Tips Passed Down

My mother, washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a Name for it.

My mother took our scraps, potato peels, coffee grounds, old food in the frig and mixed them with our grass clippings. We'd find her mixing the pile in the backyard with her pitch fork, and when it was right (she only knew when) she'd ask us to grab our shovels and help her put the pile in the wheel barrel and spread it in our vegetable garden.

 My father was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones. (We all had our shoes fixed by the shoe man down the road).

My father fixed everything and if he couldn't fix it he found someone who could. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, the screen door, the oven door, and the heater, the plumbing, the lights.

As I look back mother's list was endless.

  We kept every thing. It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, home eating, renewing, reused clothes from the neighbors and relatives. I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

   But today I know different. My parents were smarter than I gave them credit. I now know that we should be better steward of our planet. We as Americans just can't keep buying and buying and throwing things away when we don't want things anymore. Our foot prints on the Earth are huge.

   For every item we purchase it takes resources and energy to manufacture, merchandise, and transport. There needs to be a building to house the employees of the factory to make the item. Resources are used to build the factory, plus builders and they must use transportation to get to the site to build the factory. Plus the employees must use transportation to get to work to manufacture the item. The footprinting goes on and on....

Karen with her Mother
"Thanks Mom"