Back in the Green Old Days

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 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.
reuse bag res.
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.

glass jars res.
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 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. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the green
thing back in our day.
R bugged 3
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 . 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. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for
us. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.
parsley pesto cropped.
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.

ink pen res.

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 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest
pizza 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? Please forward the link to this blog post on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smartass young person.


About Nikki Brighton

I live in Howick, between the river and the hills. I enjoy pre-dawn walks in the streets with my dog, sitting on the veranda with crochet and tea, and harvesting vegetables outside the kitchen door.
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2 Responses to Back in the Green Old Days

  1. Natal*vote says:

    In addition to all the above, we left tokens in our clean glass milk bottles at the gate. All milk bottles were recycled, the milk was delivered, left at the gate & it wasn’t stolen.
    By the way, does anyone know where you can deposit your glass bottles & jars in PMB for recycling? Hirsch had a container but it was withdrawn about three months ago. Today I deposited my collection at WESSA in Howick but it’s a long way to travel to recycle.

    • Hello Vanessa, I am surprised to hear that you can’t recycle glass at Hirsch anymore. How about the Hilton Quarry Centre? Closer than Umgeni Valley, and very pleasant but doesn’t have any zebras wandering around to greet you! May I suggest you contact Wildlands Conservation Trust to ask them about PMB recycling? 033 343 6380

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