The customer apologized; explaining, "We didn't have this green thing back in my day."
The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."
She was right -- that older generation didn't have the green thing in its day. Back then,they 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 truly recycled. Additionally, grocery bags didn't need to use resources like water, soap, and electricity to be made hygenic for the next trip to the store. They were recycled in more useful and enjoyable ways.
But those old folks didn't have the green thing back intheir day.
Grocery bags didn't need to use resources like water, soap, and electricity to be made hygenic for the next trip to the store. Grocery stores bagged groceries in biodegradable brown paper bags, that were reused for numerous things, most memorable was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for students' use by the school) was not defaced by their scribblings. Students were able to personalize their books on the brown paper bags. No book covers needed to be purchased and discarded at the end of the year. And household garbage was often tossed into a paper grocery bag for disposal. No need to purchase plastic bags to line the trash container.
But too bad they didn't do the green thing back then.
They walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and the library and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.
But that clerk was right. They didn't care enough to have the green thing in their day.
Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the throwaway kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry their clothes back in the day. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that sales clerk is right; those old people didn't have the green thing back in their day.
Back then, they 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, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. And the TV did not run constantly as background noise - gobbling up additional electricity. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for them. When they packaged a fragile item for mailing, they used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They actually exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she's right; they didn't care about the future generations so they didn't have the green thing back then.
They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they needed a drink of water. They refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But they 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. There was one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen electric gandgets, including computers. And theydidn't need a gps to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint. Oh, and they used maps to travel.
No, the older generation didn't have the green thing in their day because they were already living a sustainable life; much more so than we carbon footprint conscious people will ever be willing to do. We are all caught up in consumerism and convenience. And some of what we claim to do for our environment seems silly and ever more wasteful. Are you willing to change?