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 Woollies 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
burgers,
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
hoiked
out the window
by the children,
don’t tell mum.

Recycle
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
cheap.

Reuse
I helped mum unravel second hand jumpers to reuse the wool; winding the wool into warm, coloured balls. A new scarf or jumper was created – 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 back yard chooks,
tales of boisterous roosters
poking tender appendages,
feeding phobias.

Moderation
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
soccer
netball
softball
tennis
cricket
or get other parents to carpool your kids!

Save Water
My parents failed modern City Council standards,
playing
giggling
under the sprinkler,
water wasting
recreation
~
creating ideals
childhood memories.

______________________________

7 thoughts on “Accidentally Green

  1. Amazing that had we maintained some of the daily practices our parents had…we wouldn’t have the problems we have now…thanks for starting my Sunday off perfectly.

  2. This made me feel pretty nostalgic. I remember the milk bottles, the brown paper bags and the vinyl shopping bags on wheels, and was occasionally a hand-me-down victim. 🙂

  3. It’s all there
    All the green wisdom
    It always has been
    We just forgot it
    In exchange for consumption
    We forgot resourceful
    As we remember
    New seeds grow.

    _________

    Hi Gabrielle, I enjoyed ‘Accidentally Green’ 🙂

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