While I fill a Mason jar from my sink, Jerry Brown flows through NPR with dire drought news. It got me to thinking about my childhood.
These classic Mason jars my hippy parents filled with lentils and brown rice have somehow become a hipster icon. My San Francisco buddies wait in line for over an hour to be served $12 wine in these jars. The Mason jar even makes for a great tattoo.
Despite our epic predicament, I can still turn a knob and have access to all the clean drinking water I want. So I make my iced tea and consider how my folks were ahead of the game. They designed and built an ecologically-conscious home in 1981, long before “green” was branded, sleek, and cost twice as much at Home Depot. When our classmates visited, my sister and I tried to explain the composting toilet but hoped they just wouldn’t need to use the bathroom. With no dishwasher or dryer, (but definitely with a wood-burning stove), we kids washed dishes, hung laundry, and brought in firewood. Green wasn’t cool yet, it was just embarrassing. And more work than we preferred.
Along with learning table manners, we were taught what to compost, what to reuse, and which recycling bin to use. Dad lectured us that the first step of garbage disposal is separation, the second step compaction. (The first step actually seemed to be questioning our status as First World consumers.)
As I moved on to college, I realized how much I had absorbed these ethics. When my roommates took 45 minute showers or left the water running while brushing their teeth, I bristled. It felt like nails on a chalkboard to see clean water be wasted.
I now work at Clif Bar, a company founded on sustainability, and I feel right at home with the compost, recycling, and multiple trash bins. Aiming to be a Zero Waste company, our bins are made of reclaimed wood and sport a handy user guide. (pic).
Going green now looks pretty and my freakish childhood is the new normal! Like the Mason jar, the green aesthetic is nostalgic, utilitarian, and handsome.
As much as I hate to admit it, my hippy homesteading parents were ahead of the curve with green living. Now we are all growing up to realize that we aren’t entitled to endless water. We have to rethink what we are throwing away, what’s for dinner, and how we get to work. Our redesigned lives may take effort but can also spark beauty. That needs to become more a part of our essence than a tattoo.
Aiming to be a Zero Waste company, our bins are made of reclaimed wood and sport a handy user guide. (pic).