I've heard too often from various factions, in this country and others, how we are ruining the earth. The thought prevails that Humankind should go back to a kinder era, an agrarian state, where people didn't get fat because there was no junk food, where horse-drawn vehicles ruled the roads,where the air was clean and children could go out as they pleased, without inhalers. If only we would go back to washboards, home-grown foods without GMO and all be vegans on organic vegetables, live in homes without electricity, oh! How the Earth would thank us, and let us live in harmony for a millennium, at the very least!
I believe in conservationism, in taking care of what we've been given by God. I don't believe in abuse of the earth.
But those who propose we give up all vestiges of modern and post-modern life, and all will be well with the world, have some other things coming. Consider 112 years ago or so.
- There was no Internet, or personal computers. The closet thing was a card-read machine used to count heads during the census. There were no cell phones. Telephones in the private home were still a luxury. People communicated by letter, or in time of emergency, by telegram.Say what you will about the politicians whom you feel do not represent you. You can keep better tabs on them, and on your spouse and children as well, today.
- If you think politicians today are corrupt, consider Tammany Hall.
- Electricity in the home was still a novelty. Natural gas and oil were used to light lamps, along with candles. That meant there was always a chance of fire, as fire was always the light. Ever seen the soot on a gas or oil lamp chimney? Why yes, that's pollution.
- No TV. No radio. Yes, there were books, and plays in the cities. Out in the country, your chances of actually seeing a play were zip unless there was a little theater group, or a traveling troupe.
- The horse-drawn carriage deposited horse feces on streets and roads alike. Yes, people scooped it up for organic fertilizer. Flies loved it as well, and mosquitoes, and other insects who spread disease.
- Want to get rid of your waste? Dump it in the river. Everybody, from the housewife to the big factory, dumped in the river. So much for the clean, flowing waters. Welcome, dysentery and typhoid.
- Fresh air funds to get children out of the cities were started because these city kids spent their days breathing in what amounted to factory smog, getting underfoot when horse-drawn vehicles delivered their wares. It was worse in the summer, but no picnic in the winter. Inhalers didn't exist. Just how many children died of asthma we will never know, but a great many died of what was then called consumption. Consumption covered a large number of lung problems and diseases, including but not limited to tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia. And a large wagon drawn by huge horses will kill a child. It wasn't neglect. There was no cure at the time, except to get the person to another, milder climate. Work was where the jobs were, and losing a child to illness was not unusual.
- Speaking of life expectancy- Don't bother saving for retirement. You wouldn't be retiring. You'd be lucky to see 40 if you were male, and even less if you were female.
- The reason less people were fat: The majority did physical labor, all day long. Children walked to school, if they went, even if it was miles away, and came home the same way. Mother worked her fingers to the bone. Vacuum cleaners couldn't work if you didn't have electricity in your house. Even washing machines required physical assistance. Don't blame junk food. It's only one source of a possible problem. Check out the lack of exercise. In 1900, girth and expanse were considered a sign of wealth and well-being. If you were overweight, you obviously had money, because you couldn't be performing manual labor.
As for me, I am celebrating Technology Progress and Common Sense Conservation Week. I started my revels by washing all the family's clothes in hot water, heated in a 60-gallon electric heater, using modern-day detergents.