Changes over time

I am old enough to remember the snow of 1947 and how I still walked to school in it. I remember jumping into drifts and the snow coming over the top of my wellies. I remember the snow of 1978/9 as well when I had no heating as everything was frozen. Eventually a friend in the village took me and my two young children in and warmed us all up and cared for us until everything was repaired. I also remember what seemed like long hot summers when as a child I played out all day.

I remember when I was a young child that we had no washing machine or fridge. We did have a gas cooker but water was boiled in a kettle on the hob on the coal fire. We had a meat safe, a wooden case with mesh wire to let in air but not flies and a marble slab in the larder to keep things cool. We also only bought exactly what we needed for the week. No large bags of potatoes with either too many or not enough but loose potatoes which went straight into the shopping bag. It was the same with all the veggies and things like butter and cheese were cut in blocks to the size you wanted before being wrapped in greaseproof paper.

When I was older and had my own family we eventually owned a washing machine and a fridge and later a freezer but this was like 30 years later in the 1970s and 1980s. Sliced bread had also arrived by then and made life easier for many. I still prefer a loaf of bread I can cut myself! Plastic also came along and there were Tupperware parties where you could buy the latest plastic item that you might need. But I still knitted and made some of my own clothes. My early training with my mother saw to that. I still do for that matter.

But now you can buy anything you need, washing machine, dryer, cookers and fridge freezers which generally arrive with a coat of some kind of plastic.Phones and cars are there for all. I can’t remember when I finally had a landline phone but it was not until about 1975 or so. We used the phone box down the road. I have never had a car and never wanted one really.

So to today, cars queue up by the traffic lights and emit fumes which choke you. Everything is covered with plastic much of which is not recyclable. We see mountains of plastics in the sea and rivers. The air we breathe is contaminated and gives us lung disease. The rivers are polluted and our water supply is not as good as it used to be. Too many houses are being built on floodplains and green belt land with no thought for extra doctors, schools and hospitals. Is this what we really want?

The recent climate conference has just ended and many promises have been made. Many people understand that we need to change the way we live but there are many who although they agree are not prepared to change the way they live their lives. My son was trying to park his car where I live but could not get into a space because someone had left a Range rover in the centre blocking all the spaces, with its engine running and the doors open. If we all did one small thing it would help. But I suspect that is not going to happen until it is too late. Our local Co-op is now collecting what are called soft plastics for recycling but how many are going to do that? If one person per household did something like that and reduced their plastic waste, it would make the world a nicer place to live.

Come on people, change your ways so we can all have a better world.

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