Alagi Yorro Jallow

(Jollofnews)- Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The cashier responded: “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save the environment for future generations.”
She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so they could use the same bottles over and over.

Yes, they really were recycling. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen. And we replaced the razor blades in the razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But, we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up the stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every building. We walked to the store and didn’t climb into a 300-hp machine every time we had to go down the lane. 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 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back then.

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 a double mattress.
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.

When we packaged a fragile item to send by post, we used old folded newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to trim the lawn.
We pushed the lawn 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 water from a bottle, terracotta container or 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 didn’t expect it to be flown from thousands of miles across the world.
We cooked food that didn’t come out of a packet, tin or plastic wrap and we even washed our own veggies and chopped our own salad.But, we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, we took the tram or a bus.
And our kids rode bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not a complete collection 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 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?