Earth Day 2012: Are Boomers Greener Than Their Parents?

As the 42nd Anniversary of Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, 2012, there now exists an entire generational record to determine whether Baby Boomers were actually greener than their parents, the Greatest Generation, after the 'Earth Day' movement created in 1970.

When each portion of life is examined, it appears the Baby Boom generation 'spun their wheels for not' to be "green" versus their parents.  Only a handful of life examples are given.

Let's begin with the morning routine:

Greatest Generation:  Orange Juice, seasonably available, fresh squeezed by hand, tiny glass cup rewashed and reused for years.

Boomers: Orange Juice, transported across the globe for year-round availability [fossil fuel], machine squeezed [fossil fuel], in a carton or plastic container thrown away after use [fossil fuel and landfill waste].

Greatest Generation: Coffee or Tea, percolated or brewed, same cup used throughout the day for years. Tea bags often used twice.

Boomers: Coffee or Tea, instant or picked up at fast food or Starbucks, styrofoam or paper cup thrown away that day, gasoline used to go to location and wait in drive-thru.  Also, morning soda in cans or bottles, water in bottles.  All plastic bottles are petroleum based.


Greatest Generation: Left-over fried chicken, white bread sandwich, or the like.  During cold months, left-over soup in thermos rewashed and re-used.

Boomers: Drive somewhere to lunch, order lunch and have someone drive to us, or microwave a frozen lunch in a plastic container.  Soup not homemade, ramen noodles before paycheck.

Greatest Generation: 

7-year-olds-and-up peeling potatoes and cutting other vegetables.  Kneading dough for pasta, dumplings, or pastries for dinner and desert.

Boomers:  Pick-up from fast-food joint, grocery-deli because no time to cook.  Have to pick kids up on the way from soccer, girl scouts, boys scouts, and anything else that is cheaper then a babysitter.


Greatest Generation: Blue jeans, white shirts, and crew-cuts are not a fashion craze.  Cut close to the scalp so they don't need another haircut for one for a month or two.  White shirts can be bleached until they are rag quality.  Jeans can be cut at the knees when worn out.  Calf port of jeans can be reused as patches for the knees.  Frugality is celebrated amongst peers.

Boomers:  Garments shipped globally.  Trash or donation if tax benefit.  Would never send a kid with patches, someone might think family is 'poor.'

Early life:

Greatest Generation: Cloth diaper reused.

Boomers: Explosion in use of petroleum-based disposable diapers since.  Year that Earth Day (197 0) was started is the same year as explosive disposable diaper consumer use.

Later life:

Greatest Generation: Shared cemetery plot.

Boomers: 50% chance of death-do-us-part.  Tons of energy used for vehicle mileage with shared custody, separate households, legal fees, two incomes means two commutes which negates fuel efficiency for automobiles for the last 30 years.

Guiding Principle:

Greatest Generation: Make use of everything for more coin in pocket to leave to my kids.

Boomers:  Make everyone else pay via regulation, government spending, and taxation to stay 'Green' to benefit corporations with the best lobbyists.

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