I read the most interesting perspective on “going green” recently and while some of it caused me to giggle, the truth of “going green” didn’t start with this generation! Apparently there was some discussion between a young cashier and an older woman about the bags used for groceries. The older woman was scolded for not bringing her own bags for bagging because plastic bags were not good for the environment. The cashier continued her rebuke by telling the woman her generation did not care for the environment, “back in the day” the way the current generation cared.
The article then went on to point out while “going green” during the last generation wasn’t something they thought of, that generation did return milk, soda and beer bottles for recycling. They bagged their groceries in brown paper bags and then reused them for book covers and other kinds of wrapping. Stairs were used instead of escalators or elevators in buildings, saving electric; and feet were used for transportation instead of cars to move a block or two down the street saving gas.
Cloth diapers were used instead of disposable, and hung on the line to dry and clothes were regularly handed down from child to child. Electric machines were not required for mixing in the kitchen, only one television set graced the home, which did not include a VCR, satellite receiver or game box, and a push lawn mower was used instead of gas ones, which helped with exercise so fitness clubs or electric exercise machines were not necessary.
The article continued with many more “practical” ways things were done that are completed very differently in our world today. Yet, it’s interesting to hear how “wasteful” the former generation was. “Waste” however, is in the eyes of the beholder! “Back in the day” “waste” wasn’t nearly a problem as it is today.
Because of our “disposable” world, trash dumps are overrun with waste from homes, that didn’t occur before the current “throw-away” world. Almost everything was used. We didn’t run to the grocery store and buy “instant” dinners in disposable containers or use an item once or twice and toss it away as un-useable. Statistic show 4.43 pounds of garbage is created on average by every person in the United States! That works out to 124 pounds a week for a family of four!1
Perhaps it’s true, we didn’t look at our efforts as “going green” so much as, it was just a way of life, because it’s what we had. I can relate to the examples used and reflect on the “quality of life” then and now. I have all the grand “conveniences” of today’s world. I use the escalator and even elevator, a dishwasher, clothes dryer and vacuum. I own an electric mixer (although most of the time I do still mix by hand), and have plenty of devices hooked to my television set! I wonder if they are reallly efficient or "wasteful" in other ways!
So I challenge you to reflect on ways you “go green.” Can you relate to the former generation or only today’s life style? Share your thoughts on “the green perspective.”