Living Green Like Our Grandparents

Despite popular belief, A and I have differing opinions on topics such as religion, politics, men (sorry girl, JT > Channing Tatum), but I am happy to report that when it comes to being sustainable we are on the same, recyclable page. Reading about A’s sustainable up-bringing in Sunday’s post made me feel nostalgic thinking about my own grandparents and how “green” they lived without knowing that “green” would ever be anything but a color, and it really got me thinking about all the things our ancestors did that was not just good for our planet, but good for them and the well-being of their families, and their pockets.

While I feel extremely fortunate to have grown up in a generation that includes iPhones, Facebook, steam dryers, Kindle, and YouTube (for your viewing pleasure), I genuinely believe that to make something right you sometimes have to go back to the basics.


In doing research for today’s post I stumbled upon an article on mnn: mother nature network, “7 Green Things Our Grandparents Did.” I loved the points in the article so much that I wanted to share and summarize with our UtO (Under the Oaks) readers.

1. Kick the Bottle – Feeling inconvenienced by having to remember to recycle plastic bottles? You’re in luck, water is free so you don’t have to buy it in the bottles, you can actually get it out of your tap.

2. Let It All Hang Out – This article quotes the Wall Street Journal as saying “the biggest way to cut the environmental impact of cleaning clothes is to stop using a clothes dryer.” According to my inner fashionista, air drying keeps your clothes lasting longer and avoids shrinkage. According to my home insurance agent, it lessons my chances of a house fire. In the past few years I have personally cut my dryer usage in half by hanging things that I want to preserve the integrity of and drying the rest.

3. Grow Local (and may I add, buy local) – Plant a garden folks! Remember this post by A? OR find a really amazing farmer’s market. Us folks in Raleigh are super spoiled as we have probably one of the most amazing farmer’s markets around. Like complaining about the prices on organic food in the grocery store? The produce at a farmer’s market is organic and … cheap!

4. ‘Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away’ – That Mother Nature is a generous one, just giving away rain by the buckets. Collect rain! You can go old school with buckets or fancy with a rain barrel, either way it is good for watering plants (see #3), washing cars, washing the pets, or I suppose putting out small fires. Another advantage of collecting rain water is that it never goes bad so you can save it up for times of need if you live in an area prone to drought conditions.

5. Brown Bag It – Pack your lunch, or limit the time you go out to eat to once or twice a week. Seriously, better for your pocket and better for your belly. Think about it.

6. Game Time – Take some more time with your family and play games, you know those things that come in a box, with a board or perhaps in quantities of 52. Remember those? Make an effort to turn your Words with Friends game into an actual game of Scrabble. Turn it into a tradition!

7. Buy Less – Put a stop to your hoarding skills and only buy what you need! I’d be a hypocrite if I said that this was a basic skill I could abide by, but what I will add to this is consider buying used/pre-owned before purchasing new. You all know how much I love thrift and antique shopping, that’s a rule I can abide by! Think about it, no packaging to dispose of, no fuel was used to transport it to your home from across the country or over the ocean, and you reduce another item being thrown into a landfill. Brillz!


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