I can thank my parents for giving me a green beginning. They wrapped my cute little baby bottom in cloth diapers back in the day when that meant pins and pack-a-leaks (perhaps more commonly known as “plastic pants”). My mom made most of my “baby food.” I have photo documentation of an early introduction to gardening and remember hot August days snapping green beans in the kitchen to prepare for canning (in the pressure canner, which I always thought would explode).
We dried a lot of our laundry on an outside line in the summer and a line in the basement in the winter. Not only does this decrease energy use, it makes your clothes last a lot longer, another green benefit.
In our house it was standard to turn out lights and set the thermostat conservatively. We were early adopters for fluorescent light bulbs and programmable thermostats.
Perhaps because of our state’s bottle deposit, we always saved bottles and cans and returned them to the store for recycling. Once our town started a recycling program, we were there. I often assume that others my age were raised similarly and am surprised when that is not the case. I spent a year transferring one roommate’s recyclable trash from the trash can to the recycling bin, and I was particularly perplexed because she was from California. I mean, California, isn’t the state just full of green people? How do you grow up in California and not know about recycling?
For one reason or another, I’ve been interested in “green” before the word was anything other than a color. I don’t know if this still happens in elementary schools, but do you remember the little book sales they used to do in school? I would go home with a little colorful handout with paperback book titles. Sometimes they also sold posters — posters with kittens on them. But I digress. We were big fans of the library, so getting to buy a book was a rare treat, and I still remember that one of my selections in third grade was, “50 Simple Things You Can do to Save the Earth.” I was struggling to remember the exact title of the book, but I’m pretty sure that’s it, and it’s still around — now with a website! At the bottom of this page you can download a PDF of the original book for free.