Monday, January 21, 2008

My Mom taught me to be green

There is a great movement to practice "green" living now. This I not new, if I remember my upbringing from India my Mom had always believed in conservation. Here are the points that I remember which are mostly common sense.

  1. Paper : If a paper had a blank side then it had to be used - cut into notepad size or used for notes. After this every piece of paper was sold to recycling vendors.
    I think there is no problem to implement this and in a way my daughter does that with all her rough sheets she uses for school.
  2. Plastic: All plastic bags were collected and sold to the roving recycling vendors who exchanged the plastic for small household goods.
    The Montgomery county recycling program takes care of a lot of this. I am not sure why they do not take plastic shopping bags.
  3. Water : Wasting water was a crime in our household. If we opened a faucet/tap the water had to be collected in a container and used. While shaving , no running water- use hot water in a mug. Showers were a luxury and to conserve water you had to fill water in a bucket and have a bath. While filling water we had to make sure no water overflowed the container and fell down.
    I can understand this because I remember the days in my early childhood that I had to wake up at 4 a.m to place a empty container in the line for the drinking water in a Madras ( now Chennai) suburbs. I am not sure I am implementing this to the letter but will make a conscious effort.
  4. Clothes: Wear the clothes till they tore or faded. Once they were not fit to use they became kitchen dusters or waste cleaning clothes.
    After I moved to the US the clothes never tear. I am still using shirts that I purchased 6 to 8 years ago. I know the companies decide together to change the shade of colors every year so that if you wear last years blue you are instantly outed. I can never force myself to throw away good clothes. Sometimes good ones do find their way to a charitable cause.
  5. Power : All devices should be unplugged after use. All room lights to be switched off when there no one was in the room.
    This has been difficult to implement and almost all devices stay switched off but still plugged in. I have to start looking at ways to make this better.

Like I said these are mostly common sense. The one device I wish someone would invent is a way to get hot water as soon as you turn the tap on instead of having to let some water flow till it gets hot. I learnt a lot from my mother an I hope I can impart this to my kids.

Update: Jan 22nd 2008 : Somethings that I remembered after posting.

6. Food : Always take how much you can eat. The advice was almost like " Eat to live and not live to eat". Our platyes had to be completely clean while eating. During my childhood I used to hate Bitter Gourd ( Wikipedia calles it Bitter melon) but neverthless ate it and I like it now.

7. Money : We were taught to be careful about money. I did get pocket money but I grew up nver thinking about what I did not have. The advice - live within your income, never buy anyhting on credit ( I make exceptions for cars and for house mortgage)

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