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The "Green Thing"
May 15th, 2019 at 3:23pm
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Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.
The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

The older lady said that she was right -- our generation didn't have the "green thing" in its day. The older lady went on to explain:
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.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But, too bad we didn't do the "green thing" back then.
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 our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that young 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 wadded up old newspapers 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 blade in a r azor 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 in the family's $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the"green thing." 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 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger 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 smart ass young person.

We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off... Especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smartass who can't make change without the cash register telling them how much.
  

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Re: The "Green Thing"
Reply #1 - May 15th, 2019 at 3:35pm
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ROTFLMAF

How true.  If you needed to hole town to know something you use the telephone the old telephone party lines could get the news out all over town in under 1hr.   Grin  You did not do anything wrong in town if you did, 5 people would have call your mom or dad before you could get home.   Grin
  

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Re: The "Green Thing"
Reply #2 - May 15th, 2019 at 4:37pm
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It's a false criticism.  For all the eco-virtues the old person talks about, people like her generally would complain at any suggestion that we go back.  People from her generation generally engineered or instituted the poor environmental practices that got us to this situation.

They fixed the zoning and highway funding to ensure suburban sprawl, taking some of the world's best arable land out of circulation permanently.  They hooked up an oil-based economy that left us vulnerable to price shocks and responsible for policing oil commerce.  They put lead in gas -- a known neurotoxin, which can never be removed from the body, and they spewed CFCs like freon with abandon, heedless to what it did to the ozone layer.

The generation before them fished every pelagic whale population into commercial extinction.

And they howl, oh how they howl, when you suggest that a 5-cent grocery bag tax would help cut down on waste and pollution.  They froth at the idea of being forced to use paper straws or LED bulbs.  They live a cushy retirement in a large house on a couple acres of nothing but grass, coming outdoors only to mow, and locking away forest regrowth (and all its attendant benefits.)

A lot of these people, in other words, object to every environmental initiative -- voluntary or compulsory, easy or hard, local or global.  And I still see people out there telling the grocery store clerks "I prefer paper IN plastic bags, thank you very much!"
  

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Re: The "Green Thing"
Reply #3 - May 15th, 2019 at 6:10pm
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If this hypothetical old person cared at all she would have been like, 'hey, that's a good idea'.

This is just a bunch logical fallacies wrapped in a bow-tie.
  
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Re: The "Green Thing"
Reply #4 - May 15th, 2019 at 6:28pm
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Well given the pervasive micro-plastic pollution in today's environment, I think we should go back to only brown paper (kraft) shopping bags at the checkout stands.

Personally I  have a set of sturdy re-usuable shopping bags, which work very well. Before that I bought a case of sturdy kraft paper bags. When they are done (usually the handles fall off) they go in the recycle bin.

But really both the protagonists in the OP are right. I also remember the says of milk in re-usable bottles. As well as coke and other soft drinks on reusable glass bottles, paper shopping bags. Plastic was generally for toys and we kids much preferred the ones made of metal. At the same time communities dumped raw sewage into rivers, bays, and estuaries. Dumped unsorted refuse/garbage into open landfill that grew into small mountains. Or into the bays and oceans. It was known back in the 1920's that leaded gas was a health hazard. Inexcusable that the auto and gas industries continued to use it. So it's not like we didn't know some of our practices sucked. Plastics were relatively knew so I guess we can get a pass on those, but that's no reason not to try to fix that problem now.
  

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Re: The "Green Thing"
Reply #5 - May 15th, 2019 at 6:35pm
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forgotten centrist wrote on May 15th, 2019 at 4:37pm:
It's a false criticism.  For all the eco-virtues the old person talks about, people like her generally would complain at any suggestion that we go back.  People from her generation generally engineered or instituted the poor environmental practices that got us to this situation.

They fixed the zoning and highway funding to ensure suburban sprawl, taking some of the world's best arable land out of circulation permanently.  They hooked up an oil-based economy that left us vulnerable to price shocks and responsible for policing oil commerce.  They put lead in gas -- a known neurotoxin, which can never be removed from the body, and they spewed CFCs like freon with abandon, heedless to what it did to the ozone layer.

The generation before them fished every pelagic whale population into commercial extinction.

And they howl, oh how they howl, when you suggest that a 5-cent grocery bag tax would help cut down on waste and pollution.  They froth at the idea of being forced to use paper straws or LED bulbs.  They live a cushy retirement in a large house on a couple acres of nothing but grass, coming outdoors only to mow, and locking away forest regrowth (and all its attendant benefits.)

A lot of these people, in other words, object to every environmental initiative -- voluntary or compulsory, easy or hard, local or global.  And I still see people out there telling the grocery store clerks "I prefer paper IN plastic bags, thank you very much!"


Amen brother.

Pollution/environmental degradation should be so easy for us all to get behind. If anything could create a consensus among left/right, young/old, urban/rural it would be the one thing we all share, the air we breathe and water we drink, but nope!
  

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