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Curious Cosmos

How Wasteful the Older Generation Was

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This has been around for quite awhile but I wanted to share it again... here. This is for all you whipper-snappers that think recycling, i.e. "Green", is YOUR idea.


How Wasteful The Older Generation Was


In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag 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. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment."


He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its day.


Back then, they returned their 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 they didn't have the green thing back in that customer's day.


In her day, they 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 she was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.


Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the

throw-away kind. They 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; they didn't have the green thing back in her day.


Back then, they 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, not a

screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended

and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do

everything for you.

When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a

wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not styrofoam or plastic bubble



Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut

the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They

exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run

on treadmills that operate on electricity.


But she's right; they didn't have the green thing back then.


They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a

cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They

refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and

they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the

whole razor just because the blade got dull.


But they 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 rode the school bus instead of turning their moms

into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room,

not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they

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



But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old

folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then?

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