How 'Green' Were Our Valleys?
I took the wife shopping yesterday, and we were asked if we wanted plastic bags. The wife has her own shopping bags so the girl at the checkout made a comment about our being 'Green'. Got me thinking.
We had returnable bottles on which we paid a deposit so they could be returned and cleaned and reused. Not plastic landfill bottles.
We had brown paper bags which could be re-used in a number of ways from covering books to storing apples from the tree. Not plastic landfill bags.
We walked up stairs in shops etc which helped our health and did not put a drain on National Grid system.
Terry towel nappies were washed and re-used, not 'disposable' land fillers. They were also washed by hand usually so again, no drain on National Grid.
Most of our clothes would have belonged to our elder brothers or sisters, so no plastic bags to dispose of, and other assorted wrappings. We did not have TVs etc in every room so again no drain for National Grid.
We walked or cycled to school or the shops, so no burning fossil fuels for a five minute drive.
We pushed our lawn mowers which was good for our health and no drain on National Grid or filling the air with toxic exhaust fumes.
We used either fountain pens or refillable biros, so no plastic mountain of throwaways for the local landfill. Same with razors, just a new blade when needed not more plastic to dispose of or draining the National Grid.
These were a few of the things I have worked out, I am sure there are more.
That lot took me back to the 60s.
We had our shoes repaired, heeled or new sole.
We had leather patches sewn on elbows to make the school blazers last a bit longer.
No internet online purchasing wasting tons and tons of cardboard, plastic and foam filling or fuel to deliver them all.
Milk in bottles that were returned/collected by the milkman, not throw-away cartons.
But of course:
our cars were belching out fumes and lead into the atmosphere, as were the buses we caught to work
our fireplaces were discharging smoke and sulphur into the air, causing smog in the cities.
Our houses were badly insulated, meaning that a great deal of the heat we generated was lost
we had to wait months if we wanted a telephone installed; there was little or no choice of the actual handset, and there was no choice at all about the provider
trains were dirty, smelly, and rarely ran on time
foreign holidays were for rich people
if you fell out with your boss, you got fired. No argument, no appeal, no compensation
if you had a heart attack, you probably died. If you were involved in an accident, the guys who turned up in the ambulance had no medical training whatsoever, and simply put you on a stretcher and took you to the nearest hospital
of course it was the good old days.
Oh! As for the "green" valleys. I remember the Rhondda in the 60s; blanketed with a perpetual cloud of evil smelling smoke. I remember going to Sheffield, where you generally approach from above. The whole city was almost invisible under the cloud of factory generated smoke. I remember Llanwern, where the steelworks went on for miles, and the people living in the tiny houses could only hang washing out on Sundays when the works was closed. Not much green about those valleys.
Last edited by Santa; 16-01-14 at 16:53.
Santa, although I appreciate what you say, the point is that being 'Green' is not a new thing. I would take you to task on the train bit though. Our local service was immaculate and always on time. I would say the same of those that ran out of Victoria, Waterloo, Euston and Paddington. The Engineer, Fireman and Station Masters took a pride in the turnout of the trains. It was only when British Rail took over that staff were told not to clean any more as they were trying to sell diesel electrics to the public as being a cleaner way to travel.
Add to list: Using screwed up newspapers for packing parcels etc. Not bubble wrap waiting to find its way into a landfill.
I am sorry, but as a schoolboy, I used trains to travel between Surrey and Newquay, via Paddington and Parr. Yes I loved the engines and the drivers were gods. The carriages however... Slam doors that could come open all by themselves, dirty upholstery, food that even a boy from a boarding school found unappetising, and long, unexplained delays in the middle of nowhere.
The little train between Parr and Newquay did not seem to have a timetable. In any case it waited for the express (a good thing) but then the clanking, hissing engine with a train of old carriages with no lavatory or corridor would set off. It often stopped in unexpected places to let people off between stations, and I could see them walking off across the fields. It took forever.
I forgot to mention smoking.... Cigarette smoke everywhere.
Some things do not change.
Originally Posted by Santa
I remember driving the ambulance into Edinburgh one day, we were allowed to use the bus lanes back then, and I was behind one of them Park and Ride buses.
It was pumping out vast amounts of smoke and fumes, so much that I had to overtake it, as the fumes were entering the ambulance, and all the patients were going to the chest clinic at the hospital.
The amount of fumes pouring out of that bus, was more than what 100 cars would have done, so the folk on that bus could have used their car, and not feel guilty about it? (So much for the green buses)
That was my point. The old days were different, better in many ways, but a lot worse in others. And yes - some things never seem to change.
Originally Posted by Hometune
On the news yesterday on the BBC. CO2 emissions (greenhouse gases) are rising at around 2.2% per year between 2000 and today. Between 1970 and 1999 they were rising at 1.1%. So the emissions have doubled but cars are supposed to be greener. Well, cars will be blamed regardless I suppose. Which must mean that all the efforts by the EU and manufacturers has not worked (as yet) and all they have done is reduce the hydrocarbons, acid rain and the killer gas carbon monoxide?
Am I missing something here?
There seems little point of us here in Europe making all this effort to reduce our carbon omissions, when the Americans are making no effort at all?
Yet they want the up and coming countries like China and Vietnam to reduce their pollution levels, by asking them not to use old oil burning cars?