Thursday, April 28, 2011

Being Green

There are various websites, Hoaxslayer and Urban Legends for instance, that examine urban myths and claims.  The leading and most highly regarded is (read as snopes dot com), named after a family of characters in the works of Nobel prizewinning writer William Faulkner.

In 1998 a Snopes contributor, Patricia Chapin, coined the term “glurge” to refer to the inspirational and/or syrupy, corny, kitschy mass-mailed emails that keep arriving in your email inbox. They often feature sad-eyed puppies, sweet-faced children, angels, dying mothers, or miraculous rescues brought about by prayer They also frequently distort facts and history to support the comments in the message.

Chapin selected the name “glurge” because it sounded like the retching sensation one gets on reading such emails.

I mention this because Byter Leo, who sends and forwards about 500 emails per day, sent me a glurge which has some  valid comments. I don’t agree with all of them but some points hit the mark. . .

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologised to her and explained,

"We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

That's right, they didn't have the green thing in her day. Back then, they returned their milk bottles, Coke bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled, using the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn't have the green thing back her 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's right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby's nappies 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 she's 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 pizza dish, not a screen the size of the state of Victoria. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for you. When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up 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 tap when they were thirsty, instead of using a  plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled 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 bus or train and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus, instead of turning their mums 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 computerised gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 kilometres out in space in order to find the nearest pizza place.

But they didn't have the green thing back then!

I guess we were ahead of our time.

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