Looking Back, Forward
New Year’s inspires a degree of sentimentality and anticipation in me. I inherited boxes of photos and memorabilia from my mothers’ house a few years ago. She was the self-appointed, albeit, unorganized, family historian and I was ‘blessed’ with what remained of ‘family’ items after her home was sold. I am slowly scanning and labeling photos, school report cards, newspaper clippings and taking photos of other personal items from my ancestors. I plan to pass the items on to relatives and others who can enjoy them.
I am, however, keeping a few items that bring me joy. I put my mother’s wedding dress and my father’s wedding suit on display in the guest room. I am repairing worn aprons from generations of family cooks and fashioning some ‘new’ ones from the old patterns! All this stimulates much reflection, insight, and gratitude. I am reminded of the environmentally friendly practices that my ancestors lived by. Saving grease in a can, feeding the chickens the table scraps, collecting rainwater in a cistern for baths and clothes washing, hanging clothes to dry. My grandmother, Lucy, wouldn’t have said it was earth friendly, it made economic sense to use what was available. My great aunt Velma shunned paper towels because we all had dishcloths. My grandfather, Willis, didn’t buy new equipment, he fixed what he had or traded for something he needed. My father and his brothers shared common tools so each did not have to purchase his own.
As I enter the new year, I look back for wisdom to use as I move forward. I am fascinated that I’m doing some of the same things my ancestors did for the same and different reasons. All because it makes sense economically, environmentally and socially. This combination is called the triple bottom line of sustainability. It is a concept that families, neighborhoods, communities, cities and states can use to make sense in our changing world.
My husband and I co-own some equipment with friends. Other items we borrow or rent so we don’t have to maintain or store them. We ‘traded’ babysitting with neighbors when our children were young. I have rain barrels to collect rainwater for the vegetable garden and fruit & nut plants. My neighbor shares her chicken eggs and manure and I share vegetables and fruit jelly. I hang dry clothes indoors in winter. My table scraps go to the compost pile and I am using Velma’s dishtowels and Lucy’s aprons everyday.
How are you looking back to gain wisdom for the new year? How are you moving forward with the Triple Bottom Line to Sustainability ? Tell us at the Eco Family Blog http://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/isuecofamily