The “Green” Thing

An anonymous woman writes,

Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested that I should bring my own bags because plastic ones weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my early days.”  The clerk responded, “Well, that’s the problem, your generation didn’t care enough to save our environment for future generations If you had been thinking ‘green’, we wouldn’t all be in the mess we are today.  So what did we do back then? After some reflection and soul-searching on the old days, here’s what I recall:

Back then, we returned empty glass bottles to the store, which sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized and refilled; the same ones used repeatedly.

Back then we walked up stairs, because we didn’t have escalators in every building. And we went by foot to the grocery store instead of climbing in a 300-horsepower machine for the two-block journey.
Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have disposals. And we dried clothes on a line using wind and solar power, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 240 volts.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their siblings, not new outfits, saving on factory electricity, truck fuel, and store lighting.

Back then, we had a single television in the house, not one in every room. And the set had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (not the size of Canada) and the hydro power it takes to run them.  And in the kitchen, we blended and stirred things by hand, not machines that now do everything for us.  As well, if a fragile item was sent 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.

Back then we  drank from a water fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. 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 the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a twenty-four hour taxi service. 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 two thousand miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

The bottom line? Isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t practice the ‘green’ thing back then.  But the truth is – a comparison between them and us can only lead to one conclusion, they’re the ones ‘green’ behind the ears.