Take It Smiling

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Green Pride

I consider myself fairly green... never green enough when I think about all that could be done but MUCH greener than many folks in my circle and WAY greener than the rest of this country (just got back from a wedding in Vegas and was sickened by the waste).

I've always been this way... concerned for the greater good of the planet, it's environment and the people who inhabit it. In high school, I was a member of PETA and WWF. I was on the county council against prejudice among teens. I cried when I saw footage of humpback whales (whale watching is still on my life-list of things to do). My heart ached as I read about the destruction of the rainforests (just say "no" to Brazilian Cherry kitchen cabinets, people!).

As I became part of the adult population, I forgot my roots. I became enamoured with the trappings of our society... "nice" cars, house, etc. I followed clothing trends. I socialized with people who brought nothing to my soul but were "cool." I equated frugality with low economic status after years of hearing my father, who was born and raised on a farm in post-war Austria, remind us to turn off lights when we left the room, close the door when we went outside (we weren't heating/cooling the whole world, it all costs money and did I think money grew on trees?). He made us reuse our brown paper lunch bags and this just mortified me (as a teenager, frugality = uncool).

But now I see that his views came from a childhood where resources were scarce and money was even more so. And, as my children have grown, my green heart has come to the surface once more. I've taught them about recycling, gardening, conservation... marketing (no, you don't really need that, the company's just trying to make money). Now, I am proud to say that my children pick up litter as we walk through the neighborhood and I don't even need to prompt them! They expect to walk/ride bikes if possible. They expect to pass on their outgrown clothing to friends (how great is it that my daughter doesn't hoard anymore?!). They see new ways to use old things. They help in the garden and recycle without thinking about it. Their grandfather ("Opa"), if he were here to see them, would be proud of them.

The other day, I flipped through old photo albums to find pictures for Facebook (gotta love the big permed hair we all had!) and I found the postcards pictured above... These postcards, which hung on my dorm walls before landing in a scrapbook, reminded me of my green soul. I've always been green; I'm just now okay with showing it. And my green roots run deep, all the way to a farm in Austria.


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