Environment – The “Green Thing”

Environment – The “Green Thing”

This is an interesting perspective on today’s “Green” concern for the environment….

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

That’s right; they didn’t have the “green thing” in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But they didn’t have the green thing back in her 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’s 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 – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  And clothes were recycled:  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 pizza dish, 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 wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.  She’s right, though; they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

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 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 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.

It’s a crying shame that we didn’t have “the green thing” back then!

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  • Charles Liverpool  On 03/24/2011 at 2:33 pm

    Well, regarding your article “The Green Thing”, here’s a thing or two: I used to walk up 4-flights of stairs, but the knees are now weak; I can’t walk to the grocery store which used to be around the corner, so I have to reserve the taxi; I also got tired of that “push mower” or is it because I moved to the Southern US from New York and got a piece of land “the size of Maine.” I have tried to stay away from the TV screens the “size of Montana” – oh so true; but the “electric machines” are taking their toll on me. The rest of the world thinks I’m lost since I don’t have an iphone, ipad, or Garmin. I also recycle bottles, cans, plastics, etc. Whose got problems? I don’t know what our world is coming to, but “Lord deliver us.” The 20/30/ and 40-something(s) have a lot to learn…

  • Arthur  On 04/15/2011 at 11:34 pm

    Uh-huh. And the expected life-span “back then” was what? At least ten years LESS than it is today.

    I am all for the simpler lifestyle, – and youngsters today definitely need more exercise, and we could all probably do with fewer electronic gadgets, – but the problem is not the new technology or the machines we rely on. The problem is the CHOICES each of us makes every day. You can choose to either Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle, or you can be lazy and simply throw it away. You can choose to walk the block to the store, or you can drive the gas-guzzling Beast. You can choose to live without the latest electronic gizmo, or you can chase the “keep up with the Jones’s” lifestyle. And so on,….

    That is the great thing about life. Most of it boils down to what YOU choose to do with it.

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