Mother's column – living the old-fashioned sustainable life


Christian Life

Neline, CNE.news

Bags of the clothes swap. Photo Facebook, Jeannet Boverhof

Recently, I read something trendy: nowadays, you can join a "clothing swap". It works like this: you put clothes you do not wear anymore in a big bag, which is then passed to other trendy people. They too add as many clothes as they want or take whatever they like from the bag.

The "clothing swap” reminds me of the large garbage bag that my aunt every now and then used to bring to our house when I was younger. It came from an unknown family, and my aunt had searched through it already too. Sometimes, the bag only contained old-fashioned rags. That meant that many people had looked through it already. But if you were lucky, you could find a sweater of the popular brand Lapagayo, a trendy Oililly shawl, or a beautiful skirt from Jackpot.

Neline op de fiets.jpeg

Neline is married and the mother of five: Martha (8), Abel (6), Jolijn (5), Reinout (3) and Sifra (0).

It is nice that the garbage bag returns in a new form. But we should not think that we can save the world with our trendy initiatives. The generations before us still lived more sustainably than we do. We have gotten used to our luxurious and comfortable life. Taking a step back feels like a hard thing to do.

Once in a while, you see a bold young mother who chooses to use washable diapers. But the large majority cannot resist the comfort of the disposable version – neither can I. And what to think of the indestructible Nokia phones, which needed to be charged only once every two weeks. Now, they have been replaced by smartphones which break down after a few years and must be charged every night.

In addition, we need energy-consuming data centres to facilitate all our online activities. Recently, a street in the Dutch town of Apeldoorn was opened up to lay a few more cables. Someone who lived there wanted to mine crypto coins. I still remember the days that we were taught to switch off the lights when leaving a room, just to save energy.

In the meantime, the yoghurt plant presents a new, sustainable concept with much fanfare: a yoghurt package without a cap. Without a plastic cap! Can you imagine?

Well, I can. I remember very well the time that not one dairy package contained a cap. It almost feels familiar: fiddling to open the pouring spout without tearing the package. And afterwards, the drips and the dried residue of yesterday's yoghurt. But I will take it as it is. A sustainable life may take something.



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