Wednesday, March 12, 2014

{Listicle}: Going Green in 2014

So I found a post on Facebook that made me literally yell out: "BOOYAH!!" 

I was so giddy after reading this, I would have been embarrassed if anyone was around me when I was reading it. It's a cute little story that involves an elderly woman putting the smack down on all of the self proclaimed "tree huggers" of our era whilst at the grocery store. Most of whom don't even realize are some of the major contributors to the issues we are facing! (read the whole thing, or don't, but it's pretty good stuff.)

It begins:

"Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."
The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations." 

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled.
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day. (1) 

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.
But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then. (2)

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day. (3)

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. (4)

But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person"

Okay. That part just made me laugh. But didn't she nail it HEAD ON!??

If you know me, you know that Environmental Conservation is something that I am VERY aware of and interested in. Fun fact about me: I was going to go into Agronomy after I learned the horrific story behind Monsanto. I studied Environmental Science throughout High School and it was my absolute favorite class. I didn't make it to EnviSci in college..but that's a story for another day! 

1. If we look at that first statement the woman made (let's cal her Mauve. Yes. That name suits her well), the clerk was criticizing her non use of a reusable bag. I love my reusable bags, BUT: she also makes the point that back then they reused all of their brown paper bags for other thing--something that you will rarely find today! I can even remember covering my books with paper bags. It was fun. I remember my very best friend in elementary school Olivia used to make her book covers EVERY year, and would use this awesome beyond awesome typeface to write out the subject. I was always envious of her handwriting! It was amazing. Now, kids just go out and buy the stretchy covers from the store..BLECH.

2. Next, she talks about how back then they would return their bottles (milk, beer, soda etc.) so that they could be sterilized and reused. Today, most people recycle them. They either take them to Walmart and sell them for 5 cents, or they recycle them and let the city decide where they end up. I think what they used to do is brilliant!

3. Elevators: I will be the first to admit that I use the escalator for some of the most mundane trips. But then again, I don't really go anywhere where I would NEED one. When I can, I do use the stairs! No lie!

4. Cloth diapers, Handwashed/Dried clothes, and Secondhand clothing: I am an advocate of ALL THREE!! I don't have any kids yet, but let me tell you: Cloth diapers are the EASIEST way to save money, save diapers, and save your child from diaper rash reactions! I don't have any kids and even I have looked into this. There are dozens of blogs and tips on Pinterest that can help assist you in the best brands and methods for cloth diapering. I'm all for it! I hand dry my clothes (i.e. put them on hangers and hang them on my shower curtain) as much as I can. Not only does it save on energy, but it makes my clothes last so much longer! I remember the last time I purchased clothes from an actual clothing store. It was Target, and I found some sweet dresses and shirts there on 70% off clearance. Before then? I can't remember. I'm a HUGE fan of Ebay, and second hand stores. Not only can you find perfectly good clothes, but they are so much cheaper!!! DOUBLE WIN!!

5. Electricity!! How many of us have more than one TV in our home? I'm guessing the answer

(in most homes) would be a majority of us. Add our computers, stereo systems, etc...think about how much money we would save if we cut back on our "beloved" electronics!? Even I just heard myself say last week that I need a new laptop. I have a measly Netbook right now. I love it, but it doesn't have all of the capabilities popular today. Do I want a new laptop? Yes. Do I need one? HECK NO. It's all about priorities, people. They didn't have electric mowers. The lawns were cut by non-electric gas! Did they have health clubs back then?? NO! And look: I just signed up at Lifetime. I mean, in Minnesota, we do kind of have an excuse...Exercising outside isn't always fun. And they DID have YMCA's back then. So, I'm justifying that one. Everyone loves sending and receiving handmade gifts, but just say NO to all the packing peanuts!!! Old Newspaper works just fine! Mixing by hand in the kitchen?? Sign me up! I never use my mixers anyways. That one's easy for me! 

6. Drinking fountains instead of water bottles, refilling things instead of buying new ones (razor's, pens, etc) are both smart ways to cut back as well. Firstly, DON'T BUY PLASTIC! Plastic water bottles contain nasty chemicals that are linked to cancers, especially breast cancer and ovarian cancer in women. It can cause infertility and worse. Just don't do it. Buy glass or go stainless steel :) Refillable razors are the way to go! 

glass bottles. SO cute. 

7. Planes, trains, and automobiles. So many cars today! So many people used to commute via streetcar, bus, or subway. It seems like today all people are doing is refill their gas tank!! I don't drive. Which sometimes sucks, but then I think about how much MONEY I'm saving. Then, I don't really care! Our electricity bills are through the roof. If we unplugged (I said UNPLUG, not just turn off) our electronics when they are not in use, we would save so much of everything. Your electronics continue to draw out electricity when plugged in, even when they are turned off. I try my best to do this, though sometimes I forget. 

our lovely minneapolis metrotransit hybrid buses

These are just some really simple ways we can save money and electricity!! SO EASY! ALSO! Take this test to see your Carbon Footprint!

What's My Carbon Footprint

"Inevitably, in going about our daily lives — commuting, sheltering our families, eating — each of us contributes to the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. Yet, there are many things each of us, as individuals, can do to reduce our carbon emissions. The choices we make in our homes, our travel, the food we eat, and what we buy and throw away all influence our carbon footprint and can help ensure a stable climate for future generations." 
- found at:

I got 17 tons of Co2 per year while the average American emits 27 tons per year. This is mainly because I don't drive, buy used clothing, eat/buy organic when I can afford to, and save immensely on my electric bill in various ways. What us young folks have to remember is that we really are the future. Just by making small changes in our own personal behavior, we can change what happens for the future generations. We as a society have bought into the "green living" thing, yet we don't really understand what needs to happen to truly live green. Learn the facts. Read some books.

One of my favorites is:

It's a super fun book. I highly recommend it :)

Well folks, that's all for today!! I would love to hear your comments! How do you stay "truly"green??



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