Green, green … it’s green they say

                                    … on the far side of the hill
                                                          By Jeff Salter 

            “Green, green … I’m goin’ away … to where the grass is greener still”.
            Not sure why that New Christy Minstrels lyric popped into my head today, because it’s not actually related to the type of ‘green’ in this week’s topic:  ecology and environment.
            But it gives me an intro … and you get to hear a terrific song.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ct2E4kHzhLM

 History
            While I’m not a fanatical environmentalist, I find two distinct feelings when I examine the ‘green’ history of our nation:
(1) deeply betrayed by those callous exploiters who wantonly destroyed millions of square miles of land for natural resources like timber or minerals … without any thought or effort to allow the land to ever be useful again
            and
(2) incredibly grateful for those forward-thinking conservationists (like Teddy Roosevelt, who set aside 170 million acres … and John Muir, “Father of the National Parks”) who protected some of the most beautiful tracts of natural resources in the world.

 Generations
            My parents were raised during the Great Depression.  Even though they had vastly different socio-economic family situations, both Dad and Mom had that mentality of the Greatest Generation:  “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without”.  And that was pretty much how we were raised in our single-income family during the 1950s and early 60s.
            It seems strange in a time when people buy disposable covers for brooms and mops, even soap dispensers have batteries, and hardly any containers are directly re-used.  [Remember when you’d get two cents for returning cola bottles?  When empty milk bottles were traded for full ones?]
            Back then, if you could afford an appliance, you’d use it for 25 years or more.  Now a $2000 computer gizmo lasts about three years before it’s effectively obsolete.

 Background
            While I’m not a wild-eyed tree-hugger, per se, I’ve always been in love with the outdoors and always appreciated the beauty and splendor of natural environments.  As a kid, I played outdoors unless bad weather forced me inside.  We lived in a sparsely-populated neighborhood with many square blocks of virgin woods.  You could walk through woods for miles to the south without finding an inhabitant (and you’d cross only one gravel road).  To the north, you could go five or six blocks without crossing but one street with any traffic.  To both our east and west – except for one neighbor on each side – there were several more blocks of glorious woods.  And you know what?  During my entire childhood I don’t recall a single case of poison ivy.  [Though I can ‘catch’ it now by merely looking in that direction.]
            All I’m saying is that I grew up surrounded by woods and loved it.  After too many decades of subdivision dwelling, I’m once again enveloped by woods and fields … and feel as though I’ve finally come home again.

 Recycling
            I feel guilty about my current lack of enthusiasm for recycling.  In the past, I’ve done more.  We used to recycle plastic, beverage cans, and newspapers — we’ve had brief periods where the local entities made that much easier to do.  Presently, however, we have to store, segregate, and then haul items to a depot about two miles away … and it’s only open during certain limited hours.  I know I should recycle more, but it becomes one more ‘thing’ on my list.  [Just getting our regular weekly garbage dispatched is hassle enough:  I have to heave the bins up into the bed of my pick-up and drive some 700 feet to the ‘curb’ where the garbage truck picks-up.]
            I want to do better about recycling and I’ll try harder.  It’s the right thing to do.  But it’s a lot easier when local government supplies color-coded bins and one has to roll them only about 30 paces to the curb.

 Future
            For my own grandkids (and beyond):  I hope the earth is allowed to regenerate enough resources for them to appreciate.  I long for them to be able to experience the freedom and wonder of trees and fields.  Two of my grandkids have just now gotten where they feel at ease playing in the woods by themselves … and I’m tickled pink.  Well, um, I guess you could say I’m tickled ‘green’.  Ha.

 Questions
            How do YOU feel about conservation?  Recycling?
            Have you ever visited any of America’s glorious National Parks?

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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35 Responses to Green, green … it’s green they say

  1. I find the older I get the more environmentally conscious I become. We recycle, but it’s because they’ve made it easy for us. Unfortunately, unless local government bodies don’t take steps to make things far more convenient- people won’t change their ways. As I write this, I’m about to leave on a huge jet engine that spews junk into the atmosphere. Guess I can’t solve the problem so I’m off to New York!

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Me too, Stacey — more conscious, but (simultaneously) less strength and mobility.
      In the case of the recycling here: I fear we’d use about as much fuel (incl. emissions) to haul the newspapers and cans to the recycling center … than we’d save the environment by recycling those same papers and cans.
      But I don’t know the exact arithmetic.

      Like

      • SherryGloag says:

        That’s the point exactly, jeff. By the time you’ve carried the recycling to where ever its meant to be, you’ve used up more energy than if it all went in one bin anyway. Every so often over here in the UK, stories errupt about how the minute the get the stuff ‘out of sight’ it all gets put back together anyway, ‘because it is too expensinve to recycle!’
        Go figure.
        As for running wild in the outdoors, I’m with you there. Not forrests, but well away from villages and towns.

        Like

      • jeff salter says:

        I’ve often suspected that, Sherry. This is a small-scale example, but where I used to work I had to help coordinate and promote a new effort for the entire building (4 stories) to recycle. So I made posters and flyers and sent memos. We labeled containers, made all the arrangements for where to take each type of item, etc.
        But I started getting reports that the janitor was dumping everything together in one huge wheeled cart to haul it to the dump.
        In spite of repeated efforts and contacts with his supervisor, and complaints to my own supervisor … I don’t think that Janitor every got the situation straight in his head. To him trash was trash.

        Like

  2. We are big campers here and love, love, love the outdoors. My favorite vacation is still the trip we took up to Yellowstone National Park in our pop-up camper. We had buffalo walk right through our campsite and it snowed on us in June! 🙂 Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe the scenery. Our kids were young, but remember the experience well and talk of it often. And we try to do what we can as far as the recycling goes, but honestly, we could do so much more. The drought and fires we had here in Texas during the summer drastically changed the landscape. The dead trees, empty lots and parks really make you stop and think. Give me the woods over the city anyday! LOL

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    • jeff salter says:

      Absolutely, Melissa. I’ll take the woods and hills over the ‘city’ anyday.
      The neighborhood we lived in for over 26 yrs had houses about eight ft on either side of us. And it was flat and no shade trees (at least not on our end of the street, which was more newly developed).
      As a kid, I went to Yellowstone with my family. Not sure which portion … because the entire area is really vast. Don’t recall the exact month, but it was before school was out. It was so cold that we practically froze in those little un-insulated cabins. They had a stove in the middle which burned ‘logs’ of compressed sawdust. That stove was all that was between us and a terrible fate. Ha. But the park was beautiful. We saw bears, but no buffalo.

      Like

  3. Chris Bailey says:

    I’ve been in the Keep America Beautiful camp ever since the ancient PSA on TV–the non-PC Indian in feathers witnesses littering, and a tear rolls down his cheek. From anti-litter, I’ve moved on to anti-waste, recycling, and other environment-friendly behavior. Despite everything I do intentionally to save the planet, I’m still only average for an American, according to the folks at Carbon Footprint. http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

    A couple of years ago, during a remodel, I tried to choose sustainable building products, and found out how difficult things can be. Linoleum, for example, is durable and comes in a range of attractive designs. Unlike vinyl, it’s made of plant fibers and vegetable oil. Also, at about $10 a square foot, it costs more than a lot of hardwood and tile. Bamboo, a great sustainable flooring material, arrives on a ship from China, like so many of the everyday things we consume. Alabama marble is mined locally and shipped to Peru for processing and distribution. I found wide-plank pine flooring from Georgia, but also ended up using trendy tile and and granite because it fit the budget better than more sustainable options.

    Love my curbside pickup! However, glass isn’t included, so I have to drive a load of glass to a recycling center every couple of weeks, emitting greenhouse gases all the way.

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Chris, it sounds like it’s quit a bit more complicated than I would have imagined. I had no idea that ‘local’ marble would be shipped overseas (and back) for processing. That’s wild.
      I congratulate you on delving deeply into the entire arena of related issues. That takes a lot of commitment.
      When we built here, some 4+ yrs ago, I really wanted to take advantage of passive solar and other things. But when push came to shove, the terrain dictated a lot of what we did. And, we wanted the house to ‘face’ the distant street. If we could turn our house about 45 degrees, I think it would be better. Ha.

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  4. jbrayweber says:

    No doubt we could do more. Unfortunately, convenience is key. We recycle all our paper products because we can dump them in a bin for recycling at my child’s school. And we try to save the aluminum cans as there is a return. But what about the plastics? It makes me sick toss it all knowing it’s recyclable. There’s really no place close. It costs us money to have our neighborhood have recycling pickup. yep – I feel guilty, too.

    I love, love nature and it sickens me more that big corporations are willing to destroy our natural resources and the beauty within our planet in the name of the mighty dollar.

    Jenn!

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Yes, Jenn, we would all do more if cities / communities / entities would “wise-up” and built-in the collection process to their facilities.
      What your child’s school does is a good example of doing it right: put the bins and signage in a prominent place that the adults are passing by on a regular basis.
      The Kroger I visit has a huge container for used plastic bags which is very near the door to the store. Mkes it easy to drop the old bags before getting new ones. They also push the reusable bags, but (unfortunately) make the bags so small & flimsy that I found them unusuable.
      Where we used to live, one of the “box stores” had bins for most of the regular types of recyclables right there off the parking lot so you could swing by as you entered or exited the lot.

      Like

  5. Laurie Ryan says:

    Yes, we do recycle, but our community makes it easy. Toss everything (except glass) in one big bin and they pick it up and sort it. The glass we take to a depot about a mile away. So easy-peasy. My sister and her husband are poster children for recycling. I love them for it. They compost and recycle and only have one small bag of garbage in a MONTH!
    As for parks, we have one of the best ones right here. Mt. Rainier National Park. 🙂 We visit it regularly. You know that National Parks Pass? Once you reach a certain age, you can get a lifetime pass. Now that we have one, I’m working on my husband to do some “park” trips. 🙂

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    • jeff salter says:

      Wow! Your community does the SORTING for you? very cool. And prob. less expensive than purchasing tens of thousands of red, green, blue bins which some citizens would use one more than the others or maybe some not at all. Central sorting surely has a lot of merit.
      When I was still growing up, our family went to many nat’l parks in the NW, west and SW. I LOVED it. We haven’t had as much chance to do so when I was raising my own family, however.

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  6. Sounds like a right trek for you to get the garbage to the street. LIke Laurie’s community, ours sorts the recycling, too- we have a regular can and a recycle can. So, all the paper and glass go in the recycle one and they sort it at the end point. Two separate trucks come by.

    New Christy Minstrels, hey? I remember them from when I was a tot.

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Jillian, I hope you clicked on the YouTube link. This is prob. my fav. of their songs. Their lead singer, Barry MaGuire — with a VERY cool voice — later performed “the Eve of Destruction”

      Like

  7. Louisa Bacio says:

    We try to do our part. Living in Southern California, the city provides a recycling trash bin that everything goes into — newspapers, glass, plastics, and then somehow they separate it. I read a story this last year about a scientist who came up with a conserving power strip. As a side note to the story, it mentioned that in the last year he had one bag of trash. One bag in a year! Now, that’s insane. I wondered if he was married and had kids. Anything you buy is packaged. Even if you buy meat … but then someone told me that people like that go buy meat and put it in their own packaging and leave the store container there … so is that conserving or “cheating?” lol

    One bag!

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Some 20+ years ago, a library colleague told me about a professor colleague of his who — with a spouse — had reduced their disposable garbabe to one small bag per week. They had sold one of their vehicles and were hoping to eventually ween themselves off the second one.
      It stunned me — way back then — that those two academics had the time and devotion to recycle everything else in their lives besides one small bag of garbage.
      When we have company here in Possum Trot, we often have three large trash cans FULL — and they’re 33 gallon cans. When it’s just me and Denise, we somes have merely one can.
      I want to do better, do more, etc. But I can’t let ‘green’ be the chief focus of my life!

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  8. Iris Blobel says:

    I’ve made it here, Jeff!!! Finally, puh. Anyway, Friday morning, about to head off to work, so gotta keep it short, but did wanna leave a comment, because I really appreciated and liked your post. I’m not a tree hugger either and most of the times I roll my eyes at what the “green party” demands here in Australia. But at the same time I roll my eyes at products that are tripple wrapped – for what? At the councils who are ripping out more trees to build more houses, because though people can’t afford it, everyone needs to have a house! At those mums who just have the school around the corner, but HAVE TO DRIVE …. …. ok … I better stop …
    BTW …. isn’t there a “green” song in My Fair Lady or was that the German translation???? LOL …. it’s early, the brain’s not working yet

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Glad you made it, Iris. I forgot you lived ‘down under’ … and that many time zones away.
      If anybody had any doubts about WHO contributes to the trash problem, just look at the way kids’ toys are packaged. Good grief: plastic over cardboard, with cardboard liners inside and styrofoam … and wire wraps. When I was a kid most toys were sold from bins.
      I’m not familiar with a green song in MFL — LOL.
      Did you listen the the link for New Christy Minstrels?

      Like

      • Iris says:

        I know what you mean re the toys. We always cringed when the girls got a Barbie as a present, because it took us at least 20 mins to get her out of there. I’m sure the Queen’s Crown Jewels are not that well protected …. 🙂

        Haven’t listened to it yet. Was still in bed when I first read it with hubby asleep next to me. Now I’m at work … will try to have a listen tonight.

        Do you have anything like a “Green party” in the US?

        Like

      • jeff salter says:

        Yes, America has had a ‘green’ party for sev. years. If I’m not mistaken, Ralph Nader was candidate for president from Green party in ’92 or ’96. It may go back even farther.
        I hope you do get a chance to hear that song … it’s terrific. And from a much more innocent time — early 60s.

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  9. Meg Mims says:

    What a great post, Jeff! I remember the days before recycling became the norm (at least here in my ‘burb) and I would save up cans, bottles and papers and haul them about 5 minutes to the local DPW. I was so tired of adding to the garbage. Now, it *is* easier when they pick up, and I’ll gladly pay the fee. I’m hoping for a hybrid car one day, if the costs come down. And hydrogen fuel cells. We’ll see. Happy St. Patrick’s Day and the “wearing of the GREEN” to you, whether it’s recycling or conserving energy/resources, or just enjoying a nice walk in the woods. 🙂

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      You’d love our woods, Meg. About 5 acres right behind the house, and another 2 or 3 acres beyond the upper meadow. And that doesn’t even count the gully or the slender band of trees along the distant street.
      I would like an ‘electric’ car also … but don’t want to pay triple the amount for a regular one. And what’s to say that electricity won’t go up even higher than gasoline?
      I wish the oil companies could drill more easily, with less interferance. Of course, I know they need oversight so they don’t destroy the environment (e.g., Exxon Valdez spill and all the horrible mess from the BP platform explosion in the Gulf two years ago).
      I love the notion of wind energy and solar energy, but there are still a lot of kinks to be worked out.

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  10. Stephy says:

    Wonderful post Jeff! I live in the country and I guess we have been recycling ever since I can remember. Even the small spools that contained mother’s thread after she made our clothes became a hanger for coats, bridles or any other hanging item. Those were the days when we didn’t have to worry about putting the right item into the right bin. We found a use for almost everything and took the cola bottles to town once a week and traded them in when mother bought groceries. It’s strange for me to go to my in-laws where they are required to seperate the garbage.

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Thanks, Stephy.
      My household (growing up), while not in the country per se, was certainly not ‘citified’ and we, also, never threw anything away. My dad, who was decidedly NOT handy with tools and such, even saved bent nails to be re-used after being straightened. My siblings and I used to play with (empty) wooden thread spools. I no longer remember how we used them, but we’d take turns getting the ones that my mom had used up.

      Like

  11. lisa orchard says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I’ve always been a lover of nature and in the past I’ve recycled, but since we’ve moved I’ve gotten out of the habit. Just because I have to drive to the recycling depot and that can be a pain with two small boy!! Now that they’re a little older maybe I can get back into the habit! Thanks for bringing recycling back into my mind!

    Lisa

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Thanks for visiting, Lisa. In my case, I wouldn’t mind the distance (to the re-cy center) so much … if it were open for more hours. They close at about 4 p.m. and aren’t open on weekends. Good grief. If the city was a bit more serious about recycling, you’d think they could add a couple hours per day to the operating. And all day SAT.

      Like

  12. Micki Gibson says:

    Great post, Jeff! I admit to being a city girl, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the simpler pleasures of life like the great outdoors. So I appreciate those who spend their time and energy trying to preserve it for generations to come.

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      That’s why I feel so indebted to T.R. and Muir. Especially because, in their time, the natural resources were thought to be virtually limitless … and they never could have envisioned the enormous population growth and expansion into those areas. It would all be ‘clear-cut’ by now if not for them.

      Like

  13. Sug Grant says:

    We are very fortunate here in Bristol when it comes to recycling as they have had organized recycling since 1986. So on Garbage Day we have our regular garbage (which is still way more than it should be) and either our green bin (paper) or our blue bin (cans, plastic or glass). every one also rakes their yards and put out huge brown paper bags with leaf clippings and neatly tie up their smaller limbs and put them out to be picked up by the compost people. It is quite a sight for little ones who like to watch noisy vehicles as they come one after the other with their beeping and noisy gears and equipment.

    When we go to the grocery store, we and many other people bring our cloth bags to use instead of paper or plastic bags. Of course we find Stop and Shop very handy as we can pick up a scanner and scan our groceries and bag them in our cloth bags as we shop. We then go through a self checkout where we scan a barcode and download our info, pay and then leave. Love it! Ronny wants to start mulching our food scraps other then meat to use in the garden that he wants to plant.

    Manufacturers have started to put items they are selling in these impossible plastic and paper containers where you almost need a certain tool to get into them. I understand why they did it as there was the problem of people being able to steal them easily and also to keep people from tampering with OTC medicine and such. I just wish that everyone would be more honest so that they didn’t have to go to such limits as THAT really adds to the extra garbage and recycling.

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Wow, Sug. R.I. sounds like they really have their stuff together on the recycling front. That’s awesome.
      If my wife gets serious again about our garden (20 X 30), then we will prob. begin a mulch or compost pile nearby. I wonder if the animals will bother it however?

      Like

  14. Tonya Kappes says:

    We recycle, compost, and every other thing you can do to be earth friendly. I’m big at giving it back in all areas of my life!

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Tonya, you do a super job in every area. Pay it forward with people and pay it backward with reusable resources. Cool.
      And now you also have an AGENT. Can’t wait to see what develops now.

      Like

  15. Jeff! Do you REALLY expect me to dmit to being old enough to have turned in soda bottles @2 cents each???? Yep, I am and I did…and the milk bottles…but that was up until 25 years ago…
    I think I added my two cents most of the week about recycling reducing and reusing,(the Dell from Hell was in the shop for a couple of days again), but I have to say that the one thing that I get discouraged over since moving to Kentucky is the limited access I have to public land. I grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs , but we had beautiful parks all over and the Chesapeake Bay within an easy drive.We had Cumberland up north and Skyline Drive down Shenandoah and the beautiul, easy drives to West-by-God Virginia.When I moved to Colorado, there are paks that leave the city behind immediately behind trees.We lived mostly at the edge of the city…shoot up I-70 and you are in the mountains, go in any direction, and there were public lands that were never crowded and always serene. One has to travel pretty far to get to anything that is not a tiny city park , and we never have the time to get there.

    Like

    • jeff salter says:

      Finding bottles by the roadside and cleaning them — and turning them in for refunds — was probably the bigest source of our income as kids. Very labor intensive, but there was a ready supply.
      My memories of the milk bottles are actually rather dim. For a few years we had a milk man deliver bottled milk a couple of days per week. He always jogged to our front porch where my Mom left out the empties. Those bottles were STURDY, too.
      Yeah, the public lands out west are much more plentiful and vast than here in KY.

      Like

  16. Pingback: Earth to Jeff | fourfoxesonehound

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