Toot, toot, toot, the kazoos of a dozen excited pre-schoolers floated up to listening birds who chirped back; it was a fantastic call and response. The budding musicians were leading the 4th of July parade right into the community park and the start of the annual picnic
Annie and LJ, along with parents, family, and friends, snapped pictures, waved flags, and cheered.
“What a musical display, kids, and birds in unison,” laughed Annie. “And did you notice the children had their water bottles too?”
“I knew you would see that, Annie. This generation of parents raises their children to be environmentally conscious and practice self-care. Seeing them with water bottles gives me hope.”
“Me too,” said Annie. “Consistent messaging about being environmentally friendly has started seeping into the public’s consciousness. Researchers state that post-pandemic more of us are paying attention to what we buy and how it’s packaged,
“69% of respondents today said they do everything
they can to reduce their carbon footprint,
an increase from 63% of those surveyed in July 2019.” – Strategy & Business

So, when I sent out the paperless invites to the picnic this year, I challenged everyone to bring only locally grown food they prepared and is compostable. Translation, no meat.”
LJ chuckled, “that was clever. I hope they realize what compostable means.
“Meat bones are compostable, but they take a long time to decompose and attract pests, not to mention the odor. It is far easier and faster to compost plant scraps,” she said while waving at Johnny and Natasha riding up to them on their bicycle built for two.
“Hey there.” laughed Nat, “We’re so glad we ran into you. You can show us the location of the family picnic. We’ll walk with you.”
“Your bicycle is so cool. I wonder if I could talk LJ into getting one? I see you brought table cloths and blankets.”
“Yes, Annie, we were happy to read your invite instructions. We ditched the paper and plastic years ago and now only use cloth napkins, table covers, and blankets.”
They approached their assigned picnic area and were joined by Ruby bringing a large cart. “LJ and I are happy to help you with that, Ruby. I’m looking forward to the goodies inside,” said Johnny.
Ruby laughed, “thanks. I was up early this morning picking the fruit and veggies from the café garden. I used a dry rub for some and marinated others, so I guarantee and declare my food will be fresh and delicious!”
“It always is,” said Annie. “I love how you make plant-based food the main attraction of our picnics. You were also one of the first to use sustainable utensils in your restaurant, and what everyone is using at the picnic today.”
“I brought homemade natural ingredient repellant and sunscreen too. Some ingredients are homegrown, and the others are easy to find. I bottled them in a glass squirt bottle, which means there’s no aerosol spray harming our ozone layer.
LJ nodded, “speaking of the ozone layer. I researched carbon-neutral fireworks, according to Science Focus
“Traditional fireworks are normally made using a charcoal and sulphur fuel, a perchlorate oxidiser to help with burning, plus binders, colourants, and propellants. When ignited, the pyrotechnics are spectacular, but they emit large amounts of smoke, unused perchlorates, and metal by-products from the colourants, all of which are contaminates.”
Often fireworks are shot over water; their falling by-products are harmful to marine life. However, carbon-neutral fireworks are made to have a cleaner and environmentally safer burn.”
Johnny smiled, “I like how each of us used a thoughtful approach to this picnic. The result is a carbon-neutral gathering that includes:
1. Paperless invites
2. Sustainable and biodegradable utensils, plates, and water bottles
3. Cloth napkins, table covers, and blankets
4. Local and compostable food
5. Natural ingredient repellant and sunscreen
6. Carbon-neutral Fireworks
“I agree,” LJ said. “If each of us chooses to live a slower-paced lifestyle, it can lead to measured and unselfish decisions that support happier and healthier living for humanity and planet earth.”

Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.


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