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Greener Ways of Older Days. The Green Generation Gap.

Posted in Green For Good



So I received one of those chain-letter emails from my mother that our generation has long-ago abolished, but her generation still endlessly forwards around to everyone they know (why do they still like receiving and sharing that junk??). Now usually that kind of email would quickly be dumped into my trash without even a glance at the subject line (all I need to see is FWD:FWD: and – DELETE!!), but my mother knows better than to send me that crap. There must be a reason she’s sending it. So I reluctantly open hoping that I won’t be threatened with a loveless life and bad fortune if I don’t forward the proceeding message to 50 people in 5 minutes. I wasn’t. PHEW! In fact, it was a chain-letter that I quite enjoyed and think we could all take the quick second to read.

You know, our generation sometimes likes to get up on our soapboxes and lecture our parents on what our generation is “revolutionizing” – for example, our greener ways and eco-friendly lifestyles. But here’s an interesting rebuttal to that notion, and the chain-letter to which I have been referring…

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 (remember them?), 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?
Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person.


I hate to admit it, but maybe we could learn a thing or two from them. But don’t think that I am suggesting that we should bring back chain-letter emails.  Those should die.
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