By my new job, I just noticed, there are a lot of people “going green.” You know, asking for paper instead of plastic, bringing their own grocery bags to the grocery store so they won’t have to use plastic bags and create more waste in the environment. Ya saben, shoppers who are very conscientious. I know because I’ve also been trying to be healthier in my own way too. Instead of eating a heavy lunch, over the last couple of weeks I have been opting for fresh salads instead.
Which reminds me… there’s a funny story there too.
You know those machines where you weigh your own salad and print out your own price tag? Well, the first time I went to use it me quede allí parado picandole a todos los botones until the damn thing finally printed something. It was so confusing! And to make matters worse, it wasn’t like I could stand there and ask someone for help. I would have looked like a complete idiot. And bueno, you all know I’ve got my pride! Anyway, you’ll be glad to know I have since mastered how to measure and price my own salad.
That’s progress razita, I’m telling you!
The point is, as the lady in front of me pulled out two cloth bags – one marked with a major brand’s logo, the other with a message explaining how she was “going green to save the environment” – I couldn’t help but to remember how in Mexico everyone always brought their own shopping bags to the pueblo. We had to. There was no other way to carry around our groceries from the plazita with the meat market to the fonda with the fruits and vegetables, and then around the corner to the town square where we could get a couple of tacos and a coke before jumping back on the back of the camioneta that had brought us all the way into town from the rancho. It was usually time to make the winding road back through the cerros by the time we made it back to the truck.
In those days it would take about an hour to make the trip there and another hour to make the trip back.
We weren’t going green back then so much as we were just trying to be practical.
Which made me come up with the title for this post: Before There Was Going Green There Was Going To El Mandado!
I thought it was clever anyway 🙂
That’s true. My grandma still goes to the groceries store with her own bag. I remember when I was little, she used to send me to the store with a similar bag. We never used plastic or paper bags, or bought them in the store. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m following this tradition, because I’m too lazy to think that I need to take a bag, when I go shopping. I should try harder. But at least I always choose paper over plastic!
Do you remember the coke bags too? So we wouldn’t have to remember to bring back the glass containers they would serve the coke in a clear plastic bag with a straw. It was so cold and it tasted so good!!
In Peru, my abuelita still goes to la parada aka el mercado every day and we bring our own bags. I told my hubby that bringing our own bags is in our blood.
That’s all we ever shopped with in el rancho and I never really gave it any thought, like we were going green or anything. It was just what we did, carry around our Mexican shopping bags. Now I want to use them here too to be all green y toda la cosa.
This article and the one you wrote about the bags of water to keep away mosquitoes are 2 more examples of the cultural and familial lessons of environmental stewardship we were raised with, what the traditionally over-consuming gringos and others now call “going green.” To celebrate what I call our creative advantage as Latinos, and to demonstrate 10 innovators across 10 industries who decided to go into business showing that being green means making dinero, I wrote an entire book on this subject. It’s won 3 International Latino Book Awards, is used in middle schools, high schools and colleges and MANY articles have been written about the “Latinnovators” whose childhood to innovation journeys I chronicled in “Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them.” I plan on writing multiple volumes in the Latinnovating series, so as you encounter creative business owners who are upcycling, recycling and transforming traditionally wasteful industries, please let me know! Our positive contributions to this country matter, but only we will write the stories. This is why I started my own publishing company 2 years ago. 🙂