Isn’t it interesting that going “Green” and doing things in an environmentally friendly way are all the rage? I wonder… how many of the Green Movement proponents know that it wasn’t all that long ago that we did do things that some aren’t so willing to do any longer.
A couple of years ago my landline phone rang and it was a well-known phone company trying to talk me into getting a cell phone, something I don’t care to own for many really good reasons. Feeling exasperated because I wasn’t buying into her reasons why they are so great, she said, “well, what if you’re out and your car breaks down!? Or, what if someone calls and you’re not home to get their call?”
I replied calmly and said, “I’d do the same thing I grew up doing. I’d wait for help once or twice in my lifetime when my car breaks down. As for people calling me when I’m not home, they’ll leave a message and I’ll return the call when I get home. In the meantime, I’m not buying another thing that lasts for 6 months to a year that ends up in the garbage.”
With fear in her voice she said, “Oh, I could never live like that, it’s too scary!”
I replied, “It seems scary because billions of dollars get spent every year convincing us of all the reasons we need to be scared. When we don’t buy into it we find the world is a far less scary place, not to mention a Greener place.”
It seems to me that there are many fear-based marketing tactics these days, everything from: germs, a missed call, bad guys all over the place who will get us, and things you can add to this list…
Hanging washed laundry on a clothes line to dry; rather than using a dryer that uses a whopping 240 volts of electricity!
Kids walking or riding a bike or bus to school; rather than a caravan of parents lined up in front of schools twice a day.
Using cloth napkins; rather than buying paper napkins.
Using rags or old kitchen towels for dusting; rather than paper towels or the latest dusting gadget.
Using a kitchen sponge to clean up spills; rather than paper towels.
Walking to the store; rather than driving a 300 horse powered machine.
Planting a backyard garden for fresh veggies and fruits; rather than buying them from the super market after the produce has traveled 3,000 miles.
Bought beverages (milk, soda and beer) in glass bottles that got returned, which were then washed and reused buy the company; rather than using plastic, which ‘sometimes’ gets recycled using yet more non-renewal sources energy and turned into another type of product that ends up in a landfill.
Canned your summers harvests to eat during winter; rather than buying tons of canned foods all year.
Dried or picked fresh herbs from your our own little herb gardens; rather than driving to a store to buy dried herbs that traveled [probably] 3,000 miles to reach your local.
Walked up/down steps because there weren’t many escalators, moving walkways, or elevators; rather than using these daily just because they are there.
Used a reel mower to mow the lawn; rather than a dependent on fossil fuel powered mower to cut the lawn.
Drank water from a water fountain; rather than buy a bottle of tap water that travels upwards of 3,000 to reach us.
Used a pay phone when away from home; rather than every man, woman and child having a cell phone.
One TV per household; rather than a TV in every room of the house.
Shut off lights, TV’s and radio’s when not in the room; rather than having background noise and a house lit up like the Super Dome all the time.
Blending and stirring food in the kitchen; rather than a small appliance that does the mixing for us.
Cooking or baking our foods; rather than use a microwave, which actually takes just as long as regular cooking and doesn’t save any time whatsoever.
Large appliances were built to last a minimum of 20 years and were able to be repaired inexpensively; rather than throwing everything out when it breaks down because it’s either too expensive to repair or replacement parts aren’t easily available.
Furniture was made out of real wood and other sturdy materials ; rather than particle board and plastic, the furnishings of today are not likely to be heirloom antiques future generations will value.
Real leather shoes and boots that could also be repaired by the local shoe repair guy; rather than worn for a year or less and either pitched or brought to the Goodwill years later.
Hand-me-downs, perfectly good clothing passed around through families as the kids grew up; rather than brand new wardrobes once or twice a year.
Cloth diapers that are reusable and washable; rather than disposable.
Lunch boxes and thermos’ were used daily by those who worked and school kids; rather than buying lunch.
Using old newspaper for packing material; rather than plastic bubbles (I know, they’re fun to pop) and styrofoam peanuts.
Used refrigerator dishes; rather than plastic containers, baggies.
Supermarkets were much smaller and the quality of the food sold in them was significantly better! People had more free time, and mom’s could stay home and raise the kids (should she chose to). It wasn’t until the 1980s that both parents had to go out and work to maintain the family household expenses, but that’s another topic all together.
Many of these things also provided us with daily exercise, eliminating the need to drive to a fitness center for exercise. It also meant that certain health conditions were hardly ever seen; for instance, when I was a kid in school no one was overweight, fat or obese. Not only that but almost none of the kids had allergies or other illnesses that are common today.
Eye-opening things taking place:
- Nuclear Power, Earthquakes and Our Energy Consumption
- Obama gives $36 Billion in guarantees to nuclear power plants
- Electricity for Our Homes: Wind Power or Mountaintop Removal
Looking back on how we used to live was quite a bit more Green than the way we live today in many ways. We were also much healthier. We have made a trade-off for all this stuff we work long hours for, none of which has made us any better or created more time in our lives; I think we’ve lost track of and may have forgotten about some pretty good things we did in the 1960s and further back.
If we go back, past the 1960s, we can see even more behaviors that are extremely Green. Most of these revolved around the small communities and villages, where everyone played a role in providing the needs of those nearest to them.
This isn’t to say that we were so Green back then but rather to point out there are dozens of things we used to do daily and many of them have fallen by the wayside in recent years. The point is, we don’t have to be a marketers ideal consumer. And, we don’t have to abandon old-fashioned ways of doing things just because they’ve been done before… there are some pretty nifty things that the older people we all know can share with us… they’re just wanting to be asked. Additionally, there are plenty of terrific new advancements that creative-thinkers have brought us, here are a few of our favorites.
How many of you are old enough to remember that this is how we used to live? What can you add to this list that I may have forgotten, or maybe never knew?
Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner, Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.
"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller