Monday, 9 January 2012

The green thing.

I saw this article from a forwarded post online, and think there is a lesson to be learned.
I don't know who originally wrote it (I've been scouring the internet trying to find out!), but if you do, just let me know so I can give credit where it's due!

"Checking out at the grocery store recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
I apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days." 
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations." 
She was right about one thing - our generation didn't have the green thing in “Our” day. 
So what did we have back then? 
After some reflection and soul-searching on "Our" day here's what I remembered we did have...
Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop 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 repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day. 
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the shops and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower car every time we had to take children to school. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day. 
Back then, we washed the baby's nappys 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 - wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. 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 north wales. 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 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. But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then. 
We drank from a tap when we were thirsty instead of using 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. But we didn't have the green thing back then. 
Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their dads into a 24-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 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest macy dee`s. 
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?"

I think that we do take the environment, the world even, for granted. We have become more lazy and more busy, which has resulted in demanding more of the environment and products to get things done for us, which in years gone by were done by human willpower alone. Yes, we are lucky to have an array of technology at our fingertips and to be able to do things that 50 years ago were never possible, but I think that we should always be grateful. Grateful for little things like sunrises, the smell of wet grass and the way the rain splashes off the pavement. I think we should be more proud and confident in what we can achieve by ourselves, and to remember that money doesn't ultimately make us happy.
This article made me think, what about you? 


  1. i love love love this...
    we are very "green"
    grow our veg...from old veg and seeds too!
    we use reusable nappies on B ...
    i cook everything from scratch...including bread.. pasta... pizzas etc
    we freeze left overs and we make baby food ... well used to before B got teeth!
    i don't class it as green or helping the environment ... We class it as saving our money and being healthier...
    ooo mike also cycles too and from work :D

  2. That's such a great article. It's so true though. People use to do things the "harder" way and now we whine if internet is slow.