We’ve Been Going Green Since 1959
Many people in today’s time are under the impression that “going green” and “sustainability” are new developments brought on by the need to stop global warming. When in fact many methods of sustainability were around long before AL Gore and his “Inconvenient Truth.”
When I was in middle school my family moved from a modern, well built apartment to a rural country setting 6 miles outside of town. My Step-Father loved country living. We went from having central heat and running water to well water and gravity-air coal supplied heat. You can imagine our surprise when my folks welcomed us home to this “new” style of living.
To say I was unhappy would’ve been the understatement of the century! Our new home was more like a new nightmare, but regardless of my feelings, this was our home and we had to adapt. To make our lifestyle a little easier we made some changes that would ease the pain of living in this country hell.
For starters we cleaned the well and installed an electric pump and pipe system that would feed the washrooms and the kitchen. This simple low voltage system would provide running water to the house without shooting our utility bill through the roof.
After that we started on our home garden which raised the majority of our fruits and vegetables. We had several fruit trees including, peach, apple and pear trees. We also grew carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes. We installed potato bins in the basement and we typically canned most of our food to get us through the winter. Doing this saved on food cost and also saved us several un-needed trips to town.
When the fall season started we quickly found out that our new country home was in severe need of insulation updates, it was very drafty to say the least. To solve this insulation problem we went to work installing the best insulation product of that time…plastic. We covered all storm windows including their outside trim and we also installed plastic kits on all of the storm doors. We then insulated the floor joist at the foundation in the basement and caulked and sealed any holes we could find. We also cleaned all the furnace ducts to insure the house was heated as efficiently and evenly as possible. Now all we had to do was wait for the winter and hope for the best.
That year was 1959, the year we were all shocked into relying on ourselves for the most efficient way to survive in the country. It’s a good thing none of us were lazy because we got the biggest snow storm in history that winter. The snow fell fast and hard and the wind blew like I have never seen before. Typically a country home during that time period would’ve been just a little bit warmer than the outside air but our insulated masterpiece stayed warm and cozy all winter long. Thanks to our insulating efforts in the fall of course.
We learned to adapt and to apply the basics to achieve efficiency in that old country home. Many of the ideas we used in that rural setting are still used today. Self sustainability and lower energy cost were motivated by necessity and achieved by hard work in 1959. Now, in 2010 those same ideas have evolved and come full circle to help aid in the effort to reduce global warming and achieve a self sustaining lifestyle for the United States of America. Going green may be easier to achieve than previously expected. Maybe you should all think back and try to remember your own version of that old country home.