Don’t tell baby boomers we didn’t care about the environment!

Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own

Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologised and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young cashier 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, lemonade bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

Grocery shops bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we re-used for numerous things, most memorable besides household bags for rubbish, 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 personalise our books on the brown paper bags.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have a lift in every supermarket, shop and office building. We walked to the local shop and didn’t climb into a 300 horsepower machine every time we had to go half a mile.

Back then, we washed the baby’s Terry Towel nappies because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 3 kilowatts – wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids had hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

Back then, we had one radio or TV in the house – not a TV in every room and the TV had a small screen the size of a big handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Scotland 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 petrol just to cut the lawn. We pushed the 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.

We drank from a tap or 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.

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 in the family’s $90,000 ‘People Carrier’ which cost the same as 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 computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 37,000kms out in space in order to find the nearest Pub!

But isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

Here endeth the bloody lesson!

  1. This is a great story containing truth. But we according to these younger generations know nothing. They know everything. Pity help us in the future if we live that long. I make that comment as according to these current moron politicians we are bleeding them dry with pensions. What a shame, these political morons blame us for most things but do nothing to curb their greed.

    • Frank, in our teenage years, didn’t we think we knew everything? Then we grew up and made some very big discoveries – we worked for our pay, good honest work, not lazing around expecting others to fund us. Politicians were rewarded with higher pay than ours, but not all these excesses of today. I say vote them all out and only accept them back in if they will accept today’s ‘average’ pay rate. No dipping into parliamentary pensions until their proper retirement age. When they are voted out, or leave & wish to accept other positions in the ‘outside’ world, then they won’t have to take such a hefty pay cut.

    • Christine van rooosmalen  

      We Also grew our own vegetables. Today’s society is a throw away one, when something breaks down throw it out and get another. That’s shameful. Technology is also a cause of today’s problems.

    • Jennifer Dickson  

      We got our first car in 1950 and it was only the 2nd car in our street of 52 homes. Cars were a real luxury in those days. Now of course so many homes have more than 1 car, and even kids of driving age have one to get to school.

  2. Roger Tidman  

    Very true! We didn’t have a car until I was around 10 years old. (1959..ish) we never had TV until well after that.
    Remember how the grocer and the butcher wrapped everything in brown paper. I don’t think anyone got sick..Or worse.
    I must be getting old..ish!!
    Remember getting older is inevitable. Growing up however is completely voluntary!

  3. Carole Morrison  

    My parents never had a car! We all walked everywhere and if we needed to go into the city we walked to our local railway station or walked to a bus stop and waited for the bus to take us wherever we needed to go which kept us fit and healthy

  4. Wiso  

    Young people have no idea about recycling or looking after the planet. Everything was recycled in our younger years, as much out of necessity as it being the sensible thing to do. It is not our generation who support all the takeaway food outlets available now and dispose of unnecessary food containers, or cut down trees in large quantities just so we can build a McMansion with every electronic gadget imaginable. We have really bred generations of offspring who take no responsibility for their own actions and always find someone else to blame, that is our biggest mistake.

  5. Lyn Traill  

    So true – we also often grew our own vegetables and had our own hens. The second hand bookstore was a wonderful source of reading material. We didn’t have a TV but loved playing music on our one luxury item – a record player. Things changed so quickly and I am not at all sure it was for the better.

  6. And it STILL amazes me …seeing loaded trolleys ,LEAVING HE SUPERMARKETS , THE SHOPPING IN THE PLASTIC BAGS PROVIDED BY THE SAID SUPERMARKET ,….and most often pushed by folk I would guess to be below 50 years of age !!!! ….I always take my own cloth or canvas bags and if I purchase something small enough to pop into my handbag …do just that .. and I am 81 years old this year …end of whinge !!!

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