Awake and Aging shares the post, “Being Green“, on its Facebook page. It is about how an elderly lady explained how the old simple practices have been healthy for environment to a young girl who suggested her to use own grocery bags, instead of plastic bags, and blamed the elder generation for not caring enough to save environment for future generations.
I am not as old as the grandma in that post – but, as a farm girl grown up in a village in central Burma, I experienced the glories of those simple old days when we did no need to think about “green thing” because of our simple and traditional practices. I remember those days –
- We had to return empty soda bottles to the grocery shop and we had them only for the guests or for special events. And, we had to carry our own basket to the morning market for grocery and meat. And, for milk, I remember our daily trip to a dairy farm house and often had to wait the dairy farmer milking cows with our bronze bowl we used as a container.
- There was no escalator nor lift whatsoever in the whole village.
- All the elder kids had to help mom washing the younger siblings’ diaper clothes by hand.
- Not every household had a TV. Back then, TV was like a community thing. The whole community gathered at the home where it has a TV whenever there were special events broadcasting on TV. I still remember that I watched with other kids about senior George W. Bush’s Gulf War at a neighbor house where they just got a TV from a lucky draw win and they put the TV box in the middle of their compound and showed it to the whole village even though we knew nothing about the war and the nature of the invasion -as a kid what we learned was that Saddam Hussein was a bad guy like General Ne Win of our country.
- We stored drinking water in a clay pot; we kept the pot in the shade and changed it once a year to maximize its coolness.
- We stored rain water in large pots and we don’t let them go down to drains and had a vegetable garden where used water flows.
- Bicycle was only other fancy option to commute to our school if we didn’t want to walk.
- And, we took village bus – for the trips to Monywa, the nearby town. It was just 1 kyat (1 cent) for an adult – free for kids. To carry around heavy things in the village, we still use bullock carts.
- And, yes, clothes, most of the clothes we wore, are all hand-me-down ones from the elder siblings.
It is not deniable that technology and new inventions made people life a lot easier and healthier. Those inventions should be a way to enhance our good health and welfare and not to pollute our air, water, rivers, or destroy forests.
Before we totally swift to the whole modern lifestyle and build our life on a materialist culture by buying and spending on all latest products, we just have to keep in mind which of our old practices we could still use and how we could make them fit in your modern lifestyle instead of throwing them way altogether – like instead of thinking about having a race or sports car, commute with a bicycle, use a bus, or buy a more energy-efficient car, or instead of using the lift or escalator, choose stairs unless you are not fit – or if your iPhone 4s is still working and functioning well why you bother to get iPhone 5 – just because it is the latest model.
Not using plastic bags is good but that alone is not good enough!