We Didn’t Have This Green Thing Back Then

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should 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 clerk  responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not 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.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in  every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t  climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.  But she 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 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 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 when we were thirsty instead of  using a cup or 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 streetcar or a bus, and kids  rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms 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 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?

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