Growing Up In a Green Family

I was green before it was cool. I was green before it was a term to describe living closer to the Earth. Being primarily raised by my maternal grandparents who went through the Great Depression, it was second nature to recycle aluminum cans and newspapers, reuse containers from any products we purchased, eat in-season local produce, garden extensively and can those veggies for consumption during the long NY winters. Grampa even had fruit trees and Grama cooked everything from scratch. We wore more layers if we were cold in the house rather than turn up the thermostat. We never left the faucet running. We turned off lights every time we left a room.

If there was a Cool Whip container, it was reused in place of Tupperware. When something went on sale we stocked up and used a coupon. We knew our neighbors and traded fresh garden veggies with them. If we had 20# of tomatoes to share, we got eggplant or zucchini in trade. This went for everything in the garden. What a neighbor shared could be something we didn't grow, it expanded our mutual variety. Grama made gallons of her famous sauce and brought canned Mason jars of it over to neighbors who had a poor tomato yield.

I learned how to sew and darn things that ripped or frayed rather than replace it. When clothing or household items had finally lived past their use for us, we donated to St. Vincent's or The Salvation Army so it still got another incarnation.

Remembering these details and skills has helped me and my husband get through these dark economic times by being thrifty and frugal. I never had a desire to consume products and clothing the way that a good American should. I look something over carefully and decide I can make do without. Or create my own version of it. Or repair the last one I had.

Living Green is simply the way I always have lived. Being conscious of what something cost, beyond just the price tag, is how I was raised by my grandparents. This knowledge is more dear to me since they've passed on and since it has become even more necessary and useful today. I am excited to see this way of life becoming more mainstream and the Consumer Age coming to a close.

We participated in Earth Hour 2008 and plan to this year. We forwarded along the email from Live Earth, The WE Campaign and reminded our friends by phone the day before.

qazrazl qazrazl
41-45, F
2 Responses Mar 11, 2009

Thanks, FL111. I love that there's so many new green websites, and freecycle, and even one to recycle cell phones and other electronics for cash!

good for you. this is really good!