This post was inspired by Robatoy's post re energy waste using single
Some years ago I read the results of a study conducted by a local
power company. They installed a TV camera to record which members of a
household made what adjustments to the thermostat.
The results, as would be expected, showed the bill payer was able to
be comfortable at a higher temperature in the months requiring air
conditioning and a lower temperature in the months needing warming.
The remainder of the family needed more energy expenditures in both
the heating and cooling seasons.
No big surprise here, it all seems to depend on who's ox is gored.
In the line at the store, the cashier was telling an elderly woman
she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't
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."
/The elderly woman 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
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
in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store
didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go
/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
machine burning up 220 volts, wind and solar power really did dry the
clothes. Kids often got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers,
sisters, cousins ortheir mom's friends, not always brand-new clothing.
/But that old lady is right, they didn't have the green thing back in
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 New Brunswick . In the kitchen, they blended and
stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do it
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
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 from
plastic bottles every time they had a drink of water. They refilled
their writing pens with ink instead of throwing them in the garbage
buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor
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
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
a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites
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?*/
Part of the trick is getting people to do the right thing even when they
don't have a direct financial interest. For example, if there were no laws
against littering would you toss a burger wrapper on the sidewalk, or would
you walk fifty feet to a trash container because were you raised not to be a
slob? I'd like to think most of us will generally do the right thing
because we know it's the right thing, not because it puts (or leaves) a
dollar in our pocket, but not everybody feels that way.
Most of us would today. Years ago it was common and acceptable to toss
candy wrappers and cigarette butts out the car window.
A few hundred years ago it was acceptable to toss the contents of you
chamber pot out the window and onto the sidewalk too. Discover channel had
a series called Filthy Cities a few weeks back. It is amazing how us
civilized humans used to dump all sorts of filth in the streets.
The question is did the public's view change first, followed by the law, or
did the law lead to changed views? I suspect it took the force of law with
unpleasant fines to bring that about. Ditto with drunk driving, that was
largely winked at too until the law gained some teeth on the issue. So it
appears that quite often we need unpleasant consequences to make doing the
right thing a cultural habit, until it becomes instinctive for most people.
A famous phrase out of European literature of those
times was "Yield the wall!". The safest position in a
multi-storey city was right alongside the wall as inhabitants
did not want to paint their own buildings with dumped garbage.
Accounts from the period show that violent encounters
were not unusual when oncoming parties were both
determined to maintain the favored position.
A sewage system is worth a lot of policemen and plenty
Rob, I didn't see your post on "the green thing" - the old occasional
problem of your posts showing up blank on my news reader (Pan). But
luckily I could read it when Willshak responded to it.
All I can say is Bravo!
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
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