The "green Thing"

I'm embarrassed to be adding this at such a late date but I need to clarify that I did not write this.  I received it as an unattributed email from a relative and simply thought I'd post it here in the same way that I would forward the email to interested friends.  So, while I appreciate that many people have enjoyed reading it and agree with it, I can't take any credit for doing anything other than posting it here.      foolonthehill

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?
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24 Responses Oct 20, 2011

I love it! Thanks for sharing!

This is so true, I remember when things were as close to nature as possible without slogans and all the so called advance technology.

I just loved your post

Thanks for posting it. Ican remember back to all the things the post talked about including rummaging around the neighborhood looking for large and small soda bottles that we took to the store and got 2c for the small and 5c for the large. People had goats and chickens in the back and home gardens.

Very nice post thanks for sharing!

superb writeup and all this is so true!

Great post. Actually, the "green thing" is mostly bs. AN example: if society wants unlimited, SAFE, "GREEN" power, a particular kind of nuclear reactor, with non of the problems associated with the current style of reactor could be built. It is called a "pebble bed" reactor. I won't go into details, just google it. My uncle an authority in nuclear physics mentioned it to me when I brought up the pseudo problem of "burning of fossil fuel."


PS thx for your post btw: recycling paper supermarket sacks has been associated with an alarming increase in salmonella. Soooo, nothing is as it appears.

That shows what hypocrites all the "green people" are, especially this newer ones. Most of these greenish people are either brainwashed idiots or are manipulating the idea.

our shops in South Africa does the green thing by selling a material made groceries bag, but they are still selling us the plastic bags which defeats the ob<x>ject. Crazy! they should just stop supplying the plastic bags.

This was enlightening for me, as well as way entertaining, thanks. I realized that, not surprisingly, the "Green Thing" for many is another attempt at victimhood. A little token savings from plastic bags, well-publicized campaigns and politicians who use it as their banner - while the consumer culture accelerates way out of the "green zone," and any problems are blamed on an out of control past. Wow!

People that are just opening their eyes to the green thing.<br />
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Why plastic bags nothing wrong with plastic.<br />
It sounds like this person has much guilt from not being to good to mother earth.<br />
People are the thing that one can label not green.<br />
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Someone sent me this same email a while ago, could have wrote it myself.<br />
I am the same way from a child and will be for the rest of my life.<br />
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Shame on the people that are just getting it now.<br />
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Unless of course you are under 4 years old.

Thank you for sharing this story. It really makes you think. It's interesting, I'm 17 and having a lot of conflicting feelings about the present situation we all are in. I totally agree that many of the things we have today are unnecessary and wasteful and that even though the old methods involve more work, they are overall better. Too much laziness is really the issue in every way. At the same time, we always tend to go towards the easiest option because we always want to be doing something else. So why do dishes by hand and save water and energy when you can be beating that new record of angry birds on your ipad... Even though I'm only a teen, i've stopped wanted the latest everything. I actually have gotten annoyed at cellphones, because its becoming increasingly difficult to find a good one that has a long battery life and no touch screen. Is it really so difficult to differentiate from what is beneficial and what is superfluous. The last thing I want to note is what my boyfriend noted yesterday about our use of energy. He mentioned how there are so many people and companies trying to find alternate energy solutions and succeeding (like turning grass into biofuel), but the government doesn't want to risk crashing the economy and just subsidizes the oil companies white the alternate options just sit in the background. I feel like it is time to take a few risks. By refusing to change in anyway, we are just hurting ourselves. It's impossible to fix issues if you first don't admit that they exist when they do, and secondly don't take any action. Although I feel constrained and useless now inevitably due to my age and priorities of getting into college... Everyday I've been thinking about and planning and researching different issues and trying to figure out solutions, so that when i finally get out, I can play my part in our world.

What a great tale. Remember when the only wrap we had was brown paper bags or waxed paper. And we youngsters would take the USED wax paper and sit on it to go down the slide really fast. When I was a kid, we had a wringer washer, but no dryer. I remember clothes hanging all ove in the winter. Believe it or not even in the winter, women would hang the clothes out, when they got stiff, they would bring them in and let them finish drying. In the good 'ole days, we had 3 meals, no snacks. Don't know how we survived. Garbage was thrown on the compost pile. I, too, remember the flannel diapers. In fact, for my 4 (late in life) baby, I had to buy heavy flannel and have someone hem them for me. I wasn't about to use 'paper' diapers. My husband was delighted with my move, he used the outgrown diapers to polish up his cars. Being from Michigan, I recall most men could and did, keep their own cars running, brakes and all. On the negative side, it seems almost everyone smoked, my parents did and they did it in the house. Cough, cough. It's nice to go somewhere free of cigarette smoke. Growing up I never heard the 'f' word until I was in high school. My, how times have changed.

Thanks for posting it !

I'm so confused. Why do you keep sayin "We didn't have the green thing back in my day." Is it because In your day. You didn't need the green thing because you were not just being wasteful and stuff like us. So you didn't have to have Green lessons and stuff

Would you like to guest post this on my Green Planet blog<br />
<br />
If you would, just email it

Things were "green" back in the day out of necessity and not as a conscious choice. Mass produced glass and plastic bottles were not available, but as soon as they became available, which generation embraced the throw-away mentality and never looked back?<br />
And what kind of excuse is "we didn't have the green thing back in our day"? Just because you grew up without it, does it entitle you to be exempt from changing with the times? That's just stupidity and/or laziness.

In the story, when the person offered the excuse of "we didn't have the green thing back in our day", does that not imply that they feel entitled not to do the green thing because they never had to do it before?
Another interpretation would be they just haven't gotten around to doing the green thing, which just points to their unwillingness or laziness.
If you have a different interpretation of the excuse, please feel free to let me know. Simply expand on the excuse by completing the following sentence: "we didn't have the green thing back in our day, therefore......"

You go! Im only 42 but have lived both sides. Your comments are true, Ive made candy-money off of returnable bottles dragged to store in a waggon. Thanks for the reminder!!

That clerk needs a slap. Pretentious little weasel.

Back in the day, when you wanted to meet someone, you actually had to LEAVE THE HOUSE!<br />
Back in the day, a work day was generally over by dark, and more families sat together for dinner (that was prepared at home) and actually spoke with one another, as opposed to the constant inattention caused by texting, and cell phones ringing. We had one phone when I was a kid and that was used only for adult emergencies. We had one TV, and my grandma came home with the plastic screen from the discount store that gave you an instant colored TV! The color was red, yellow and blue stripes running across the set! She thought that was so great. Farm jobs were the norm in the summer, and we were tired and calm at the end of each day from getting healthy exercise at work. We learned that the value of a dollar increased when we had to work for it. My mom could drive for over 60 miles on $2.00 worth of regular gas.

As a 47-year-old, we had to WALK to the TV, we were walking almost everywhere and didn't bother with the latest gadgets. For us, the hand-held calculator was the biggest high-tech gadgets in school classrooms. We actually paid attention and didn't care if we all wore the same stuff to school. Jeans, sneakers and "polo" shirts were the norm. <br />
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Uh, but wait, we DID contribute to 'global warming' and DID pollute the atmosphere with toxins!!!!<br />
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We burned trash in the country, had bonfires and some had wood-burning stoves and the scouts had camp fires.<br />
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To borrow from Don Henley - "Every generation blames the one before / And all of their frustrations come beating on your door." <br />
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So, in 15 or 20 years, when I retire from my job, I want to hear today's teens and what THEY tell THEIR kids about how hard they had it. Gee - iPods, iPads, laptops, etc. They might be going green, but their brains are getting fried.........<br />
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(Oh, did I say that?!)

Outstanding Post! <br />
I long for simpler days.

I'm on my feet applauding......

My dad had a 64 Ford Futura which was an econaomical car that didn't use a lot of gas, but it failed because gas was 35 cents a gallon. in the 70s, plastic for the 2 liter pop was remade to use less plastic. The first Victrola that played music were wind up, no electricity. Razors and toothbrushes that didn't use electricity either.<br />
As an older generation (54), I use reusable grocery bags because I really hate plastic, they rip so much easier.