One summer morning of my 16th year, after eating a delicious large breakfast
with my Aunt Marie, she said we had a ‘chore to do.’ We were in my Aunt
Dot’s kitchen in Rockport, Massachusetts.
I put some beat up tennis shoes, raggedy jeans shorts and a dark t-shirt
on. Aunt Marie wore a red bandana over her golden hair, with a blue pair
of, what we called then, “pedal pushers” on and a red light weight blouse
We stashed, in the ‘boot’ of Aunt Marie’s little red, sports car, paper bags
of recyclables, a large box of technical equipment, that had a few television
parts and cords thrown in.
On the way to the area of the city dump, Aunt Marie explained about
composting and recycling. She also told me something I had never
thought about and here is the ‘gist’ of her lesson:
“Out on this Eastern seaboard, we have limited space, we’re very concerned
about the Atlantic Ocean, mercury’s effect on our fish, gas and oil discharges
from fishing and recreational boats. We want to make sure we all have a
clean place to live and swim in.” (This was 1971.)
We were heading up a great hill, to where there were various sizes of sheds,
dumpsters and piles of discarded items. This was my introduction, seeing
this process in ‘full swing,’ to thinking more about environment and ecology!
My Aunt Marie had me grab the box, while she took two armfuls of paper bags,
and we headed towards the designated areas. Technical equipment, including
cords, cables, computer screens and ‘motherboards’ were in a large shed.
If one wanted to ‘shop’ in amongst the discarded equipment, you were not
going to be prevented. They actually encouraged recycling and re-using.
We then took the glass bottles to an area, with a lot of shelves, and a woman
sitting in front of a small table with an old calculator figured out our pennies
earned and gave us money for the soda bottles ‘returned.’ The glass jars that
were from spaghetti sauce, mayonnaise, and other condiments did not receive
monetary payment, but I already became aware that recycling these would
preserve the local environment.
Over forty years ago, when Bay (Village) High School held fundraisers
for different clubs, associations and team sports, we would collect bottles,
cans and newspapers. I have a photograph of myself, with a felt pink hat,
resembling Annie Hall or some other cultural style leader, so I thought!
I am wearing a ‘maxi”length beige coat, and am in front of the truck Science
Club would rent. We were piling newspapers, magazines and other paper
products. I am with some of my good ‘geek’ friends. Although, not included
in the yearbook photograph, we girls are laughing at the ‘boys’ who were
pawing through the “Playboy” and “Esquire” magazine donations.
We were equally aware of the environment and the financial value of this
monthly fundraiser. Unlike I am as an adult, who is reluctant to volunteer,
I was always in the midst of such functions. As a member of Science Club,
Thespians, Publication staff and Marching Band, along with the certain times
of year, (as a Girl Scout), we sold donuts in the Autumn and cookies in the
Spring, I volunteered. Although only in the photos of Science Club in my high
school yearbook, was I featured.
When I think back on those times, I felt involved and essential in many
ways. I also found out, over time and conversations, this was more rare
than not, from my friends who I met in later years.
I wonder, do you remember being involved in ecological, environmental
volunteering or fundraising during your school years?
It is a pleasure to feature some local and global “Green Choices” available
recently, here in Central Ohio.
It is not as “helpful” as volunteering, but it feels good to share that we
are still in this together, trying to make ecologically ‘correct’ choices!
The founder of a local skin care company, “Juicy for Sure,” Valerie
Dupree, talked recently. She was suggesting trying products that are
free of chemicals, such as paraben and phthalates. (Not sure what this
is, but I rechecked spelling twice!) Her company features body care
products made from natural sources. They are unscented and stored in
glass containers. A reminder given, those stored in plastic packages are
more likely or are believed to create chemical ‘contamination.’ The
natural skin care company, recently added a new men’s lotions line.
They claim many of their products “leave no greasy ‘after-feel.'” There
was a Worthington, “Green on the Green” function that my youngest
daughter attended, believing that what she puts into her body and onto
her body, directly affects her outbreaks of eczema and inflammation of
You may also purchase “Gardener’s Lotion” and a sweetly scented
body lotion, “Dew Drop.” My youngest daughter is not involved in this
business and would not purchase any scented products. Look for these
products and more online, at Juicy for Sure. Their skin care line promises
“artisan crafted,” “eco- conscious” products while feeling “luxurious.”
Solar panels have been considered great conduits to natural forces for
quite some time now. There is a local Central Ohio, Columbus-based
company who won a recent award for being one of the top 3 National
winners in the “Green Homes” category. The quarterly “People and Planet
Awards” find eco-conscious companies and hand out different categories
of awards. The name of this national nonprofit, sustainability organization
is “Green America.”
Kevin Eigel, who is the President of “Ecohouse” will use the $5000 award
to help fund a solar installation for a co-op building called, “Third Hand.”
Ecohouse. com is one that I am proud to list as nearby. I wish I could build
a home having Kevin’s company install solar panels on my roof.
My Dad was very interested in having solar panels on their retirement
cottage in Vermilion, Ohio, believing in both the wind and sun as being
important natural contributors of energy. I have to admit, they did not
complete this project.
Soybeans in Iowa were recently researched in a study found in “Food
Chemistry” journal. The foods we ingest are very important to know
more about, as our society and world has changed the processes. The
study tested soybeans grown from seeds that were genetically modified
(GM) to be resistant to the herbicide, Round Up.
Thirty-one different Iowa farms were participants in this study. The
results found that GM soybeans contained significantly higher levels
of the toxin, glyphosate. This is one of the main chemicals found in
Of course, this is the reason to ‘buy local,’ as often as possible, from
farmers who use natural ways to grow their soybeans.
I am learning more about being aware of non-GMO soybeans and other
Organic foods are the best ones to put into our bodies. Also, they have
found there are higher levels of good ingredients in naturally grown
soybeans, higher levels of protein and zinc, along with lowered levels
of saturated fats.
Global recognition is my final thrust in this going green article. There is
an international rise in sun-generated power in the United States, Italy,
Germany, China and Japan.
They were named as countries producing more than “10 gigawatts of solar
products” to promote a greener economy.
In India, villages are switching to solar power, also. Their environmental
‘watch group’ is called, “Earth Hour.”
IKEA, Scandanavian produced furniture) has sold over $10,000 worth of
solar panels to 17 British outlets. England is aware of the reason for using
solar energy to generate warmth and heat.
Peru is also starting to install solar panels in a National Photovoltaic
Household Electrification program. This began last July, 2013. (Boy, I
had to check the spelling three times on that mouthful of words!)
The conclusion of this varied report that included personal experiences,
research on soybeans, solar panels and local companies that have been
shown to incorporate natural products is to encourage more awareness
in your area of the world.
There are so many parts of our lives that we ignore or procrastinate
in. I recycle paper, glass, cardboard and plastics. At work, our
boxes get put on a cardboard line, which compacts them into
flat smashed ‘boxes’ that get picked up by a recycling company.
Our discarded plastic goes in another location, where it is collected
and corded together with its compaction process, too.
What kind of changes are you already making to help make your area
of the world a better place?
I am interested in any new ‘green’ products, natural foods that have
more nutrition that you would recommend, and any other suggestions.
What are some changes that you have made to become more involved?