Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Back Then We Weren't Green

In line at the store, the cashier told me that plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized to her and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.” (I actually told her I didn’t give a shit and to just put the damn things in the plastic. But for this post I’ll give it like I received it - with minor changes.)

That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in my day. Back then, we returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in my day.

In my day, we walked up stairs, because they 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 we didn’t have the green thing in my day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They 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 we didn’t have the green thing in my 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 pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, the women blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for them. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

And 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 then we didn’t have the green thing in my day.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty, instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. We refilled 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 in my day.

Back then, people took the streetcar and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, 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.

Nope! We didn't have the green thing back then! But we were healthier, slimmer and activities revolved around the family unit.

What did we know back then?


myevil3yearold said...

My mom makes the same argument. I am not sure what that means except I guess you are older than me

Liz Mays said...

Those were the days, and you're making me miss them.

Coffeypot said...

me3yo, I am older than you. So old I rememer when Moby Dick was a guppy.

blueviolet, those were simpler days. I miss them, too.

Unknown said...

I want those days back too (And I am only 37!)
Very well put post, sometimes having a little less convenience is actually a lot better!

Barb said...

I also remember in the 80's a shampoo with mink oil in it. That wouldn't go over today.

Southern (in)Sanity said...

That is what a good friend of mine says as well. However, I prefer what you actually said rather than your toned-down claim.

Alexandra said...

We did have the green thing: we wasted nothing, and recycled everything.

We didn't spend on a whim, and everypurchase was thought out.

We walked, and didn't waste gas.

We turned off lights, and did with just sunshine.

We were green.

I enjoyed this post.

Coffeypot said...

Rancher Mom, I, too, would love to see those days again.

Barb, I don't remember mink in shampoo, but then I'm not a gurl.

SnS, Most of the time I am a good customer, but do not try to put your opinions (other than the weather) on me when I am checking out.

The Empress, I remember having all the windows open in the summer time (no air-conditioning back then) and all the sounds and smells. And mom NEVER threw food in the trash. Even a spoon full of potatoes went into the frig for dad’s lunch the next day…or leftovers the next day. On the down side, I remember sitting in the movies with everyone smoking. Everyone smoked and their were no non-smoking areas.

Mala said...

excellent post. Couldn't agree more!

GunDiva said...

I've often thought about the glass Coke bottle thing. I mean, really? Tell me that it was worse for our environment to wash and sterilize the glass bottles until they fell apart than it is to have a million little plastic ones.


I loved this post!

Jamie said...

So very true. Leave it to you to get right to the truth of the matter. And I also read the post above this one, your tree and neighborhood are beautiful. Happy Sucky Thursday, Coffey.