A Lesson For Young Smart Asses About ‘Going Green’

Some young people today seem to think they know it all when it comes to saving the planet. Many blame the old folks for not taking greater care of our environment, but just to set them straight here is something I received through the e-mail that should open their eyes, so show it to your kids or send it on to any smart-asses you know.

Being Green

Checking out at the  store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring  her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized  and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

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 — our  generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

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 over and over. So they really were recycled.

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

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.

But too bad we didn’t  do the green thing back then.

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 throwaway 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.

But that young 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 or Province of Ontario . 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.

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 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger  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?


4 Responses to “A Lesson For Young Smart Asses About ‘Going Green’”

  1. Carol Says:

    May we have permission to reprint this article in our Condominium’s Newsletter? We are mostly senior citizens here and I know they would appreciate reading this.


    • Hi Carol,
      Of course you may, you are very welcome. I would appreciate it if however you made reference to the items origin i.e. the blog.
      I hope it brings some cheer to the old folks. Good luck to you all.
      Best Regards,


  2. Well said! Although I *do* try to use canvas bags, there are times that I opt for the plastic.

    I have cats who use a litter box. My choices are 1) buy small plastic trash bags for litter disposal or 2) use the free ones from the store when I do my grocery shopping. (I’d rather go with option #2)

    The real key to being “green” is to practice thrift, a virtue that those who came before us practiced much better than we do today. I don’t blame the younger generation for this, nor do I blame my own generation or the generation that came before me. I blame the corporate philosophy that “inferior is better because it guarantees repeat customers”.

    It is true that things used to be made to last, often to last a life-time or several lifetimes. But the post World War II retail analyst, Victor LeBow, proposed that we make “consumption our way of life” and this, we have done.

    So, when something breaks or stops working exactly as it’s supposed to, or isn’t as pretty as it once was, we throw it out and buy a new one.

    I do my best not to fall into this trap. When something breaks in my house, I do my best to repair it. If it can’t be repaired, I try to find an alternative use for it. Instead of buying brand new, corporate made products, I shop at thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets and classified ads. If I can make something instead of buying it, I do so. If somebody else can make something for which I don’t have the expertise, and if I can afford their crafted item, I buy from the individual or local business instead.

    There’s much more to being green than simply recycling plastic bags and bottles. Yesterday’s virtue of practicing thrift will get us much further than the refusal to use plastic shopping bags. ~Vicki


    • Hi Vicki,
      Lovely to hear from you, and yes you are perfectly right. Unfortunately the people today have gotten so used to buying everything with a ‘specific lifespan’ I cannot see it ever changing. It is indeed sad that this has become the norm because we might as well chop the word ‘quality’, a much over-used word today, from the dictionary. Consumerism will be the downfall of mankind in my view, and that is sad.
      Best Regards,


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