Living Green Like Our Parents

Our parents live green, but they don't call it that...
Our parents live green, but they don’t call it that…

Do These People Sound Familiar?

You always teased her when she gingerly opened her Christmas presents and carefully folded the wrapping paper. Why in the world would he have re-soled his old shoes? Err….their furniture was a mix of castoffs, while you had a new sofa and matching chairs. And what a pain that you had to wear an extra sweater at their house, which always seemed a little nippy.

Or: maybe you raved about her food, which she somehow seemed to create from what she had left over in her fridge. What a great garden he had – which he watered from a barrel that collected rain. They were in such good shape from walking to the neighborhood stores. And how did they clean everything with vinegar and baking soda?

You know these people, right?

You do! These “eco-warriors” are our parents or grandparents. It is striking: many of our seniors have been practicing green living for years. Some of them suffered through the Depression; others, like my in-laws in eastern England, were finding ways to get through World War II. These major trials in our recent history forced people to conserve resources.

This way of living was not called “green”; it was a means of survival.

You Already Know How to “Live Green”

Many of us are searching for new ideas to lessen our impact on the Earth. For example, magazines present cheery lists of ways to “go green” (spending $850 on an ergonomic chair for the home office was a recent favorite), and there’s a plethora of sites with advice on every conceivable topic. But we can find the answers by looking back to the ways our parents and grandparents made do.

“Living green” doesn’t have to be political or different. It can be smart, practical living to protect you and your family’s future. How can we be smart and practical this year? That’s what I hope to explore.

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