Accidentally Green

My parents

were green

by accident

in the days

before we knew

being green

meant more than

shade de Kermit.

Say no to plastic

What plastic?

Stand to attention

brown paper bags carefully packed

with a few days worth of Woolies groceries

fish and chips greased

their best mate

the newspaper

string bags leaked

onion skins and

small potatoes

little old ladies tugged

reluctant vinyl

shopping bags on wheels

a man in a van sold fresh fish

door to door

convenience wrapped in butchers paper

no need for polystyrene platters

strangled by

how do you get this open

plastic wrap

foam clamshells

yet to be invented

for double-decker mega

heart attack waiting to happen


empty glass bottles on night sentry duty

replaced daily by fresh

full milk bottles saluting the rising sun.

Mulch and Compost

Scraps chucked

on the heap

in the backyard

orange peels

and apple cores


out the window

by the children

don’t tell mum.


Truck-loads of clothes, shoes

but never underwear

came from

St Vinnie’s

the patron saint of all things second-hand

not seen as green

but the all important



I remember helping mum unravelling second hand jumpers to reuse the wool. I would wind the wool into warm, coloured balls and she would make a new scarf or jumper. Not always the latest fashion statement but it did the job. Mum saved buttons, string and wrapping paper. Younger children were victims of hand-me-downs.

Living Local

We had a Tomato Lady

knocking on every door

in the street

Greek widow

in black

laden with home grown supplies to sell

scaring little children with her ensemble.

Most kids had tales to tell

of grandma’s back yard chooks

tales of boisterous roosters

poking tender appendages

feeding phobias.


A Grandpa I never met

built a tiny house

in Murarrie

one kitchen

one lounge room

one bedroom

two enclosed verandas

for the kids to sleep in

one outhouse.

That house was enough for him

his wife

and three tall boys

who would one day reach the sky

all 6foot 3inches high

on meat and three veg.

Conserve Energy

No computers

1 television

1 wireless

no mobile phones

no air-conditioning

except in mum and dad’s room

1 fan

1 bar heater

barely heating mum’s feet

the dishwasher had two hands

the clothes dryer

was solar powered

except when it rained

and you brought the clothes

in off the hills hoist

and draped them

over the hot water system.

Reduce Car Use

Dad drove to work

and picked up Mum from shopping

we walked most other places

my best friends lived within a 2 kilometre radius

and that was no coincidence

walk to school

walk to church

walk to the shops

walk to weekend






or get other parents to carpool your kids!

Save Water

My parents failed modern City Council standards.



under the sprinkler

water wasting



creating ideals

childhood memories.