Baby boomers not to blame

I keep hearing and seeing remarks about how the baby boomers have had it so good and that they are the ones responsible for global warming, consumerism, creating mountains of waste, being a burden on the young because they are paying for the state pensions, etc etc.

I would like to point out that as a child I had school clothes that when holes appeared in the trousers, they were patched and were used for playing in, we also had hand-me-downs and when the clothes were beyond repair, they used to go to the rag and bone man for recycling.

We did not have central heating and a bath in winter was in a cold bathroom where I would have to cover the overflow pipe to stop the cold draught. We were taught not to waste food, stale bread was used to make bread pudding and Potatoe peelings, vegetable waste and general food waste was collected by a local pig farmer to feed the pigs. The electric kettle would be repaired with a new element when the old one broke down and present day I am still using a fridge that was 5 years old when we moved into the house in 1978, I put a new thermostat in, in the 1980's.

We walked to school and when I went to Harry Cheshire which was 3 miles from where I lived, I cycled on the bike I built from second hand parts. As soon as I started work, I joined the pension scheme and contributed all my working life, I bought second hand cars and until the turn of the century used parts from scrap yards to keep them going where possible.

I worked overtime and did a part time job and saved the money to a build up a deposit on a house before I got married and bought second hand furniture to furnish it. My story was not unique it was a common experience for baby boomers.

When the children are at school now, the roads around the schools are blocked with all the cars transporting children to school emitting tons of CO2. When not at school the children are spending many hours a day using the internet to play games or other non-essential activities, the internet hardware puts 39 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.

Families now create millions of tons of food waste every year, I have been to carvery's and all you can eat buffet's and regularly see young families filling their plates and then leaving a lot, we were taught to only put on your plate what you can eat. Young families now buy more clothes and update them more often than we ever did also mobile phones, games consoles and other electronic items like tv's are updated on a regular basis.

Baby boomers were used to doing without and were taught to try and save money and only buy something when you have the money to buy it, not to borrow to get what you want now. We experienced mortgage rates going to 15% but were able to weather the storm because the proportion of our wages the mortgage represented was not allowed to be very high in the first place and when the rate came down some of us maintained the high repayment levels so paying the loan early. The reason baby boomers have a comfortable life in retirement is because they lived within their means, contributed to pensions and saved money by doing without.

It seems to me it is the generations born after 1970 that are the biggest polluters and the biggest consumers of products and are living for today instead of planning for their old age. It is them that need to change their way of life and maybe adopt some of the principles of the baby boomers.

Paul Dakin

Take care when chosing your dog dealer

Following the BBC1 Panorama programme ‘Dogs, Dealers and Organised Crime’, which aired on Monday 23 January, pet charity Blue Cross is appalled that puppies are being deliberately bred with life affecting deformities and that the painful practice of ear cropping continues, despite being against the law.

We are calling on the government to improve legislation around dog breeding and demand enforcement to prosecute breeders and others who practice horrific ear cropping.

We urge anyone considering getting a puppy from a breeder to ensure they are being bred with their health and welfare at heart and not just for profit. It is only by not buying from these unscrupulous breeders that deformities and exaggerated features in puppies will ever be stamped out.

Tracy Genever

Blue Cross Head of Welfare Standards and Education