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Article List >

The Green Thing

July 25, 2011, 22:57:22
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In the checkout line at the supermarket an elderly woman asked for a plastic carry bag. The clerk, a 19 year old college student, told the woman that, in future, she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.The woman apologized to the clerk and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

 

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation didn’t care enough to save our environment." He was right, of course -- the woman's generation didn't have the green thing in its day. Back then, she 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 she didn't have the green thing back in her day.

 

She and her friends 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 the clerk was right. She didn't have the green thing in her day.

 

Back then, she washed the baby's diapers because she didn't have the throw-away kind. She 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. Back then, she had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a screen the size of an open magazine, not one the size of roadside billboard.

 

In the kitchen, she blended and stirred by hand because she didn't have electric machines to do everything. When she packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, she used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, her husband didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. He used a push mower that ran on human power. He exercised by working so He didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

 

No - she didn't have the green thing back then.

 

She drank from a fountain when she was thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time she had a drink of water. She refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and She replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

 

But she didn't have the green thing back then.

 

Back then, she and others 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. She had one electrical outlet in each room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And she 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 deli.

 

It really is sad that her generation didn't care enough to save the environment - that she didn't have the green thing!

 

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