This bit of commentary dropped into my in-box this morning.
I read it - and then I read it again - then I sat and stared at it, trying to work out why it pissed me off so much.
Have a read and see what you think Ã¯Â¿Â½ then IÃ¯Â¿Â½ll come back to you at the end.:
Checking out at the supermarket, the young cashier suggested to the older woman
that she should bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags werenÃ¯Â¿Â½t
good for the environment.
The woman apologized and explained, Ã¯Â¿Â½We didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have this green thing back
in my earlier days.Ã¯Â¿Â½
The cashier responded, Ã¯Â¿Â½ThatÃ¯Â¿Â½s our problem today. Your generation did not
care enough to save our environment for future generations.Ã¯Â¿Â½
She was right Ã¯Â¿Â½ our generation didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, cool drink 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. 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 didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have an escalator in every shop and
office building. We walked to the grocery store and didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t climb into a
300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the babyÃ¯Â¿Â½s nappies because we didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have the
throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts Ã¯Â¿Â½ 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 didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house Ã¯Â¿Â½ 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 county of Yorkshire . In the kitchen,
we blended and stirred by hand because we didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have electric machines to
do everything for us. 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 didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t 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 didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t need to go to a health club to run on
treadmills that operate on electricity.
But sheÃ¯Â¿Â½s right. We didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have the green thing back then.
We drank water from a fountain or a tap when we were thirsty instead of
demanding a plastic bottle flown in from another country. We accepted that
a lot of food was seasonal and didnt expect that to be bucked by flying
it thousands of air miles around the world. We actually cooked food that
didnt come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrap and we could even wash
our own vegetables and chop our own salad.
But we didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the tram or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to
school or walked instead of turning their mothers 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 didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t need a computerized
gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space
in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
But isnÃ¯Â¿Â½t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks
were just because we didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t have the green thing back then?
Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in
conservation from a smart-ass young person.
Perhaps its the sancimonious tone of the piece - after all, it does come over as some holier-than-thou grey-panther propaganda. And re-reading it, I did recognise that lost world; yes, in my family we washed and returned pop and milk bottles, only had one TV, drank from water fountains in the park and did real cooking, etc.
But the penny eventually dropped; the person I was really pissed off with was the person who'd had the imagination to help to create this wasteful, careless world of ours; with our TVs and stand-by buttons and e-gadgets and throw-away culture ... because that person is me - the old geezer in the supermarket queue.
Greenwashing: a guidline for good behaviour
The elephant box in the room
What Lighting Designers Should be Looking For . . . and Asking For
The Children's Fire
Products That Last - Redux
Products That Last - Review No.3
Products That Last - Review No.2
Products That Last - Review No.1
Products That Last
Talking about Waste - as we were . . .
Sustainability - They Seek it Here, They Seek it There . . .
Sustainability - the core message
The Life and Times of the LED - a series in ten parts
Sustainability: They Seek it Here; They Seek it There . . .
John Bullock writes a regular column for lighting magazines. You can find all of the archived pieces here.
BLOGS - LIGHTING DESIGN
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HOME LIGHTING CONSULTANT
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BLOGS - CPD RIBA CORE PROGRAMME 2015
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BLOGS - SUSTAINABILITY
John Bullock believes that the UK lighting industry needs to embrace a sustainable way of delivering good quality product through good design, fabrication and end-of-life management.
BLOGS - LIGHTING HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Lighting has a vital role to play in our health and wellbeing.
CONDUIT (6) - Lighting for Winter Gardens
CONDUIT 5: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (2)
FX Magazine: Lighting Focus - Sustainability (Issue 258)
CONDUIT 4: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (1)
Can Smart Lighting Save The Planet?
CONDUIT 3: Home Lighting - The Bathroom
Can Lighting Save Us From Ourselves . . . NO!
CONDUIT 2: Home Lighting - The Dining Room