Ecocentricity Blog: Fun With Blocks

By: John A. Lanier
Mar 10, 2021 9:30 AM ET
Summary: 

With photovoltaics, wildflowers under the panels, sheep grazing the grass, bee hives, and a female technician, the design is incredibly well thought-out. It looks amazing!

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My wife has created dozens of nicknames for our two young children. Some are silly, some are three times longer than their names, and some have a whole song that goes along with them. I get to witness her creativity on a daily basis, and I’m reminded how lucky I am to be married to such a great mother.

I, on the other hand, am far less creative. I call my son Little Man and my daughter Little Miss. That should make it perfectly clear that I am the boring parent. But there is one other nickname I came up with for my son when he was just about a year old – DOT. It’s an acronym, and it stands for “Destroyer of Things.”

Ever since crawling was his primary form of mobility, J.R. was looking for things to knock over. We tried over and over to get him building things, whether block towers, magna-tiles, or Lincoln Logs. He categorically refuses to build, but if we set it up, he will joyfully demonstrate his demolition expertise.

Admittedly, I wasn’t much of a builder when I was a kid. I was almost always chasing a ball around outside, but as an adult, I look at things like LEGO sets and feel like I missed out on something. Maybe I’ll get my LEGO mulligan with my daughter one of these days (though we’ll probably need to hide them from her DOT of an older brother).

Plus, LEGO sets keep getting cooler! Obviously I’m drawn to the Millennium Falcons and AT-ATs they make, but there’s an amazing breadth of sets they offer. You’ve got Rapunzel’s Tower and Elsa’s Ice Palace, along with Porsche 911s and fire-breathing dragons. For a cool $400, you can even build Hogwarts Castle!

But there was a different kind of LEGO set I saw this past weekend that excited me most. LEGO lets fans design new sets, and if they get sufficient votes from the public, they have a chance of being turned into real-life LEGO sets. It turns out that Fresh Energy’s Rob Davis, a collaborator with our grantee The Ray, recently designed a pollinator-friendly solar farm LEGO idea. With photovoltaics, wildflowers under the panels, sheep grazing the grass, bee hives, and a female technician, the design is incredibly well thought-out. For my two cents, I think it looks amazing!

So take a look, and consider throwing it your vote. I think it would be pretty cool to sit down with my daughter and build this set one day. The cleanup would be easy too – all we would have to do is call my DOT of a son over to break it all down!

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