Elle and I took out the trash this morning and while sorting the contents of boxes and bags into relevant recycling bins, I noticed that much of our waste was various forms of paper packaging. It made me feel good that we didn’t have that much made of plastic to throw away.Which is not to say that I in any way, shape or form am a good environmental citizen.
These are confusing times. On the one hand, more people than ever seem aware of the planet’s environmental crisis. Yet the vast majority of us that agree drastic measures are needed to slow down the ensuing catastrophe – stemming from decades of arrogans, neglect and denial – are in essence ignorant about how we as a collective can contribute to make substantial change.
And even if climate science has been politicised and is used as arsenal in the war between conservatives and liberals, the trajectory of Earth’s population growth is compelling enough evidence that there is no way we can sustain our current lifestyle without fucking the planet up to the point of inhabitability.
I mean, once China (1.4 billion), India (1.4 billion), Sub Saharan Africa (1.3 billion) and South America (400 million) catch up with us in Europe (750 million) and in North America (600 million) and yearn for all the material stuff (furniture, cars, clothes), foods (meat, dairy + processed crap) and holiday travel we’ve come to define our quality of life by, we’re basically screwed. And even if overpopulation doesn’t get us, the natural resources needed to support everyone and everything will ineluctably dry up. I’m all for recycling and innovate ways to reduce our addiction to fossil fuels, but when most of what companies like Wall-mart, HM and IKEA sell are heavily dependent on plastics and synthetics, not to mention shipping, we’re still going to need more oil than Mother Earth has stored in her belly.
When all is said and done, I’m still an optimist, albeit a cynical one. Because though I might feel a slight pinch during my lifetime, like the Nobel Prize winning idea of a global carbon tax or an even bigger increase in the frequency of natural disasters and even more smoged cities, I will likely live out my terrestrial life way before the apocalyptic future arrives. Which is probably how most folks my age and older – and much of Gen X reason; “Hell, it ain’t my problem once I’m gone”, or, “I worked hard to get where I’m at, I ain’t makin’ no sacrifices”. #nonissue #whogivesaratsass #colonizemars
The image above is from the Bay of Pigs on Cuba.