GEEZER TRIBE: We’re Helping to Save the Planet

EDITOR’S NOTE: I chatted with Linda Shaffer this week and she reports that her recovery is going very well, and she’s the poster child for reverse shoulder replacements. She’s still restricted on movement, but she’s already got a couple Geezer Tribe goodies just waiting … So here we are digging into the Geezer Tribe archives to give you this classic from July 18, 2018. It’s been a hoot to look back over the Geezer’s musings through the years, and this one is again – PERFECT! With the opening of the Heat of CARTM on August 1st, Linda reminds us that geezers are the original reuse, repair and recyclers.

By Linda Shaffer
I’m pretty sure that the average geezer didn’t grow up with a whole lot of extras. This might be because there weren’t a lot of extras in life back then or it could be that our families didn’t find them necessary. An even more likely reason is that we flat out couldn’t afford them. We were lucky to grow up in a time when both of our parents didn’t have to work to make ends meet. Our folks made do and we were right there with them.

There were repair shops then. When something broke it got fixed instead of thrown away. That was our method of recycling. In fact, I think we were the original recyclers. Our food came from gardens we planted from seed. We canned that food in jars that were used year after year. The only expense was for new lids. I remember the time that we were asked to start using pressure canners for meat and non acidic foods because of safety issues. That was a huge expense, but necessary.

Those of us who grew up in cities might not have had that kind of opportunity but I know that food was never wasted. Shopping was part of the daily routine because refrigerators weren’t very big and there were shops for every kind of food in most neighborhoods. The other thing about city living was that there were all sorts of options when it came to alterations, shoe repair, appliance repair and so much more. Just like rural families, children grew up in clothing that had started with their older siblings until the patches were being patched.

It seems to me that these things helped to set our course. We didn’t know we were helping to save the planet back then, but we were. At least we were doing some things that helped. We learned from our parents who learned from theirs. I have a hunch that most of us are still recycling in every way that we can.

I was taught by the best. My mother is the master of recycling. So much so, that I sometimes have to ask which things go in which bin. I don’t want to muck up the system she has set up. I do know that she’s been pretty sad since she’s had to stop recycling plastics. I have to agree with her. It’s kind of embarrassing that China stopped accepting our plastics because we didn’t clean them well enough. There is a way around this plastic crisis and a lot of folks have already found it. Stop buying foods packaged in plastic. The problem is that just about everything around us in packaged in plastic so you’ll have to get creative.

I like that part. Every time I buy a quart of yogurt instead of ten individual servings, I feel like I’ve done something good. Of course, then I’ll turn around and buy coffee in pods. My heart is in the right place though.

In the meantime, I’d take bets that most geezers are also recyclers. We’ve got bins in the garage for glass, cans and paper. Though our county doesn’t have curbside recycling available yet, they are working on it. It’s a lot harder in rural areas to offer that service but we’re still able to take our recyclables in.

Another great thing about us is that we use less as we age. Our needs are pretty simple. Of course we do require extras though I’m not sure medications, walkers, canes, toilet seat risers, oxygen machines and the like are all that exciting. With all those things in mind, it’s no wonder that we lead a slower life.

Our excitement comes from grocery shopping, visiting with friends, occasional outings and family. We don’t use a lot of gas because we don’t drive as much. We’re not big users of water and electricity. Most of us love a bargain so we also help in recycling by shopping at second hand stores and donating right back to those same stores.

Most of us hate throwing away anything that’s still got some use left in it. This is why we have closets filled with clothing old enough to buy a beer. We’re thrifty. The only exception is when it comes to spending on our pets and grandchildren.

We were born into a simpler world. We learned to respect the earth before it was even an issue. I have to believe we still make a difference. We still have time to share what we know. Geezers are great teachers.