The 'green thing'
0 comment Monday, July 28, 2014 |
At Western Voices World news, there is this piece, cited as being from an e-mail, about today's ''green'' culture as contrasted to earlier generations.
In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the 'green thing' back in my day". The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment."
He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its day.''
Following that introduction is a list of many ways (see the list at the link) in which the habits of earler eras were in fact more 'environmentally-friendly'' than those of today's self-satisfied ''environmentally-conscious'' green types.
Past generations were not ''environmentally conscious'' in today's terms; the way they lived had nothing to do with guilt about how evil [White] humans polluted Mother Earth. Nor was it inspired by fear and panic about something called ''Global warming'' or, to use the revised name, ''climate change.''
The fact is, older generations lived as they did, in an era when many things were re-used, and few things were disposable, just because it was frugal and commonsensical to do so.
The piece cites things like walking to many destinations rather than driving, hanging clothes out to dry on a clothesline, the use of re-usable glass bottles (which one took to the grocery story for a refund of deposit money), and handing down clothes among children in a family.
Further examples which come to mind: having shoes re-soled or repaired rather than tossing them out. A friend and I were talking about that recently. Every neighborhood had shoe repairmen in the old days. People made their shoes last much longer by taking good care of them and having them re-soled or having new heels put on when the heels became worn down. Does anybody do this now, or does everyone just head for Wal-Mart to buy another shoddy pair of made-in-China shoes? Sadly, even the more upscale stores sell poorly-made merchandise made in the Third World, although at higher prices than Wally World.
And what about darning socks? That is something that all girls used to learn how to do, as part of 'domestic science' classes in school, that is, if your mother had not already taught you basic needle skills at home. How many young people are taught how to sew on buttons or do basic mending these days? When we can buy cheap new clothing at the big discount retailer, why bother?
In the past, many products were not over-packaged as they are now; it seems that much of the packaging on various consumer items is wasteful, not to mention difficult to open. I am thinking of those blister-packs which require serious tools to unseal. Many of our grocery items, such as produce, now come in some kind of disposable packaging which is hardly environmentally-smart, and our meats likewise are pre-packaged in plastic or styrofoam trays with plastic wrap. I remember when most grocery stores had a butcher there who would grind meat for you or cut it to your specifications, and then wrap it in ''butcher paper'', sealed with tape, which was much less waste.
As for the 'paper or plastic' choice at the supermarkets, we are supposed to feel bad that trees must die for our paper sacks, but yet the flimsy plastic sacks are environmentally unfriendly also. Lately I've read that those 'reusable' grocery bags being promoted everywhere (I have several of them) have toxins in them.
It appears most of them are made in China, which is always a red flag for me. So much for those things being 'earth-friendly'.
In the old days, some people did use cloth bags to carry food from the grocery store, which is far preferable
to using those toxic Chinese bags which are made out of some mysterious substance or other.
Another factor today in wastefulness is that most of what we buy, even the big-ticket items like major appliances, seems to be disposable and 'throw-away', not meant to last more than a few years, if that. Refrigerators and freezers and kitchen stoves used to be made to last decades, and some of those from my parents' day are still around, still working. By contrast, most of what we buy today will end up in landfills in a short time. And yes, lower prices make up for that somewhat, but I'd rather pay more for better quality things that last. In the long run, that is more dollarwise.
My parents' generation, who came up during the Great Depression and World War II had a slogan: ''use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.'' While excessive frugality can become an obsession, that saying is common sense, although it seems extreme or just quaint to many people today. Yet if we are on the verge of an economic crisis which may involve real scarcity and lingering hard times, it is advice we should heed.

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