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Ecosense - Part One

ecosense – part one

2005-09-10 - globe.jpg

I was probably around eleven or twelve years old when I walked downtown on my way to meet my mother at her workplace. At that time, I remember there being large bins for trash at almost every street corner. On the front of the bins there was space for advertising. This day, there was a huge sign that simply said “DON’T LITTER”. Around the same time, there was an advertising campaign [I can’t recall if was a print ad or a television ad] about littering. I remember hearing a message about putting a chocolate bar wrapper in your pocket until you could toss it in the trash. Duh!! That was genius….why hadn’t I thought of that? I don’t know why those two messages made such an impact on me, but it made me what I am today… ECOHOLIC!! J

My parents were always very frugal. [My Dad bordered on cheap!] We slept in the car instead of a hotel when traveling. We rarely went out for dinner. My mom would re-use and re-purpose. She was a seamstress and a crafter, so many of our things were hand-made. Food was never wasted and bargains were found all the time. We were constantly being reminded to TURN OFF THAT LIGHT. If something was broken, we tried to fix it first. My dad was a MacGyver of his time.

For me, in the beginning, it was simple things like carrying my trash with me until I could dispose of it at home or in a trash bin. It was making my own clothing, pencil cases, lunch bags. I loved thrift stores and coming up with new ideas for old things.

As a young wife and new mother I refused to buy ‘brand name’ when I could buy ‘no-name’ for less. I installed a low-flow shower head and even resorted to timing my teenagers’ showers! When other kids had pudding cups and Fruit Roll-Ups in their lunch boxes, my girls had home-made granola bars, jars of baby food instead of pudding [they LOVED it!], knox-blox treats instead of Jello-Jigglers. I packaged their snacks and sandwiches in re-usable containers and their lunch went in a fabric sack that I made!

Soon I became known as The Blue Box lady at my girls’ grade school. I ran a school newsletter all about recycling and reducing waste both at school and at home. I encouraged litter-less lunches. I noticed SO much food waste every day at lunch [I was a noon-hour supervisor for many years] that I once collected from all the garbage cans every piece of uneaten fruit and every unopened package of food. At an assembly, I passed around a LARGE box of items for the students to see….apples, oranges, bananas, sandwiches, bags of treats, boxes of raisins, containers of jello, pudding, fruit and so much more. They oohed and ahhed at all the yummy fare before them. Then I told them that each item was retrieved from the garbage cans. They were astounded! From then on, the students were encouraged to bring back home their uneaten foods or place them in a basket in their class for other [hungry] students to eat.

After my daughters went on to high-school, I began offering workshops for groups, schools and organizations. I called my project ecosense and the working title of my presentations was “It’s Not Garbage Until….[you throw it away]” I was invited to participate in a few Roots and Shoots events. One of them even had Jane Goodall as a guest speaker! I also presented at one of our local universities for an earth-day event there. Over the years I haven’t had very many ‘gigs’, but I really enjoy passing on my waste-reduction information.

I began a Blog several years ago and also a Facebook page. I pass on personal tips and opinions about many things from Blue Boxes to Composting, Wise Consumer shopping choices to Water Reduction, Health[ier] Eating to saving energy. Most of the recycling tips are specifically geared to Sudburians, but much of the other info can be applied to anyone who wants to make a difference. My main message is that if I can make a difference….just little ol’ me, then YOU can too. Sure, I probably do a lot of UN-eco-conscious things. But I try. I really, really do. My family gets very annoyed with me at times. Like when I hover over them when they needlessly run the water tap like there’s no tomorrow! Like when I nag them about buying drinks in plastic bottles. Like when I tell them over and over again to TURN OFF THAT LIGHT!

I’m not as diligent lately in keeping the Blog active, but perhaps in the New Year I will tackle it with gusto. I like that word. I am an ecoholic with gusto!

Stay tuned for part two. I will share some of the easiest ways that YOU can make a difference. Every day.

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do so little.