We were green
David Johnson Nov 08, 2017

A long time ago, when I was young, people were green.

Mom cloth diapered all three of us, she hung our laundry on a clothes line. We lived in a small energy efficient home, but we just called it a home. We used a wood stove for heat when it was cold.

We planted, cared for and harvested fruits and vegetables from our family garden. We went to the local community garden to supplement our veggie selection. We picked local apples, blueberries, raspberries, pumpkins and sometimes we went fishing for dinner!

We belonged to a local COOP, but when we did go to market, we bought local meats and seafood. Mom would bring her own bags or occasionally we would get paper bags and then use them as textbook covers or to prime the wood stove in the winter.

I remember carpooling with local families to save on gas and time. We would all pile into a volvo, not a gas guzzling SUV, weighing as much as an African bush elephant.

At school, we borrowed textbooks from our community school and used desks from the 60’s, they worked. When it was lesson time, we used refillable fountain pens.

My classmates and I wore hand-me-down clothes. We didn’t talk popular culture, corporate sports or play on our smartphones. We played kick-the-can, king of the mountain or a game of flag football.

Most disposable bottles were glass and I remember when Dad and I used to go to the local recycling center... I would collect coins for each and every bottle that we recycled!

When I was a older I remember riding my bike to my friend's houses for play as well as travel. I didn't have a cell phone. We played outside with sticks, dirt, and rocks… the woods were our playground... nature our friend. We would pack our own lunches and snacks when going on adventures in the woods. It was glorious!

I remember making our own candles, we had one digital screen in our home and when it rained we would use up our TV allowance, then read books or play chess.

I had chores, Dad taught me how to mow the lawn, I used a push mower. Occasionally, I would be tasked with painting our home, the siding, the shingles, the decking, all wood, all biodegradable. When things broke, we fixed them. If they wore out we recycled them.

I often wonder... In today's world, the world of material upgrades, this throwaway culture, how many have lost their way...

Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves. - Henry David Thoreau

But don’t despair, not all is lost.

You are the undercurrent of change within today's culture, and we are already creating measurable change!

We burn less oil and coal as it slowly is replaced by solar and wind energy.

Our cars are more energy efficient, some hybrids, a few all electric.

The young are re-thinking urban sprawl, rooftop gardens are popping up in city centers.

Many telecommute or work from home, saving our planet from additional carbon emissions.

We no longer add lead to our paint or phosphorous to our detergent. We’ve greatly reduced the continent sized hole in the Ozone by banning CFC’s. The public has become more aware of sustainable vs industrial farming practices. We no longer use DDT, or allow corporations to dump industrial sludge and agricultural waste in our streams, rivers and oceans. Many 'shop local' movements, embryonic in the 90's, have grown into powerful engines of social change today.

It's not perfect, but many things in our world are changing for the better.

The good? More positive changes are coming, no one generation has a monopoly on virtue.

We're all in this together.

Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around. - Henry David Thoreau

Did we used to be green? What do you think... have any other green tips to add? Send us a message below to contribute!