When you think about the roots of being green, you probably don’t look to the 1970s. Things like leaded gasoline, leaded paint, groundwater contamination, polybromated biphenyls and DDT are more apt to come to mind. Recycling was basically an unknown word.
But upon further reflection, the seventies don’t look totally eco-unfriendly. Only today can we appreciate some of the products and mentalities from that era that are being rediscovered in the 21st century.
Here’s 10 things from the 1970s that are influencing us to be green today:
1. Milk in glass bottles: In the 1970s we had milk in glass bottles. Plastic jugs and later plastic bags and cardboard cartons soon replaced glass as the containers of choice for milk. Today, albeit very slowly, glass is making a comeback as an environmentally-friendly and recyclable milk container. As more consumers request glass bottled milk, more milk companies will begin to offer it again.
2. Push mowers and electric mowers: Yes, back in the 1970s many homeowners used human-powered lawn cutters or electric lawnmowers. As the years wore on, the available choice of electric lawnmowers dwindled and push-reel mowers became abandoned at the back of the garage, as gas mowers gained popularity. Today, open any home improvement catalogue and the change is dramatic: electric and electric rechargeable lawnmowers and push-reel mowers are abundant again as environmentally-friendly choices.
3. Tupperware is cool: Tupperware parties were all the rage in the 1970s. Many people couldn’t seem to get enough of these handy plastic storage containers. Little did we know these people were on to a sensible green solution that fits our desire to produce less waste in landfills. Today, using reusable Tupperware-like containers is a green solution many people are choosing, rather than using plastic wrap.
4. Baking soda and vinegar: In the 1970s (and even farther back) moms everywhere had recipes for cleaning everything from sinks, carpets, windows and countertops. Chemical cleaners have existed for decades, but they seem to have grown in quantity and brands since the 1970s. Today, mom’s handy cleaning solutions from years ago are far more earth friendly and are being rediscovered.
5. Packing groceries the greener way: A typical trip to the grocery store in the 1970s meant you probably packed your groceries in cardboard boxes for the trip home. Unfortunately, back then those cardboard boxes ended up in landfills. Today, some discount food stores have recyclable cardboard boxes (the same boxes used to ship food to the stores) available for customers to reuse. Many customers are also choosing reusable tote bags, rather than using plastic bags which began to overwhelm the grocery checkout scene in the 1980s.
6. Clotheslines: They were fixtures in backyards everywhere in the 1970s. Then, they began to disappear as drying machines became more popular, and clotheslines became ostracized as an eyesore on the urban landscape. Now, clotheslines are cool, they save on energy costs by not using a dryer, and previous bans are being rescinded.
7. Fans are back: Remember those tabletop fans in the 1970s? Well, maybe not if you weren’t around in that era. But take our word for it, for many people, they were the only cooling machines. Well, tabletop fans, column fans and ceiling fans are back in a big way and they use much less electricity than central air conditioning and can reduce the need to use energy-sucking central air conditioning.
8. Air conditioning-less vehicles: There was always something uncomfortable about a sticky hot day, no air conditioning, and vinyl car seats. In the 1970s that was the norm for many drivers. Air conditioning, after all, wasn’t a luxury most drivers enjoyed. Today, many drivers have air conditioning, but like drivers in the seventies they’re learning to live without it, or use it sparingly to conserve energy and money as fuel prices skyrocket.
9. Don’t throw away clothing: It’s 2008 and the 1970s look is hip again. Who would’ve thought that? That old saying everything old is new again applies here. It’s a lesson that clothes can be recycled and handed down . . . eventually, it just may take 30 years. Bell-bottoms, anyone?
10. Plant a tree: Thirty years ago planting a tree was more likely to be part of a child’s school classroom project to watch a seed germinate and then eventually be taken home to be planted in the family’s backyard. It’s a concept that planted a much bigger seed for furture generations. Today, planting trees has become a movement. It’s no longer about one tree, one child and one classroom. School groups, scouts, girl guides, organizations and companies are taking on tree planting projects involving hundreds and thousands of trees. No doubt, many people involved in these projects remember planting one seed and watching it grow in a classroom many years ago.
Published by alternativechannel.tv