls held and fed chickens, milked goats, and made and ate goat milk ice cream.  We talked about the importance of buying local, organic food, when possible, and about the amount of energy it takes to ship strawberries all the way from California, for example.

Through my new position as Digital Media Associate for Green Community Connections, I hope to continue educating people about the changes we can make in our daily lives and to learn from all of you too.  As both the mural and Gandhi once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world."