Vintage green


Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage green!

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we’re writing about being green — both how green we were when we were young and how green our kids are today. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Like a good vintage wine, I like to think I’m improving with age! I’m certainly improving with my eco credentials. Day by day I become more aware of the impact my actions have on the environment, my health and on others.

For this month’s Natural Parenting carnival, Dionna and Lauren want to know what sorts of ‘green’ things we did as a kid that we now do with our own kids.

Interestingly I would never have said my childhood was ‘green’, but then I wonder how much of our childhood simply ‘is’. It’s not until we grow older we realise that there are many lifestyles, many choices and everyone has their own unique way of living. I think as a child you assume that every one lives like you do.

So although not ‘green’ there were lots of aspects of my childhood that were green; they were just ‘normal’ behaviours for us and it’s been fascinating to take this time to reflect.

The prime example is that I spent a lot of my free time outdoors. Ok, I watched a little TV; I had a few favourite programmes – benign stuff such as Mr Benn, Bagpuss and Rainbow and then the TV went off. I would be on my bike, on roller skates, playing hide and seek, playing catch, tennis and occasionally climbing trees. Even when I created dens (a secret hiding place for our friends across the pond!), pretending I was acting in ‘Fame’ or played Mummies and Daddys I was outdoors with friends. I remember being called in for tea and for bed and that was about it!

According to a survey by the National Trust,  just 53 per cent of 10- to 12-year-olds were able to identify an oak leaf, while half could not tell the difference between a bee and a wasp.  Yet nine out of ten children were able to correctly name Doctor Who’s Dalek enemies, and a similar number were able to identify Star Wars’ Jedi Grand Master Yoda.

Talking of dens; making things from existing ‘stuff’ was my domain! I would create elaborate displays of goodness knows what, dolls houses, farms and I even made a hamster and a hamster cage from cardboard and shredded toilet paper. Man I loved that hamster! I don’t remember having lots of toys (every child is deprived compared to their friends, right?!), but I had a lot of imagination. Our toys were built to last and my daughter is currently playing with some of them, unlike her stuff which breaks in a few minutes.

I walked everywhere or rode my bike. We only had one car when I was young, so we never expected to jump in the car for a one mile journey like people do now. I walked to school with a friend and if I wanted to go to town, I would either catch the bus or walk in. Our holidays were spent exploring coastal paths or playing football on the beach; no being entertained in theme parks or lying in the sun all day!

I remember many of things my Dad did – I can still see him now peeling his vegetables into a yellow bowl with holes in. He’d fill it up, strain off the muddy water and throw the peelings into the compost heap. When he met us at the supermarket for our weekly shop, he would arrive with three large boxes in his hands for packing up our goods (the very boxes that I used to make dens, no less). We didn’t use carrier bags; I don’t even remember them being around. I also remember wine bottles on the kitchen work surface ready to be recycled at the local bottle bank. My Dad cycled to work so my Mum could have the car (she worked the other side of the county at one point) and he grew some of our vegetables in a plot of land an elderly lady could no longer manage. He was doing ‘landshare‘ before it even existed!

What I find fascinating about having my own daughter is the number of things we do that are completely ‘normal’ to her. We are avid recyclers; producing virtually no landfill waste. We support organic and fair trade farming and she wouldn’t dream of anything other than donating her unwanted clothes and toys to a charity shop. She is an outdoor girl at heart; really desperate for the snow to disappear and waiting to see the sun in the sky again! She doesn’t watch TV, hates the computer and would rather read a book or write her own stories.

Oh, and give her a box and she’ll create elaborate dens!

What about you – what did you do as a kid that you still do now, or have you completely changed? I thought I had completely changed; but looking back, maybe I haven’t changed that much …

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Code Name: Mama and Hobo MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants.

(This list will be updated March 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • My Momma Was a Hippie — Jessica at This is Worthwhile is continuing her Earth Momma mother’s way of honoring nature by taking her child outside every day. (@tisworthwhile)
  • Mom Did Know Best, About Diapers at Least — Guavalicious at They Are So Cute When They Are Sleeping has a dirty secret about cloth diapers: They’re easy. (@guavalicious)
  • The Force that Drives the Water Through the Rocks — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest remembers her first spiritual connection with nature, granted to her through her father’s care for the spirits of the earth.
  • Confessions of a Cabbage Patch Kid — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma learned about landfills and recycling through gardening. (@kitchenwitch)
  • Seeing My Grandmother Through Green Colored Lenses — Michelle at Seeking Mother was raised by a grandmother who wouldn’t let anyone throw out used clothing — ever — and who believed baths were water enough for two or more people at least. (@seekingmother)
  • Through Green Tinted Glasses — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis realized her family didn’t so much choose green as it chose them, since not being green would have cost a lot more.
  • Green or Die! — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing remembers berating her family for not turning off the faucets — and notes that her efforts to save the planet for another 20 years must have worked.
  • Natural Parenting Carnival: Green Living — Sarah at Natural Parenting is doing more to make her children’s generation green than what she had as a child.
  • Natural Parenting Carnival: Vintage Green — pchanner at A Mom’s Fresh Start used to fill her own water bottles from a spring — before doing so was cool. (@pchanner)
  • Getting Dirty — Molly at Molly’s Place is inspired by her mother’s camaraderie with nature. She’s going to get back in touch with the real food cycle, as opposed to the “shrink-wrapped nutrition” you can buy. (@KPMolly)
  • My Vintage Green Raincoat — Mama at Maman A Droit is wearing her brother’s bright green raincoat — 16 years later! (@MamanADroit)
  • Vintage Green — Darcel at Mahogany Way hasn’t realized it yet, but she is slowly turning into her parents. 😉 (@MahoganyWayMama)
  • Vintage Green — mrs green at littlegreenblog reminds us that children can be green simply by being kids. (@myzerowaste)
  • March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green — Lauren at Hobo Mama was eco-chic before it was en vogue. (@Hobo_Mama)
  • Growing Up Green — Chrystal at Happy Mothering honed her green instinct from an early age. (@HappyMothering)
  • greener pastures — The Grumbles at Grumbles and Grunts has a list of ways she’s transitioning from green living as a novelty to green living as a lifestyle. (@thegrumbles)
  • Vintage Green: The Hot Water Tank Is Not Sexy — Zoey at Good Goog had to go green when moss started growing around her feet. (@zoeyspeak)
  • We Walked Softly — Starr at Earth Mama wrote a beautiful post about how her parents instilled a love of and respect for Earth and nature in her, and how she is passing that gift on to her own children.
  • Save the Mermaids! — CurlyMonkey is learning from her daughter how to keep the mermaids happy. (@curlymonkey_)
  • March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Vintage Green — Dionna at Code Name: Mama sees glimpses of her mother’s greenness frugality in her own life — but she draws the line at pantyhose soap. (@CodeNameMama)
  • I Thought I Made Them Green, But Really They Made Me — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! thought she made her parents green — until she took a closer look. (@bfmom)
  • A Culture of Less — Alison at BluebirdMama explained why homebirth is the green childbirth choice. I love this thought! (@childbearing)
  • 5 Ways to Embarrass Your Children While Going Green — Acacia at Be Present Mama shares some of the embarrassing things her parents did to her in the name of being eco-conscious.
  • Ending Is Better than Mending? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries is teaching us how to darn socks armed only with a light bulb. (@babydust)
  • There and Back Again: A Green Girl’s Tale — Lactating Girl offers a gentle reminder that certain eco-conscious practices shouldn’t be “ideals,” but realities. (@LactatingGirl)


  1. Green or Die! « Navelgazing on March 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    […] Vintage Green — mrs green at littlegreenblog reminds us that children can be green simply by being kids. (@myzerowaste) […]

  2. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama on March 9, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    We lived in a small town (population under 5,000) for several years of my childhood. My parents never batted an eye if I was out riding around on my bike for hours on end (no cell phones to keep in touch of course). It’s sad that I can’t imagine the same thing for my son. We’ll have to come up with a happy medium by the time he wants wandering room.

  3. michelle on March 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Being outside and relying on your imagination is also the way I spent much of my childhood. It definitely shaped who I am today and how I want to parent my son–with enjoyment of and appreciation for the wonder of this natural world. Your parents clearly created a foundation for the woman you are today with your immense contribution to green family living. I can only imagine the amazing ideas your daughter will bring to this world having you as a mother. Your site and posts are always inspiring.

  4. […] Vintage Green — mrs green at littlegreenblog reminds us that children can be green simply by being kids. (@myzerowaste) […]

  5. […] Vintage Green — mrs green at littlegreenblog reminds us that children can be green simply by being kids. (@myzerowaste) […]

  6. […] Vintage Green — mrs green at littlegreenblog reminds us that children can be green simply by being kids. (@myzerowaste) […]

  7. Jessica - This is Worthwhile on March 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    I totally agree that I had to really sit and think about my childhood and whether or not it was green. The truth is that it was, especially in the beginning, and it really shaped me. I can’t imagine NOT knowing what an oak leaf looks like or what freshly pinched evergreen smells like.

    It’s those moments as a kid, an explorer, that gave me confidence and a sense of connection with the world around me. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had nature.

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  11. Lauren @ Hobo Mama on March 10, 2010 at 12:04 am

    I also used to spend tons of time outside, which surprises me now that I’m so indoorsy. I want to revive that for my son, but I can see it being tough as he gets older, with all the restrictions now on kids playing or biking outside alone. For now, I’m just trying to commit to getting him out to the beach or playground or on a walk every day. I wish we had more places to walk to, because I really enjoy it. I might have to get better at bicycling again!

  12. Melodie on March 10, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Ah yes, the freedoms of *our* youth. Now it depends where you live and if you know your neighbours and if you trust your neighbours and if the stream is safe to play in, etc etc. Things are so different now aren’t they? It makes me sad a little but I do love that we’re raising our children to practice being green and that it all comes so naturally.

  13. Paige on March 10, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Being outdoors seems to be a common theme with the carnival posts and my childhood memories are all outdoors too. Now kids go to Disney – we went camping!

    Your stat about kids knowing an oak leaf is so poignant! I’d like to read that report, do you have a link? (although Master Yoda is important in my house! 😀 we are long time Star Wars Geeks!)

  14. NavelgazingBajan on March 10, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Ah, I’m a big Dr. Who fan but I think I’d be mortified if my son knew more about the show than the actual world he lives in. Thanks for the post!

  15. the Grumbles on March 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I spent so much of my childhood playing out in the woods! I am avid tv watcher, much to my embarrassment, but I totally understand the need to get kids more interested in the natural world. I hope I can impart some of that on my son and he can spend as much time goofing off in the woods as I did, and watch tv later (if at all).

  16. Darcel on March 13, 2010 at 2:08 am

    I often wonder what the world will be like for my kids. I was glad my parents had no problem with us bringing nature indoors if we wanted to. Rocks, pine cones, and my kids get to do the same. I’m so glad the weather is warming up. Nothing wrong with the park on a cold day, but it seems much more fun when it’s warm and the sun is shining 🙂

  17. Mrs Green on March 20, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    @Dionna @ Code Name: Mama: It is so different now. I’m quite sure my parents had no concerns at all about me being out and about. Interestingly my daughter has asked if she can walk home from a friend’s house on Monday night and I said she had to have her phone. It’s less than 1/4 mile away but that was my immediate response.

    @michelle: Thanks Michelle; a love of the environment really fosters a caring approach I think. It’s been fascinating to see how these things I took for granted have shaped things now.

    @Jessica – This is Worthwhile: It seems really scary that so few children knew about an oak leaf; doesn’t it? It would shock me if DD was like that, but of course she isn’t. Ok, she might now know her maths tables, but she knows how to take care of an injured bee 😉

    @Lauren @ Hobo Mama: Cycling would be great! But just walking to and from places is important. We didn’t live in a terribly nice place when I was young, but we just walked – to the shops, to school – all along busy main roads, but we still walked…

    @Melodie: Hi Melodie; yes things have changed. Well, to be honest I wonder if they have or whether media coverage of tragic stories has changed. Some say that abductions etc are no worse now than they used to be …

    @Paige: You can read more about the study here:

    @NavelgazingBajan: Nothing against Dr Who of course 😉

    @the Grumbles: Great that you have such awareness. That is everything and if your intention is set right, everything else will follow 🙂

    @Darcel: I agree – sunshine makes a big difference to me!

  18. Ending Is Better Than Mending? on April 19, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    […] Vintage Green — mrs green at littlegreenblog reminds us that children can be green simply by being kids. (@myzerowaste) […]