I got a message last night suggesting that our post on ‘Historical Consciousness’ was hard going. I have to concede there aren’t too many jokes in its pages. Thus by way of lightening the mood and with ‘Go Green’ Week only a few weeks away you might enjoy this story, forwarded by a friend. I reckon it could make for a humorous and challenging conversation between youth workers and young people.
Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologised and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days”. The cashier responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations”. She was right about one thing–our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then?
After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day, here’s what I remembered we did have…. Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop 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 repeatedly. 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 half a mile. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 240 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 Wales. In the kitchen, we whisked & 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 polystyrene or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol 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 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 place. 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? When I think about it round our way we had the smog thing, lots of it! Perhaps we can learn more than a few things from one another!
In terms of the Go Green Week, it takes place from February 6 – 12, organised by People & Planet – student action on world poverty and the environment. Much more info on their site, although the emphasis is very much on students in colleges, universities and schools.
I’ve messed with the story slightly, but can’t credit the original unknown creator. Thanks to Clare Turner for posting on Facebook
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