This past weekend I had a conversation about how truly excessive we’ve all gotten in our lives… not necessarily you and me, but people as a whole. I’m not sure where to place the blame. Perhaps it’s because we have too many choices. Maybe it’s because everything is so disposable, and convenience leads us to excess. Possibly it’s fabulous product marketing and advertising… or maybe just a good… ummm, BAD dose of vanity and wanting to have the ‘latest & greatest’…
But there is one thing I know for sure… our grandparents (and especially our great-grandparents!) would be appalled! Think about the fantastic green lessons that can be learned from them:
- Minimal products – I guarantee they didn’t have an individual product for every task and need on their list. Today, many people could fill multiple cabinets with everything we’re enticed to buy & try when, truly, the minimal would do!
- Grow your own food – my grandparents ALWAYS had gardens for growing their own food. They were organic, chemical-free and fabulously plentiful. Only soil, water and sun needed! And the food they had never, ever, went to waste.
- Tap water is okay – can you imagine their reaction to the amount of money we spend on bottled water? Then tell them that the water is also likely contaminated with a chemical called BPA!
- Reusing at its finest – everything had a secondary use and nothing of value was thrown away. I still remember my grandfather’s garage filled with cans, jars and boxes that became the most organized of storage containers.
- Hand me downs are okay too – everything from clothing to furniture, books to pans… it was passed around from family member to family member. NOTHING was thrown away before its time.
- Mass transit & foot power – while some of them certainly had their own cars, they also made great use of mass transit or (just imagine!) they walked!
- If it’s not broken, don’t replace it! – can you also imagine their reaction to the suggestion that we replace something that still worked just because we wanted to “upgrade”…
- The world was their playground – being indoors meant you were grounded or sick. The outdoors was everyone’s playground from dawn ‘til dusk!
I bow to our elders for being green when they didn’t even know what “being green” would eventually represent… we can learn a lot from them.
Now, what do you do that would make YOUR grandparents shudder?…