All this talk of the environment and recycling - anyone would think this was a modern day phenomena right? This got me thinking..... when did I start recycling and conscious of being environmentally friendly? Yeah okay I thought about the household stuff I have recycled for years before it was considered cool or even so easy but then I started thinking back a bit further...
Being an only child growing up in the 70's, I can vividly remember the sheer excitement and enthusiasm I had when my mum brought bags of hand me down clothes from her friends older daughter for me. It was as good as Christmas - I always wrenched open the bags and couldn’t wait to get the treasures out and spread them all over the floor!! Thus proceeded by hours of trying on and prancing about!! Girls for you I guess, but I didn’t value these things any less or really even think about them being second hand either, I took them on as my own and looked after them the same as if they were new.
I even got other great treasures from the grown ups in the family how excited was I to have cast off 1950 and 60s dresses for my dressing up box all swishing with shiny fabric and a multitude of colourful scarves which I spent hours making tents and dens with. Nothing posh I might add but I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread!
I am lucky that my mum is a creative person and I shared her interest in all things made and a love for clothes from an early age. I loved the fact that she made my clothes and helped her pick out the fabrics and colours that I loved. Like a magpie I think I was always drawn to shiny things and sometimes mum had to steer me away from the more synthetic of fabrics should we say! but watching her touch the fabric and feel what is was made of has subconsciously stuck with me and I find myself touching everything before I pick it up off the hanger in the shop today!
I loved my mums home made clothes and always relished that fact that I knew no one else would have the same outfit as me - I certainly never worried about wanting to fit in where my clothes were concerned! I can remember a beautiful yellow full length cotton skirt with print on and a fantastic pair of black velvet peddle pushers she made me for my school disco with smiley face buttons on - I might add this was the 1970's and not the days of rave!
My mum used other items in the house were to created the most amazing fancy dress costumes and outfits for school fetes and plays. I was Minnie mouse, a prize winning snow queen with beautiful sequin dress and a crown made of silver foil wire and some sequins and beads and the most amazing court jester costumes out of red and yellow toweling.
So what else did we do then that’s now considered progressive modern day living?
Buying locally and organic veg....
I used to go to the local shops with my grandma (no supermarkets) who always used a shopping trolley or a basket I can honestly say I don’t ever remember her using plastic carrier bags - was she aware that she was a green champion -probably not it just seemed like common sense!
My granddad used to have an allotment near where they lived an almost every Sunday we would I spend hours sitting in the soil eating fresh peas and help plant potatoes and veg and which we took it home for our Sunday dinner. Granted this was before the days on really relying on the supermarket and out of town shopping and it just seemed normal. No realisation that this was organic veg locally produced and grown without cost to the environment and us!
Well anyone growing up with Blue Peter will I'm sure will remember pestering their mums to save random household items like cardboard cereal boxes, washing up liquid bottles and tubes to make an array of glorious items (which I might add never looked as good as the ones on the telly that the grown up had made earlier) but I spent hours making things. I remember I had a craft book from the 70's which I really coveted and we made painted eggs and moving animals out of old paper card and safety fasteners.
I was always obsessed with stationery and art materials and used to store them in big old ice cream containers stuffed full of treasure amongst other recycled storage solutions were shoe boxes, biscuit and chocolate tins, glass jars which I never considered to be recycled as this wasn’t a word that was ever used?
As I got older this continued really and in my teenage years I used to collect beads and sequins form old clothes and necklaces and make new items and decorate others with them. I discovered second hand shops when really it wasn't yet the cool thing to do, no-one mentioned the word vintage unless they were referring to old cars! However I didn't care as I think I had inherited my bargain and rummaging skills through 2 generations regardless and it meant all the more treasure for me in as they were still relatively unfound. I have had some of the most beautiful second hand clothes from 1940's and 50's jackets, leather suitcases and bags to a full length green chenille coat with a fake fur collar, a stunning pink Jaegar coat from the 1960's most of which I still have today and still wear!
So what’s changed I ask....
Unfortunately today we live in such a fast paced communities and want everything fast and affordable or that with a designer labels drenched in advertisers and celebrity endorsed lifestyle choices. I feel this has made us forget what goes into making food, clothing and other items and if we realised the real cost to the environment of some of the items we consume then perhaps we would perhaps think again about impulse buying and throwing away without a care because it was cheap and we place no value on it in our throw away society. We are more aware now and this is good as it reaches a generation who won’t have the experiences I had as child at home and I hope some of these morals of a bygone age will seem second nature in the future.
As humans living in a fast paced media society I think things seem to have to be packaged as new or cool for us to sit up and take note as we don't seem to like to look back as it is not considered modern!
Due to the media coverage and those that can remember a bygone age plus the marketers who have jumped on the bandwagon to sell good old fashioned no nonsense common sense at twice the price! the message is getting through and considering us to maybe opt for the simpler life again? I think we will but it seems to be presented as a lifestyle choice these days rather than just the norm.
I am horrified to see younger children are unable to identify basic vegetables let alone know how they grow, or even how they are cooked or taste! I am very lucky that this is something that was second nature tome as a kid and I never gave it a second thought.
How green were you growing up? Please post and share your experiences of growing up green without realising I would love to hear from you.....