Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Why of Green & Frugal Living

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those that cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."

- Alvin Toffler

The most ironic thing to me about the "Green" movement is that older generations practiced it, without much practice at all. They simply didn't have the luxury not to, they didn't have a choice. Most were just trying to live & save money, not trying to save the planet. This reasoning resonates with me the most because it passes up the fad and hype of the movement, and goes back to its roots. The green movement was begot out of the just using wisely what God gave you from the earth and surroundings.

One of the fundamental questions to ask when being a manager of the home is "why". The women of the last generation were mostly brought up in the age of convenience, as is this one and the next will be. No one has stopped to question our current methods. There now is a product for everything! The latest gadget is always behind the next curtain. Why do it yourself when there is a store down the road?

The answer is that most of the things that everyone is telling me I need, are subtly harmful for me and I can do it better myself and cheaper, thankyouverymuch.

Maybe store bought products can save me time, but what am I saving that time for? To watch tv? To make more money to buy more things? What am I sacrificing (iffy ingredient-wise)?And how much time am I really saving? My priorities need to be in check.

Chemicals and pesticides, to plastics and BPA. Almost no companies these days care where the item is made or where it was shipped from. Just as long as you are dependent on them. Unilever, the company, is a prime example that shows just how uncaring today's product promotions have become. Dove soap is a branch of Unilever, and is working hard to give women a positive body image. Shouting to women everywhere to be comfortable in their own skin. While in the same breath promoting Axe brand to men. Which shows women as only skin. Something to be lusted after, not much more. Now, I understand that money makes the world go round. But just knowing that they have no real loyalty to the consumer also makes me wonder about their ingredients. It makes me want to be more informed about my choices. It just makes me want to ask "why".

So, I would say that the most enlightening thing that I have learned is that I have a choice! I had no idea how easy it was to make bread. Seriously simple, like just a few ingredients simple. Why had no one told me it was in my reach to do this? I don't have to buy it? I honestly didn't even think I had a choice. I had no idea that making your own cleaning products is so easy a caveman could do it. It also saves me a ton of money! Gardening brings your food to your backdoor. How much more local can you get? Ok, I'm starting to understand now that it is up to me to teach myself these "basics".

Now, I am systematically going through my house and looking at each task/product in a new light. Could I make that easily? What's in that product? How could I use that item again or differently? Is it cheaper to repurpose or produce it at home?

Making some bread the other night my husband came into the kitchen with his plate and said, and I quote, "May, I have some more of your delicious warm homemade bread?" Looking beyond the sarcasm- he really did want more & he told me it was better than the store. If you know him that is a small step for me, but a HUGE leap for greenkind! :)

Being green and being frugal almost always go hand in hand. As does questioning and learning & maybe even unlearning some ways of living.

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