Guess what? This coming Sunday is Earth Day! Because we can’t contain our excitement we’re going to make all our posts about green stuff this week. Keep in mind, we do this not because we are super hippies, but simply because we find it fascinating and always love learning new ways how we can make a difference. To start off, I’ve been asked by my good friend, Robyn, to share how I became committed to all things green and healthy. I feel the two are largely intertwined, but I will mostly focus on green and tomorrow Noel will talk about healthy.
My parents can take a lot of responsibility for my green beginnings. My father is a high school English teacher who has walked to school for as long as I remember. He’s known for thwacking cars with his hard plastic Coleman lunchbox when their drivers mindlessly cut off pedestrians and lecturing people that litter. My mother is a photographer and elementary school art teacher. She’s run Boston, is a certified Master Gardner, and was my initial inspiration for natural childbirth. Part of my parents green teaching stems from their cheapness. They love the Deseret Industries and were using the green remodeling practice of upcycling before it was in vogue (For example they used the brick from the chimney they tore down to build paths in their yard.) The other part was that they loved the outdoors and taught me to respect the earth. I spent a lot of my growing up years outdoors with my parents helping in the garden, riding bikes, and going camping. I wish I could say I always did those things willingly, but all resistance aside, I learned to love the outdoors and I believe that loving something is prerequisite to wanting to protect it. (I’m sure it also didn’t hurt that my parents encouraged me to read the writings of authors such as Terry Tempest Williams and Edward Abbey.)
When I moved out of my parents’ house, the limited funds of the college and newlywed years in Logan, UT allowed me to be creatively resourceful (which is what they called being green in the olden days 😉 ). In our first apartment, Noel and I had a second generation hand-me-down couch and curtains I’d made out of an old bed skirt. (Same bed skirt I used in Ellen’s Blessing dress and for this baby gift I made for a friend.) I loved the sense of accomplishment I got from repurposing items and my frugal side loved living comfortably within our means. My green soul was also fueled by the free recycling the city provided, our university’s budding interest in sustainability (which especially affected me as I held two different event planning positions for two major on-campus events), and our discovery of the town’s quaint Farmer’s Market.
Moving to Colorado (which was described on The Office as “one big REI”) really set the stage for our greenness to blossom. Noel’s job in the renewable energy industry helped us realize we needed to “up our game”on the green playing field, having a newborn gave us the extra incentive to make the world a better place, living in Colorado gave us a lot of allies in our pursuits, and not having homework gave us plenty of time to watch green propaganda documentaries on Netflix. My being a stay-at-home mom also gave me more time to do things like cook from scratch, repurpose, or just do research. We’ve made some changes the past two years that might seem major, but overall the process has been fairly gradual. We’re still nowhere near being perfect earth stewards, but we learn more every day.