Author of stories for children, Scientist and Philosopher organic cotton products, comments on life, the universe and everything, photography. Conservationist, Environmentalist. Lives on the pale blue dot. Humanity must tread more lightly on the world
What appeared to be an abandoned building surrounded by hoardings with colourful hoardings displaying some typical global brands. Seen on the road out of Asuncion, Paraguay in 2012, as we leave on the long distance coach for Buenos Aires. A journey that for us leaves around 6pm, maybe earlier, if I remember correctly and arrives the next day, 19 to 20 hours later. 29th February 2012.
Chocolates used to come packaged in a cardboard box and each chocolate sat in a small paper tray and they sat quite close to each other. That was before marketing and advertising got to show the consumer that they were getting a lot more for their money by padding out a larger box with plastic pollution. Now as we know we’re consuming plastic particles every day whether we like it or not so there’s a good chance that we’ll be eating the internal packaging of this enlarged chocolate box or some form of life will. It may of course be recyclable and be recycled, oh yeah, like that’s really going to happen. Alternatively, it may end of getting burnt polluting the air we breathe with toxins and all because advertising and marketing people want to fool us and they have.
Can anyone remember when large digital screens started to be used to bombard privileged first world consumers with advertising and marketing of products, often produced with exploited labour in third world countries? It hasn’t been going on for that long but in the time of drastic greenhouse gas emissions it’s a disaster. Perhaps this will be on humanity’s tombstone, “The monkey went extinct because of its love of advertising, marketing and exploitation of other human monkeys and all other forms of life on Earth”. We cannot continue to consume at the rate we are consuming and we are morally bankrupt if we continue the exploitation of other Homo sapiens.
Can you imagine how many CO2 molecules are being released in powering the screens in the building below?
First posted in January 2021. We are still a long way from the mindset change that individuals and societies need to make in terms of resource usage on a finite planet.
Marketing and advertising and the wasting of resources go hand in hand in the 21st century. These cranes I think had clearly been signposted with the site name that they were working on but why? Because they could. The cost of doing so was in the local currency, it might have even been tax deductible but there was no associated cost to the environment. OK you might say it’s some materials on a one way trip to landfill or burning but it’s not much. Unfortunately it is though. It may only look like a “straw” to you but there are 7,800,000,000 of us all using “straws” that are often unnecessary and therefore part of the over use of natural resources that humanity extracts from the natural world at every moment. Earth Overshoot Day gets earlier every year. Make sure you consider the environmental cost of what you use and not just its monetary cost.
Part of the problem of climate change, deforestation, species extinction is related to the amount we consume and currently business as usual merchants want us to continue spending and consuming. This isn’t possible on a finite planet and is morally wrong when we know of the exploitation of human labour and the environment. So how about making a list of things that you don’t buy this year, that you do without? If we all didn’t buy something it would make a big difference. I can see the problems for people. A younger me would also spend and spend again but I have become old enough to reject the advertising by what the marketing and advertising people tell me is essential for my life and happiness. So why not try and not go shopping whether it be physically when allowed to do so or on line? Make a note of items that you have decided not to buy and at the end of 2021 count up how much money you have saved. There are those that will say that these people in 3rd world countries need the work and while true they need more than economic slave wages and that needs to change too.
First posted in December 2020. The flagrant waste of Earth’s limited resources in first world countries is truly disgusting.
This for me instantly says a waste of Earth’s precious resources and more pollution but then I always look at things in terms of environmental impact and at least over medium time scales of hundreds or thousands of years. That may sound like an eternity to some but even a thousand years is a blink in geological time. If we look at human history though it has been the last 200 years plus that we have really started to mess things up. Certain things exemplify the fact that we either haven’t got a clue what we are doing to the planet or we just don’t care. While a group of people must have sat around and thought up this idea of making the hoarding of a building site look pretty they must have been as far removed from thinking that it was in any way detrimental or wasteful of resources as could possibly be. That’s the biggest problem to overcome. People for the most part live in very small bubbles. If the material for these hoardings caused a large hole to be dug outside their dwelling or the burning of these panels at the end of their short life filled their lungs with acrid smoke they may have thought differently of the whole idea in the first place. Professional people may have all sorts of qualifications but that still doesn’t mean that they are “Earth wise”. Something we need to rectify if we are to have any chance of solving the problems that we ourselves have caused.
I blogged this a while ago but nothing has really changed. In terms of a sustainable life we have to get rid of the “My car” lifestyle in town and city centres. The “My car” society needs to be replaced by shared resources and public transport along with re-purposing building in these areas and changing parking spaces and driveways into green spaces bringing cleaner and greener habitable places to live.
The original blog
The marketing and advertising industries have been pushing the unsustainable dream life for those with enough money in their pockets and bank accounts for decades. Meanwhile countless numbers of 3rd world workers and their environment have been sacrificed to maintain this neoliberal drug fueled party for those 1st world party goers that are able to get into the club. Thankfully, some are waking up to the fact that the party has gone way too far and on for way too long. Hence some suitable rebellion like this climate change graffiti. Some in polite society may call this vandalism but when big money and fossil fuel corporations have been the neoliberal drug dealers supplying the party goers this is one of the only ways of fighting back.
It’s important to remember where are food comes from especially at this time of year. While it would be impossible to trace all this chocolate back to west Africa it’s important to consider where the main ingredients have come from. Cocoa and palm oil are used in many forms of confectionery and have and continue to be the cause of much destruction in forests along with health risks involving pesticides and unsafe working conditions, low pay and even child labour. Yet the large corporations are in the money and what lies behind the glossy packaging is neatly covered up by swish and slick advertising and marketing. So this Christmas at least take some time to think about where what you buy and eat comes from because we are already taking too much from our shared environment.