Friday, April 26, 2013
A Lesson in Conservation
This Green Generation
Standing in line at the check out out at the store, I overheard a young cashier suggest to an older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because "plastic bags weren't good for the environment".
The older woman apologized and stated, "We didn't have this green thing back in my day."
The young clerk responded, "That's the whole problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save the environment for future generations."
When my turn came up in the check out line I decided to give this little smartass a lesson in Conservation and thus I said:
"Back in our day, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store- each netting us an income of approximately 5 cents per bottle. The store then sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so the same bottles could be used over and over. So they really were truly "recycled".
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable (besides household garbage bags), was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. Which in our time was "way cool" as it encouraged our creative abilities.
We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks down the street for a carton of milk. Milk; which by the way, was brought to us courtesy of the "milk man" which not only netted thousands of Americans a JOB- something that has long since been out sourced- but it too came in a Glass bottle - which we returned back to the "milk man" each week to be washed and reused again and again and again. We did not use plastic milk cartons that are not bio degradable. Plastic that if strung together could circle the globe several hundred times- but ultimately are dumped in a land fill to poison the earth.
Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. Later; we used those same diapers as wash rags. We washed the windows, scrubbed the floors and polished the furniture- all using those same diapers that once covered the bottoms of our children. 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 day. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. Thus we saved loads of money.
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 walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We exercised by this thing called WORKING so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using 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.
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 each 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 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint. We used a phone book- which we later turned into cutesy little Christmas tree decoration by folding them backwards and gluing the pages together with good old Elmer's, lastly painting them a lovely shade of green or yellow gold and sitting them out for display- year after year. Nah; we didn't have your brand of the "green thing" back in our day".
Having no brown paper bags (only plastic) in the store in which to bag my groceries; I simply paid my bill and left this young Miss with a decidedly sour expression on her face.
That, my friends, is the way you Teach people (young or old) that have Closed Minds but Open Mouths ....