My Humble Reply to Miss Greta Thunberg: Who is Responsible for Climate Stewardship?


September 25, 2019

Quick Answer: Everyone.  Literally, everyone on this planet.  If we’re to scold anyone when it comes to how we humans have conducted ourselves in relationship to our Earth, then we’d have to do it toward ourselves and every household, nomadic tent city, unique compound, homeless camp or any other type of setup that we homo sapiens respectively keep our residence.  Please make no mistake in understanding the state of our world’s climate; this planet will be able to continue with or without us.  Truly, it’s a matter of what we’re comfortable with and able to accept based on our lifestyles as we know it here in the 21st century.


Long Answer: The following is my succinct personal story in recent days of trying to love the Earth, fight for a new mindset on a bipartisan basis, and coming to raw terms of reality especially when it comes to environmental politics.


It’s been nearly a week since I traveled to Washington, D.C. for the second time this month.  The first time was to attend the Bush-Cheney administration reunion held for those who served in various agencies and roles back during those years—it was surreal to be in the company with those whom, along with myself (I was a political appointee in Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s office), had given of our time and talents to serve an administration during what already has been documented as a historically poignant time in our country’s history.  We were able to share an audience with former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney as they reflected on those years and shared encouraging antidotes for the present time.  I personally took a time-out after serving the administration to give birth to our first child, followed by a few more pregnancies that sum totaled in three wonderful children while also helping elderly in the home we’ve had the blessing to live in south Florida for the past decade.


My second D.C. visit came by way of invitation to attend the Environmental Defense Fund’s Fly-In last week and to take the opportunity to visit with offices of Florida’s congressional delegation to share my heartfelt inclinations about the importance of pursuing legislative goals of environmental solutions for our state as well as nationwide.  Ironically, as I traversed Capitol Hill on foot last Thursday with a few of my like-minded colleagues, our U.S. Congress was also receiving the most recent public comments from Miss Greta Thunberg of Sweden.  While I carried copies of my children’s illustrations and short comments about our stewardship of the Earth to my state’s various congressional offices, Miss Thunberg was testifying that our nation was doing little to nothing to help assuage the seemingly accelerating effects of our contribution to our planet’s climatic cycle. In the past couple days, Miss Thunberg also addressed the United Nations in New York City by repeatedly saying “how dare you” in regards to the idea that this global governing body entity looks to the youth for hope and yet fails in action.


Rewind to earlier this year: I took the time out to track our household’s trash habits for a couple of weeks.  This included taking note of the packaging that we deal with when purchasing goods and how we dispose of those items as well as pre-existing goods in the home.  The results of this personal audit almost sent me into a full-fledged depression swing similar to the post-partum blues I had experienced in varying degrees with each of my children born.  It was embarrassing to recognize just how much waste we deal with in this home and although we try to diligently sort our trash into as much recycling as we can—then we’re faced with the dirty secret in most of our nation’s municipalities that much of our recycling isn’t actually recycled, rendering this conscientious ritual of sorting our garbage in the house a moot matter.

My personal trash inventory and revelation, along with a shared vision with friends, gave me the inspiration to seek more avenues to help effect change in my city and county in the interest of cleaning up our act when it came to household habits and waste processing.  It also highlighted to me that it is a harsh reality to face our personal habits when it comes to how we travel, purchase and process goods, dispose of our trash, and use our resources like water and energy sources.  It is this message I believe that needs to be conveyed to the world’s microphone so to speak.  Although as a mother and educator I wholeheartedly support the notion of a 16-year-old having global attention when it comes to helping influence change in funding, legislation, and other environmental mandates needed to assist a “clean-up” of our habits, I dislike our collective avoidance of the real problem we face in terms of our interaction with our planet’s climatic cycles: ourselves.


There is so much more to write on this subject today, probably redundant in nature given how much has already been written and shared in digital spaces such as the Twitter social media platform.  If there is anything I desire to share and encourage in this discussion regarding our climate stewardship going forward, it would be that the most effective course of action would be to cease finger-pointing to entities such as governing bodies and business corporations.  If we have any hope of dramatically changing our habits, we must take personal responsibility and ask ourselves if we’re willing to re-think how we transport ourselves, purchase and utilize goods, sort our garbage, and overall make those hourly decisions to make a difference in our human footprint on Earth.


“We are given substance, nurtured, and sustained by family. Kinship goes beyond family and is the connection we feel to the world at large and everything in it.  Given the concept of family, it isn’t difficult to understand the idea of kinship with other forms of life—everything was of the Earth. We all came from it one way or another and returned to it when life was over. These were the unalterable realities that connected us to everything around us.”–Joseph M. Marshall III, The Lakota Way

Some favorite sources:


Beach Cleaning or Sorting the Smokers from the Cruiseships

This past Saturday I participated in the Great American Cleanup Day in
conjunction with my husband’s company Florida Power and Light (FPL)
Power to Care event held at John D. MacArthur Park in Singer Island.
It was a company family event where participants wore matching FPL
Power to Care green volunteer shirts and yes my son was adorable in
his little shirt dubbed as a volunteer-in-training.  If you are
interested in the general information on Keeping America Beautiful
Inc, including their most recent campaign you can check out their
webpage at

I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder concerning beach cleanups mostly
because I consider them to be an ineffective means of keeping our
shores clear of trash on a regular basis but also for the reason that
Saturday mornings were always a tough day for me to be available.

Still, I’m glad I joined my son and husband for the FPL team event as
I was able to participate and witness the pros and cons of a beach
cleanup scenario.

As a side note, did you know that the beach is also known as the GIANT
public access ashtray?  I find it unbelievable every time I step foot
on the sandy shores of Florida that I always end up stepping on a
cigarette butt of some sort.  Is it truly that difficult to take your
empty water bottle, fill it with sand and then dump your butts into it
and toss into the trash bin on your way out from the beach?  Talk
about the perils of your child playing in the sand.

Back to beach cleanup, we entered the beach and were handed gloves,
bags and these tools that grab the trash in an extended fashion so you
don’t have to bend over.  The gloves I accepted and after about a
minute I ended up returning the trash contraption because I just don’t
think it’s helpful.

During a beach cleanup, the bulky trash items are picked up en masse
in less than fifteen minutes.  The reality is that there is still a
load of trash available to pick up but it must be sorted through by
hand, the tools will just slow you down.

Instead I recommend cleaning methods like getting on your knees next
to a pile of wet or dry seaweed with good gloves on.  Proceed to turn
that seaweed/debris pile over and you will find more trash than you
imagined there at first glance.

Looking around during the beach cleanup I was disheartened to see that
folks weren’t really looking for garbage unless it jumped out at them.
 While searching through the piles of seaweed myself, I was astonished
at how much is hidden in the shorelines and overwhelmed that it seemed
it never can get clean enough.

We were told by one of the wildlife officers that a majority of the
trash they find every year is caused by the cruise ships offshore.  I
vaguely remember someone in the past telling me that the cruise ships
do end up dumping debris while at sea, although I can’t remember if it
was just limited to sewage or what not.  That completely horrifies me
and there must be a way to help stop that practice sooner rather than

I was glad that my son got to see other people picking up trash on the
beach since most of the time he only sees his mama doing that when we
go to the beach together.  I don’t want to be a naysayer against beach
cleanups, they are a good team building experience for work and
schools, I just wish people could take that mentality with them when
they go to the beach themselves.

If you have the opportunity to participate in a beach cleanup, go for
it with an open heart and mind.  You may find it to be more rewarding
than first thought, I certainly did and if nothing else learned how to
better find debris to trash.