This weekend we were fortunate enough to go to the George Washington Carver National Historic Site. And it turns out that George Washington Carver was the original recycler. Born a slave, Carver struggled for many years to get an education. After he graduated from the University of Iowa with a Master’s Degree in Botany, he could have had his choice of jobs. He chose to go to Tuseagee Institute to teach his people to free them from the tyranny of King Cotton. Two things about this choice of employment that really stuck out in my mind. One – George Washington Carver worked for Tuskegee Institute for 47 years for $1,500.00 per year, turning down raises and numerous opportunities to profit from his discoveries. Two – when he went to Tuskegee he was given no lab, no equipment, and no money to get any of it. So he made all of his lab equipment out of what other people considered to be junk. He got glass bottles and cut the tops off of them to make beakers. He made dishes out of hubcaps. He made all of his lab equipment out of a hodgepodge of junk that he found around the campus.
He recycled everything – the string off of packages, clothing, etc. And he believed that farmers should learn to reuse everything.
George Washington Carver – the original recycler Biography
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