PICTURE: Stop this waste of people, animals and money – Nature
The silly season is coming up and seems to mess with our senses.
This time of year is seen as one where people celebrate family life and friendships, with end of year and the beginning of new year parties. It can also mean the rubbishing of the earth with all the once wanted ‘must haves’ now unwanted stuff that becomes ‘must have-not’, must get rid of, must clean out the closet. What is a celebration for the human species can result in disaster and oblivion for species that have to put up with us rubbishing their patch – directly or indirectly. There is no denying what we continue to try to deny – there is no away. If what we discard is not a nutrient for another part of nature then it becomes a toxic legacy of our society’s addiction to material goods and chattels.
The silly season seems to mess with our reasoning, helping us justify spending and buying beyond what mother earth intended for a species, if we are to act as animals – as fauna – according to Rebecca Giggs (Fathom, the world in the whale). Giggs documents the destructive nature of our social and economic system that values stuff over substance and considers waste an acceptable by-product of our supposed high standard of living. How can a standard of living that messes up the oceans, the waterways, the land and the air, be defined as high? Doesn’t high equal better? This standard of living is leaving us worse off and the next generation burdened with our crap. It’s a myth to believe that running down our natural capital produces benefits socially and ecologically. There is a problem with placing so much emphasis on a single measure – money; giving it credit when it is a blunt instrument without a soul. Who’s counting: what men value and what women are worth, by Marilyn Waring lays bare the truth that relying on money alone is like relying on only one instrument to fly an aeroplane. Stupid, foolhardy, blind, call it what you will, we wouldn’t board an aeroplane if we knew the pilot didn’t have a whole suite of aids to help inform his / her decisions.
This Christmas how would we get on if we shunned all those gifts that were plastic wrapped? How would this impact on our gifting? What would we not give? What would we substitute? Food for thought. Unless our gift giving is wrapped in life giving packaging then it will be the death nell for some other creature further down the chain of links that bind us all together. (First published in MMM Issue # 14, November 2020)