How Selfish Old People Ruined The Environment

17 Jan

Taking a break from blogging. But had to share this:

A Note From An 80 Year-Old About “Being Green”

Now that I’m 80 years young, I can tell all the younger people I know where to go with their “Being Green”.

At the checkout stand in the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should become more “Green” by bringing 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 didn’t care enough to save our environment.”

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.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an energy consuming escalator or elevator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a gas guzzling car, truck or SUV 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 our 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.

When away from home, we drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a disposable 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 gas burning 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 smartass young person.

Remember: Don’t make old people mad. We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off.

Simple wisdom. Borne of a lifetime of … life experience.

Which is why I wrote this last year – No More Mañana Or Bananas In A Parliament Of Nanna’s

This blogger longs for the day when we will all choose (once again) to properly esteem and value the wisdom of our elders:

Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding. It often requires control of one’s emotional reactions (the “passions”) so that universal principles, reason and knowledge prevail to determine one’s actions. Wisdom is also the comprehension of what is true or right coupled with optimum judgment as to action. Synonyms include: sagacity, discernment, or insight.

6 Responses to “How Selfish Old People Ruined The Environment”

  1. Betty Whiffin January 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    I say “amen” to all of that We didn’t even have a TV. We had a car when I was 20, (63 years ago) walked a mile to and from the station,caught the train for a 20 minute ride to school and at weekends rode our bikes or went hiking or boating in put-putts And we helped our neighbours and comforted them when a dear one was lost in the war who had done so for the sake of Australia and democracy, this included a family member whose plane came down in the ocean! We had coupons for food and clothes and coped. Don’t talk to us about ‘green things”. We didn’t have plastic bags but we always walked to the shops carrying a shopping basket. And we were happy.

    • The Blissful Ignoramus January 17, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

      Well said Betty. We need fine folk like yourself running the country.

  2. Phil Hingston January 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    Hey Betty,

    Would you consider running for PM?? I’d feel more comfortable with someone like you with substance looking after things….quality of life rather than quantity of stuff…

    and did you hear about the US Senator promoting a bill to halve US Congressional salaries and cut their sitting days??? The less time they have to do actual damage, the better.

    He sounds like “my sort of people”.

    It’s SOOOOO good to be home………

    • Maree Baker January 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      Where have you been – Germany?

  3. kelly liddle January 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    I’ve seen this one before but the version you have is a bit bigger. Betty yes us younger ones are a bunch of whingers.

    The actual idea operates in parrellel at the moment with some rich green people thinking they are doing us a favour by putting solar panels on their rooves and powering up the Plasma when they get home using the power at night that I am paying for while I use a more efficient tv. Then they go and buy these “green bag” thingies along with their rubbish bags. I use my plastic bag for rubbish fancy that. Then they throw them out after 40 uses because they smell from the spilt milk and meat juices even though it is estimated that needs to be used 100 times to save plastic use. Then they hop in the hybrid which just required the mining of 100 tonnes of ore to extract the minerals. I drive my old vehicle sparingly. So the idea is still current some “green people” are so much more wasteful than the non greens both in others money and actual environmental impact.

  4. Jazza January 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    I laugh when I see the “advice” we are given on Green/ govt websites and the like about how to saver on power or Co2 emissions!

    I grew up as eldest of five, with only a father working–and then he wasn’t in the depression and wore out a pair of shoes door knocking to get a job to feed us.
    Money was always tight, until my youngest brother was a teenager, long after I left home
    .I and my sister therefore always valued thrift and hated debt or waste,working all our lives to get our own hoes etc– still do.

    My brothers also learned some of the same lessons but I guess sometimes spent more, meaning their wives did the budgeting.

    Woe betide any of us who wasted a scrap of food given, as children, touched Dad’s vegie garden or the tools,or left a light on in a room for second after we vacated it.

    Our iceman, milkman and greengrocer came around in cars with trays on the back, early utes I guess, and so a lot of our food was never put into bags or baskets, but I can remember choosing loose biscuits by the pound weight and the brown paper bags they
    were dispensed into,and being with mum when she got our meat at the butcher’s, that meat being wrapped in white paper and taken home to be plated and refrigerated or into the ice chest..

    My dad got a car for the first time, when I was 17,and we had an electric refrigerator for the first time about when I left primary school.

    I use green bags for my shopping at supermarkets, but have always been aware they are a con, being manufactured from the same material our wheelie bins come from!

    So getting the odd plastic bag worries me not, I just recycle them–and if you hear an elderly lady loudly declaim she will never pay for a plastic bag–in a Target store– it could be me!.

    A good dose of common sense wouldn’t hurt some young people,as many old values stood the test of time and value, but all in all, I find them great company , just get annoyed that many families don’t seem to insist on table manners or please and thank you as much as we did, any more.

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