Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Green Thing

This isn't something I wrote or even thought of myself, but when I read it recently I really liked what it had to say.  I wish I knew the origin so I could attribute it properly. I have shortened it some from the original I read.

The Green Thing
In the line at the store, 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.  

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 the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old 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 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 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?

I am not lamenting our modern conveniences and I certainly have no wish to go back in time, but I thought this was thought-provoking in terms of The Green Thing


  1. Amen - we sure did work hard - I've almost forgotten myself. sandie

  2. You know... there is so much truth to this! Thank you for posting this!

  3. hmmmm.... I may use the plastic bags from the grocery store sometimes, but I never buy trash bags (o:
    I hardly ever use a paper towel...
    I could go on...but it just makes me sound old (o:
    I like the post!

  4. And the interesting thing is when we didn't have the green thing, we were much healthier, less obesity especially in young children. I think we need to take care of our planet and try to conserve what we have, but at the same time we also need to take care of ourselves, and do some of those things this eluded to, hard work without the conveniences, walking instead of hopping in a car, etc.

    Thanks for sharing Jeanie!


  5. Excellent commentary on modern life, but also on the tendency to point a finger at someone else. We make judgments about the whole--an "old lady" from the use of a plastic bag. There is something in that smaller aspect that makes me think as well.

    No BIG issue is simple, is it! Great piece, Jeanie.

  6. Modern technology has a lot to answer for! But would we be without it? I doubt it.
    People nowdays just want to blame someone else, so the older generation get the blame? I don't think so!

  7. I like our modern conveniences, but do remember 'back in the day' when everything in this piece applied to my life. I think of all the conveniences we have today, it's the plastic bottles and diapers that drive me the craziest, knowing what a blight they are in our environment, landfills and oceans, and knowing that no matter how conscientious some of us might be about their use in our own personal lives, we will most likely never be able to eliminate them from our lifestyle. Thanks for bringing this piece to our attention, Jeanie!

  8. I have to admit I remember each and every activity. We were already "green" back then but just didn't carry the label!!!

    I do love my modern day appliances though!!!

    God bless ya and have a magnificent day sweetie!!! :o)

  9. I remember all those things. These days, I do the green thing as much as possible, because I doubt we can go back. People still look at me funny, though, when they see our tiny trash can sitting on the curb. Everything else has been recycled to the chickens or the crows or the recycle bins.

  10. Well said... These are all great reminders of how far we've come and how much life has changed... Leaves me wishing for the "old days" :-)
    xo jj

  11. Things have changed so much since those times described in your post. Many of the things were already green back then. This post reminds me that I do have my own bags and must use them and not forget them when I go to the store. And the little store is only twelve blocks away and we haven't walked there yet. We get in the car and drive there, usually because we are making more than one stop and cannot carry that much. But we could make more than one trip, or one a day.

  12. Well stated. They didn't have to try to be green -- they just were. I confess, I use the bags -- but then I use them over and over again!