Being Green Before It Was The Responsible Thing To Do

by Curt Kovener

Today we are encouraged to recycle, re-use and re-purpose to save the environment. Products and leaders encourage us to “Go Green”.
But for we children growing up the 1950’s & 60’s, we weren’t green: it was a way of life.
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 over and over. So they really were recycled.
Some of us road our bikes along county roads picking up bottles that others had foolishily toss out of their vehicle (aluminum cans weren’t around yet) and selling them to the local grocer to get enough money to buy our own bottle of pop.
Plastic containers were pretty much unheard of way back then.
So maybe we didn’t have the green thing back in our day, but we recycled before recycling was cool.
We walked or rode our bicycles to the grocery store and didn’t climb into and “energy efficient” vehicle every time we had to go two blocks.
Back then the baby’s diapers were washed at home because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. And after the baby was toilet trained, the family had a supply of dusting and polishing cloths.
We dried clothes on a line, not in an Energy Star efficient 220 volt clothes dryer. Wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.
Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not the yard sale kind but passed down from family to family. When they were worn out, they were re-purposed into cleaning and polishing rags like those diapers. Sometimes our grandmothers used them to make quilts to keep us warm in the winter.
Back then, we had one TV (of the black & white variety…try to explain that to youngsters today) in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small viewing area, not a screen the size of Montana.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam peanuts or plastic bubble wrap.
We drank water from a fountain, the tap or even a hose when we were thirsty instead of using a plastic bottle every time we wanted a drink of water.
Our Dads replaced the razor blades in their razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
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.
Back then I guess it was easier being green. We didn’t know any better.