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My late great grandmother Ruth lived through the great depression along side her parents and 13 brothers and sisters. There was a time that they all lived in tent houses. I sat on her lap and listened to the same stories countless times, never tiring from hearing them. How her family once lived on mainly potatoes and had to walk, as young children, in the snow to get them, dropping a few along the way back due to the heavy weight. 60 years later and she still hated the fact that she had to toss out some potatoes to relieve the weight on her tiny shoulders to get what was left of their dinner home. Some people may be laughing right now. It sounds overly dramatic. Most of us are detached and unfamiliar with the face of poverty and suffering in a fast food generation where everything is readily available to us. Of course there are thousands of Americans going hungry right in our backyard and it’s not that we are heartless, it just doesn’t register. Besides, “you can’t save the world”  right? Turn on the news or pick up a paper, a lifetime of receiving bad news and one becomes desensitized. If everyone felt that they could save the world, it would be so different.

I am raising my kids to be eco-conscious. To value our natural resources because they provide solutions to our needs. I get butterflies when I am driving in town and pass a front-yard garden. People taking responsibility for their livelihood and their future; not dependant completely on the government or their job.

Keep your day job but grow a garden. 😉

When great grandmother Ruth was no longer an impoverished child but now my “big grandma” and owned her own home and had a savings account, it was deeply engrained in her to save;, to grow;, to prepare; to conserve. No longer out of neccessity but because it simply made sense. Waste was not tolerated in her home. She bought all of her clothing and goods at a local thrift store where everyone knew her name. She often let me pick out a plastic bag full of small toys and stapled together with a price tage of .50 cents. I remember feeling the same delight for that bag of used toys as I did when my mom spent 300 times the price on a new version, but still felt that I had to have new things. Big Grandma also purchased clothes for me there. I always accepted graciously but at the time wasn’t familiar with the concept of “reuse,reduce,recycle” that my kids now sing at the top of their longs with Jack Johnson. In fact I was mortified at the idea that my clothes came from the thrift store! I would never allow my dear grandmother to get an inkling of how I felt but on the way to school I would anxiously ask my mom “What if someone says “I like your shirt, where did you get it?” What do I say mom?” Mos reply “You say, thank you, I don’t know, my grandmother got it for me”. So, I knew drill. I felt it was something worthy to be hidden, but I have chaned a lot since then.

I think it’s silly today. I am proud of my thrift store finds, as you can see I have dedicated an entire page for you to be inspired and of course to brag. I love treasure hunting, it’s in my blood. I just didn’t know it at that age. The age that my kids are today, and I am proud that they have no shame in their thrift store/yard sale/ebay salvaged clothes. On a grand scale my oldest (9) understands the impact waste makes on our enviornment. He learns about it at school and at home. He, like other children love to feel purposeful. To be “mommy’s little helper”. If you give your kids the opportunity to help, to save, their chests will puff up, ready for the job! On a smaller scale, my son understands that the more we conserve and utilize our natural resources, the more comfortable and satisfied we will be. We enjoy an abudant life on very little.  We eat well, we dress well, we live well. And with no need to go to the mall. We try to buy local and support our farmers. I say try because we are a work in progress and always open to learning new ways of creatively conserving.

I recently discovered www.naturemoms.com who provides a wealth of information. You can read about eco art supplies or anti-commercialism. You can shop for BPA free sippy cups and scan their Green Products Directory. Compiling your own green directory is a great idea. I have done this and continue to add to mine the eco-savvy companies that fit our needs. We need to stay informed on the alternative products that are naturally sourced, chemical free, upcycled, eco-friendly. Big brands are beginning to gain an understanding that they will need to change the way the mass produce to stay current in the way the world is turning. Still, there is so much more that can be done. GREEN = LIFE. LIFE= HEALTH. Make healthy decisions for your family and be an eco-savvy consumer!

Please give me your feedback. What do you do in your household to conserve, recycle, or save money? How do you teach your kids the importance of being green? I love hearing from you!