Going Green?

Summer has me feeling like a hippie in some ways. I guess the modern phrase involves words like “green movement” and “sustainable living.” But there’s something about these beautiful sunny days spent digging in the dirt and reading in the shade, watching my children play happily in a sandbox (rather than with an XBox) that causes me to remember why we love this planet. I could let my hair grow long, and stop wearing makeup. We could go off the grid and trade local produce with neighbors. I could make our own soap, and illegally raise chickens in our backyard for eggs and meat. We could stay up late in tents with hundreds of strangers, listening to a dulcimer concert and subsequent squaredancing calls as we drift off to sleep (there might be a story behind this, but please don’t ask).

Seriously, though — do you find it disturbing how dependent on technology we have become? Electricity has been in common use for only 200 years, and in that short timespan we as a society have practically thown away centuries of basic skills like canning, hunting, and collecting rain water. Why waste time on those ancient, old-fashioned chores! We need all the extra minutes we can get, to keep up with our friends on Facebook and play a rousing Wii game of family golf.

It’s ironic to me that we go to the Internet to find out information about how to live green — and that this makes us progressive and forward-thinking — when many of these concepts had actually been practiced for centuries before our electrical modern conveniences.

Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy the perks of living in the 21st century, perks like the iPhone I’ll be getting in July, and this blog I’m writing. But maybe this summer I’ll spend less time online or otherwise plugged in, and more time participating in actual life. I may even teach myself and the kids about home canning. You never know when we might need these skills again.

6 thoughts on “Going Green?

    1. That’s funny! You gotta love that. You know, in all this recession/depression talk I haven’t been all that afraid. My grandparents went through it, and over the years Grandma shared things with me about making do with what you had. Different times back then. Nothing wasted. I don’t think that I would ever want to go through anything like that, but I learned from my grandparents that it can be done.


  1. There’s nothing like going “off-grid” to become truly thankful for what we have and to realize how little we really need. I’ve done it backpacking in the Rockies and I always come back centered… then, inevitably, I get back on e-mail and the peace dissipates.


  2. Amen!

    I happened to watch the first series of Wonder Woman about a month back… Interesting. All this scary stuff going on for people, but I noticed how rationing was a part of the American daily living. I know it’s not a historical show, but literature of all kinds can clue us in to the nuances of life that aren’t in a history book.

    It was what it was… today you wonder if it would be an outrage.


  3. I read a book once about technology that said the real problem with technology was one of energy density. The quote went something very close to this…

    “Visualize in your mind the picturesque windmills of of the Netherlands, their clean white sails climbing into the sky like the masts of ships. Crafted of stone and heavy timber, the product of artisans and the labor of many skilled hands to serve a community for generations. Now, hold the 5 pound motor of good string trimmer or chainsaw. It has about the same power output. You have more power available to you with the seldom used yard tools in your garage then all of Europe had collectively in the 1400’s.”

    Its the law of diminishing returns. 1KWH per day brings the life expectancy from in the low 30’s to the mid 60’s. That’s 1/30 of normal US usage. As more is consumed, the life expectancy continues to go up, but not even remotely proportionally.


  4. truthwalker, can you imagine if one of those past farmers from the Netherlands saw what our tools today can do? They would be amazed, and then likely they would wonder what on earth we do with all our extra time.


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