Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Beautiful Earth

Seattle is proud of its reputation as an ecologically-minded "green" city. A forerunner of earth-friendly practices, like curbside recycling, community gardens, and bike lanes for commuting cyclists, it only makes sense that a city surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful forests, mountains and sea would be fiercely protective of Mother Earth.

And what's more, Seattle invests in teaching earth awareness to children. Go to any museum, festival, recreation center or park, and you will find interactive displays, craft areas, science exhibits and art installations, all brilliantly designed to help kids learn about protecting our planet. Over the years, I've visited dozens of these places with my daughters, and I'm very thankful to have raised my family in such a socially responsible city.

Because I know that not every city in the world has the luxury of creating educational playgrounds for children. Certainly, I never expected that Kuala Lumpur, a city teetering on the edge between the first and second worlds, would have the resources to invest in this way.

So imagine my surprise when I wandered into KL's Mid Valley Megamall last weekend and found this adorable scene. Trees and bushes made of newspaper papier-mâché, and animals sculpted from layers of corrugated cardboard were arranged to create child-sized pathways on the atrium floor.Scattered temptingly here and there were small tables and chairs set up with simple craft projects using recycled materials, and cleverly designed cardboard shelves filled with plants, flowers, soil and other materials for kids to explore. And in the brightly lit space up above hung paper butterflies, cardboard birds, and 3D letters spelling out "Beautiful Earth." 

Check it out:

In short, Beautiful Earth was a child's paradise, designed to stimulate young minds and introduce a healthy respect for our planet. Seattle could not have done it any better. And you don't have to take my word for it; just look at the smile on my young companion's face.

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