Monday, May 23, 2011

The Green Thing:

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag 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. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, they returned their 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 that customer's day.

In her 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 her 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 her 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 hankerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you.


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 their 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 rode the school bus 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 the old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then?

8 comments:

Charlene said...

People, even "green" people are not aware of how much is pushed onto us by marketing. There wasn't so much of it back then and what there was, was not 5 minutes of every broadcast hour, billboards, cell ads, etc.

The best environmental action we can take is to use it up, re-use if possible, don't buy packaging buy product, buy and use less.

yaya said...

Linda, thanks for visiting my blog! I love this post! It's so true. We are really lazy now and take so many things for granted. I would love to talk to that cashier and tell him a little respect for the "greatest generation" would be the order of the day!

Grandma J said...

Great post! Back in the day you didn't shampoo your hair every night and waste all that water. You didn't have a blow dryer either. You used bobby pins to curl your hair and sat in the sun for it to dry, or hoped it dried overnight.

thegreenschoolhouseseries said...

Great story!

Missy said...

This is just the best!!! LOVE!

Lhoyt said...

It is so good to see someone on this side of the border point these truths out. As an MK (missionary's kid) I've often commented that recycling is definitely not a new or American invention, in fact it was the way some of us kids made some pocket change fifty years ago in Argentina, and it gave color to our lives to hear the recycler come up the street with his horse drawn cart yelling "botelleroooooo". Some of them have gone modern now, and drive junkers or old cutaway sedans or an occasional Jeep "Estanciera" (Argentina's version of the Willys Overland from the '50's and '60' s), but you're right, our parents taught us "the green thing" without making a religion out of it.
Enjoyed your blog very much, and may take the time to read it on a regular basis.
BTW, I'm Paul Goossen's father-in-law.

Linda said...

Wow! I got 6 comments on this posting! I'm so glad you all, or yo'all came by!

I think if everyone would just use common sense, we would all be 'green', and I don't think we need to make a religion out of it, either.

@LHoyt, I knew who you were before you told me! Welcome. Sometimes I have some 'profound' stuff, but mostly just fun stuff. You can come back anytime! That goes for all of you!

Barb said...

Hi Linda,
Great Post!
Found you by way of A Farmhouse Gathering on Artfire blog giveaway. Thanks for signing up!
Good luck to you and I will be following you!
Enjoy your day,
Barb