My teenage son calls me the crazy green hippie lady. When did he get so grumpy and cynical? I think it comes with being a teenager. He’s become so disenchanted with everything and claims he believes in nothing… except money. He’s a hard worker, he goes to work even on his days off when they call him in. He works all the time after school and on the weekends, and when he’s not working he’s looking for other ways to make money. His main way…collecting scrap metal and taking it to the metal recycling facility. He doesn’t realize that’s a very green thing.
Just because he gets money for taking in the metal to be recycled doesn’t mean it’s not a green activity. Either way you look at it he’s recycling. Plus he helps me collect all of our recyclables and load them into the car to take to the recycling center. Even though he laughed one time when he asked, “How much to do you get for taking all that in?” and I told him nothing. He said, “Then what’s the point.” I tried to explain about saving the earth and global warming, and he just snorted. That’s when he called me one of those crazy green hippie types.
I’m too young to have been part of the hippie movement, but in the 80’s and 90’s I was very interested in the environmental awareness movement that sprouted up briefly back then. I’ve always been greenish (long before it was called being green). When he was born, I used cloth diapers. This was before they has all the cute little wraps and diaper covers they have today. Back then it was just annoying diaper pins and plastic pants to cover the cloth diapers. The cute little covers with Velcro had just started appearing in stores in my area at the end of his diaper days. I think I had two or three of those. The rest were awful plastic pants.
He doesn’t realize he was born green. Oh well, eventually I hope the cynicism will wear off and he’ll realize he is his mother’s son. In many ways he is, he just doesn’t realize it. He has always salvaged things from other people’s garbage, like bicycles. He has made numerous bicycles out of old ones he got from the garbage that he either sold or gave away to friends.
Now he’s a scrapper. Ever since he could drive his dad’s truck he has been salvaging metal from the garbage and offers to haul metal stuff away for people… which him and his friend take in and get a decent amount of money for.
Sure he’s motivated by money right now, not saving the earth… but no matter the reason in the end it’s all the same. He’s recycling. He’s being green.
Now if I could just get him to turn off the lights and take shorter showers…
At least my younger kids are excited about being green. They love to help separate the recycling stuff and make crafts out of “garbage”.
For more about recycling metal and other items check out:
Urban Options: Fundamentalist Recycling and the Point of Sale Conscience
Recycling Misconceptions, Part Deux: “Sure, I Recycle Paper.”
[This post was written by Wenona Napolitano.]
Jamie Ervin says
I think that a lot of being green is motivated by money… we buy hybrids to save money, in Oregon we take back soda cans for a refund, etc… so maybe your son isn’t far off. 🙂 I’m sure in time he will evolve with a respect for our planet, but making or saving money is always a great start!