Posted 4/23/210
Robert M. Parkhurst is a former research chemist at Stanford Research Institute, and the author of the  
autobiography, "The Best of Times: A Life in California."  He receives e-mail

Going Green      
There is nothing wrong with going “green” and there is nothing new about it either.  This is what our
grandparents practiced and it was just called good sense and frugal living. They didn’t have to
worry about a low flush toilet; they called it an outhouse and it didn’t use water at all.
They didn’t have to worry about an efficient clothes drier; they called it a clothes line and it didn’t
use anything but fresh air and sunshine. They had windmills to grind their flour and they had horses
that didn’t burn gasoline.

But you know all this stuff! That was “green” living the old fashioned way. I remember my
grandmother darning socks when they got holes in them by using a needle and thread to weave
the thread back and forth to make them like new.  What do we do now?  Throw the socks out and
buy new ones, of course!

About a year ago our thirty year old Maytag drier would not work any more. My wife called the
Maytag repair shop and was told they could not repair a thirty-year old drier,they just didn’t have
the parts. They informed her that they would sell her a new efficient “green”drier for less than $500
and that included picking up the old one.
After calling around, she finally located an older shop that said they might have a replacement pilot
light for such an old drier and they would check. The repairman came out and replaced the pilot
light (a small part the size of a cigarette) and the charge was about $80.
My thirty-year old drier didn’t have to be transported to San Francisco, crushed, shipped to China,
smelted down into metal ingots, rolled out into sheet metal and stamped out into new more
efficient “green” driers.  

The amount of energy that would have been required to get the new drier compared to the amount
of energy to repair the old one would be a good exercise for a college engineering class but it was
a lot cheaper for me to have the old one repaired.   
Even without the engineering classes report, I can assure you that my wife was doing the green
thing just like Grandma would have done it and I didn’t have to burn all that gas going to work to
earn the $500 either.  Now, will the real “green” environmentalist please stand up!  Yea, it’s my wife!

It may not surprise anyone that the Maytag repair shop did not carry spare parts for a thirty-year
old drier. Maytag would be happier selling us a new drier even to the point of taking away the old
one all included in the price of the new one.

You may not even be surprised that businesses are generally tripping all over them selves trying to
sell you a new, more efficient “green” everything from new cars to a whole new house.  No one
can blame them, for that is the way they make a living and there is certainly nothing wrong with

It used to be that the businesses had to convince the purchasers that this product was really going
to help them out and worth their hard earned money.  That is all changed now.  Now businesses
and the government have discovered that they can work together.
Business lobbies (donate to the politicians campaign) to get the government to make laws
mandating that many products are obsolete, inefficient, or unsafe and that consumers will just
have to buy new replacements.  The businesses win because the consumers are buying more and
the government wins because the more consumers buy the more taxes are paid.
What a deal: everybody wins.  Well, maybe not everybody: the consumers do not win if they buy
things they don’t need and the environment is not improved if people are discarding usable items
that could be fixed. You know: like my wife’s drier or the socks we discarded last week.

So, If you are buying things you don’t need with money you haven’t got to fulfill a mandate of a
government that is totally bankrupt and you don‘t even like, perhaps you should think about going
“green” the old fashioned way!  Fix the stuff that you have, and vote the bums out.

My opinion Bob, is that you are a skin flint, what ever that means. You old guys don't want to
spend any money if they can help it. My dad was that way, he watched a 19 inch TV until his death
at 92. He could afford anything he wanted. Go buy a 60 inch flat screen, Bob, you can afford it.
Slend,Spend,Spend, life is too short. And by the way, buy some new socks, and not like the
articles you have been keeping all these years.

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