Why were we geezers green before anyone had ever heard of Earth Day? Well, according to the crone, they bought their RC Cola in bottles that they returned to the store, they used cloth diapers instead of disposables, they watched tv on a 6-inch black-and-white Philco instead of 72-inch plasma Sony, they hung their laundry on the line instead of tossing it in a dryer, yada yada yada.
Give me an frigging break. You know why we geezers used cloth diapers? We had no choice. Ditto the tiny television and the washing clothes in a wringer washer. We got rid of both as soon as new and improved options came on the market. As for the pop bottles, you know why we hauled them back to the store? They had deposits on them. Back when the geezer generation had fewer candles on their birthday cakes than they had fingers, every little kid was happy to haul pop bottles to the store because that was like found money. We sure didn't worry about recycling anything else: juice jars, tin cans, you name it, it all hit the trash without a second thought. For that matter, quite a bit of it only hit the trash in the loosest sense: roadsides in this country were pretty disgusting until the 1960s when Lady Bird Johnson began her highway beautification programs.
In fact, if anything, today's geezers were the opposite of green. We all thought there were no limits, both on a personal level and as a society. Dump all the sewage you want in the watershed -- streams will clean themselves. Strip mining? No problem. This is a big country; we'll never miss sizable chunks of Kentucky, West Virginia, Illinois, Wyoming, or Texas. Clear cutting forests? Go for it. The forests will grow back. Ever watch "Mad Men"? It does a pretty nice job of capturing the casual wastefulness 50 years ago of today's smug, self-righteous codgers.
In short, we weren't green. We were oblivious.
My kids are in their 40s now. I wonder what type of ridiculous crap they'll be passing around in 20 or 30 years to tout their supposed superiority over their grandchildren?