Thursday, April 9, 2009

feeling a little green

I started school in 1968. Like all kids, I loved watching television. My brothers and I watched things like The Flying Nun, The Banana Splits, H.R. Pufnstuf and the Perils of Penelopy Pitstop. Well, really we'd watch anything that was on.This was way before the Television Masterminds realized that kids are bona fide consumers. Today, parents of young children can find age-appropriate programing 24/7 from birth on up. (My pups have moved beyond the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon and prefer the Sci-Fi network or MTV, thus, to my dismay, straying from what I consider age appropriate. Thank God we don't get HBO or the Playboy Channel.)

I think because every show we watched was considered a gem (even if it really wasn't), television had more of an impact on us. There's lots of media coverage on how television, et al., affects our youth. I am sure it does, but I think there's so much more of it, kids just don't take it all in (how can they?)... not like when we were young.

In the late 60's and 70's the environmental movement found it's voice. Thanks to groups like the AdCouncil, millions of television watchers were not so gently reminded that pollution was bad.

I swear I remember those commercials like they were yesterday! My mother is descended from American Indian ancestors. I always felt like the Crying Indian, Iron Eyes Cody, was one of *us*. (The truth is, I am more American Indian than he was. He was the son of Sicilian immigrants!)

My mother always taught us not to throw trash on the ground, but I think that might have been it as far as our environmental education was concerned. I remember being instructed in school (and on programs like The Electric Company and Zoom) about not leaving lights on when you left a room and not letting the water run. Of all those lessons, it was those commercials that definitely had an impact on me. I did not want to be one of *those people*.

Fast-forward 40 years. I have to admit that I am not what would be considered *green* by most standards. I suppose my contribution to the cause is on my terms. I recycle newspaper and sometimes (but not always) glass. I try to turn off lights when they aren't being used and keep the thermostat set conscientiously. I wash clothes in cold water most of the time and will walk when it's reasonable. I have a hard time tossing anything that still has some life left in it. I think there's too many *good* things taking up space in our landfills. This bothers me for obvious reasons, but it bothers me because there are other people who could have used that item.

I came across a post on a website called Right@Home that was titled, "7 Ideas for Recycling Your Clutter". On the surface this got my attention because I am always on the lookout for ways to better organize my life/home. However, what really got my attention was the list. Some of the things I am happy to report I already do (like Freecycle and Goodwill) but there were things listed that I had never even heard of before (like the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program. I have 5 sons, do you know how many old, ratty pairs of sneakers I've thrown away??). Read the list for yourself.

Personally, I am excited by the thought of doing something positive with our old sneakers and books. I like the idea of taking something I no longer want/need and enriching someone else's life. This kind of recycling is a sure fit with how I think and that is the foundation that will make it easy to maintain.

Just because I'm feeling nostalgic, here's one more PSA for old time's sake:

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