Asian Families and Green Earth

Last few years, it seems everyone is jumping on the save the earth bandwagon. They are driving hybrid cars, recycle everything, use compost barrel, change to efficient light bulbs, etc.  I think it’s about time everyone thought about conservation in everyday life.

However, it also makes me laugh because, if you lived in an Asian family during the 70’s and 80’s, you will see all these new efforts as something old. I grew up in such a family and I can tell you that if I wasted anything, I would have been punished for it.

I was told to tear off the paper towel in half before using, as not to waster paper. Also, I was told to turn off any light not being. We recycled anything we can, including aluminum cans and glass bottles.

Turning up heat because it cold? We would put on another layer of clothes, lest our heating bill would be outrageous. We used fans to cool ourselves, or just open windows, rather than using an air conditioning. We had a dish washer but we would never use them because it used too much water and increase the heating bill. I remember a story told by my parents, repeatedly, about a very wealthy Korean family in a very rich area was so proud that their PG&E bill was the lowest in the neighborhood.

Alas, I don’t keep up as much as I used to but I still do somethings instinctively, like turning off lights, recycle whatever I can and definitely feel guilty if I can’t do some of those things.

Now, why did those Asian families conserve before it became a fashion? I think it’s several reasons. Many of the previous generation came from a war generation, where resources were limited. So, they ingrained their conservation philosophy to their kids, like me. Also, the Buddhist influenced culture of most Asian countries makes them revere the nature and ways to preserve it. In any case, what was old is now new.

On March 17, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by
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