Bushie (Polish for Grandma) inspired my “Go Green” blog this week. She was just 10 years old when the Great Depression hit and while most of us would see her resourcefulness as over-the-top, in reality, she is the most environmentally conscious person I know. Several valuable lessons in how to be sustainable can be learned by taking some pointers from “The Greatest Generation”.

Use, reuse and reuse again! From the plastic butter containers to the glass canning jars, everything was washed and reused until it wasn’t usable any more! Bushie added a little flavour to the soil, by adding food scraps to the garden. This included orange peels, meat, or coffee. Did you know approximately 28% of trash in landfills are kitchen scraps and yard waste (US-EPA)?

Finished boiling noodles? Instead of draining that pot of water in the sink, drain your noodles over a bowl and pour that water into a watering can. Then water your flowers or garden. My personal favorite, which saved a little money and kept a little waste out of the landfills, is reusing holiday and birthday cards. Each year I’d get a birthday card with a sweet ‘I Love You’ note dated with the year. I’d return the card to Bushie and the next year I would get the same card with a new ‘You’re the best grand-daughter’ note, of course, dated with the year. As time went on, these notes filled up the card like a small, sentimental journal.

It’s true, the small things in life are the ones that matter! If we all made small changes in our lives, it would make a big impact. So start today; reuse a little more, be conservative, and plant a tree. Sit down with your grandparents or great-grandparents, and listen to them, for there is always a lesson to be learned in the stories they tell.


Written by Julia Pinski