Every teenager needs a cause, right?
When I was around 16 I decided to become a vegetarian. Not because I was concerned about animal cruelty, but becuase I read somewhere about the alarming rate of rainforest destruction happening in South America to feed America’s obsession with McDonalds.
I suppose it was then that my interest in environmentalism first started.
I put a giant poster of a bright green tree frog on my bedroom wall that said “Save the Rainforest” and stopped eating meat. (I know, powerful, huh?)
Like any other responsible Oregonian, I recycled, I rode my bicycle for short distances, and I even read “earth friendly” books that I had checked out from the library to the children I looked after.
I was “green”, yes, but never super green.
And still, I’m not.
I buy laundry detergent and cleaning supplies full of chemicals. (Though I am slowly transitioning over to the vinegar/baking soda camp.) I wear make-up and sometimes use hairspray. (And probably always will.) Oh, and my vegetarian phase only lasted four years before I had to eat “buff” (buffalo) in Nepal so as to not be culturally insensitive at a dinner I was served. (And now I adore my bacon cheeseburgers.)
But even though I’ve lived in Austrlaia for nearly 12 years, there is still this Oregon tree-hugger side of me that is as alive as ever.
To this day I’m a recycle freak. I’ve been known to carry a can or bottle home from the park becuase they didn’t have a recycling bin accessible. (At home I fill our recycle bin faster than I fill our garbage bin.)
I will often pick up other people trash.
I use cloth diapers for the kids.
I always turn off the water when brushing my teeth. (But I must admit that I have an incredible weakness for long showers!)
I never, ever go to the grocery store without my own reusable bags.
And I can’t stand seeing waste.
My last two houses were almost entirely furnished with things I had dragged off the side of the road during council pick-up weekends and fixed up or refurbished. (The trendy term now would be “upcycle”. *ahem*) It always amazes me that people will through out perfectly good stuff that could be a huge blessing to someone else.
And although we don’t have the equivalent of “council pick-up” weekends where people leave their “trash” on the side of the road here, my current house is half furnished from Freecycle. (You’d never know it looking at our place since the other, more noticable half is furnished through Ikea.)
Some of the things I’ve gotten from Freecycle over the last few years: espresso machine, kayak, crib, jogging stroller, bike trailer, wardrobe, desk, bed frame, waffle maker, vegetable steamer, tricycle, vacuum, chairs, tools, cupboards, dressers, shelves, bread maker, punch bowl set, port-a-cot, camping table and chairs, washing machine, and a million other baby items and household things – both for us and for friends.
And on the flip side I haven’t actually sold an item that I no longer need or want in years. (Including my last car!) I always pass my things on to a friend, or give them away through freecycle myself. (Or donate to Good Will.)
Along with my love of Freecycle, I like to garage sale hop and thrift every once and a while as well. But that’s more for the fun of the hunt and the thrill of finding a treasure, to be perfectly honest. (See that old school busy board pictured above? Yeah, super cool $4 score.)
I guess now my “cause” is less about a cause and more about stewardship. As far as I’m concerned we all have a responsibility to look after what we’ve been entrusted with.
This big beautiful planet isn’t going to last forever. Neither are we.
And it was intended as a gift by the big Gift-Giver himself.
Shouldn’t we take the opportunity to look after our gift well while we have the chance? And in the meantime, shouldn’t we try to be a blessing to those around us by passing on our unused stuff (instead of always throwing it away)?
“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” -Old Chinese Proverb
Q for you: Are you “green”? What are things you do to help look after the place? And are you as crazy about reusing other people’s “waste” as I am?
p.s. My phone is dying and I couldn’t access the timer tonight. I was eyeballing the clock instead, which obviously failed. There is no way I wrote all that ramble in five minutes. Just keeping things above board here friends. ;) It was closer to 8ish minutes I’m afraid. #clickclinkfivefail
Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.
Adriel also writes (using spell check!) on motherhood and parenting at The Mommyhood Memos.