Sharing this opinion piece I really like from an unknown author
As I checked out at the store, the young cashier suggested to me I should bring my own shopping bags because plastic bags aren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my day.”
“And that’s actually our problem now,” she responded. “Your generation simply didn’t care enough to keep our environment safe for future generations.”
She was right — our generation didn’t have this green thing in those days. 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, sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
We refilled our writing pens with ink instead of buying brand-new ones, and we replaced razor blades instead of throwing away the whole razor when the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
We used the stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every shop and office building. We walked to the grocery store instead of climbing into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
Back then, kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. We washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. Back in our day we dried the laundry on a line, and used wind and solar to dry our clothes, not in an energy-gobbling machine consuming multiple kilowatt-hours.
But the young lady was right. We didn’t have the green thing in those days.
We had one television or radio in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a screen the size of a handkerchief — not the size of the county.
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred things by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send by mail, we crushed 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 grass. We pushed a lawnmower that ran on muscle power. We worked, instead of working out at a health club, and running on electrically-powered treadmills.
But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of buying water bottled in plastic, often in some other country. We accepted the fact that a lot of food was seasonal and we didn’t expect it to be flown in from parts of the world thousands of kilometers away.
We actually prepared meals that didn’t come out of a package, a tin or wrapped in plastic, and we could even wash our own vegetables and chop our own salads. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people walked, or took a streetcar or bus, and kids walked to school or rode their bikes, instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour Uber service. There was usually one electrical outlet in each room, not a bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized pocket device to receive a signal beamed from satellites in space just to find the nearest pizza 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?