How My Mother Made Me See The Light: One CFL Light Bulb At A Time

By Molly Hooven

A typical evening in my house consists of someone asking, “Mom, where’s this?” or “Mom, where’s that?”

So when one of my light bulbs went out, I asked “Mom, where are the light bulbs?” She placed the energy saving CFL light bulb in my hand and the world was right again.

Moms across the nation are creating a path for younger generations to become more aware and proactive about protecting our environment. According to Energy Star, if everyone replaced the light bulb (like I did) then we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year but according to Mom, it’s just the right thing to do.

That’s good enough for me.

Mothers Day is May 8th and so it’s perfect timing to acknowledge how moms are teaching environmentally friendly day-to-day activities in a fun manner to their children. My mother’s passion for the earth certainly has now been embedded in my life. As role models, moms are the ones with the power to shape how we act towards our water, air, health and planet.

Not a day goes by that my mom does not recycle bottles or cardboard. Did you know that it takes over 200 hundred years for an aluminum soda can to decompose but if recycled it can be reused in a matter of weeks? When my mom heard that our county was trashing the caps of water bottles, she quickly started saving them until she could find a location that would recycle them. Thankfully, it was a false rumor so we can once again toss the bottles (caps included!) into the bin.

Even with summer just around the corner, there’s no vacation for recycling, according to my mom. When traveling to Maine for vacation, she collects our used bottles and made it a “fun activity” for us to stick them in a reverse vending machine at the grocery store that recycles them and refunds deposits to customers. I still hold a fond memory of the smell of soda cans and salt water!

My mom allowed me to find my eco-passion on my own time. I remember asking her to pack my lunch in a paper bag. Soon enough I saw the light and am now a proud carrier of a cloth lunch bag that does not contribute to the 4.5 pounds of garbage each person produces daily. My sister caught on earlier than I did and as she proudly wears her “Going Green is Hot” t-shirt, she too carries her cloth lunch bag.

My mom and many other women are creating a greener future for our nation. Did your mom’s green techniques leave an impact on you? Share your thoughts!

About the author: Molly Hooven joined the EPA in November 2010 as a SCEP intern. She will graduate in May with her M.B.A. from Mount St. Mary’s University and has an undergraduate degree in Communications.