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  1. #1
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    Are older generation primarily responsible for unsustainable lifestyle, other probs?

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    In a way, it's sometimes tiring to hear how the baby boom generation is responsible for economic control (might be true somtimes), unsustainable lifestyle (supposedly driving cars more than cycling/taking transit,etc., having a home mortgage-free), living longer (means drain on health care system), etc.

    http://pricetags.wordpress.com/2013/...-and-hipsters/

    There have been news articles for past year of just simply less purchase of cars (new or used) by younger generation for a variety of reasons.

    I don't perceive TE members many who are boomers(mid-50's and older), or just younger by a decade (in 40's), as fitting this older generation mold.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Erin, Ontario
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    188
    Let me start by saying we have two trucks, two cars and an antique car in our driveway. One truck my DH drives for a maintenance job with lots of tools. It is 13 years old and on it's last leg. The other truck just sits most days waiting to take over. He can only drive one vehicle at a time. One car is owned by my DS who is in university so the car is not on the road being driven at this point. His father gave him the car when he moved across the country. My DD lived with us for a year and a half and drove the other car back and forth to work. She moved out of the country so that car just sits most days. I carpool with DH everyday unless he or I have something to do after work (usually once a month) then I take the car my DD was using. I hang my laundry to dry as often as the weather allows. We recycle. We keep our thermostat set low. We turn off lights. In other words we try to reduce our "carbon footprint" as much as we can. But then we had a seminar at work about reducing green house gases and the claim was that the biggest waste of resources and the biggest cause of problems is not cars but buildings. Heating a huge building while not occupied overnight, leaving lights on in buildings overnight etc. Exhaust fans although necessary, are horrible. First you bring in fresh air from outside a building, then you heat or cool it using energy then you shoot it back outside and start the whole process again. And really there is no way around it to keep the air in working spaces fresh. It was a seminar on building management and I get it but I have no idea what to do to help. I will still keep doing my small part to help but when I sit and think of the sheer number and size of buildings that exist in the world, I find it mind boggling.
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  3. #3
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    Feb 2005
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    Concord, MA
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    Sorry, I am not taking the blame for all of the world's problems!
    We do our part, in many ways, but my DH won't give up his SUV and I don't expect him too. He feels like the days he rides to work makes up for some of it. We do want our next move to be closer to stores and flatter (i.e. rideable for some grocery shopping), so we can lead a more "sustainable" lifestyle. But, I am not moving into the city and giving up my car.
    My older son is very much like all of the younger people in those articles. They have one car, he takes public transp. or rides to work, and they have a garden, buy a CSA share, etc. However, they do have a house, and are not transient like so many others in their early 30s.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Hillsboro, OR
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    I don't think you can draw a broad brush stroke about things like that, really. I know plenty of people in both demographics that 'buck the trend' so to speak.

    I'm not a boomer but we are 'older' compared to someone in their 20's. We put a lot of effort into doing things that are right for the planet but we are far from perfect.

    My parents, on the other hand, refuse to acknowledge that there is even a human component to what is happening to our planet. They blame volcanoes . They don't recycle because it causes a 'bug problem' in their house. They spray ridiculous amounts of toxic chemicals in and around their house to control bugs and keep their lawn pretty. They drive big cars with big gas guzzling engines (though, since they are both retired...they don't drive much anymore). They think 'organic' is a scam. They do have an efficient house and appliances, but that's to save money...not the planet. It's still just two of them in a 5K sf house for pete's sake.... And if something is broken, they buy a new one. Fixing it is a waste of time and money.

    Yes, it drives me insane. It's a good thing they are still lovely people or I'd have to disown them!
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  5. #5
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    Nov 2007
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    My parents were and are sustainable....because they have been and are poor: very little fast food when I grew up and even now for them (and for myself living after moving out on my own). Not much processed foods. We didn't have a car until I was 14 yrs. old and I'm the eldest of 6. I think this memory me influenced ALOT of why I haven't lived in a household with any car for past 3 decades: it is possible to if one chooses to live in right areas with right services/infrastructure.

    My mother saved and reused clean yogurt containers because she couldn't afford to buy lots of Tupperware and other storage containers. So now I adopt this habit naturally....and so does dearie who is a yogurt freak. One of many examples how she scrimped and saved money.

    I sewed my own clothing until I got into cycling. Again poverty drove all of us to learn how to sew starting as mid-teenagers ...to be fashionable like our friends. I am ever grateful for this skill....which makes me a wiser consumer. I do weird stuff like save wonderful button sets before tossing out old clothing into garbage. I wear t-shirts until there are holes. Lots of clothing for Salvation Army. But I don't buy consignment store clothing....my prejudice: I grew up in a poor where there were a lot of hand-me downs in a big family. Poverty really can make a person /family sustainable. Not all poor families consume junk food (a perception that many poor people don't know how to eat healthy. How wrong.) nor makes poor buying choices/run into debt (and use pay day loan services).

    No I don't garden because just ain't me. I don't feel guilty since I cook fresh foods/from scratch (because that's how my mother taught. Not because it's chic foodie thing to do.) and shop regularily at farmers' markets.

    Do I compost, recycle to the nth degree? No, I'm just a tad lazy. I just do the easy stuff that doesn't require a lot of effort. Do I think about the environment when I engage in such habits? --honest: rarely. Some of it is just how I was raised as a child or just makes sense /seems healthier to me or saves money long-term. I'm lucky to be with dearie who has similar daily living habits. He also grew up poor with a mother like mine with similar practices and again, these habits become ingrained in both of our ways/way of thinking. Dearie was a cattle farmer and that adds an additional layer of awareness for him.

    Sometimes I think it's the journalists that like to create catchy story headlines or consultants who want to find another spin for their clients on market share segmentation.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 09-30-2013 at 06:40 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by DebSP View Post
    But then we had a seminar at work about reducing green house gases and the claim was that the biggest waste of resources and the biggest cause of problems is not cars but buildings. Heating a huge building while not occupied overnight, leaving lights on in buildings overnight etc. .
    I can easily believe that. I live in the Wall St. area and many large buildings have their lights on all night -- Chase Plaza's light affected my choice of window treatments at one point. Does anyone know why large office buildings leave the all the lights on all the time?

    Also, perfectly usable furniture is trashed on a regular basis when businesses move or remodel. It's almost comical to think of me virtuously toting my little bag of donations to the Goodwill via subway, when there's a compactor outside crunching up dozens of file cabinets and desks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    25
    I am 63 yrs old .. 5'5" 125 lbs .. even after giving birth to six babies late 70's - 80's I still have a nice figure, not on any prescribed drugs, haven't NEEDED to see a doctor since '07. I don't believe in taking a pill for the fix when most of the time preventive health procedures work. I am healthy by design taking care of myself with proper diet and exercise. Just this past year I have purchased three bikes to ride for different purposes. The bikes allow me to leave my 2002 Ford Focus Wagon parked in the garage, opting to ride to the grocery, trips to the post office and such. I top off my gas tank up about once a month. I wait till the end of the month where I grocery shop (Krogers) and with spending about $100 by the end of the month I get a 20 cent discount per gal of gas.

    As for the environment .. my younger neighbors could give a crap, while I prefer to hand pull weeds and they dose their yards with chemicals. God Bless my grandmother teaching me about the days she scrimped through the Depression era making use of items we toss away, the advantages cooking with old fashioned cast iron cookware and passing her skillets (from her mother) on to me. Yep .. MOST of my cast iron pots, dutch ovens, griddles are over 100 yrs old and will last more generations while modern cookware will be trashed in 10 yrs or so. My furniture is mainly antiques now from my grandparents most with a story behind it that I can pass onto my kids if they were interested to hear them, or would want them instead of the trendy stuff.

    So much the youth could learn from their elders if they would just listen.
    Last edited by kris7047th; 09-30-2013 at 07:57 PM.

  8. #8
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    In a way, I don't quite expect the youth to learn and practice good stuff from elders. We ranted enough when young and not as "experienced" in life. I only hope they learn earlier in life, better ways of living and just stop blaming a whole older, generation for their own problems.

    As for too much stuff acquisition from previous generations: A close friend of mine is trying to sell a 4 bedroom house that she inherited from parents. She lives in this home herself which is gettin' too expensive for her to maintain..and now has to deal with a pile of wonderful antique furniture her parents left behind which she and a sister is unwilling to give up.

    Moral: Absolutely don't accumulate too much possessions for the next generation or even now.

    In my nieces and nephews I see a wide cross-section of behaviours --ranging from a 26 yr. niece and her boyfriend who take transit everywhere and only use car for out of town trips. Or a 11 yr. niece (from a different family), who complains walking too much when we're only strolling on a bike-ped. path for 15 min. This is a competitive little gymnast(!) - a very fit, strong girl. But alas, it's parents driving her and siblings all over the place.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    25
    Eh .. I told my kids to hold an auction for what they don't want after I am gone.

    Too bad your niece prefers gymnastics instead of walking. I have seen far too many kids permanently injured from excessive training and competition in sports when their joints are developing. Ask former gold medal winners/athletes from the 70's- 80's how they are dealing with arthritis now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
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    Well, I'm in my 40s, bike commute, recycle, yadda yadda, but honestly, we could all be wearing hair shirts and living in caves without it making the slightest dent in statistics. As a self-selecting group of cycling enthusiasts TE'ers are not representative of the general public, especially not when it comes to transportation choices.

    As to whether people in their 40s and 50s in general live a less sustainable lifestyle than younger people - I suspect that statistics would show that that's correct, but also highly variable.
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  11. #11
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    Apr 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    ...we could all be wearing hair shirts and living in caves without it making the slightest dent in statistics...
    This.

    It doesn't matter if we throw out our yogurt containers, reuse them, or make our own yogurt in hand thrown crockery. The thing that isn't 'sustainable' is the population of humans which continues to grow.
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  12. #12
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    Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by shootingstar View Post
    As for too much stuff acquisition from previous generations: A close friend of mine is trying to sell a 4 bedroom house that she inherited from parents. She lives in this home herself which is gettin' too expensive for her to maintain..and now has to deal with a pile of wonderful antique furniture her parents left behind which she and a sister is unwilling to give up.

    Moral: Absolutely don't accumulate too much possessions for the next generation or even now.
    I found it emotionally wrenching to get rid off my parents' "stuff" -- but that was my problem, not theirs! They weren't wealthy, but they had a wide range of hobbies and interests. So I had to deal with camping gear, yarn, wood for carving, gardening equipment, sheet music -- the leftovers from two full and interesting lives.

    I also found evidence of the depression-era mentality -- screws and buttons and lots of things that might be reused were saved. It was a large, painful and difficult job for me to sort, sell or give away the contents of their house. But I would never say they should have limited their interests or activities simply to spare me that task.

    I don't want to criticize your friend, especially if she is grieving, but I would wonder about the emotional maturity of anyone who can't handle disposing of parents' possessions. Such things are a normal, albeit difficult, part of adult life.
    Last edited by PamNY; 10-01-2013 at 06:31 AM.

  13. #13
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    Sep 2007
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    This came up on FB today and I thought it was apropos. Viewing generations discretely makes as much sense as viewing humans as disconnected from our environment. Click image for larger version. 

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by oakleaf View Post
    this came up on fb today and i thought it was apropos. Viewing generations discretely makes as much sense as viewing humans as disconnected from our environment. Click image for larger version. 

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    *like*
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  15. #15
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    Feb 2005
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    Every generation thinks the one after it is more rebellious, selfish, blah, blah, blah. I don't know. I enjoy my kid's company (31 and 28) and their values aren't so different from mine. Sure, they've had vastly different experiences, but still. I prefer them to some of my so called friends who just seem old. More like my grandparents!
    I sort of agree with the growing population of humans issue; I can't quote evidence, though. I get upset when I see someone having 3 or 4 kids, even when they can clearly afford them. Of course, it's my personal bias, because I could have never handled 3 or 4 kids in my house.
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