Sunday, September 4, 2011


In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."  The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right – today’s older generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, they returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store.  The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were recycled.

But they didn't have the green thing back in their day.

They walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building.  They walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right; they didn't have the green thing in their day.

Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right: they didn't have the green thing back in their day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room.  And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Montana.

In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for them.

When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power.  They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right; they didn't have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water.

They refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.

They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful those old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then?

1 comment:

  1. Yeah my parents and to a big bunch me self....

    We ripped mother nature a new one we did!

    Remember when if you needed something at most any kind of store, you grabbed it out of a bin with many in it? No fancy bubble wrap and shit, just the stuff you needed in the quantity you desired. Shovel ready!

    I did scold my dad once for throwing a bunch of alum cans away on the mountain. But it was after a full year had passed. I showed him the pile! Then picked it up and hauled it off the mountain. But then his cans of youth in the same place was of tin, which did indeed disappear after a time. We both learned something that day.

    I got to grow up with a coca cola bottling plant directly across the street! Can't tell you how many hours I spent watching all those bottles getting washed and refilled with soda, but it was allot!

    That green thing was getting into full swing late 60's, but at the time they were all focused on educting and actually pointing out way our industries were causing harm and helping them to learn how they could do better. They responded as they needed to.

    Plastics git a pretty bad rap, there was a time they earned it, but today, most will almost totally disappear within a year. That is not an excuse to throw them where you might be, just saying that they too learned how to make a disintegrating product.

    Those hated foam food trays? Great product! Disappear in months and faster with direct sunlight. They just melt away and break down. There might be some trace chems left, but nothing to be concerned about. The paper the fast food industry was forced to replace them with, hell they last two three years or more in the harshest of environments. Imagine how long they hold up buried in a land fill.

    Oh well.