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The Green Thing

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Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to me, that I should bring my own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

I apologized 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."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

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 schoolbooks. 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 throwaway 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 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 streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms 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 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?

We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to **** us off.

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I refuse to use the green thing.

I use my grocery bags for a variety of things. Most notable is dog poop patrol.

I refill water bottles. Yes, I do get bottled water on occasion but I keep the bottle, refill from the faucet and put in frig.

Back then you did not go to the gym. You carried groceries home, or in my case moved bales of hay and recalcitrant cows. Most things had more than one use, even things one thought might be done after the first use. My mother saved jars and everything else she could. She lived through the depression. She knew.

You are right. We do have short fuses when all the ailments of the world are pushed on us by kids with ear buds and phones in continuous motion when you are trying to do something with them or for them. We worked hard so the next generation could have things we could only dream about. For me the dream of my own swimming pool was a fantasy. To my DS and DIL it is a reality. My grands have friends over for pool parties. That would never have even made my dream meter. it would have been off the chart.

I am reminded of my father who once asked how I planned to do something. When I answered he smiled. He then told me he had tried it that way and explained the difficulties I was not able to see. We may be old but we can see many things that those who have not had as much experience might miss.

So I carry my groceries in plastic bags and then use them for poop patrol. The alternative is to purchase plastic bags sold at a high price in the pet store for the same purpose. I figure poop does not care if it is carried in a pet store bag purchased for poop or a used bag designated for poop patrol.

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Actually, we did have the Green Thing as far back as 1962 - the year Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was published. My friend the farmer is working land that has never been bug bombed or synthetically fertilized because her grandmother stood in the middle of North Road to block the DDT trucks from spraying her farm ... '30s or '40s, I think. I grew up reading about water quality, air pollution and, in the 70's, climate change.

No surprise that the newer generations think they invented the Green Thing ... we felt the same way about civil rights and feminism, in our day. Age-appropriate behavior, I think ... history doesn't mean much to anyone, these days.

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In South Australia "they" made it mandatory for supermarkets to cease using plastic bags for shoppers to carry their purchases in.

Introduced the "green" bags.

Customers had to purchase the "green" bags at AU$1:00 per bag!

Well, some of the "things" which lurk inside those "green" bags ... eeewwww!

Pity the poor shop assistants who have to handle them!

If you wanted to have the store supply a bag, usually a "biodegradable" plastic? bag, at the grand sum of 10-20cents per bag, you have to request one.

Otherwise your purchases are handed to you bagless.:rolleyes:

I cannot tell you how many people I see buying a roll of small/medium sized plastic bags- usually about 30-60 bags per roll, and at the check-out unroll their bags and ask the assistant to place their purchases in those bags!:rotfl:

Usually the cost of buying the roll works out far cheaper than the cost per bag, of buying the "green" bags and/or the "biodegradable" plastic? ones!

And then at home, they're used for their initial purpose of lining the kitchen bin or for the poop patrol and/or anything else requiring a plastic bag!

This being forced to buy the "green" bags is a huge con!

Laughable if it weren't so ridiculous!

In the 1950's and 60's we used a "string" bag to carry our groceries and other items.

Also the good old - recyclable - brown paper bags.

Here we also receive 10cents on each bottle returned to the recyclers.

Not all states in Australia has this system though.

And as for disposable nappies ...... don't get me started on those! :(

I cringe every time DD changed DGS nappy and into the rubbish bin it goes!:rolleyes::down::mad:

I gave up arguing that debate with her before he was born.

Had to just walk away from it. I was never going to win.

Then again, my generation aren't "green" and have no idea!:uhoh3:

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. . .I cannot tell you how many people I see buying a roll of small/medium sized plastic bags- usually about 30-60 bags per roll, and at the check-out unroll their bags and ask the assistant to place their purchases in those bags!:rotfl:

Eureka! :idea: Thank you! They recently banned the use of plastic grocery bags in the county I live in (and it's a very big county, too). You either buy the "reusable" quasi-cloth bags or use paper bags without handles. Not sure what behind-the-scenes machinations took place before "they" announced the edict, but I do know they didn't take into consideration that most people re-use their grocery bags as wastebasket liners, food storage, and assorted uses to the point that schools sold cute little calico bags to store your bags in. :)

Now we have bags that little old ladies can't walk in the rain with, that most people don't re-use, and a disgruntled populace who ask that their pens be triple-bagged at the office supply store, because the edict so far exempts that type of business.

I figured I would have to now buy "kitchen-size" or smaller plastic bags for the things I previously used grocery bags for, but this idea is practical and makes a point, too! :w00t:

BCGradnurse - your post expressed my sentiments exactly! If I get confronted with that crap, I'll probably need to whack them with (er, I mean show them) a copy of "Living on the Earth" and a gallon-sized bottle of Shaklee Basic H.

Edited by nursel56

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Eureka! :idea: Thank you!

You're most welcome! :)

Glad to be of help and share what I know! :)

Got to play those bag nazis at their own game!;)

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Good grief, did you guys walk six miles to school in six foot snow too?

"Back then" for me a land of convenience, TV dinners, Pampers, gas guzzling station wagons, and tremendous waste and industrial pollution...but I was just a kid, so I can't claim it's my fault. LOL

However, regardless of how we did it back then, our choices today can impact future generations and help clean up the mess were a part in creating. For my convenience I'm not going to resist doing things I might not like like such as advocating a ban on plastic bags, and energy savings devices.

I will say that when I forget my bags, I save the plastic ones for poop patrol too and they work very well.

For the life of me, I can't understand how the boomer generation...75 million of us doesn't take the lead in cleaning up the planet. We rocked the world, we ended wars, we had so many demands back in the day and now we've stopped. Instead we bicker over light bulbs, our freedom of choice, and weather or not we even have an environmental problem and shout "drill baby drill". We're fat, lazy and have our heads in the sand and it's sad. We're going to pass on a planet that ruined, broke and without resources........or not.

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For the life of me, I can't understand how the boomer generation...75 million of us doesn't take the lead in cleaning up the planet.

That's easy: because the Baby Boom generation---like every other demographic---is not a monolith. Not everyone believes the sky is falling, and even some Boomers who do believe it disagree with the notion that depriving people of most modern conveniences is the way to fix it. IF, indeed, "fixing it" is necessary.......or even possible. ;) Just sayin'.

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.... IF, indeed, "fixing it" is necessary.......or even possible.

Just wanted to highlight that. Don't want to talk to you though, there's nothing I can possibly say when the most basic idea that the environment is in trouble and we can indeed help isn't even agreed on. No where to go with it....choosing battles.

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