Sunday, January 15, 2012

Response to a chain e-mail

An email chain has been going around, purporting to be a response to a comment by a “young cashier” about the environment.

The use of certain terminology (e.g., “nappies” for diapers, “petrol” for gasoline) indicates that the writer was British, so I can’t vouch for the timing of some events such as switching from bottled to store bought milk. But I'm sure there's an American version of this going around. So, I’d like to make a point by point response:

Bottled milk hasn’t been delivered in the United States for decades. In fact, I’ve never seen it in my 44 years – although the 70 year old house I live in has a miniature door for milk delivery. Frankly, drinking milk after childhood is not healthy, and is also hard on the environment. Besides, didn’t the delivery of bottled milk to each home result in the burning of more fossil fuel?

I can’t speak for the cashier, but I certainly recycle my pop cans and beer bottles! Our generation had to fight your generation to get city hall to make recycling available.

Speaking of generations, is this writer 90 years old? Escalators have been around for at least a century. Are you really blaming 20-somethings like the cashier for escalators?

More and more young people, and even those not so young, bike or walk whenever we can. That’s why some of us are so passionate about walkable cities and suburbs – and why I supported rezoning at Oakwood. We’re trying to reverse the growth of the exhurbs brought about by Eisenhower’s Folly. As for gas guzzling cars: that was the product of earlier generations - my car is certainly not 300-horsepower – more like 123.

So, you washed your babies’ diapers rather than getting disposables? Good for you. And how many kids did you have? Probably too many. Generations such as yours that
popped out five and more kids per couple are responsible for our huge overpopulation problem. Thanks for breeding like rabbits in heat! (Not that that’s just a problem for an earlier era.)

Sure, we use more appliances. We have larger TV screens, since thanks to the
economic collapse caused by the older generation we can’t afford a night out at the movies – with the expensive tickets, food, and gasoline it takes to get there. Walk to the movies, you say? No, we can’t walk to the movie theater – thanks to the suburban sprawl you invented, it’s out of reach.

We make do with compact fluorescent lightbulbs, even though they make us look pasty and don't work with dimmer switches.

Ordinary people, by and large, do not make use of styrofoam and bubble wrap – it’s corporations, the large behemoths that run out of control thanks to deregulation by your generation.

You may have used a push mower to cut the lawn, then you doused the grass with toxic fertilizers - which entered the runoff and damaged our water supply. See the next paragraph.

You drank from a water fountain? Oh, yes, you did – and it was segregated! Some of us need to drink bottled water because your generation demanded tax cuts and neglected the infrastructure, which made the water undrinkable.

I’d love to take the bus, but your generation created the car-worshiping America that made bus service the transportation of last resort – where one often can’t even feel safe.

And yes, I DO take reusable bags to the grocery store!

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