That “Green Thing”…

Hi there folks. I just read this awesome article, and wanted to share it with you.  I copied it from the”Backdoor Survival” blog by the SurvivalWoman.  I have not asked to re-post this, but figure by acknowledging the source, and back-linking, I will be forgiven for “sharing”…  Enjoy the read.

The old-fashioned, old fogey rules of sustainability

greenThe following piece has been circulating the web for the past few days.  I thought it was worth repeating since it describes a not-so-long ago time when the term “green” referred to the color of your grass or the money in your pocket (green stuff).

As I was reading this, it occurred to me that many of these old fangled ways of doing things fall right in line with what each of us would be required to do in a crisis or emergency with limited sources of power, few goods available on the shelves, and a cost of living so high that there was little left for discretionary spending.

Perhaps it is time to redefine “green” in old-fashioned terms.

“The green thing is not so new”

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its day. Back then, they returned their 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 they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer’s day. In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they 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, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for them.

In summer, they slept with the windows open, perhaps even out on sleeping porches, because most homes and apartments lacked air conditioning. Some people still live in those archeological relics in most cities today.  When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.  But she’s right; they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink  instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But they 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 rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they 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 the old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then?

Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!


Wow! That pretty much says it.

I remember the days when we would wrap groceries in newspaper at the market; When we would take our milk pails to the dairy; When we reused our vegetable crates to pack and carry our produce; And we had no air conditioning! 

Yip, in the winter it was cold, and in the summer it was hot, and yet, we played outside and enjoyed every moment of it – hot or cold.

Our small contribution to the environment and the budget, is to limit our use of the Air Conditioner as much as possible. Whenever possible we use the windows and blinds to control the conditions in the house. When we do turn on the Air Conditioner, we set the thermostat to keep the temperature at 62 Degrees in the winter, and 82 degrees in the summer.  By doing this, we probably use about 1/3 of the amount of energy that most of the other folks on our street do.

We also recycle in all ways possible.  I’m baffled every time I put out the trash for pickup:  I have one rectangular recycling tub and 1x 13 gallon trash bag for our whole family of four (2 adults and 2 kids).  However, the neighbors up and down the street drag out several HUGE, wheeled trash bins each!  Where does all the trash come from?! And worse yet, where does all that trash go?!

It’s simple folks, minimalism is the key. The less we use the less we wast and the less we abuse the planet.  Think on that and let me know your PointaView in the comment area below.

Till next time keep it “Green”!  🙂


About Johan Bester

I am a 5th Generation African of mixed European descent - born in South Africa; And currently living it up in the USA till the Dear Lord takes me somewhere else some day... I am happily married for life, and my aim is to be a successful follower of Jesus. Despite being a very experienced realist, I do have moments of idealism when I believe in good and in people. I believe in hard work, right and wrong, taking care of what needs to get done right now, commonsense, “doing the right thing ‘cause it’s the right thing to do”, preparing for a “rainy day”, and watching your own back, amongst other.
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One Response to That “Green Thing”…

  1. Thanks so much for sharing my post on your site. Backdoor Survival is out there for anyone to share as long as there is an acknowledgment back to the source!

    — Gaye

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