Anyone who has had an email or Facebook account for more than 4.5 seconds has run across posts best classified as glurge. Have you seen the one about an elderly woman being chastised by a cashier at a grocery store for not bringing her own bags? The story, certainly apocryphal, asserts that the twenty-something cashier took a high-and-mighty tone saying that the elder shopper’s generation didn’t care about the environment. If you happened to miss it, you can read the original – or a version of it – on Snopes.com’s glurge gallery, here: http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=71495
While the full text of the screed becomes overlong and tedious – as such self-righteous pieces so often do, it does make one good point. Many citizens of the 21st Century can become awfully smug, thinking we have it all figured out. We know how to be “green” and are left to fix the mess earlier generations have left us.
Not so. Just calling ourselves eco-friendly or green doesn’t make it true. In reality, our parents’, grandparents’, and great-grandparents’ generations were the original “Green Team”. I was raised by two incredible members of The Greatest Generation. Having survived the Great Depression and the austerity of WWII, my parents’ mantra was “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without!” Now THAT is an Eco Friendly attitude.
Every milk or soda bottle returned to be reused, saved a little more space in a landfill or dump. Every time my mother stripped and repainted metal lawn furniture that had grown unsightly, she was helping save the planet. She didn’t know it, but she was! Cooking scraps like potato and carrot peels didn’t go to waste. They became food for the hogs. Once we no longer raised livestock, the same peelings became compost to raise more food.
This attitude of waste not, want not extended to every area of life, and thank goodness for it! Antique stores are now graced with beautiful, lovingly cared for, pieces of furniture history thanks to that “green” attitude. It is the ultimate in recycling.
Consider the dinette set – well built and sturdy. After long and hard service, it was not tossed away just because the styled changed. It wasn’t turned into kindling because it had a few battle scars from careless children. Some were restored – others painted – but many were simply handed down, along with the family stories and scars that accompanied them. So think about that the next time you visit an antique store. Because that, dear reader, is the very essence of being “green”.