The Green Thing

My mum sent me this email which brought a wry smile to my face with the truthfulness of it… so I thought i’d share.

“In the line at the supermarket, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. 

The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”
The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He 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 shop or off licence. They sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized and refilled and re-used. 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. 

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have lifts and escalators in every shop and office building.
We walked to the local shops and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go to a supermarket.
We bought fruit and veg loose – and washed them at home. We didn’t have to throw away bins full of plastic, foam and paper packaging that need huge recycling plants fed by monster trucks all day, everyday.


But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day. 


Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies 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 the clothes.



When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper 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 and hand clippers for the hedges.
We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a brightly lit, air conditioned health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity and then drink millions of bottles of that special water from those plastic bottles.


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 plastic cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new plastic pen, and we replaced blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole plastic 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 parents 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 fish & chip shop. 

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?”



Isn’t this just so true? So many of the things that we use that are strangling our planet are unnecessary and we used to manage perfectly well without. I think it’s time that those of us that feel we are doing our bit because we recycle, like myself, need to really take stock. Is what you/I are doing really enough?

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