A response to the impact of the tyranny of convenience.
A nod to my mum who taught me the value of smell over used by dates, my grandmother who washed and dried every plastic bag she was ever given and those of their generation. We’re listening, we’re inspired to act and we’re in this together.
Checking out at Woollies, the young check-out person told the older woman that she had to bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags are now banned.
They weren’t good for the environment.
The woman said: “Yes, we didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”
The assistant responded: “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
Was she right?
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the shop.
The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilised and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.
She was right.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs because we didn’t have a lift or escalator in every store and office building.
We walked to the grocers and didn’t climb into a machine run on fossil fuel 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 nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, wind and solar power really did dry our clothes, no panels or turbine required. 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. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief.
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, 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 used a push mower that ran on human power.
We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a gym to run on treadmills.
But she’s right.
We didn’t have the green thing back then.
When we were thirsty we drank from a tap instead of drinking from a plastic bottle of water shipped from the other side of the world.
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 when the blade got dull.
She’s right.
We didn’t have the green thing back then.
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.
We had one electrical socket 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 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest fish and chip shop.
Yes she’s right.
We didn’t have the green thing back then.
Forego a little convenience.
Wash a container.
Climb the stairs.
Hang the washing.
Turn off the TV.
Drink from the tap.
Put away the phone. 
Gain a little well-being and know we’re doing a little less harm.
Every little bit counts.
Adapted from an anonymous email.

One thought on “Bring back the green thing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *