A conversation with a 7-year-old environmentalist:
Laurel: "Mommy, what are they building there?"
Me: "They're clearing land to build new shops and restaurants."
Laurel: "Oh, no! Why? What about all the trees and grass?"
Me: "Well, this area was blighted, and the city leaders decided it would be best to allow the new businesses to come in. Those businesses create revenue for the city through taxes, so the city will hopefully have more money for things like parks and planting trees."
Laurel: "I want to give money for parks."
Me: "You don't need to give money to the parks. You could volunteer your time, though. Time is money, as they say. I'm sure they would be happy to let you pick up litter."
Laurel: "Yeah! Or if a tree is about to fall, I could help push it out of the way!!"
Me: "Umm, no. But you could probably help pick up litter."
Laurel: "Well, okay."
Me: "I will call and see about this, but remember, it will require hours and hours of commitment for you to pick up litter. You can't just give up after a few minutes to go play on the swings."
Me: "I'll call the office tomorrow if you're really serious."
Laurel: "You know where the office is? How do you know where that is?"
Me: "It's in the rec center."
Laurel: "But how do you know?"
Me: "Because I've seen it."
Laurel: "Maybe you can just ask the lady at the pool if I can do it."
Me: "What are you talking about?"
Laurel: "You know, the lady who lets you into the pool."
Me: "The lady at the pool doesn't know."
Laurel: "Why doesn't she know?"
Me: "Because it's not her job. I'll have to call the parks and rec department."
Me: "Yes. Tomorrow. Christ."
And I did. And I'm waiting for a call back. I hope the guy calls me back really soon, because woe is me if Laurel gets home and I don't know when or if she can pick up trash.