Today we are celebrating the 64th wedding anniversary of the Dreamboat’s grandparents (aka great-grandma M and great-grampa W).
Sixty-four years is a large part of their lives together. How amazing and inspiring!
It got me thinking about all the changes that they have witnessed throughout their marriage. And being the green nerd that I am, it also has me thinking about how the environment has changed during this time.
To go from a mentality of making things yourself, and using items until they give out (then fixing them and using them again) to a world of never-ending plastic and ready-made foods and disposable items, they have been through a lot of change.
What a difference sixty-four years makes.
I recently saw a great piece of writing on Facebook (of all places). The story is about an old woman who is going through the checkout of a grocery story and using plastic bags. The cashier remarks to her is a rude manner that because her generation wasted so much, our environment has been destroyed.
The story is originally in french, and I will do my best to translate, but here is what the old woman’s response was to the cashier:
“I am sorry that we didn’t have the environmental movement in my time.
Instead, we returned bottles of milk, coke and beer to the store. The store sent them back to local factories to be washed, sterilized and refilled again. We used the same bottle over and over again. But no, we didn’t have an environmental movement.
In my time we climbed stairs instead of using escalators and moving walkways everywhere. We also walked to the corner grocery store for items. We didn’t take our cars everywhere. But we didn’t have an environmental movement.
We washed cloth diapers; we didn’t have disposables. We dried our clothes on the line instead of using a high-powered automatic dryer. We accessed solar power instead.
We systematically recycled clothing by passing them down from brother to sister, and on. But no, we didn’t have an environmental movement.
We had only one tv or radio in the house, not one in every room. The tv screen was the dimension of a box of pizza, not the size of Texas!
In the kitchen we made our own meals from scratch; we didn’t get ready-made foods. Nor did we need so many specialized gadgets to prepare a meal.
In my time when we sent fragile items by mail we wrapped them in newspaper in the proper sized box. We did not use an excessively large box filled with packing foam peanuts.
In my time we did lots of physical work. We did not need gym memberships or treadmills. But you are right, we didn’t have an environmental movement.
When we were thirsty, we drank water from a fountain, not from disposable cups or bottles that we threw away after every use.
We refilled our pens with ink, and refilled our razor instead of disposing of them. But no, we didn’t have an environmental movement.
People used public transportation often, and children rode their bikes to school. They did not use mom and dad as a taxi service 24/7.
Kids used the same binders and school supplies for several years instead of throwing them away every June and then buying new ones in September. But it’s true we didn’t have an environmental movement.
Lastly, we had only one power outlet per room, not several power bars to accommodate all the electronics people “need” today.
So think about that and please don’t talk to me about wasting resources.”
That is my best attempt at the translation. What do you think about the message?
I find it such a powerful statement. When I first read the story, it really made me stop and think about how much more wasteful our society becomes every day.
Not to say that there was no waste a seventy to a hundred years ago, but if we applied some of the principles mentioned in the story to our lives today, with our better understanding of the environmental impact of our actions, then I think we have the power to make a large impact.
What are your thoughts?