I consider my grandparents the “O.G’s” of environmentalism. Just to be clear, that’s “Original Green.” The current battle-cry/sustainable-speak of “Reduce – Reuse – Recycle” was merely a way of life for those who lived through world wars and the Great Depression.
My Grandma, 92 when she passed away 4-years ago, taught me all the best lessons about being green. As far as I know, she never thought about her way of life as environmentally progressive. And I think she’d probably get a kick out of the fact that entire blogs, books and websites are dedicated to recreating the art of “homesteading;” since that was just her way of life.
Some best practices from Grandma Lambert include:
- Composting in the garden long before it was ‘a thing.’
- Repurposing glass jars for canning, centerpieces or to store buttons.
- Buying in bulk to saved money, but also significantly reducing one’s carbon footprint because of minimal packaging (they were living the dream without even meaning to!)
- Knowing the value if borax, lemon juice and vinegar for cleaning.
- Building your own clothes line for drying: it gives clothes that real “outdoor fresh scent” and is magnificent for bleaching whites without chlorine and other harmful toxins (this trick is especially handy for cloth diapers and baby clothes!)
- Choosing quality over quantity – especially when it comes to clothes and furniture. When a garment had worn out it’s welcome (yes, sure – pun intended), grandma would tie the fabric pieces into a pot holder or combine them with other material scraps and make a rug (I am serious!).
Some of my favorite lessons learned from Grandma were gleaned in the kitchen. When it came to cooking, meals – and especially treats – were made from scratch. This included mouth watering stews, heavenly breads and pies with fruit picked from one of several fruit trees (when I was young, their property included the following varieties of fruit trees: two plum, one apricot, two cherry and a peach.) Really, is there a better creation than from-scratch cherry pie? (That’s a rhetorical question, obviously.)
From those trees, grape vines, raspberry bushes and veggie garden, the summer’s bounty would be dried, canned and frozen so produce could be enjoyed year round – a start contrast to today’s norm of produce shipped from Chile.
Everyday I have the opportunity to honor her legacy. Thank you Grandma, for teaching me the art of being green.
What are your favorite green lessons from “The Greatest Generation?”
Photo Credit: Jonanthan Canlas Photography