This has been floating around Facebook recently and it made me think about how well the knowledge of history that's so much of Dieselpunk ties into today's issues.
Anyone over the age of 35 should read this, as I copied this from a friends status
9 January, 2012
Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days“.
The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations“.
She was right about one thing–our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day, here’s what I remembered we did have….
Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop 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 repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But 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-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 nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 240 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 Wales. In the kitchen, we blended & 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 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 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 water 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 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 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 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza 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?
This is an interesting article, Larry. It shows how 'green' life used to be, without even realising it. I could fill a book with tales like this, but will just remember a couple of examples.
At the grocer's shop, before the supermarket became all powerful, one asked for flour, sugar, biscuits and other commodities, which the grocer weighed out and placed in paper bags. These the shopper would put into her string bag or shopping basket to take home. At home the goods were tipped into suitable cannisters in the kitchen and the bags shaken clean then carefully folded and put away for future use. The main use for those pre-used bags was for children's school lunches, but even then we were expected to bring the empty bag home each day until it had been used for the whole week.
A useful source of pocket money for youngsters was the collection and sale of old newspapers. Not only the newspapers from the family home, but those that could be cajoled from friends and neighbours. The bundle of read newspapers so collected were then taken to the butcher's shop or the fish and chip shop, and the collector rewarded with a small payment of so much per pound of papers. In both of those shops, when a customer made a purchase, the meat or fish and chips, were first placed on a new clean piece of paper, then finally wrapped in newspaper. It seems that health and safety laws have now stopped the practice, and in so doing have deprived youngsters of a small income, and increased costs for the retailer. I have never ever heard of anyone becoming sick because they ate food that had been wrapped in newspaper. Oh, and the then 3rd hand paper, unless it was too soggy was put aside to light the kitchen fire next day.
I was brought up in a household that saved and reused anything and everything that was reuseable, and I continue to do so to this day. But of course we didn't have that 'green thing' when I was a lad!
Very interesting, Rover. Thanks for sharing those memories with us.
The part about the razor made me think about something...
My razor has disposable blades that (with the frequency i use them) last for a year or two. I don;t know if I have ever seen a female razor that wasn't 100% disposable. Is it just something that I have not noticed?
I'm from this new generation of weird self-hating hippie-things. I use a push mower and my grandpa uses a gas mower.
also about the razor thing,we had uranium glass razor hones to resharped razor blades.we also had straight razors and Rolls razors which used one blade for years.