In July 23 Issue
The Green Thing!
I'll be one of the first to admit that taking care of this magnificent planet that God so graciously gave us is paramount. It was somewhat common 50 years ago to just dump your trash on some country road. Many farmers had their own dump site on their farm which was usually some ditch or ravine at the rear of the property.
The landfills were just for the city folks that didn't really have a place to get rid of their trash. Today, we realize that those practices where pretty foolish and education has played a key role in changing our minds about taking care of our environment. I had a story sent to me that points out that many of us were not quite as foolish as some of our younger folks might have been lead to believe. The story went like this…
In the line at the store, a cashier told an older woman that plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized to her and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."
That's right; they didn't have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But they didn't have the green thing back in her 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's 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 pizza dish, 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 wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 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 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 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 joint. It's a crying shame that we didn't have "the green thing" back then!
So, the next time some young person is determined to point out our short comings on the environment, take a minute and point out that "The Green Thing" is nothing new. It was just given a new name. In our day it was referred to as "Common Sense".
"Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." - John Wayne
May God Bless…