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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Saving the Planet

Recycling is One Way
There has been a big movement to save the environment (the planet) and it’s all wonderful but I take offense that some would point a finger at my generation as the ones that would cause all the problems society is facing now.
All the slogans in the world are well and good, but actions are much better than all talk and slogans.  A very small item that comes to mind immediately is the basic need to drink water.  My generations used to drink water form drinking fountains, somewhere along the way a marketing genius started a revolution, and duped the population into being cool and run around with a bottled water in hand.
The numbers are in for 2012, and they are shocking. The Beverage Marketing Corporation, which tracks sales and consumption of beverages, is reporting that sales of bottled water grew nearly 7 percent between 2011 and 2012, with consumption reaching a staggering 30.8 gallons per person. And since I (and some of you) consume almost zero bottled water every year, there are people out there drinking far more than the average.  Thirty-six years ago, this industry didn’t exist. Americans drank fewer than two gallons of bottled water per year, and almost all of that was in the form of water from big office coolers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                -[Peter Gleick is author of “Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water” published in 2010 by Island Press, Washington DC, available from Amazon or Island Press or your local bookstore.]
The information on bottled water is just the tip of the iceberg, here is some more proof that we did the right thing we just weren’t marketing it, we lived it.
Back in the “real” environment friendly days, 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.  That was real recycling, but I don’t think that word was in our vocabulary as presently used until late 60’s and the first Earth Day in 1970 (April 22, 1970).  Grocery stores used to bag our groceries in brown paper bags, that we would put to use on among other things bagging our household trash, and covering our school issued books (book covers) to keep them new looking for the next user.
Back then we walked up the stairs because we didn’t have an escalator at every store and office building.  We also didn’t start our car every time we had to go two blocks, we walked to the grocery store.  We washed the baby’s cloth diapers because we didn’t have the throw away kind.  We hung the diapers out to dry in the real solar and wind power not the electric dryer.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers and sisters, not always new clothes like today’s children.  Most houses if lucky had one television set for the whole house, not one in every room, and most affordable television sets were the size of a handkerchief.
In the good old days we blended and stirred things in the kitchen by hand because we didn’t have all the power gobbling appliances of today.  When we did package a fragile item to send by mail we would pack it with wadded old newspaper, not plastic bubble wrap, and Styrofoam.  To hear people say it we were the ones that were destroying the environment.  The best is yet to come…..

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