HCE received a lot of high-quality submissions for The Green Issue – sadly, too many to fit inside the magazine! So we offered some writers and artists who’d sent in work the chance to be published here on the website. Keep an eye on our social media for more great work like this, in the run-up to the release of The Green Issue
 

Bridget McNamara
Green

 

When I was a child, green was just a colour. The grass was green, you painted your walls green. When you watched American TV shows, the children were encouraged to eat their greens and by that we were made to understand that the children should eat their vegetables.

These days, however, you have to be ‘green’. This does not necessarily mean being ‘green with envy’, although perhaps that is understandable, if you are envious of your neighbour being greener than you. Now, ‘green’ is a way of life, a lifestyle choice, or perhaps not so much a choice as a necessity or as a means of keeping people off your back; the trolls who name and shame anyone who is seen not being ‘green’.

Back in the 1970s there was a popular sitcom on television called ‘The Good Life’, where one family decided to quit the rat race and try to live a more sustainable life, often to the embarrassment of their posh neighbours. The laughs came from watching how their efforts were in stark contrast to their neighbours’ more materialistic lifestyle.

If that programme was made today, it would not be seen as a comedy but as a documentary and the posh neighbours would be seen as an example of how not to live your life.

However, what strikes me with the ‘Green Movement’ is that my family, unknowingly, were ahead of our time. When everybody else was leaving our local grocery store laden down with plastic shopping bags, my mother used to bring over a cardboard box and leave it at the checkout, filling it with her groceries, to bring it back and reuse the following week. 

We rarely had to buy vegetables because my father grew his own in the back garden, despite me begging him to give up the garden so that I would have the space to have a pony. To be honest, he probably was right in refusing me, because I didn’t know the first thing about looking after a pony and was in fact slightly scared of horses. That simple fact didn’t deter me from wanting a pony, however. Look at all the money we saved on vegetables – and vet fees for that matter.

As a result of the garden, we were composting before most people even knew what the word meant. I mean, you can get evening classes now in composting and I learnt how to do it for nothing! My father once got a call from the bin company, complaining that we used to not put out our green bin. The city slicker on the other end of the phone line got all confused and had to consult with her supervisor, while my father tried to explain to her that the reason he doesn’t put out the green bin is because all items that would be for the green bin end up in our compost and ultimately in our garden!

Anytime we went anywhere as children, we were always told to put our rubbish in the bin and, if there was no bin around, to bring our rubbish home and put it in the bin at home. This is a habit that I follow to this day. It’s a pity not everybody follows this simple rule. If they did, volunteers would not feel the need to gather every weekend and clean their streets, or their local beach, of other people’s rubbish. I have often been known to bring home empty cans or even milk cartons and deposit them in my bin at home after walking my dog.

Recent news footage of election coverage showed a Green Party member putting up a poster on a telegraph pole. I thought the Green were all about recycling, and no waste. How many posters and flyers are going to end up in the rubbish tips?

They say that you should start small, every little step helps. We were taking little steps twenty years ago. Who would have thought that my little family were trendy!

 


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