My great friend Antonio, who lives in Monterrey, Mexico (see post of March 12, 2012), and I were communing about how conservation worked when we were young (he is a few years younger than me). It was pretty simple.
Bottles were returned for a deposit – then reused. Clothes were dried on a line – by solar and wind power. Not 220 volt dryers. Diapers were washed and reused. We had one television in the house with a screen the size of a placemat. There were no “stadium sized” t.v.’s. Our moms used an egg beater (there was no blender). And when we shipped Christmas presents, our parents crumpled newspaper for packing. There were no plastic “peanuts” or bubble wrap. We cut the grass with a hand mower. Wardrobes were pretty modest. No “new models” except hand-me-downs. There were no plastic water bottles (which today are made, used in a minute and thrown out by the trillions). There was one water glass by the kitchen and bathroom sinks — that everyone used. Rinse to clean – drink. And stores and businesses had water fountains. Thirsty? Use the water fountain. And dad changed razor blades in his Schick razor. Nothing disposable. . . .
Have we become lazy and complacent? You tell me. We hear the political trumpets sounding about saving the environment and how we must look forward and not back. But I do think that looking backward – at least in some areas – could sure provide a lesson for looking ahead.