June 8, 2011 in Eco
Image by dorena-wm
Over the last few years people seem to be getting more and more eco-minded. Whether it be through their work, home or personal lives, people seem to have gained an awareness on what is and isn’t eco-friendly. Whether or not they do anything with that awareness is a different story, of course. But when it all comes down to it, which generation do you think is more eco-minded: ours or our grandparents?
Let’s take a look at a few different aspects of life and compare:
WASTE/TRASH: Americans generate an average of 4.4 lbs of garbage per day, yes PER DAY. I’ve seen many people not even think twice about throwing things away that are in perfectly good working order. Thankfully many people are eco-minded enough to donate items they no longer wish to keep. In terms of food waste, take a look at these shocking food waste statistics…not pretty.
Image by Kara Allyson
Our grandparents however were very particular about not wasting items. They didn’t have “money to burn”. So any items that could be recycled, reused or handed down to family or friends were saved from the trash and given another life. You knew to finish the food on your plate. Any “leftover” food was composted, saved or frozen for later.
RECYCLING: Recycling has started to make a comeback. But the real question is, why are there are so many “one-use” products available? Do we really need disposable this and disposable that? Have we opted for convenience over eco-friendliness? There are a number of materials we can recycle that will truly matter more for climate change.
Image by Phil
Back in our grandparents’ day, items such as milk, soda and beer came in glass containers. When they were done with the containers the bottles were returned to the store. The store would then return them to be sterilized and refilled. Water fountains were used for people who were looking for a cool drink of water. Diapers were cloth so they could be washed and reused. Razors and other products had replaceable parts so instead of the entire product being thrown away, individual parts were fixed and/or replaced.
TRANSPORTATION: These days people hop in their cars even for a quick trip to the local grocery store. Freeways show very clearly how much people rely on their vehicles to get around. Speed is very often a factor in people’s transportation choices, so trains, buses and other forms of public transportation have had to step up and become viable options for commuters. However, when it comes to traveling longer distances, flying is still a popular way to get from one place to another quickly.
Image by Joe Wolf
Back in the day, people walked to their local store. They walked to the post office. They walked into town to run errands. They even had electric vehicles way back when and if they needed to travel further, the bus or the train were considered great resources.
Yes, some of this was for frugality purposes, but isn’t frugality a factor when it comes to being green and eco-minded?
Image by cooling
ENERGY CONSUMPTION: The average household uses quite a bit energy and approximately 65% of that energy usage comes from appliances. Between all the appliances in the kitchen, the washer and/or dryer, the television, DVD player, computer and all other electronics the energy bill adds up quickly. Simple steps such as turning off lights that aren’t in use, putting electronics on power strips and shutting them off at night, etc can go a long way to cutting energy costs.
Our grandparents, obviously, didn’t have many of those items. They didn’t have machines that did all the prep work required to make a home-made meal. They didn’t have a 42″ television set or two or three in their house. They didn’t have computers, radios and other electronics on all day and night. And in terms of the laundry, they hung their clothes out to dry.
Image by Katherine
GROWING FOOD: Growing your own food is more and more becoming a mainstream activity. It is no longer considered a “hippie” activity, but is something even communities are doing together to produce and provide fresh fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t matter the size of your home either, we should grow our own food because we are humans.
Image by Simon Blackley
Many of our grandparents had gardens and/or small farms where they grew their own fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods which weren’t eaten at the dinner table were shared with neighbors, friends and family. Excess could always be canned or frozen for future use. Nothing went to waste.
So…when it all comes down to it, which generation do you think is more eco-minded? Ours or our grandparents? In my person opinion, I think we are becoming more and more eco-minded, but we have a long way to go. Thankfully we are opting for more alternative energy, alternative fuel and environmentally-friendly options, so we are heading in the right direction.