The Green Thing

I received this e-mail from my daughter last week and I thought I would share it with you.


The Green Thing

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

“We didn’t have the green thing in back in my day.”

That’s right, they didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, pop bottles, and beer bottles to the store.  The store sent them back to the plant to be sterilized and refilled, using the same bottles over and over.  So they really were recycled.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

In her day, they walked upstairs, because they didn’t have an elevator 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.  There were actually neighborhood grocery stores that one could walk to easily.

But they didn’t have the green thing back 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 gobbling machine burning up 220 volts–wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  Kids wore hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But 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 Montana.  In the kitchen they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have electric machines to do everything for you.  When they packed a fragile item to send in the mail, they used wadded up newspaper to cushion it, not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

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 planted white clover in their lawn to provide nitrogen instead of using chemicals from Miracle-grow or Scotts.  They exercised by working, so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on a treadmill that operates on electricity.

But  they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

They drank from a glass or a drinking fountain when they were thirsty instead of a plastic bottle every time they wanted a drink of water.  They refilled pens with ink and replaced razor blades in a razor instead of throwing them away.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to where ever they wanted to go and there was only 1 car per household.  There were only 3 or less electrical outlets per room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space to find the nearest restaurant.

But they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.


Well, this blog is about green gardening, so what can gardeners do to become greener?

I thought you would never ask.





Use native plants that, after establishment, need no supplementary water.

Native plants need no fertilizer–which is made out of natural gas.

Native plants need no pesticides–which are poison.

Buy plants raised locally–support local nurseries and Garden Centers, thereby eliminating huge transportation costs that use oil.

Share your plants with your neighbors.  Have a plant exchange.

Organize a Garden Walk in your neighborhood.


These are photos from our neighborhood Bungalow and Blossom Walk, summer 2010.



Decrease the size of your lawn, so you don’t need to use a gasoline-fueled lawnmower.

Don’t use any power tools in the garden.

Stop pruning your shrubs into meatalls–it’s incredibly ugly.









Rake your leaves with a rake, not a leaf blower.  Make a party of it with all members of a family involved.The little ones really enjoy jumping in the leaves.

Use your leaves for mulch and fertilizer as nature intended.  Rake them under shrubs and trees.










Plant a vegetable garden.  During WWII, Americans grew 40% of their vegetables.  Let’s do that again.

If you don’t have room for a vegetable garden, buy from local farm stands and farmer’s markets.

Any other suggestions?



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