Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

My grandma is full of cool surprises. For example, I recently learned that she knows (or knew) how to operate a meat slicer! Her father owned a store, so this was one of the skills she learned when she was growing up. She mentioned, rather proudly, that she would always be in charge of slicing at church dinners because none of the other women knew how to.

When I think about environmental problems, like people who don't recycle, I often stereotype them as cranky old people who don't know any better or are just too stubborn to change. But here is another happy surprise from Grandma, she is a fierce recycler! Maybe you already guessed that because of her possessiveness about the recycling calendar, but she is very intense about her eco-responsibilities.

I think a lot of this stems from growing up during the Great Depression. She was born in 1920, so her formative years were dominated by the Depression. She hates waste of any kind. I'm a pretty eco-conscious person, but Grandma puts me to shame! She still uses a clothesline rather than a dryer. She's always scolding me for leaving lights on (even if I'm going right back into the room!) or leaving the faucet dripping. In my defense, I think she is the one who leaves the faucet on, but then she forgets and blames me.

When I moved in and was putting my cleaning products under the sink, I found at least 8 empty glass jars because, "Glass jars are handy. You never know when you'll need one." My dad and I recently cleaned out the pantry. We found a shockingly old bottle (This story deserves its own post. Stay tuned!). The bottle was so old, that I deemed it too gross to even attempt cleaning for recycling. Sorry environment, this one is being sacrificed to the landfill. Grandma saw the glass bottle in the garbage and was not having it. "You can't throw this away! It needs to go in the recycling!" She then spent the better part of a day soaking the jar and scraping out the congealed nastiness so this one little jar could be recycled.

So on this Earth Day, let's all take a lesson from Grandma and do our part.

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