Climate change: are adults doing ‘nothing’?

| 14/02/2020 | 72 Comments

Tammy Kelderman writes: Greta Thunberg, Swedish teen climate change activist, and her young followers claim that the adults have done “nothing” to help curb climate change in any meaningful way. It has been at least three decades since climate change first became widely known as a threat to humanity and we are all on the brink of an irreversible climate catastrophe with no real solutions being acted on. Is Greta right? Are we adults really doing “nothing”? Is it time we perhaps self–reflect and ask, “What are we really doing to help curb climate change?”

According to a 2017 joint study by Swedish and Canadian geographers, the following are among the most effective ways individuals can mitigate climate change: flying less, switching to a fuel-efficient or electric vehicle, having one less child, eating a more plant-based diet, and buying green energy, such as solar.

Source: Wynes & Nicholas (2017). The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions.

If we cannot personally check one or more of these actions off our list, Greta and her followers may just have a point.

There are some lifestyle changes we adults need to get serious about and make if we want to say we are taking tangible climate action:

Fly less

Yes, we can cut our pleasure flights down to two or less a year, if we plan ahead. According to the German non-profit organization, Atmosfir, a return flight from New York to London emits more CO2 per passenger than the average person living in Paraguay emits in an entire year. If you are a business traveller, book more video conferences and buy carbon offsets when you do fly. These two actions can be highly effective in curbing CO2 emissions. Get into the habit of paying for offsets when you book your flight. There are several reputable global carbon offsetting organisations out there. We even have one right here in the Cayman Islands (see here).

Electric vehicles

Several dealerships on Grand Cayman sell electric vehicles. Imagine never having to go to a gas station again! You can plug your car in at home as well as at 15 free charging stations around the island. The distance ranges are on average between 230-320 miles, which is more than enough for Grand Caymanians. EVs can be cost-prohibitive for some, however, so another alternative is trading in a low-mileage vehicle for one that gets at least 30 miles to the gallon.

Have one less child

If we think about it, one human uses up a lot of resources on this planet, from diapers to clothing to food, and all the things we grow up to need and want. It may sound too simple (and childless people can consider themselves environmentalists already) but having one less child can save 58.6 tonnes of planet-warming gases per year. It’s the easiest way you can curb climate change without really doing anything.

Eat a plant-based diet

Yes, we can all eat less beef and cheese! It’s better for our health too. It’s not necessary to go completely vegan. Just start with “meatless Monday”. A lot of carnivores try this and find it surprisingly easy to find delicious substitutes. Indian and Thai foods are excellent go-tos if time is limited and giving up flavour is not an option.

Green energy

Residents of the Cayman Islands can buy solar panels for their homes duty free. Doing so helps reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels like diesel, gasoline, jet kerosene and propane, which currently provide nearly 99% of the islands’ energy.

Some commercial buildings are 100% solar and geothermally operated. Patronize businesses who use renewables. Encourage more to do the same.

Flying less, switching to a fuel-efficient or electric vehicle, having one less child, eating a more plant-based diet, buying solar panels and encouraging more renewable energy programs, if we can each check off at least one of these things, Greta Thunberg and her army of post-millennials cannot say that we adults are doing “nothing” to prevent a climate change crisis. We are making everyday, tangible lifestyle changes to help protect the future… for all of us.

Tammy Kelderman is an environmental sociologist and founder of Cayman Eco, a local environmental non-profit organisation.


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Comments (72)

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  1. Crab Claw says:

    The eco-idiots are worst than the taliban’s, when they are finish with us they are going to put us right back into the dark ages, have you seen how much land is wasted to plant solar panels, how much toxic chemicals is used to great these batteries, what will happen when these batteries will need to be discarded after use, there is ways to bypass fossil fuel, but forcing EV and toxic batteries isn’t the way.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Mr. Crab Claw,
      Your concerns are legit. However..
      Certain batteries can be recovered completely.
      If the panels serve a use such as a roof or shade, then the space is not wasted.

      You challenge those of us who are concerned to design efficient systems and quite rightly so.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Climate Change caused by humans is a myth. This Nobel Laureate took the time to debunk the “theory”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq3lvKj7qmk.

    CNS note: The link to this video has been posted here in the comment section many times before, always stressing that he is a Nobel Laureate. The video features a presentation by 90-year-old physicist, Ivar Giaever, who shared the Nobel Prize in 1973 for their discovery of electron tunnelling in superconductors. Like most other scientists who are climate deniers, he has never published any peer-reviewed work in the area of climate science. And like most high profile climate change deniers, he has strong links with institutions funded by the Mercers and the Koch brothers, etc, who pour many many millions into promoting climate change skepticism to protect their billions.

    For more on funding for climate change skepticism, read The Party That Ruined the Planet by Paul Krugman, another Nobel Prize winner. This is an excellent read that also debunks much of the stuff below.

    The 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was shared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Al Gore “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change”.

    William Nordhaus was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics for “integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis”. Also note the Mainau Declaration on Climate Change signed in 2015 by 36 Nobel Laureates.

    And since you like videos, see what the Pentagon says on the subject, which also sets out more reasons why it is vital to actually study this. No, it’s not just about grants, a really tired argument by the dwindling number of climate change skeptics. OK, continue….

    Science is not done by consensus. It is done by proof. When Pons and Fleishman proposed Cold Fusion, 500 groups attempted to replicate the experiment. When the experiment was not replicable, the whole idea was tossed out. That is how science works. Running a computer simulation of the climate is not a proof.

    As a scientist and mathematician, I am amazed that a certain part of the scientific profession is pushing this obvious hoax. It is true that there are plenty of research grants to “prove” climate change, and it is difficult to get funding to argue against it. This is due to the success of politicians in taxing people based on an unprovable idea. However, scientists are supposed to be dispassionate observers of the universe, attempting to find out the truth, not money grubbers. History will not be kind to the charlatans that are pushing this theory.

    For young people, there are much better areas to focus on in changing the world. Deep Learning in computer science has recently made several breakthroughs. One of which is in the area of protein folding, an area it is necessary to understand before designing effective drugs. Like Steve Jobs said: “Let’s go invent tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened yesterday” (and the bs climate change distraction)

    • Anonymous says:

      People believe what they choose to believe. Some choose to believe lies and some choose truth.
      At the end of the day, everyone knows where they stand regardless of the flowery rhetoric.
      It takes a lot of personal dishonesty and a broken moral to promulgate lies.
      Ultimately the truth will come out and everyone will be judged on their own words and actions. The violent horde bullying mentality will be fully exposed and goodness will return to this earth once again.
      The sooner the better. All we need is truth.
      Fortunately compasses can be fixed, it just takes courage.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Adults are victims to this just as much as the younger generation, the real enemy are the governments that could care less if we all die off due to all this.

    • Anonymous says:

      Humans, for the most part, are shallow, comfort-driven, hypocritical creatures that don’t even see the importance of being good stewards of their own body.

  4. Rick says:

    **Cruise ships can emit as much particulate matter as a million cars every day and the air quality on deck can be as bad as the world’s most polluted cities, according to a new investigation.
    By Sam Morgan | EURACTIV.com Aug 20, 2019

    **Based on an estimated total number of about 25.8 million cruise ship passengers in 2017, it can be estimated that the average cruise ship passenger emits 0.82 tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent for their cruise. This is equivalent to a return air trip from London to Tokyo in economy class.
    © Copyright 2017 Griffith Institute for Tourism

    **Cruise ships have often been described as ‘floating cities’, and as environmental groups have pointed out that they are just as if not more polluting. A passenger’s carbon footprint triples in size when taking a cruise and the emissions produced can contribute to serious health issues. On top of the pollution caused by their exhaust fumes, cruise ships have been caught discarding trash, fuel, and sewage directly into the ocean.
    Last year, the German watchdog Nabu surveyed 77 cruise ships and found that all but one used toxic heavy fuel oil that the group described as “dirtiest of all fuels”. This came a year after the same watchdog blew the whistle on German cruise operators for failing to adhere to their own air quality safety standards. The data collected reveals that standing on the deck of a cruise ship is similar to being in one of the world’s most polluted cities, with health experts warning of the issues surrounding poor air quality.
    James Ellsmoor Former Contributor Apr 26, 2019,
    Under 30
    A Forbes 30U30 entrepreneur and founder of the Virtual Island Summit.

    **The author states, “Have one less child
    If we think about it, one human uses up a lot of resources on this planet, from diapers to clothing to food, and all the things we grow up to need and want. It may sound too simple (and childless people can consider themselves environmentalists already) but having one less child can save 58.6 tonnes of planet-warming gases per year. It’s the easiest way you can curb climate change without really doing anything.

    China has tried this and it failed so they have changed their policy. I believe that Greta is an only child so if this is a good policy she might not be alive to scream at the past generations that have given her the opportunity to live as she does. I say this not to be nasty, just that all actions have consequences. Perhaps, it will be one of those “one less children” that will be the next; Imhotep, da Vinci, Tesla, Edison, Einstein, Emtage, Bath, Carver, Jemison, Curie, Blackwell, Goodall, Doudna, and on, and on. If you don’t recognize all the names just look them up. Male, female, black , white, etc., that have helped through science and engineering to give us a better life.

    Without these children growing up the world would be a very difficult place to live. Is there work to be done, yes absolutely, but it is far better than life when our grandparents, great grand parents and forebears lived. Ask them if you are lucky enough to still have them around.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You had me until you mentioned Greta Thunberg.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Solar panels generally create between 300-500 watts at peak, with no clouds, between 10:00am and 3:00pm when the sun is directly above the panel. The rest of the time, it produces next to no energy.

    This is probably the worst possible way to create energy! This is WHY cars, trains, buses, planes, motorcycles and just about any transpiration known to man CANNOT USE SOLAR! Flying a solar plane made of paper means absolutely nothing in the real world.

    Solar does not have the power to power anything meaningful, and this is just more horse shit peddled by tofu eating let’s just feelgood about ourselves anti-science libtards

    And what has Great _actually_ accomplish except whine and blame? This garbage about climate change and rising seas is prevalent EVERYWHERE and constantly being peddled by the doomsday religious zealots. So you can’t even say she’s bringing awareness..

    No, she just ranting because she’s been indoctrinated into the global warming cult.

    Any by the way, you can take you plant based diet and shove it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear, did you really write that? Hangover or forgot the wife’s valentine flowers?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes I wrote that because I don’t like the constant bullshit and fear mongering. WTF are adult doing about changing the climate? If you actually took a few moments to contemplate the sheer idiocy of that statement, perhaps you would understand the magnitude of the antiscience bullshit going on here.

        This is why we call it a religion. You need faith to deal with climate change.

        • Anonymous says:

          Faith, or 40+ years of empirical data that reinforce support for the scientific consensus? There are only differing fine print details on the precise date of the tipping point, that outta come years after the point of no return, and long before sea level rise, that deniers keep pointing to as their denial touchstone. That’s because they don’t understand how this works, or how it could possibly affect their (hopefully limited) progeny.

          • Anonymous says:

            1 – What are the correct temperatures of the globe?

            2- What is the correct sea level of the earth?

            3- Show me where the seas have been rising, with SCIENCE and demonstrable FACTS, not some leftists peddling FUD. NOT infrared some GPS pictures. Show me someone who has actually measured the sea levels directly and can PROVE they have risen by up to 6 inches in the last 50 years. Because I can tell you as a fact they haven’t. I have been on the water for longer than that paying very close attention to sea levels and I can you that complete and utter bullshit.

            4- IF Co2 causes global warming, then WHY does the Co2 levels LAG global temperatures by as much as 700 years? Let me spell this out for you. FIRST the global temperatures rises, THEN up to 700 years LATER. The Co2 rises. How do you explain this FACT (Waiting for the links to debunked articles here)

            5- Please provide the exact measurements of how solar radiation(s) affect earth’s temperatures. Ditto volcanic and oceanic volcanic activity

            6- Current Co2 level2 are around 420ppm, they were as high as 7000ppm during thew Cambrian period and live was THRIVING! What has brought the Co2 level down, without Greta and the Paris accord?

            7- 30% of all methane produced are by wetlands and the ocean. The rest is by energy and plant based foods. Ftists are trying to tell you that the natural process of decomposition of carbon (all life) is somehow destroying the earth that’s been around for billions of years. Let that sink in.

            This is what climate change is really about. Wake up people!

            https://time.com/5783298/carbon-tax-jp-morgan/

            https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/matthew-lau-costs-of-the-carbon-tax-to-canadians-are-much-higher-than-ottawa-is-letting-on

            I can post 100’s of these.

            • Anonymous says:

              It’s typical for coddled oil-belt Canadians, enjoying their privilege, to understand the time scale estimates on how this unfolds. Sea levels are rising now (avg 1 inch in last 100 years), but that’s not the current emergency. We have 60mln displaced people already, just in MENA, and it will get worse, but even that’s not necessarily the emergency we are talking about.

              The emergency is personality related. It’s pretending that: (a) climate change isn’t cyclical and always happening through geological time, (b) that this time, it is being propelled some est 20,000 years sooner than expected, mainly driven by human stewardship factors we mismanaged (with warehouses of proof) (c) we might as well continue to keep the party rolling and enjoy our comforts because this selfish generation will all be long dead when the food crisis hits, (our) fresh water depletes, seas levels become problematic (for us), equatorial regions desertify, and mass migration (affects us).

    • Anonymous says:

      Then why are solar panels so successful in the UK and much of Western Europe? I have 12v solar powered back up lighting that uses a small car battery and a solar panel about 10″x14″. Even on a dull day that still generates enough power to trickle-charge the battery.

    • Anonymous says:

      This mind is closed. Got it. See you at the cull!

    • Anonymous says:

      You kept my attention until “This garbage about climate change and rising seas…”

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think anyone is arguing that monopolistic industrial electric power generation from diesel fuel is efficient. Most understand it could definitely be cleaner sourced power. If we were to remove passion from the discussion for a sec, and add in highest 15% assumptions on discount cable transmission losses, a typical full 30kWH Electric Vehicle battery change would “cost” 10 equivalent liters of diesel fuel, or 2.20 imperial gallons diesel. Diesel also has 15% more power per liter than regular gasoline, so equates to roughly 11.5 liters or 2.52 imp gallon pump gas. Even by those metrics, the EV gets much better range than the fossil car, even applying “ludicrous” option at every opportunity. On an ebike, it’s maybe 100:1 in favour. That’s not whining, it’s just science. We could talk science all day.

      • Anonymous says:

        11:45 I’m not disputing your figures but could we have that in proper English please – the way you’re explaining it doesn’t make much sense.

        • Anonymous says:

          Apologies if it was hard to follow. The electricity created at the generator, has to travel distance through power lines, transformers, and there are accepted losses along the way, eventually it gets there to your wall outlet to charge your battery. The explanation above applied the maximum 8-15% line resistivity (electrical drag) and transmission loss. If one had PV panels upstairs, or a solar condenser, there’d be much shorter transmission distance and loss. The battery will also have some innate permeability (current leakage) and loose power capacitation (ability/speed to recharge) over time. Generously factoring these losses, and CUC’s fuel costs, it’s still lower for the environment and your wallet than the gas or diesel vehicle. There are also contrarian arguments about REE sourcing for EVs, which, valid as they may be to some extent, also apply to the emission catalytic converters, magnets, and other components of the fossil vehicle, as well as the lifetime of fuel additives that go into protecting the combustion engine and cleaning injectors etc.

        • Anonymous says:

          You should do. They’re wrong.

      • Anonymous says:

        CUC generates 20kWh per gallon of diesel, your ‘ludicrous’ EV does 2 miles/kWh so even ignoring transmission losses or whatever you’re on about, your EV is equivalent to a 40mpg diesel car. Without catalytic converters or particulate filters…

        • Anonymous says:

          We should really question the dirty diesel power generation here, when we could have solar concentrators on smaller footprint than current PV acreage, or limitless thermal chemical generation from adjacent sea trench. Our leadership are mentally stuck somewhere far in the past.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The problem with Greta is yes she shouts a clear message but offers no solutions. Everyone knows these things are bad and when people put a child front and center to say it’s bad of course people take notice but do you really think that’s enough to curb the desire for the billions of dollars the mega corporations make that will be lost in the retooling and redesigning and the implementation of green solutions (none of which she offers) of factories, etc? Yes it needs to be done but as the saying money talks and bullshit walks and no matter how loud she shouts, mega corps are just going to smile, pat her on the head and tell her what a good job she’s doing and carry on business as usual.

  8. Anonymous says:

    –> RIDE A BIKE <–
    With over 300 days of sunshine a year, many of us could simply ride where we need to go on a bicycle or ebike, including kids to and from school, if there were purpose-maintained corridors with consistent bike lanes, and not filled with broken beer bottles, rock spill and other debris. This shouldn't even be on the "ask" list, as we've been asking for them for almost two decades. The NRA plan from 2015 finally included budget for provision of lanes, but the Minister failed to deliver them. We need to FIRE the people that haven't created the budgeted infrastructure, and replace them with people that will GET THE JOB DONE. We've already paid for them.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem is NOT Greta.

      30 Years before Greta Thunberg: The girl that moved the UN.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOp5ATk_rlM

      Listen to the Children – Severn Cullis-Suzuki’s famous speech on the environment (1992)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGdS8ts63Ck

    • Anonymous says:

      ride a bile and get killed..Cayman Kind

      • Anonymous says:

        The point is that it shouldn’t have to be a near or true death experience, especially if we’ve already been billed for the upgrades. Sadly, and avoidably, it has been for too many people already…and still no action. At what point do Ministers become criminally culpable for their negligence?

      • Anonymous says:

        Cyclists in purpose bike lanes are theoretically as safe as pedestrians walking on a sidewalk. If done right, you shouldn’t even need to wear a helmet. Unit cost for fixed safety bollards is only usd$10,000 per mile. We have enough cyclists and associations here to delineate and paint the full approved width and lengths of these corridors blue or green, with approved marking stencils, for donated public community labour and materials. It would be an honour to participate in such an effort (even though we’ve already paid for the lanes).

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      This^. We really missed the boat when we didn’t allow for bike lanes everywhere, but especially recently on the beloved Brac, where mostly the entire island’s roads were repaved. This would have been a stellar opportunity to acquire the approximately 10 feet of two-lane bike lanes. But wait! There’s more! I am told that in the last two years, Water Authority has been breaking up that new roadbase (well, maybe only two feet of it) to install new water lines. Good on them, that is a boon for the Brac.

      Why can’t we get it together on bike traffic and lanes? If a person didn’t take their lives in their own hands on a daily basis, I think there would be MUCH more bike traffic. I know that on a daily basis, I see a person riding a bike and I have two thoughts: 1) May you get to where you are going safely. …. I wish I could ride and 2) Y’damn fool! You almost got killed right there!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    https://oilprice.com/The-Environment/Global-Warming/Greta-Thunbergs-Not-So-Little-Carbon-Footprint.html

    Much of Norways electricity’s generated from water flow and is therefore cheaper than for many other countries. And I believe solar is subsidised.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The governments of the world have created this problem by authorizing the manufacture and sale of toxic goods, no doubt preceded by billions of dollars in “R&D”.
    Then somehow it is our fault?
    This is bullshittery of the highest bullshittery.

    Government does not care about people, it cares about control and personal wealth.

    How is it that politicians the world over are so rich on their meagre salaries? One word – corruption.

    And these governments want to count us, control us, poison us, rob us and herd us while all done legally using the laws they themselves have created.

    Greta needs to keep her focus on the real culprits and she will truly get the revolution that she seems to want to inspire.

    Sick and fed up of dishonest government.
    This planet could easily be cleaned up if we cleaned our lives up.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Just leave Geta, per se, out of your discussions. She is The messenger, who, for the first time in world’s history has managed everyone to hear her message.

    It is not about Greta, it is about what she says.

  12. Anonymous says:

    And where does the power come from for electric vehicles?!!
    Do people know how many solar panels you need to power a home?
    I applaud the eco conscious thinking, but give credit to the previous generations for what they did good, as poster 7.09am points out.

  13. Anonymous says:

    7:09 One of the ironies of Greta’s campaign is the moves she’s making to trademark her organisation to protect it. The problem there is that at the same time that organisation doesn’t seem too worried about plagiarising other people’s research work and passing it off as their own. What about protecting their interests? As you say, she’s a mixed blessing.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The people you have to convince on this aren’t us adults, it’s the people running CIG. Over the past decade or so they’ve been the biggest impediment to environmental changes here. In 2007 they backed CUC’s campaign to retain diesel as the only viable source of electricity, blocking moves to introduce solar and wind power. The year before they’d refused to consider proposals to introduce a recycling plant on Grand Cayman and, after an expensive trip to the USA, ignored the option of WTE. Since then nothing has really changed has it? There have been a few moves forward and a lot of talk but no real progress.

    The annoying thing about this article is it ignores the real issues. As two examples: It would only take some very basic changes to the building codes to force new developments to be more energy efficient and incorporate green technology. In the same way incentives could be introduced to replace outdated electrical equipment (a/c units in particular) with modern energy efficient products. We see new developments springing up everywhere but what we aren’t seeing enough of is existing properties being modernised. One of my neighbours is always bitching about his CUC bills but his a/c is over 30 years old and doesn’t work properly – not rocket science to sort out what the problem is there, is it?

    • Blacklisted says:

      You’d be amazed at how many people don’t know that they can save a fortune on their light bill by just servicing their a/c regularly and cutting it off during the day.

      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly!
        I rented a condo from a Caymanian co-worker, a young woman in her late 20s. The first thing I did, opened A/C unit to check the filter. It wasn’t changed since probably the building was built. So obviously, her a/c was never serviced either.
        Second thing I do when I leave for work, I flip hot water tank switch off and turn it back on only when needed. My electrical bill was in $70s, while my friend’s (identical small 1 bd unit in 1 story newer building with properly insulated roof) – around $170.
        Nearly all 2 story townhouses in various “retreats” and “gardens” between airport and South Sound have insufficient attic insulation turning upper floor rooms into ovens. I lived in one, it was a nightmare, but the owner was rolling his eyes insisting everything was fine.

      • Anonymous says:

        $30 timer on water heater pays for itself in 1 month. Smart thermostat ditto in about 6 months. Change your a/c filter monthly if you have a shedding pet. We replaced our single pane windows and now save about $100 a month. Lots that “adults” could do…

    • Anonymous says:

      Here’s another oddity: CUC has a Unity gov’t duty waiver (per Auditor General report). Yet everyone of us still has a gov’t fuel duty collection line on our utility bills. This money, curiously unaccounted for in CUC’s public financials on SEDAR, is supposed to be diverted to the “NRA Fund”, to pay for bike lanes, among other things. It should at least be recorded as an itemized pass-through amount, but we can’t find it. Why aren’t we asking for the statements on this backdoor mislabeled enterprise, and how improper is this entire arrangement?!? Discuss.

  15. Anonymous says:

    sorry, this view point, to put it nicely, is naive.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s your point of view, which you are entitled too. Misguided, but none the less entitled to it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Tell Brad Pitt, Clooney and the rest of the Hollywood elites that they can only fly twice a year on private jets and see how that works….Hippocrates

  16. Anonymous says:

    Because I know we cannot control the sun, I am waiting to hear of real solutions of how these fanatics think we can.
    And waiting to hear how much money we should give, you know, for more research and their air travels, car rentals, hamburgers and stuff…

  17. Anonymous says:

    The following email originated in the USA and is apparently doing the rounds on the internet. It was posted on another news site here a while back –
    ——————-
    Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment,.

    The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

    The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

    The older lady said that she was right our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady went on to explain: Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda 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. So they really were recycled.

    But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day. Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

    But, too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then. We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

    Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days.

    Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.

    Back then we 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 (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

    In the kitchen we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.

    When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

    Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.

    We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

    We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

    Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the “green thing.”

    We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

    But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

    Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person. We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to p*** us off…

    Especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smart ass who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much.
    —————-
    On a personal note, I can remember delivering groceries using a tricycle with a big box on the front. Mending socks. Having my ‘best’ pair of shoes re-soled and heeled. Not trying to heat every room in the house. Cars without a/c. The days before aerosols. And it goes on and on. We grew up learning not to waste anything. Where I come from they’ve been recycling waste paper to make cardboard since the 1930s. In London, public transport at the time was trams and they were replaced by electric trolley buses but those all went in the the early 1960s – now that city is turning the clock back and reverting to electric power. Greta is a great figurehead for the environmental lobby but that’s all she is. The information she’s quoting is simply lifted from the work of the ‘adults’ her movement decries and that’s one of the reasons why so many older people don’t take her seriously. In a way, she is (rather like Extinction Rebellion has done in the UK) actually harming the image of the green movement as much as she’s helping it.

    • Anonymous says:

      This “story” is an example of deliberate exaggeration in order to emphasize a certain point. A simplified, one sided “view” of a very complex worldwide problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        “deliberate exaggeration in order to emphasize a certain point.” Gee which other side of the argument would that apply to? Suggest you look up the definition of hypocrisy.

      • Anonymous says:

        You are obviously not from the generation when these things occurred but I AM and I can tell you that not one of those examples is ‘deliberate exaggeration’ (‘simplified’) as you may see it. The ‘view’ may be ‘one-sided’ as you call it but in practice, these were sound principles which you and your generation could learn a lot from.

    • Anonymous says:

      True on the recycling and reusing. I too am old enough to remember potato chips coming in large paper tubes, that we reused as waste bins, but times have changed. There aren’t 3 or 4 Billion people anymore – we’re on track for 20 Billion in next 15 years. We don’t have many “wide open spaces” left that aren’t also being leased as grazing land for cattle. Most of the arable land on the planet is fully utilized and devoted to feed crops used to raise beef, chicken, and pork. The watersheds that used to flow more or less clean to the sea, are now either diverted up steam and not reaching the sea at all, or are pumping out agricultural waste. One could say that industrialized meat production, based entirely on absolutely false medical basis, is humanity’s biggest problem. Bigger than all the gases emitted from burning hydrocarbons. Our menu is the problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        they didn’t have all the package and canned food either, they ate a lot of fresh food and there was nothing to take to the dump, there was no dump!! The peelings from the kitchen were thrown around the plants in the yard and the plants were food producing plants. It was common to have parents and grandparents living past a hundred years, now it that happens it is so rare we have to celebrate it. Don’t blame the older generations, they did the best they could and it was good!!

        • Anonymous says:

          Anyone with parents or grandparents, will understand that there are Baby Boomers, that look back sentimentally to their 1.8-2Bln population past, and seem unaware that it’s 2020 now, that humanity are feeding 7.8Bln people, double or perhaps triple the global population of their youth, and moving inextricably forward to doubling that number in the next generation.

          The convenience generations of 2020 live mostly-detached from the natural environment, and with very different menu expectations that now far outstrip the carrying capacity of the planet. The Boomers, Xers, Gen Y, certainly did “have it” good. We will forever be recorded as the most comfortable takers in humanity’s anthropological history, but in this context, the legacy cost of this comfort was paid by via denial of administrative duty.

          With that convenience, we were falsely assured that as long as one could pay the MSRP (in the first world), the enviro-hassle would be someone else’s problem, far away. The belief then (and perhaps it was true to some degree), was that the Earth was resilient and would always absorb and offset the human impacts. Now, the alarming bill is closer to home on several fronts, and there are still people that distance themselves from data and understanding their own culpability as we fail to meet targets, approach points of no return, and close in on tipping points (after which, we should all accept that the bad news accelerates). But first, let’s order that Amazon package and go for some gas-station sushi. La-dee-da.

          Now it’s becoming increasingly clear from data that it’s our grandkids and great grandkids that will be made to live and “pay” for the realities of the “Tragedy of the Commons” we learned about in 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s…assuming then, that post-moon landing humanity, with it’s great awareness, and scientific mastery, would never let it come to that.

          I’m older and certainly not innocent either, but I accept my own culpability and am still willing to try to learn and make deep personal changes that I can control. I now believe while there is still air in our lungs, we should try as much as we can, to personally analyze and dial-back harmful habits, so we might at least help to defer, the foregone outcomes very near generations will be faced with.

      • Anonymous says:

        “Most of the arable land on the planet is fully utilized and devoted to feed crops used to raise beef, chicken, and pork….” except Russia…

        The population density of Russia in 2019 was 8.53 people per square kilometer, a 0.09% increase from 2018. It is so low because much of the land in northern Russia is uninhabitable because it is frozen tundra. Russia is one of the few countries with a negative growth rate.

        You can move to Russia, they welcome immigrants.

        Putin Gives Russian Passports to Old Believers in U.S., Brazil https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/10/29/putin-gives-russian-passports-old-believers-us-brazil-a67952

        Welcome to Yakutia | The Northest African in the world.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiqX8grANdo

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t know why the FSB Politburo is trolling CNS, but I’ll play: between 2000 and 2013, in the Russian boreal Taiga, which once comprised 11.5% of planet’s landmass, the first or second largest carbon-storing biome on Earth, was illegally clearcut/burned at a pace of 2.5 million ha per year, and was one of the most destructive deforestations in the history of mankind. By 2013, less than 25% of Russia’s Intact Forest Landscape (IFL) remained. The machinery and fires (visible from ISS) released massive carbon stores into the atmosphere, which accelerated temperature rise and are now, ironically, leading to the melting of the Russian peat permafrost, an ancient carbon store, that will release methane gas into atmosphere and give the planet another mighty push down the stairs. Sorry comrade, Russians have no stewardship lectures to teach.

      • Anonymous says:

        Where did you get 20 Billion from?? Oxford University growth estimated that we will have 9.7 Billion by 2050.

    • Rick says:

      You are absolutely correct. I lived during those times and they were some much less hectic than today. Children today cannot see past the end of their nose to believe this is not fantasy, but fact. This is not exaggeration but reality.

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