A friend sent us an essay called Old Folks Perspective on the Environment. Like many essays circulating on social media, the essay, also called The Green Thing, has made the rounds, since at least 2011.
The earliest reference we could find online dated from November 2011. Bob McDonald in his Quirks & Quarks column for CBC Radio-Canada said he had received the essay in his email, so who knows if it was old even then.
With a constant chorus of, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ in my earlier days,” the woman quoted is addressing the concerns of a “young clerk,” who claims, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”
Not so fast. In the essay, the old woman tells the young clerk about the days of walking rather than driving; of beverage delivery and bottles returned for refill; of the use of cloth diapers rather than disposable; of newspapers recycled into packing material rather than the use of plastic peanuts or bubble wrap; of hand-me-down clothing rather than new; of refilling ink pens and replacing razor blades and of owning only a single television.
Read the essay in its entirety and then ‘fess up. How many of those old-fashioned, new-fashioned things did you live with and remember?