Leaving Green Behind (For My Kids)

June 22nd, 2009


The week between the end of the school year and the start of summer camp is a rough time.  Many families are left scrambling for child care or trying to arrange play dates to keep the kids entertained.  This year, we wised up and headed out of town for a mini-vacation.

Since I’ve  blogged about avoiding car use for the sake of the climate change fight,  you might be thinking that we hopped into our hybrid for an eco-tour.

But since the theme of this month’s Green Moms Carnival is EcoConfessions, I have to confess that  we don’t even own a hybrid.

Last week, we loaded up our station wagon to join the throngs of tots journeying to see Thomas the Tank Engine and to explore Dutch Wonderland, a kid-focused amusement park I remembered fondly from my 4th birthday.

The irony of this “Green Mom” traveling 400 miles round trip to see the Crown Prince of “Kid Marketing” – a coal-powered train no less – was not lost on me.  Sure, we squealed with   delight when Thomas steamed into the station, but we also coughed and complained when we breathed in the foul coal smoke from Thomas’ boiler.

That’s when I snapped this picture of the pile of coal used to power Thomas, and tried to shake off a feeling of hypocrisy.  Memories of many bloggy conversations with LaMarguerite about coal and global warming and thoughts of Retro Housewife’s upcoming Green Moms Carnival on coal clouded my mind. I sighed and sent a quick tweet about how  the trip was great fodder for this month’s  EcoConfession carnival!


And it’s not just the travel  – it’s the food and the souvenirs to boot.  Yes, that’s a piece of Cheap Plastic Crap (also known as a miniature plastic train) that my 2 ½ year old is grasping ever so tightly in that photo. Yes, I’m the one who blogged about “Just Say No to Cheap Plastic Crap.” But when it’s  the only thing a darling boy asks for in the souvenir shop, it’s hard to resist.   I pushed thoughts of my plastic-free friend Beth from Fake Plastic Fish out of my head.  And the Star Wars figurine in his other hand? Sigh. Caught again. I’ve clearly bought plastic toys more than once. (Beth, will you still be my friend?)

Heading over to Dutch Wonderland  the next morning, we were greeted by this sign: No Food Allowed.


We stayed in the car a few minutes extra to fill up on fresh hardboiled CSA eggs , organic cheese and whole wheat bread.   As we entered the park, I managed a sarcastic aside  to the guard,  saying “Oh, since we can’t bring in our own food, I suppose there’s plenty of boiled eggs, fresh organic apples and raw veggies for sale in the park?”   He referred me to the kosher mart as the best bet for “health food.”


Since the healthy kosher mart was closed, we ended up with this for lunch.


But I suppose it’s okay, because the souvenir shop’s organic t-shirts proclaimed, “Dutch Wonderland: We’re Going Green!”

And the most shocking part of my Eco Confession?   We had such a great time that we hope to make this decidedly “un-green” vacation an annual event!

What’s your Eco-Confession? Leave a comment and share!  And head on over to The Green Parent on Wednesday, June 24th to read more EcoConfessions from the wonderful women of The Green Moms Carnival.


Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

20 Responses to “Leaving Green Behind (For My Kids)”

  1. Crunchy Chicken on June 22, 2009 10:48 am

    I can’t say I would have taken the “no food allowed” sign as lightly as you. The Thomas the Train thing, well, you know what you are getting into ahead of time, but forcing you to pay for crappy food because they have you hostage is another thing.

    What’s next, making you pay for using the bathrooms and charging you $1 a square for TP? But, then again, I probably would just pee in the bushes.

    Crunchy Chicken’s last blog post..Make your own mascarpone

  2. Lynn on June 22, 2009 11:06 am

    Yeah, Deanna, I was actually really annoyed about the food thing. I remembered when I had a baby with food allergies and wondered if they would give exemptions for health issues. Then I thought: processed food is a health issue! And obesity is a health issue…there were plenty of obese people in the park, and frankly, I can stand to lose some weight myself. At least I revolted enough to bring in our water bottles, so we didn’t have to pay $2.50 for the privilege of buying water in plastic. That would have really sent me over the edge… Thanks for your comment! — Lynn

  3. Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish on June 22, 2009 11:11 am

    @Crucnhy — except you wouldn’t actually pee in the bushes because you just confessed that you don’t actually do that sort of thing as much as you’d like us to believe.

    @Lynn, Lynn, Lynn… what can I say? Better hide your head when I see you at BlogHer. Seriously though, I do hear what you’re saying about how hard it can be, and since I don’t have kids, I don’t have the pressure of little voices asking for things they shouldn’t have. My one comment would be to ask you what little step(s) you can think about taking during next year’s trip to lessen the impact. Obviously, none of us is perfect.

    Or how about writing a letter to the park letting them know how you feel about not being able to bring in healthy organic plastic-free food? Or asking that they provide some organic options? They have a whole year to get their act together before you’ll be back, Mominator.

    Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish’s last blog post..Confession of a Fast Food Addict who ate at Amanda’s and forgot to BYO.

  4. Crunchy Chicken on June 22, 2009 11:15 am

    Beth, in this case I would go buy a 64 ounce Lipton iced tea in a plastic cup with a plastic straw and a plastic lid for $8.75 from the lady wearing the purple sweatshirt and go to town.

    Crunchy Chicken’s last blog post..Make your own mascarpone

  5. Lynn on June 22, 2009 11:21 am

    @Beth (love this @ convention, by the way!) — Yes, I will hang my head and probably blush bright red. I actually thought about taking pictures of all of the stuff I said NO to….so that my paltry plastic choo choo would look positively benign in comparision… But instead I just need to bring it to BlogHER to have @thesmartmama test it for lead (darn, forgot to put that in the post may have to go add it back in!). Beth, I cracked up when I read your post, I was afraid to read it cause I think of you as such a Saint and yes, you proved you really are! What a lame eco-confession! :)

    Crunchy, you crack me up. Always. Folks, Crunchy has a new blog designed to help us Green Moms look like Hot Sexy Foxy Green Mammas…go check it out at http://greengoddessdressing.blogspot.com/

  6. Mindful Momma on June 22, 2009 11:59 am

    stinky commercial amusement park:$50, cheap plastic toy: $5, processed lunch with lots of non-recyclable garbage: $20

    Excellent day w/family: priceless

    Mindful Momma’s last blog post..Quick & Easy Reuse Tip: Crayon Holders

  7. Condo Blues on June 22, 2009 12:56 pm

    I think those bag checks are less about security now and more about making sure you buy their overpriced and junky food at the park. I’m all for a corn dog or funnel cake when at one of those places but it would be nice to be able to balance it out with something somewhat healthy like a veggie burger. I’ve tried doing the bring a picnic lunch thing too but it can be such a pain because you have to leave the park, hike to your car, hike to picnic shelter (always in No Man’s Land), eat, etc. which can take a lot of time. With admission park fees getting here I want to stay in the park as long as possible which means I end up eating their food.

    I’ll be your friend even though your son has plastic toys because his action figure is Boba Fett and Boba Fett rocks the house! Who knows maybe you can sell it when he’s older for a meeeeeellion dollars on eBay to a collector and pay for your son’s college tution?

    Condo Blues’s last blog post..What Can You Do with Mint?

  8. Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama on June 22, 2009 1:10 pm

    I still love you Lynn. And yes, I will definitely test it. And yes, we have TONS of plastic toys. It sucks.

    Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama’s last blog post..Danielle Elizabeth – Organic Diaper Bags

  9. ruchi on June 22, 2009 3:19 pm

    Having recently spent some time in the real Dutch Wonderland, aka Amsterdam, I will tell you that
    1) it is really green
    2) people bike everywhere
    3) there is good food
    4) You can picnic in the park
    5) OTOH it is PROBABLY not somewhere I would go on a family vacation. Unless I wanted to show my children the nice ladies hanging out in their underwear.

    ruchi’s last blog post..For Those of You Who Are Curious

  10. Lynn on June 23, 2009 4:56 am

    So glad to hear that about the toys – you’re not perfect either! On the other hand, remember all those tweets about being taken seriously by the leading men of the green movement? I think we’ve just set that back with this carnival! Seriously, I like to think of what Seth Goldman, Tea-EO of Honest Tea told me in his OrganicMania inteview, “If you’re trying to live a sustainable life in a cinablvie a sot lamdlnrivaloiuslWe live in a consumer society. The definition of a consumer is to destroy, and the definition of sustainability is the exact opposite. How do you live a sustainable life in a consumer society? You’re setting yourself up for a contradiction.” (His interview is here if you want to read more: http://ow.ly/fCRH

  11. Lynn on June 23, 2009 4:57 am

    It was totally a food check. It was ridiculous! Ha, you made me laugh and I’m impressed you know about Boba Fett! :)

  12. Lynn on June 23, 2009 4:58 am

    Love it, love it, been laughing about this for hours. Thanks, Micaela! — Lynn

  13. Lynn on June 23, 2009 4:59 am

    Too funny, Ruchi. I’ve been to the real Dutch Wonderland too, many, many moons ago. Actually, I’d love to take my family there some time…but then there’s all that carbon to burn. See, there’s no easy way out of this! — Lynn

  14. Jenn on June 23, 2009 10:10 am

    As a mom who has taken her kids to Disney (the ultimate home of kid commercialization) and had a wonderful time doing it, I can totally empathize with this post Lynn. To me, it’s all about balance. And I know you’ve got covered!

    Jenn’s last blog post..Go Green and Do More With Less

  15. Lynn on June 23, 2009 10:14 am

    You’re wonderful, Jenn. Thanks for the word up Mom to Mom. Yes, I think you summed it up well. — Lynn

  16. Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish on June 23, 2009 10:59 am

    Really Ruchi? That’s all Amsterdam was to you? You mean you didn’t spend one day holed up in your hotel room smoking legal pot, raiding the mini bar, and watching god knows what on TV?


    Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish’s last blog post..Organic food in plastic packaging: Isn’t it ironic?

  17. ruchi aka arduous on June 24, 2009 10:56 am

    Uh, no. Actually I have a hilarious story about my time in Amsterdam, but I might wait to tell it until we’re going out for karaoke in person ….

    ruchi aka arduous’s last blog post..Good News For Moms

  18. mother earth aka karen hanrahan on June 25, 2009 6:46 am

    I did many theme park trips with our kids, at that time I didn’t have my green radar going…i was just horrified at the money suck these places were…the husband at that time scowled, frowned, made comments like you really don’t need to eat today do you — making the trips additionally unbearable. For me, anyplace that had a water park, rides ( oh how I love roller coasters ) and seen through the eyes of a child were deliciously fun. I would trade those times in for anything

    mother earth aka karen hanrahan’s last blog post..Summer Tips For Safe Fun In The Sun

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