I am not a puritan, a purist, nor an environmentalist; I am neither a pundit, nor a politician, and I would certainly not win any awards (not even remotely) for my lobbying efforts. I do however live a very conservative life, and am terribly conscious and conscientious about how I affect my community, and global space. But that does not qualify me as a saint or a scientist. I live by the simple, vedic principle of advaita, or the soul-in-all-souls concept; more commonly known in Western society as the concept of person-in-environment. And that is my guide for how I use (not abuse) the earth.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have no dreams of personally influencing the climatic conditions so as to alter the effects of the rising CO2 levels (well, I could breathe harder), or reverse the effects of the melting glaciers in the polar region, or the near-extinction of the polar bears. But a lifetime of travel has made me poignantly aware of how the liberites we enjoy in Western societies, and at an upper echelon level (not at all suggesting that I am there!), can severely affect those on whose backs these luxuries are garnered. And in this post, the luxuries I refer to is plastic.
I know you would not often think of plastic as a luxury, but if you were to have a look around your immediate surrounding (your desk and kitchen) and remove everything made with polymers (polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, the list is endless) you would be amazed at how suddenly inconvenient life would become. And that ‘convenience’ then arrogates plastic the status of ‘luxury.’
Consider that prior to the heralding of DuPont and its proliferation of polymers, glass (for the affluent) and clay / ceramic (for the less fortunate). Today, plastic inundates the globe at every tier of income status, and the price we pay as a society is reflected egregiously in the state of our environment; in the two ways that are most basic to our existence: air and water. How does that affect other organisms? Well, think of putting a plastic bag over your head…….you get the picture….literally!
I will openly confess that I shed a few tears everytime I encounter the evidence that reminds me of the effects of my own priviledged existence. Yes, I take responsibilty, for I am as guilty as the next person……but from my end, there is always the continuous effort to not only minimise my usage, but also to educate myself about my participation in this degradation.
Today, this image brought me to tears, and prompted this post. Yes, as a clothing designer you would think that I would appreciate the innovative waistband, but I don’t. As I am sure this turtle didn’t.
I would be a pretentious if I were to declare that I do this because I care about global warming, because this grand notion is as removed from my reality as the thought of dinner with Sir Anthony Hopkins. My consideration is instead aimed at the animals and all other organisms that share this earth with us humans, as every bit of harm we cause to another organism, is essentially, harm to ourselves.
In my own microcosm, I contribute in various ways, one main aspect being: I drink water from glass bottles not because I am ”stuck up” (yes, I’ve heard the murmerings) but for two main reasons: (1) I do not wish to contribute to the massive amounts of plastic floating in the ocean, and (2) I have no desire to consume the carcinogen, Bisphenol A (BPA), that leaches from plastic bottles.
So, if you care, join me in my ”snooty” practise of drinking from glass bottles; it is a healthy start towards a better future. Indeed, they are more expensive and heavier to carry, but the long-term benefits to your health and the health of the environment are well worth it. Okay, perhaps you do not care about your own health, but think of your children, and the legacy you will leave behind – the polluted earth you will leave as their playground.
And if I have failed to move you towards being more eco-conscious, then take a look here at what a great artisans we are at crafting our own demise. This image below is one in the lot, and is particularly sorrowful to me.
Image is not mine, click here for source