Once while peeling an apple for my kids, my husband came up behind me and said, “You’re grandfather would roll over in his grave if he saw how you were peeling that piece of fruit.” And he was right. I was peeling quickly and using a knife. Too much of the fruit was being discarded with the peel.
My grandfather didn’t waste anything: not money or food. He grew up poor and became a wealthy man; but his humble beginnings had him buying in bulk and clipping coupons.
Some of my grandfather’s ways trickled down to me; and I get made fun of- a lot!
I get accused of closing the lights in a room while people are still in it, for eating the garnish on my plate and for using every inch of a piece of paper.
It’s accurate that just like my grandfather I can hardly tolerate waste. And so a couple of years back, working as the Sustainability Coordinator at my husband’s apparel company, was a like a dream come true. It was a perfect match, a great way for me to direct my familial quirks into timely and meaningful work. My motto: No waste!
First, the company got rid of Styrofoam cups that would’ve out lasted the next four generations, if not more.
We changed the lights to compact fluorescent bulbs and switched to recycled paper.
We sent e-cards for Christmas and saved paper and money.
We changed to a filtered water system eliminating water bottle deliveries and water bottles.
But my favorite initiative was donating to Material for the Arts. MFTA collects reusable materials from businesses and individuals and makes them available, free of charge, to art programs and schools in New York City.
None of these ideas on their own is monumental and that’s why I mention them.
Tomorrow, Wednesday April 22, 2015, is Earth Day. This year the theme is: It’s Our Turn to Lead.
The Earth Day Network is looking for commitments from global leaders, businesses and citizens to pledge Acts of Green. Big and small, they need everyone to make a commitment for meaningful change.
It’s a Native American tradition that when you take something from the earth, you must put something back.
Earth Day 2015 will be a global “give back” day. The goal: to plant one billion seeds or trees. It’s expected to be the biggest grassroots initiative in history.
It doesn’t matter how we participate.
Every action, big and small, is significant.
Even how we peel a piece of fruit.