Doing the “Green Thing”

 

This isn’t my creation. A friend sent it to me via email and I felt compelled to post it here. I see this generation gap all too often where I work and just by observing life around me.

While checking out groceries at a store, a young cashier suggested to a much older woman that she should “go green” and 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 didn’t 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 recycled.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day. No. Our 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 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 doodles.

But too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then. It’s too bad we walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. And it’s too bad we walked and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

The young lady 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 throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. (Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days.) And kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But 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 the state 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 to cushion it, 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 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 instead of buying our water in plastic bottles. 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.

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 a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what 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. 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.

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?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart mouthed young person… especially from one who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much.

 

Published by

Steven Leo Campbell

I am an artist and indie-author. I draw and paint wildlife, draw cartoons, and write mostly paranormal fiction featuring Vree Erickson and a strange Pennsylvania town called Ridgewood.

8 thoughts on “Doing the “Green Thing”

    1. I recall going to the dump once a week (usually Saturday) and seeing people taking items like TVs and appliances away to reuse. One local merchant used to rebuild TVs, radios, ovens, washing machines, and dryers from those thrown away parts and sell at his store. Today he couldn’t sell rebuilt items. Today he has to have a manufacturer’s warranty of authenticity. Another ploy of big businesses squashing little businesses and adding to the world’s waste problem.

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      1. Our dumps take all matters to recycle, then firms come in and take them to there factories and sort and dismantle them and then the parts are sent to be recycled, its easy.

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  1. This is a fantastic post, Steve-o, and so much truth to it. Back before “the green thing” it was a simpler time with more manpower and ambition and sincere effort involved in every endeavor. My generation entered into the world on the cusp of “The Good Ole Days” vs. “The Green Thing Days,” but those born just a few years later than myself have experienced the world in an entirely different way, where EVERYthing was/is geared toward “convenience”. “The green thing” is better than nothing at all, but as my Dad always used to say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” and that “convenience” has a steep price that has, unfortunately, been paid for by the planet at a debt that will have to be felt by many more generations to come.

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    1. In the name of convenience, the future of world waste looks scarier every day. And both of us know big corporations like the one I work for is more concerned with how much money they can make selling convenience. That entity tells us to “Shop smart, live better” as though it offers us a place of smart shopping. It doesn’t. It gives us shoddy merchandise that ends up in landfills faster than better made merchandise. To shop smart, live better would be to not shop at these kinds of stores. The better business is the one that returns to past manufacturing and processing ways that enhanced the recycling process and is savvy enough not to pollute the environment in the process.

      P.S., Dewey says “Hey!”

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