V ä v a! V e v e! weaving cloth one thread at a time

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How can we be more responsible in our daily lives?

My parents were the forerunners of the recyclers of today.  They reused aluminum foil, and plastic bags, which I hated because I was the one who had to wash them, and they were very hard to wash and actually get clean without destroying them!  They reused paper bags until they didn't hold together anymore.  We handed clothing down through the family, and I ended up having to wear my brothers clothes to play outside, which I thought was just fine since I thought my older brothers were pretty cool.
 yep, that's me!
They brought clothing no longer used to Good Will or Lutheran World Relief.  We rarely had things dry cleaned.  My mother canned things from the garden.
We played outside until dinnertime.  We always had a family dinner together every single night (no exceptions), until each of the kids went off to college.
Rockwell Family Dinner
We were told to always shut off lights when we left a room!  And we kept the thermostat at a steady 68 degrees F.  We had no air conditioning except to open the windows.  We didn't take regular trips to Target; that was only for just before school started, when we purchased paper and pencils (we reused the crayons, scissors, glue, and anything else we were required to bring to class), and a minimum of utilitarian clothing, and the rest my mother sewed for us. My folks told us they never had the money for snacks like pop or potato chips or candy.  Any cookies, cakes or pies we had were baked by my mother.  We often went on family drives to local parks for picnics.  We rode our bikes once a week to the local library.  We only had one phone in the entire house.  And to be honest, I think I had the best childhood ever, even though I had to hand wash all those plastic bags and aluminum foil!

In that little description of my childhood, there about 20 ideas about how we can slow our lives down and be more responsible to ourselves and to our earth at the same time.
  1. re-use those plastic bags in which you purchase your bread from the store.
  2. re-use the aluminum foil more than just once!
  3. re-use the paper bags you get at the store until they no longer function and then put them in your compost pile.
  4. reduce the number of paper bags that you use by sewing up some bags from old worn out jeans.
Photo credit: STC Craft
from "Sewing Green, 25 Projects Made with Repurposed and Organic Materials"
By Betz White
available here 
    5.   Purchase clothing from garage sales, especially for those
          young ones who aren't so aware of fashion and who grow
          so quickly.  Often garage sales have brand new clothing
          which didn't get worn because the young owner grew too
          quickly, or was the right size but the wrong season!
    6 .  Pack up unused clothing and household items and donate
          them to a local charity.

        7.  Purchase clothing that does not need drycleaning!
        8.  Start a small garden this spring and plant some vegetables
             and melons and maybe even some berry bushes!

          9.  Establish a routine of having dinner with the family more
               than a couple times a week!
         10. Don't schedule so much into your children's life, so that
               they have a chance to develop independent thinking skills.
               Let them have some down time, where they aren't having
               to be anywhere or do anything!
            11.  Remember to turn lights off when leaving a room.  It
                   just makes sense!
            12.  And keep your thermostat at a temperature that is about
                   2 degree below your comfort zone, and then put on a
                   sweater!  This would give you all kinds of reasons to take
                   up knitting!
            13. Try going a week without an air conditioner!  See what a
                  difference it makes on your utility bill!  Open those
                  windows and let the outside air in!  Use a homemade fan!
              14. Start to use things until they wear out, and then instead of
                    running to the store for a replacement, try to FIX IT!
              15. Go to the fabric store and see if you can sew something
                    beautiful for your home or for yourself or your family.
                    And don't give up with the first project.  It takes a little bit
                    of practice, and I guarantee you will get better at it!
              16. Start making your own snacks and you may find your
                    health improve, because you will be making them from
                    ingredients you know and trust without added chemicals
                    or preservatives.
              17. Try taking your family or friends on a picnic to your local
                    parks or zoo.
              18. Ride your bike to the grocery store instead of going in
                    your car.  You will get some exercise AND spend less!
                    Plus you will need to do this at least a couple times a
                    week since you can't load up a bike like you can a car.
                    . . . or can you?
               19. Take a trip to your library every week, just to get out and
               20. Reduce the amount of time you spend on your mobile
                     phone, iPod, computer, etc.  Look out beyond the screen!

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