Made from bri-nylon underskirts in the 1960s, this item is testament to the “mend and make do” culture. A lady that knew my grandmother crocheted them. I was happy when Mum gifted it me last year. I’ve known this bag all my life. It carried glass bottles of pop (soda) from the ‘offy’ (off licence / licquor store) on Friday nights. Dad would rent a VHS player and 2 films, for the weekend. It carried picnics and beach stuff on walks. Considering it’s over 50 years old, it’s holding up well, at holding stuff. It’s an antique, has been used by 3 generation and still works.
It’s great that the R’s (refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle and rot) are commonly known. We can avoid the con of everything new, just so it matches. Using things that ‘make do’ makes life colourful… a wooden box I made with my grandfather holds candles, outgrown winter hats – their plaits tied to form a handle – holds cleaning cloths. Beaten-up Tupperware that will forever smell of coffee, houses nails. Crayons stored in a tin – dented and plastered in faded band stickers – though still serviceable. No amount of filters and hashtags will make some of these things look good. They work though and that’s all they need to do.
These ideas aren’t new – I grew up with zero waste habits living a mostly blue zone lifestyle – as many do. These terms, new to us in recent years, grow from the rich soil of families and communities of the past. For my part, it was what Mum did because that’s how she was taught or how Nonno lived. We all have wisdom around us – we grow strong by encompassing it all. It matters less that we are seen to be planting trees on social media – just that we keep planting them – so that everyone can stand under them. That’s what we’re all doing with these habits – taking cuttings from something established and helping new shoots to grow.
Whatever you do to celebrate Earth Day, have fun! Celebrate nature. She fills our lungs and our bellies, quenches our thirst, gives us materials for shelter and much more. All of humanity aligned with Earth – THAT is a beautiful thing.