Thursday, April 30, 2009

Going Slovak

My mom is the Greenest person I know.

As “being green” has become more trendy, my family and I have started to make some changes… okay, I have made some changes, and my family is slowly following. I have been unplugging the tv at night, switched to cleaning products that are “green”, try to use rags instead of paper towels, use totes at the grocery store instead of paper or plastic. My husband just sort of rolls his eyes at me and (for the most part) goes along with it. He is quick to show me that unplugging the tv just saves pennies a month and isn’t thrilled that I am paying three times as much for “green cleaning products” that don’t clean as well.

One day after deciding to reward myself for doing a "green job" cleaning the kitchen by buying a $4.00 organic coffee from the coffee shop 5 miles away that I drove my kids to in our mini-van it struck me… this is ridiculous! I am such a creature of habit, and so spoiled that I take things for granted. My parents didn’t.

My mom doesn’t wear Birkenstocks, eat granola, and I don’t think she would be caught hugging a tree but she is “green”. As a child she used to annoy the snot out of my sister and I “saving”. She would carefully remove wrapping paper from a package so she could reuse it (and reuse the tape too), sit in a dimly lit room to “save electricity”, run all her errands all at once to “save gas”, reuse plastic bags, make her own cleaning solutions, she would never dream of BUYING water… trust me, the list goes on and on and on! At the time I would of told you that we “lived like poor people” and, in reality I am not sure if we really were or not.

We didn’t have excess of anything. We didn’t have lots of clothes, or toys, or food that was thrown away. We didn’t eat pre-packaged or prepared food, we had a garden. We played outside a lot. We played with dirt, and went on walks, and climbed trees, we didn’t drive to a park.

My goodness! My mom was one of the first environmentalists and I didn’t even know it. We used to tease that the things my mom did were “Slovak”. My grandparents were immigrants and saved to support their families back Slovakia. When my mom, for instance, would re-use wrapping paper we would call it “Slovak wrapping paper”, or if we wore clothes that were thrown away or given to us it was from the “Slovak store”.

So, today I have decided to “go Slovak!” I am going to make my own coffee, plan my errands and use less, just like my mom did (and still does). While being “green” seemed like something I would have to research (we never bought books growing up), going Slovak I think comes pretty natural to me, and probably most of us. Hmmm… I think I better call my mom and thank her for taking such good care of our planet.