“The Green Thing”

A friend of mine, Shirley Rossi http://www.shirleyrossi.com/, forwarded this email to me. I thought it was pretty clever and worth sharing. I don’t know who wrote it, but it probably doesn’t matter; the message is sound.

The Green Thing

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags 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’s our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our     environment.”

He 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.

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 the clothes.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not              always brand-new clothing. But that old 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. 

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 a wadded up old newspaper 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 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 this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart mouthed young person who has been taught to blame everyone else for the consequences of their own actions.

The Green Thing “

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4 Comments »

  1. recycling is my world. we prepare the next few generations for a great life on earth when we recycle. you are welcome!

  2. Very clever and correct but the cashier is still right.

    • How so? Do you mean the very first line of the story? Because I think she is 100% correct, but I liked what the customer was saying. Personally, I’d like to see things kept useful a little longer instead of being thrown away due to changes in fashion. Siri is neat, to be certain, but you have to throw away your “old”, perfectly useful, iPhone to get it.

  3. Jason said

    I say that the whole “green” thing has almost made it cool to recycle. I actually felt really cool, in a weird way, when I bought a whole bunch of recycling bins and stuff. To be honest though, this company has the biggest and best selection I’ve ever seen: http://www.buschsystems.com/. You know, just in case you’re ever looking haha.

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