I saw the following essay posted on Facebook recently and feel it is the perfect “Think About It Thursday” post. I will admit I didn’t use cloth diapers on Kristen and I don’t remember glass milk bottles, but I do remember our family’s push lawn mower and my mom’s clothesline, which she still uses to this day. With Austin’s brand new ban of single use bags, this couldn’t be more timely.
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
The woman apologized 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, 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 truly recycled.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of the brown 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 scribblings.
But too bad we didn’t do the green thing back then.
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 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts, and used wind and solar power to dry clothes on a clothes line. 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 Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working and playing 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 drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away a whole plastic razor when the blade gets dull.
But we 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 24-hour taxi services. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint or our friend’s house.
Isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?!