Saturday, January 7, 2012

Our generation didn't recycle?

Seriously, I'm not an old fogey, but I kinda like this story that was shared by my  Facebook contact, Rick Wade.
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Checking out at the grocery store recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. I 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 about one thing -- our generation didn't have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then…? After some reflection and soul-searching on "Our" day here's what I remembered we did have.... 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 repeatedly. 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. 
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. 
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. 
People took the 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 etc.

5 comments:

  1. Before plastic bags took over, we used paper bags to bring home groceries, then they were used to line the trash can or cover school books, wrap packages, for drawing paper, etc. Sometimes the grocery store, if you asked, would pack your groceries in one of their used boxes instead of a bag, and a box could be reused for a lot of things, like storing stuff (because we didn't have plastic bins for storage), or a bed for the cat when she had kittens.

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  2. Thanks for posting some more excellent points, Mary. I remember doing all of those things!

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  3. I agree that this generation does not really care about the environment anymore. They are more concerned on the development of technology, but with the government's law against plastics, people are getting more and more aware now. It's good to know that this law or bill helps individual to become a responsible individual. It is always a good practice to use biodegradable plastic bags or paper bags when shopping.

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  4. Nice read! I like the suggestions.

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  5. In order to get a greener and healthier environment, reusing and recycling of wastes are the best things that we can teach to our children. Today a lot of new and advanced waste management and recycling techniques are being employed which have made the waste management easier than before. People are becoming more conscious and employing the best habits for waste management. Even most of the manufacturing companies are fabricating the products in such a way which can be easily recycled and reused.

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