Ever green!

In the queue at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.
 
The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”
 
The clerk responded, “That is our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment.”
 
He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.
 
Back then, they returned their 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 they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer’s day.
 
In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.
 
But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.
 
Back then, they washed the baby’s cloth-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 that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her 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. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you.
 
When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper 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 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 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 had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they 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 rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they 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 the old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back  then?
 
 ~Author Unknown~

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About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest is acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays.
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4 Responses to Ever green!

  1. Anu says:

    Back then , when the power went out , the kids came out on the streets to play , mothers lit the lamps and candles, fathers and grandfathers eased on the omnipresent easy chair in the verandas, and patti’s took out the hand fan…

    Now , we turn on the smoking gen set … kids continue to watch ben 10, fathers and grand fathers turn back to their news papers and computers, mom’s continue re heating food on the micro wave and pati’s return to their other television to watch “Chellame “….

    May be we need another green revolution .. jus to remind us that living simply is about living simple ly !!!!

    Like

    • padmum says:

      Anu–don’t forget the men and their obsession with Arnab Goswami or Barkha Dutt. Listening to the news is not a crime as much as watching the TV soap–according to them. I used to cycle to scholl in this area where I live now. Today I cannot walk without fear of being knocked down. We dont have dedicated areas to pedestrians and cyclists for the guy with the vehicle rules the roads.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      Like

  2. Val says:

    People are surprised to learn that I remember a time before there were paper hankies and paper kitchen towel, and when milk bottles were recycled (they still are in some parts), and I even remember gas lamps in our street when I was a child. It makes me sound – and often feel – ancient!

    Like

  3. Grannymar says:

    I remember milk being delivered in enamel jugs still warm from the cows! I actually lived the life you write about above. I remember the days before TV and we sat around the open fireside and provided our own entertainment. Dip pens and ink blots were the bane of my young life!

    Like

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