28 NOVEMBER 2011
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Checking out at the local superstore the young cashier suggested to the elderly lady that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags were not good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my day."
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."
Rubbish! They both got it wrong.
Back then, we returned both milk and beer bottles to the shop. You got back one penny a bottle. For many a school kid this supplemented their pocket money picking up discarded bottles. In any event 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. They were recycled.
We climbed up stairs, because for the most part apartments did not have escalators. Nor in office buildings. Energy was saved and people were fitter. We walked to the shops and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
Back then, we washed the baby's nappies. The throw-away kind did not exist. We dried clothes on a line with wind and solar energy.
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new this year’s designer clothing.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the black and white set was tiny. Not one the size of a multi-screen, power gobbling.
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 wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol 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.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a plastic cup. We refilled writing pens and replaced the blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole thing just because the blade got dull.
Back then, people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums 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. There was just one telephone line into our school, the ‘property’ of the Headmaster’s secretary.
We were much greener and fitter then don’t you think?!
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