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Responding To The Criticism That Our Generation Wasn’t Green

I remember my nephew coming to me a couple of years ago and giving me a good natured shot about his generation and all the technology they use so easily now. His closing comment was that I was probably envious of the gadgets they now had and I responded that I agreed that all this technology was pretty neat, which is why my generation invented most of it.

If you’re like me, you’re getting just a bit tired of the arrogance of the young lecturing us on how much smarter they are or how much harder things are today. One of their favourites is how environmentally illiterate we were when we were younger and what a mess we made of the planet for future generations.

There is nothing quite as silly as the arrogance of youth, especially those who never bother to do a little research before they open their mouths to lecture us about how unenlightened we are. For their benefit, here’s an article of just how environmentally unenlightened we were back in the old days.

I didn’t write this but I wish I had. It’s brilliant.
Being Green

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. 
The woman 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? 
Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a young person. 
We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to tick us off.
One of my FB contacts posted this and I contacted her to get permission to share it with you but she wasn’t the author. She found it on the web as an anonymous article. I am sharing it here without really knowing who wrote it but whoever it was should have a bridge or a city park named after them.


I get tired of the sanctimonious arrogance of the young with their ill-informed criticism and arrogance and sometimes, just sometimes mind you, when I see what’s happening in our streets and hear all that whining, I think my generation did make one big mistake………….we procreated!

RELATED

More Inconvenient Truth For The Global Warming Crowd
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2012/01/more-inconvenient-truth-for-climate.html

Environmentalist Opportunism
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2011/12/canada-and-environmentalist-hypocrisy.html

George Carlin & The Bear On Saving The Planet
http://bearsrant.blogspot.ca/2011/09/screw-green.html

© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16921877138481877250 L

    We also did not have nice houses with real furniture until we were well into our 40’s and 50’s and drove basic cars.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      You’re bang on. 35 years ago, the average salary was lower than today even when adjusted for inflation. Mortgage rates were double digit and hit a high of 21% in 1981 which resulted in the same payment on a $200,000 mortgage then as with a $500,000 mortgage today.

      We lived through wage and price controls, average tax rates were close to what they are now without many of the entitlements and benefits.

      We lived through wage and price controls which saw everyone’s income frozen by federal law, the National Energy Policy which artificially inflated gas prices at the pump and had a minimum wage that was about 35% of what it is today.

      Back then, we earned our way. If we couldn’t afford it, we saved for it and then bought it. We didn’t demand someone else pay for it.

  • Nevine

    I read his column. It is very good.
    But I posted this quote from Socrates to show that every generation views the next in the same way.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I understood that but this is different. This is not merely the arrogance of youth, we all had that when we were young. This has become something else that includes a lack of respect for law, for democracy and for common principles and values.

      When I was the age of student protestors, I thought my father’s generation were morons. I protested against the things I opposed but it never occurred to me to burn or vandalize the property of others, to intimidate, bully or destroy. This is an orgy of self-indulgence and there is a backlash coming. Some are going to get seriously hurt, maybe even killed. Others will have their lives ruined by this careless stupidity and society will demand the a crackdown.

      In the end, this phony fight against oppression will lead to oppression.

  • Nevine

    This should be spread far and wide.

    At the same time: “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.” Socrates

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      Andrew Coyne has a great column in today’s National Post on the nonsense in Montreal and it very much relates to what you wrote here. I think that there is a time coming when the backlash against this self-indulgence is going to be very severe. It’s unfortunate and I would prefer it be avoided but the pendulum is already swinging the other way.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16688681743093469863 Dance…dance to the radio

      Sorry Bear, you lost me at Andrew Coyne, who endorsed the Liberals during the last election. I haven’t forgotten. I haven’t read a thing he’s written since.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      We all get to make our own choices and for our own reasons. I haven’t forgotten his endorsement either but he’s still a good writer. Even when I don’t agree with him, I enjoy his writing. God knows there is enough illiteracy around to take the time to appreciate someone who can express themselves in sentences….even when you don’t like what they’re writing. :-)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16688681743093469863 Dance…dance to the radio

      I think Mark Steyn is a much better writer than Andrew Coyne.
      And so are you.
      We are not so starved for literacy that we can’t judge ill considered points of view.
      In my estimation, Coyne writes what he does to feed his children and pay his mortgage.
      He seems to have no other purpose as a skilled writer than to advance his employer’s interests.
      I can’t trust that because it appears to me that his opinion can be bought and paid for instead of being the truth.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I think Steyn is pretty good as well and I take your point about Andrew Coyne although I will continue to read him.

      I appreciate your compliment about my writing but to be honest, I think I am too verbose. I admire writers who can express themselves with clean, simple language. My biggest regret as a writer is that I have never been able to say in a few words, what can be said in many.

      I visited your blog and like your writing style. I’ve added your blog to my blog list partly because of how you write and partly because anyone who appreciates “I Can See For Miles” has got to be worth following.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08261784708706958895 UsualSuspect

    Back in 1985, before “green,” my Dad bought me my first shaving kit. Inside was a badger hair shaving brush (yes, REAL badger.) I haven’t seen another in a store shelf. Truth is, there is nothing like real badger bristles for comfort, firmness and soap retention when you are shaving. NOTHING. If you ever used one, you know this.

    I still use it daily and every 3 or 4 months, I buy a new Williams soap bar for 99 cents and drop it in my shaving mug. Hard to spot those little soaps among all the rows of disposable shaving cream cans. 😉

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16123459288721211812 Bear

      I haven’t shaved in a very long time, I have a beard but I do remember the brushes.