It just wasn’t part of my plan!!! When I grew up, calling someone “green” was considered mean. Now it’s a compliment!!! Here I am thirteen years down the road of mothering and I am recycling with the best of them. Turns out being a green mother doesn’t mean you have to only eat organic seaweed and never use another cleaning product in you life…
What it does mean is that we will go to great lengths…
- To Save Electricity:
- To Save Water:
- To Grow Our Vegetables:
- To Share Our Resources:
- To only bring in what we need:
- To Recycle:
- To eat fresh, whole foods from scratch:
- To take the time to enjoy our world:
When the cost of electricity trebled last winter I was very keen to go green: Out went the tumble dryer, out went a whole heap of appliances in fact. We turn all our switches off when the appliances are not in use, it really makes a difference. Lights off. Do all our baking and cooking at the same time so that the oven is on for the least possible time… Lets just say we have become incredibly intentional about our electricity usage. Turns out it takes a little longer, but we rather like having a couple of laundry free days a week!!!
When we had a severe drought a couple of years back we learnt all sorts of water saving tricks… stopping drips, catching unavoidable drips, a bucket in the bottom of the shower to catch the water, and all that saved water goes onto our vegetable garden. Turns out it takes a little longer, but we rather like going to check on our garden each day and ensuring that each plant gets the water it deserves.
We started our vegetable garden as a school project and we just never stopped it has grown and grown and we are making plans to expand. While we are nowhere near growing wheat fields or grinding our own flower we can head outdoors and grab some lettuce leaves every time we need a salad. Turns out it takes a little longer, but it is never a chore to go out and potter in the garden and to water and weed and nurture our small patch of greenery.
When we are finished with something we donate it. We have a township up the road and they are so grateful for anything: old clothes, old linen, old toys, old books… anything really it is fabulous. Our space is finite and have a level of “stuff” that is comfortable for us… at this stage anything that comes in means that something has to go out. And I am in a constant state of assessing and and sorting and deciding if the things we have are edifying our life or if we no longer need them. Sometimes we are finished with things right away. I have no problem with re-gifting… no problem at all!!! And sometimes we want to keep things that other people might never want to keep… that’s the nature of stuff!!! Turns out it takes a little longer to keep things sorted, but it is easier to donate stuff that we don’t need anymore and make space for new projects than it is to try and control and maintain stuff we just don’t need anytime soon.
We have stopped as much junk mail as we can, and newspapers and magazines we read online. We shop more prudently, it makes sense to evaluate wether you are really going to love something or not before you buy it!!! Things like books that we use a lot of we borrow from the library, it just makes sense. Things like clothes – I have no problem accepting hand-me-downs from friends – those are the clothes my kids usually like the most!!! And it is amazing to discover just how much stuff you have already without ever buying anything. If you forget to go to the store you will most likely be able to find something to eat for dinner. And as for craft materials I stopped buying them about three years ago and said I would shop again when we ran out of what we had. You might not know that a pack of crayons really can give you years of fun… Turns out, it can take a little longer to really use the things you have, rather than dashing to the store to grab the latest and greatest. Turns out it is fine to like things but we don’t actually need to own them to enjoy them.
And what do we recycle… mostly packaging… heaps and heaps of packaging. We try and buy foods with less packaging because the ridiculous amount of packaging on food is my pet hate. We carry packaging from the shop shelf to the shopping cart to the checkout to the car to the kitchen counter to the cupboard to the recycling bin… seriously the amount of unnecessary paper and plastic packaging is alarming. Why do we put up with it? Turns out the recycle bin is a continuous source of creativity in our house – it is our steady and ever changing source of inspiration.
Hardly anything processed, prepackaged or pre mixed… Hardly anything freshly flown from the far side of the world. We simply avoid all the extra additives and all the food “enhancers” that are not that enhancing. My kids have learnt to make bread and fresh pasta and salad and soup… they day is coming when I will be able to give them the menu and eat it for dinner!!! We like cooking as a family and all our meals are pretty much made together. Some families watch movies and some do sports, turns out our family together time is food preparation. I was so encouraged to discover that babies can actually live and survive on real food eaten off your plate and they don’t have to eat jars and jars of processed food just at the age when you really don’t want to add all sorts of additives to them. Turns out it is a whole lot of fun to cook from first principles, good, healthy, family fun time.
And the Se7en + 1th thing…
I could go on about cloth diapers and I could go on about using our car only once or twice a week, but actually the big thing about being greener… And I may not have gotten this if I hadn’t had kids, even though I worked in an environmentally orientated career and even though I did a whole lot of outdoor activities. It is really my kids that have taught me to seek the green and look for patches of nature and to enjoy them… to take the time to sit under a tree and enjoy the shade, to wander across a field because its there, to stand on the beach and wiggle your toes in the sand and watch the water swirl around your feet as it washes in and out just because. Turns out that taking time out to enjoy the great outdoors is a great life lesson.
Turns out that Going Green is not so much something to aspire too but rather a lifestyle. It’s not so much about Reduce, Reuse and Recycle but rather about taking a little longer to get things done… enjoying the ride rather than rushing to get done. Turns out I am a green mother and I love days like Earth Day because they remind us that every day is a great day to take a little longer and to enjoy the great outdoors.