Archived posts 2013/15

The Green Thing

(From my Mum…)

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologised and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right – our generation didn’t have the ‘green thing’ in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink and beer bottles for refunds. They were then sent back to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so the same bottles were used over and over. They really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, which we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our doodling. Then, we were able to personalise our books on the brown paper bags.

But – too bad we didn’t do the “green thing”.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a machine every time we had to go to the local shops. But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

Back then, we washed the babies’ nappies because we didn’t have the “disposable” kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine – wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

Back then, we 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, not a screen the size of One Tree Hill. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.

We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying new ones, and we replaced blades in a razor instead of throwing away the entire thing when the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

Back then, people took the tram or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service in a vehicle, which costs more now than a whole house did before the “green thing.”

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of paying through the hose for a plastic bottle of “spring” water.

We didn’t need a computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space to order our next pizza.

In the kitchen, we blended and whipped by hand because we didn’t have electric machines.

And – oh yes – many of us had time to garden, so fruit and veggies came from there.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were – just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

2 thoughts on “The Green Thing

  1. All so true, like the (not so old @only 50 years) farming and gardening methods that looked after our land and with that our health, is the NORM and was organic. Modern chemical assisted growing ways is the new NOT IMPROVED and deserves the ‘crazy’ status, not the organic growers.

  2. Brilliant! I so totally agree with “The Green Thing” and have often thought along those lines myself. The current wave of enthusiasm for this thinking, whilst very commendable and worthy of support, is not new – it just wasn’t talked about so much!! 🙂

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