It’s a busy morning at the Morgans’ house. Sophie has been up since 6 a.m. waking up her four kids Clara, Julia, Ben, and Tom. Her husband Bane has already left for work. It gets a little hectic at times, but that's not unusual, explains Sophie:
Everyone is getting ready, in the morning, at different stages. My alarm goes off at 6 a.m. I start waking up the kids. It is a 3-hour process. By the time Tom gets onto the bus, it’s 9 a.m. because their schools start at different times. And then they’re at school all day and Bane’s at work and I am either home or not home depending upon what’s going happening. Then the whole crazy routing starts again. At 2:30 p.m., the girls come home. At 3:30 p.m., Ben comes home. And then at 4:15 p.m., Tom comes home. And then activities … we go in a million different directions; no two days are the same. So, from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. is insanely busy. It’s all their activities, deciding where we’re going - like dance, drum lessons, guitar lessons, lacrosse games, and baseball games.”
This is the first in a series of blog posts exploring sustainable choices and everyday green habits of a modern American family, the Morgans. Bane Morgan is my former host brother and during my recent stay in the States, I visited him and his family for quite some time during which we talked a lot about sustainability. Sophie and Bane as well as their oldest daughters Carla and Julia told me a lot about how they try to incorporate green choices into their lives. Throughout the next five blog posts, I will give an account of what they revealed to me in regard to topics like housing, transportation, food, shopping, and sustainable lifestyle, in general.
But before the series starts, you should get to know the family and their living situation. So, let me introduce them to you: meet the Morgans. There are seven of them in total: Sophie (41) and Bane (42), their four children: Carla (14), Julia (12), Ben (11), and Tom (9), and their dog Bella. They live in the small community of Gibsonia, Allegheny County, in western Pennsylvania. They are a rather typical upper middle-class family who owns a spacious mansion in a suburban neighborhood. Bane is an oral surgeon* and owns his own company. Sophie stays at home and cares for the kids and the dog. Their schedules are extremely busy with school, dance, cheerleading, fencing, basketball, lacrosse, and baseball.
The Morgans' house in Gibsonia in western Pennsylvania. (photo credit: Lea Meimerstorf)
oral surgeon: a doctor or dentist who is trained to deal with diseases and problems of the mouth, jaw, face, and neck
Average American vs. Average European https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuWOoQU0aKw A purely statistics-based comparison between both countries. Remember that this average person only exists in theory.
Does the Morgans' morning routine differ from yours? How?
What is the family's socio-economic status? What indicators does the text mention?
Based on what you learn about the family in this first blog post, what do you think are the Morgans doing, or not doing, to 'go green'?
Meet the Morgans How one American family is going green
In Going Green, you come across different cases of sustainable lifestyles on both sides of the Atlantic. And in times of globalization—easy mobility between nations, expanding trade relations, communication through social media in real-time—we're led to believe that we already know exactly what life in another country looks like. But is that really so? Luckily, Lea Meimerstorf was able to visit and interview a family of six from western Pennsylvania during the past few weeks and she got an interesting glimpse into their daily life. The Morgans welcome us into their home and along their daily routines. Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to explore what steps this American family takes—or doesn't take—to go green, including the areas of housing, transportation, food, shopping, and more. What do you do to go green? And how do your family's efforts compare to those of the Morgans? Stay tuned and find out in this mini-series.The views and opinions expressed in these interviews are not necessarily reflective of Teach About U.S.'s mission.
Lea Meimerstorf is a primary school teacher student in the 2nd Master's semester at Leuphana University Lüneburg. Her subjects are English and German. She has been supporting Teach About U.S. as a project assistant since 2019.