Sunday, December 16, 2007

How To Grow Green Parents

Recently I was asked if I grew up with parents who were environmentally conscious. Without missing a beat I responded with a "hell no."

My father carries around a stereotypical Irish soapbox. When he tells a story, everyone in the room hangs on his every word. One story that I vividly remembering him telling and retelling was the story of the Dennis, Massachusetts dump.

The Dennis Dump was WAY ahead of it's time. Back in the 80's they had a lending library, good-as-new swap area and glass recycling. My father thought this was absolutely hysterical. Why would anyone go to a dump to swap a book that they have already read for a a book they haven't yet read. The dump? Dad was shocked and appalled.

This weekend I was snowed-in at my parent's house. My mom and I were invited to a former neighbor's 60th birthday party near their house. (Happy Birthday Diane!) Being at their house made me think about exactly how green my parents are.

While my parents don't eat much organic food, have a spotty recycling record and clean with yucky chemicals they may actually be greener than me.

They are not consumers.

The carpet was purchased in 1976. The couch in the mid 1980's. The TVs are not flat screens. The answering machine was mine in college. They rarely eat out or eat prepackaged foods. The oven may be from the 1960's. My father only owns two pairs of boat shoes (one dress and one everyday) and one pair of work boots. They are happy. They don't need all of the stuff that I think that I need.

How many of us would be happy with a bathroom from the 1960's? How many of us would only purchase three pairs of shoes? How many of us are happy with the stuff we have?

I'm not raising my hand.


Erikka said...

I find my green practice hard too because I forget that being green sometimes NOT buying something or making do with what I have. And in a culture all about more and bigger and better, the urge to want is hard to fend off.

Erikka said...

ps. i answered your comment on my blog, and if you ever ask more on my blog, i'll answer there again!