Our home was raided and is now patrolled by the Environmental Police or, as we like to call him, the E.P (aka Nicholas).  Nicholas joined his middle school’s Environmental Club and he takes his membership very seriously, attending every meeting, collecting recycling items and providing daily environmental education to us all.  His environmental work is not deterred by the protests and groans of his siblings who, when pushed to their limits, will scream, “I don’t care about the environment!”  He merely shakes his head in disgust and continues patrolling his beat.

The E.P. has determined that electricity waste violations are the most committed environmental crime in our household and he is tireless in his efforts to eliminate the problem (think DEA and the drug trade).  We cannot turn on a light and walk away for a second, before he swarms in with S.W.A.T. team precision and turns the light off.  We are constantly on the lookout for the E.P., knowing that if we step away from a lit area, we will most certainly return to darkness and a stern warning.  I am very proud of his commitment, but we recently had a showdown over his (and only his) implementation of the water saving technique “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”  The protestors were out in force and the E.P. had no choice but to concede since the leader of the protest (me)  is the one who cleans the bathroom!  Disappointed, but unstoppable, the E.P. decided to move on to recycling.

A few days ago, I found a cardboard box mounted to the kitchen wall (luckily he used push pins and not nails or screws).  The outside of the box read, “Recycling Paper Only!!!”, with the following note attached (typed exactly as written):

“This bin is only for paper.  If trash is found, it will be removed.  This bin will be empted every week.

Things not to be thrown in:  1. Colored paper; 2. Staples, paperclips; 3. Plastic bottles; 4. Food, drinks!!!! 5. Clothing, shoes.

Please respect the box!!!  The box is your friend.

Do you want to die in 10 years?”

I felt the death warning was a little strong, otherwise it was well executed and I allowed the box to stay, although I did laugh to myself, as I kept picturing piles of discarded clothing and shoes thrown into the box causing the E.P. to resort to excessive force to deal with the offenders.

Out of curiosity, I looked inside the box and discovered a non-recyclable drink package, clearly in violation of item #4 of things not to be thrown in.  It didn’t take a CSI team to figure out who the perpetrator was…Alex.  After being confronted and detained by the E.P., Alex gave a full confession, seeming not at all remorseful, but rather proud of his crime (a little scary).  A few heated words were exchanged between the E.P. and the “perp”, which ended with the box being confiscated and cleaned out.  Feeling a twinge of guilt over  the water conservation fight, I joined the E.P.’s cause by setting up a household watch program to keep the recycling box clear of infractions.  Hopefully, the E.P. can relax a little knowing he has an ally who supports his commitment to saving our environment.

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