Today I want to pay tribute to the man who started the "Going Green" Initiative. And if you are waiting for me to write about Al Gore, then it would be a good idea to keep in mind that even if someone takes credit for starting something, it does not mean they actually did (Internet).
Going Green Initiative (GGI) is none other than my DAD.
See, my Dad was Green way before 2010. And to prove it to you, I shall recollect a little out loud.
First, when using the water in my house, you can bet on not only hearing Dad's voice (lower the water!, are you going to pay the water bill?, do you think this stuff is going to run forever!?). But you can also see and sometimes feel him. Most everyday while washing my hands, I would start out solo, but somehow ... someway Dad would end up behind me. Watching. Starring. Observing. Most times, he would just stand right behind me and I could not help but sense what was going on in his mind...SHUT THE WATER OFF!
Second, when using any types of materials there was a sense of waste (even when you weren't really wasting anything). This could range from toilet paper (as in how many squares one could use) to gas (my dad is an avid believer in putting the car in neutral when going down hills and while stopping for a long period of time AND mapping out his entire trip beforehand to ensure he can go to 3-4 places in a row without wasting time or gasoline) to lights being on.
And let's talk about those lights. I can remember on several occasions my Dad walking past my bedroom and asking me this dreaded question, "Anthony, are you reading??" How do I answer that? Yes means I am lying and No means he will open the door, reach his arm in only enough to find the lightswitch and Abra-Cadaba -I am in the dark.
Third, although many would tell you that shopping is something to be avoided, my Dad would spend what seemed like an eternity in the grocery stores. The reason of course, is that Dad had his sales flyer and about 1,200 coupons. After scaling each and every isle, we would go to the register and his craft would be fully realized by all when he would save an exorbitant amount of money. And on the way out of the store, Dad would always take a pit stop right next to the Customer Service section and go over his receipt like a general. This ensured that there was NO mistakes and that if there were, he was very close to the people that would make it right.
Fourth, are the anomalies. Dad would conserve everything you could possibly imagine. For example, my brother and I would have to hold on for dear life in the backseat of the car anytime Dad would apply his brakes because he would pump them so hard to help avoid "wear and tear." [Not kidding, my mom would warn us when she saw a red light or stop sign approaching.] Along these lines, Dad would keep any form of liquid turned upside down until the last drip was out of the bottle, I can't remember my Dad EVER buying new clothes, shoes, or a single piece of jewelry and if he bought a case of beer -that case would last in house for the next six months. And the restaurant experience was something to marvel about. NEVER in my families life did we ever order an appetizer or dessert. And ordering anything but a glass of free water was not even a figment of our imagination. And in the end of the experience, you guessed it, coupons to help reduce the cost.
After reading the above, you might think that living with that kind of Dad was a drag, and to be honest, at times it was.
However, I learned so much from my Dad being that way. I learned that it is better to live within your means that outside of them. I learned to value the things I have and to take care of them. I learned that the resources we have been entrusted with, we should not squander and waste.
But the thing that I learned the most from my Dad about his conserving was the reason behind what he did.
-He did all the above because of Love-
His love for his family and dedication lead him to sacrifice the finer things in life in order to ensure we had a brighter future. He did this many times at his own expense and even at the jeers of others. But that is the thing about my Dad. He is a man of principal and today many men lack his qualities. And if you think about it, the world would be a better place if more people adopted his humble approach to life.