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?
I’m aiming to try and be greener with mine. Due to cashflow issues I have decided that through November I won’t be buying ANY new crafting supplies. I bought quite a bit over the summer due to the bridal necklace and bridesmaids gifts I made and starting college, however with that and all the other stock I’ve accrued over the last few years I think I’ve got plenty!
I’ve got felt beads waiting to be turned in to necklaces, balls of wool for pom pom making, two huge bin liners full of fabric, findings and beads all over the place & two pencil cases full of embroidery thread. Don’t even get me started on art supplies and an oddly large range of glue! I have piles of magazines waiting to turn into collages and maps to go into pendants. The list goes on.
The idea is, especially now with an imminent house move, to use up as much as I can of the stock that I already have through November before reassessing at the beginning of December… I may decide to continue the challenge till the end of the year.
I’m one of those people who stashes used jiffy bags so that I can reuse them to post stuff out in myself. Now that I’m selling my jewellery I am a little unsure about how far I can go with recycled packaging… a reused jiffy bag can easily be prettied up with coloured paper, doodles, stickers and patterned tape (don’t worry I already have these in my stash!) but what else is usable as recycled packaging? Bubble wrap & polystyrene chips are good ones to reuse as is tissue paper. I have been known to store my earrings in the plastic eggs you get your gloves in when you buy a box of hair dye… with pretty shredded paper as inner packagiong and a ribbon on the outside would they be deemed as acceptable packaging?
What do you think? Do you try to recycle and upcycle? Is it something that you look for when you’re making a purchase? Is it something that you do naturally?
I’ve mentioned these guys before here when I signed up for Isis’ Ethical Clothing Pledge which is a fantastic idea but which I most definitely have failed on in the last year! To be fair to me I think as much as many of us would like to be greener on an every day level on the British high street it’s really quite hard! One thing I am very good at though is recycling my clothes when I have bought new stuff.. I dish them out to friends & bag them up & take them to the charity shops so at least I don’t have items languishing at the bottom of my wardrobe!
And you can get your mitts on any of these if you pop over to Bleubird Vintage… if I was skinnier the rainbow patchwork skirt would be mine… I love it! Now that my shopping urge has been satisfied without actually spending a penny I’m off to get ready for work… Hope you all have a lovely start to your weekend xox
*Click here for previous Friday Fashion*
Four weeks ago I decided to undertake The Ethical Clothing Challenge of the Utmost Kind… an amalgamation of a couple of different pledges & ideas that I discovered in blog land. I have discovered that actually I am not a huge consumer. I am a magazine addict but I’ve limited myself to ownly buying Marie Claire which is dedicated to aiding human rights, bring green issues to women, & womens rights and buying The Independent newspaper (especially now that it’s election time!) and of course reading my favourite blogs. I don’t buy things for the home as we have everything that we need to be honest. Even if we need kitchenware I head to the nearest charity shop whereby you can purchase a perfectly lovely mug for 50p! I have an entire vintage 70’s dinner set that I picked up for a fiver. Why buy new?!! My downfall is clothes. At work I have to wear uniform so out of work I like to wear nice things. My wardrobe is in a weird transistional phase where I have t-shirts I used to wear when I worked behind a bar but don’t wear anymore, dresses that used to fit but are now to big, old vests that I use as pajama tops… & not a whole lot else. However over the last month I’ve only bought one new item of clothing (I was away from home & very very cold & bought a thick chunky grey cardigan that I will wear over & over!)… it was the shoes. Rainbow ballet pumps from Schuh. Again though I’m already wearing them constantly but it has made me question just how much is actually available on the high street? Today courtesy of The British Heart Foundation & Oxfam I’ve come home with 2 dresses & a lovely Dorothy Perkins top, a Louis Theroux book for Mr J & a very very interesting book for me… Green is the New Black by Tamsin Blanchard. It’s funny, relevant, very up-to-date & not just good for a Brit chick.. at the back it has a global green directory for clothing and hair and beauty, I think it will be my new green bible! I’ve also recently read a fascinating interview with Jane Sheperdson the woman behind Whistles’ current revamp. She does consultant work for People Tree & Oxfam, was responsible for bringing People Tree to Topshop & is now working similar magic at Whistles. Most of the clothes are made in the UK for starters with only 35 factories being used to make their entire collection. Yes prices are high but it’s worth it to have a good quality item that will last several years & wasn’t made using child-labour in a sweatshop. I’m glad I’ve undertaken this pledge as it really has made me think before buying, it makes me ask whether or not I really need that and it’s made me think just how much my decisions affect other people. And on that last note I’ve got 4 weeks to figure out which party to vote for in the General Election….