Thursday, July 17, 2008

Is Eco-Living Really New?

Eco living is all the rage right now but I've been interested in eco-living since I was a kid. Back then though, we didn't call it that. I grew up on a small family farm where we raised our own beef, pigs and chickens. We drank fresh milk from the cows and ate fresh eggs laid by the chickens. Our huge vegetable garden was fertilized with composted manure from the animals and all of our table scraps went into a compost pile.

My mother worked from dawn to dusk, making our clothes, growing our food and then preserving it. She gathered eggs and sold that and the milk to our neighbors. She hung laundry on the clothes line outdoors and fed and milked cows right along with my dad. There was no inequality of pay in our family. They both worked for the common goal of feeding our family.

As kids we got to run free around our rural neighborhood.We spent our days at the creek or on the mountain behind our house. Nobody ever thought we'd get stolen. There were no cell phones to keep in touch. We showed up for meals and the rest of the time we were off being kids.

I didn't wear that many hand-me-downs but only because I was the oldest. My two sisters wore my old clothes though. We got a couple new outfits when school started and a fancier one - with shoes - at Easter. Our Christmas presents were clothes and ONE toy that we most especially wanted. Nobody had heard of designer clothes and NOBODY ever suspected that kids could also be consumers.

For fun my parents used to take us to the A&W Root Beer stand for a root beer float and once in a great while, not often, we went out to eat. The rest of our meals were all home cooked and mostly home raised, as well. Nothing we ate came from a package and we'd never heard of "processed" food.

We had no toxins in our air and water, no chemicals or pesticides on our food.

For all these reasons, it saddens me to see how much the world has changed. I'm happy to see the green living movement going strong. Perhaps we can keep what was good about the past, even while enjoying the conveniences and benefits of the modern world.

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