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ostsee zeitung rostock partnersuche Some weeks ago, I was waiting in the line at our local grocery store. In front of me was
a woman in her early sixties, I would guess, who had put a lot of stuff on the conveyor belt, including
a couple of plastic bags. The cashier, who was about 18 years old, eyed the bags with obvious disgust
and, shaking her head, told the woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags
weren’t good for the environment. The lady apologized and explained: `We didn’t have the green thing
back in my day.’
The shop assistant responded: ‘That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save
She was right, of course: 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, sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over again. But true to say, 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 HP machine
every time we had to go two blocks. But the shop assistant was still correct in what she said: we didn’t
have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers or nappies because we didn’t have the throw -away kind. We
dried clothes on a line using wind and solar power, not an energy- gobbling machine burning up 220
volts. Kids got hand -me -down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not a constant stream of brand-
new clothing. But you can’t deny it: we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
We had one TV, or just a radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. The TV had a small
screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of a small country.
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 old newspapers to
cushion it, not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 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 it’s
entirely accurate to say that 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 blades in a razor instead of
throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dulled, but, as you’re probably aware by now,
we didn’t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the bus or tram 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 3000 kilometers out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
Kids in school learned mental arithmetic instead of using a calculator. To write an essay, they
had to go to the library and read books instead of being able to Google the information they needed.
We didn’t know about the green thing back in our day. We are truly sorry, but we just didn’t
see this page Beck, M. (2014, September). Recycling International. The green thing , p. 1.