it is a very recent realization. truthfully, up until this year i've never cared too much about sustainability or about leaving a mark on my earth. but i moved onto an acreage, had a baby, researched (a LOT), and opened my eyes to things i just never thought about before. now, leaving less of a mark on the environment is often on my mind, doing what i can with what i've got, NOT depending upon outside sources (as much as possible), the idea that, really, my heritage IS reusing, reducing, and coming up with innovative ways to do that. it always reminds me of a summer long past when my family and several members of my extended family went camping one weekend. at the time, it was just good fun, all of the cousins were together, we got to play and run around all day long, what else could a kid ask for? we ended up camping at hazlet's tiny little regional campground. i can't remember it being truly THAT amazing - it was pretty and well kept but it wouldn't ever be a destination. that being said, it was AWESOME! and the best part? on saturday morning, my cousins and i were walking around as the parents made brunch and we found mushrooms! tons of them! ba-zillions of little puffballs. we picked them, washed them, and cut them up for our parents and we all got to eat wild mushroom scrambled eggs! camping meals ALWAYS taste great but, if i'm honest, it probably wasn't the BEST meal EVER - now, though, looking back, i recall that brunch being the tastiest meal i've ever eaten. (it's recently been given a run for it's money after eating a meal made entirely from vegetables harvested from my garden). the thing is, i believe that this could be how it's all supposed to be - the pride you feel from making something (a meal, some clothes, a bag, whatever...) from something you already had, something you grew yourself, something that you found (be it outside on the ground or in a second hand shop) lends to the enjoyment, AND it's a more greener way to live. i think, in the end, living in a way that allows us to take pride in what we consume, to strive to find ways to do things ourselves really just lends to a greater feeling of self-worth and a closer kinship with what is natural. it allows us to actually remember that our world is a living thing, an amazing place that God has given to provide for us. and we begin to feel a sense of responsiblity - that caring for this place we call home is up to us. and even a small step is a step in the right direction.