Replacing The Plastic Toothbrush At Last

Another post from 2018. Another simple thing we can all do to dump the plastic in our lives.

Finally got round to replacing the plastic toothbrush. We were in Shrewsbury at the weekend & bought them from Jan at Snap Dragon in the market. It’s a great place to shop and a lovely town. Shame they are “designed” in Australia & “created” in China. Can’t we just “make” them locally? It’s just a toothbrush! It’s not an essential part of the International Space Station so why is it “created”?

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Pizza delivery and the population issue

The population issue can mean many things to different people including those who for some reason think that it’s a taboo subject to discuss to those who intimidate, injure and even murder those in the medical profession who are involved in the related termination of human foetuses or in any form of birth control.

The problem for those with very polarised views of it being a taboo subject is that they appear to have in general a very limited knowledge of how the the physical processes of the planet work and also a limited awareness of time. To gain an insight into what a sustainable human population is it is necessary to step outside of the small bubble that most individuals live in. It is necessary to look at what is happening from a non human perspective and regard humans as just another animal along with all the other lifeforms from plants to animals currently existing today. That in itself is impossible to do as many see the world through human centric eyes even after Galileo disproved that the Earth was the centre of the universe hundreds of years ago.

We therefore need to look at where we are. It can be stated using numerous statistics but two of the most important are 7.79 billion humans, a 2020 UN estimated population number and 417ppm CO2 in the atmosphere, recorded in May 2020 at the Mauna Loa observatory. The two numbers are critical to the debate and those individuals who do not want to see them together will come up with numerous replies such as:

It’s racist to talk about population – to which it is necessary to consider humanity as a single species and single issue as none of the imaginary lines that we consider as borders to our nations can be seen from above the Earth. Neither will climate change respect any of the borders that humans have decided to define each other by. Another ice age would, if it happens, wipe northern countries off the human map. Similarly, with that already high level of CO2 in the atmosphere we are starting to see wet bulb temperatures where humans would not be able to survive. This will make parts or possibly whole countries unlivable. It is therefore necessary given the time and place we are in to consider these two numbers as a problem for humanity to solve. That means looking at human numbers and a given lifestyle.

If we all became vegans – well yes that would help but there are two issues here. Firstly can we expect everyone to become vegan overnight without some form of global authoritarian regime running the world? Rather a change to eating less animal products through pricing and education would be more acceptable to most. The other issue with all becoming vegans is that agriculture is not something natural. We made the change to become farmers within the last interglacial period. Before that we were living naturally as hunter gatherers. While we probably could have comfortably lived in the equatorial regions from fruit, nuts and other plants our march out of Africa would have had to have been fuelled by eating animals because there would not have been enough seasonal food in northern latitudes to support our ancestors’s brains or bodies. Again where we are now we could plan to evolve or adapt into non meat eaters but that has to come about by consensus and will take time.

Therefore, few of the people who refuse to discuss a sustainable human population at any given moment on Earth, think about how their own lives may not be that sustainable if scaled up to 7.79 billion people. What they take for granted from a cup of coffee to a bar of chocolate to a delivered pizza are not enjoyed by all and probably cannot be enjoyed by all. The delivered pizza is an ideal product to demonstrate that it is necessary to have a sustainable human population alive at any one time. Sustainable development goals, SDGs, as and if they are achieved will be followed by both local and global businesses and many will be delivering pizza. Why? Because as the standards of living improves individuals are drawn towards global trends and try a find a global corporation that doesn’t want to expand its market. So what’s the problem? Setting aside whether the pizza is vegan or not, well there’s the box the pizza comes in as it was a tree before it was a box. Let’s forget about the PFAS chemicals for the moment that the box is covered in because that’s another story. Then there is how it is delivered. Yes it could be by bicycle but more often than not it is by a two or four wheeled vehicle powered by fossil fuels or stored electrical energy. These resources need to be dug up from somewhere and we would need a lot more of these vehicles to deliver pizza to potentially billions of customers. Then of course as animals there’s the other end of the process and we have a problem with that too. There are 800 million people without access to acceptable potable water and 1.25 billion without adequate sanitation. Toilet paper does grow on trees but trees take time to grow. Those pizza eaters are going to need toilet paper and therefore more trees and of course clean water. So where is all this going to come from as we have already converted so much of the planet to our needs and pushed so many species to extinction? That figure of 417ppm CO2 is hanging over us and not everyone is able to have a pizza delivered yet. Numbers are the answer to all our problems and they must not be swept under the carpet. That 7.79 billion number with so many still not able to enjoy the “normal” life of a delivered pizza and a flushing toilet is still growing. Egypt for example adds another million humans every six months. What will they do for a living? Maybe they will be chopping down trees to make toilet paper and pizza boxes, digging up materials to make vehicles to deliver pizza in or on. Maybe they will be growing vegetables for the pizzas but there’s a problem with that. It is possible with the new dam being finished in Ethiopia, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, that the amount of fertile land in Egypt will be reduced so maybe it will not be so easy to grow the materials for the pizzas and yet the population continues to grow.

We therefore have to realise both as individuals and as a species that we, by our very number and our desire to have what is a basic lifestyle, delivered pizza and flushing toilets, are living beyond what the planet can support. None of this is normal in terms of the planet’s long history, only for those individuals in their small human centric bubbles and restricted views of both the world and time.

Review – I have received a wonderful review of my story Busy Bee and the Endangered Meadow

I have been very lucky in that the Devon Beekeepers Association has reviewed my story and written some really nice words about it.

Busy Bee and the Endangered Meadow by Paul Noel

“A bee story for children” – that was the description sent with Paul Noel’s book, “Busy Bee and the Endangered Meadow”, and on the face of it that’s exactly what it is. A tale with an intrepid honey bee called Beatriz at its core, ready and willing to use her intelligence and super-fast flight in the battle against the enemy – those who would seek to destroy the natural habitat of the field she calls home, together with her fellow creatures that also live there.

Yet it’s more than ‘a bee story for children’, for while they will love the heroic antics of Beatriz, or ‘Bea’ to everyone who knows her, adults will find characters familiar to them too – officious bureaucrats, eager nature-loving campaigners, boffins, dastardly developers and potentially wicked planners! The turning point when all the humans and animals come together is a joyous highlight!

No doubt we’ve all heard of a field that is ripe for necessary development and Paul Noel’s fantasy is one that we can easily follow and understand. While the drama and the suspense gives joy to younger listeners and readers, it represents important issues raised by the need for more homes and the conflict between those building houses and those passionate about protecting the natural environment.

As ever with children’s books you get most out of the story by suspending your disbelief and remembering that it’s simply a story to entertain and not provide a full education of the lifecycle of the honeybee and its behaviour in the hive and in the field – there are plenty of less exciting books, which are designed to give real insight to those of us who are interested in bee facts. “Busy Bee and the Endangered Meadow” doesn’t ignore general bee behaviour, but it’s full of fun and allows the imagination to take over, helped along with drawings that reflect the overall upbeat feel. The pictures are ideal for children to colour in, making it even more entertaining and better value.

Any beekeeper, indeed any adult, will not be bored if they find themselves reading the story of Bea trying to save her meadow. Just one question remains, what might Bea do next for surely “Busy Bee and the Endangered Meadow” is the first of a series?

Replacing The Plastic Toothbrush At Last

Finally got round to replacing the plastic toothbrush. We were in Shrewsbury at the weekend & bought them from Jan at Snap Dragon in the market. It’s a great place to shop and a lovely town. Shame they are “designed” in Australia & “created” in China. Can’t we just “make” them locally? It’s just a toothbrush! It’s not an essential part of the International Space Station so why is it “created”?

Plantlife and Butterfly Conservation Support

In the UK I am in the process of getting contracts with these two charities and therefore will be donating a percentage of sales from any of our items for sale on our website to them. The initial product that I approached them with was my story Busy Bee and the Endangered Meadow. This is available as a pdf on our website and for the Kindle and a printed book from Amazon. Below is a synopsis and some artwork. If you need further information about any of our products please don’t hesitate to ask.

Bea Bee is the most resourceful, hardest working and happiest bee living in a hive located in a beautiful meadow. One day she notices a new sign on the gate and goes back to the hive to get wise old bee to come to the gate with her and read the notice as she doesn’t understand all the words. The news is bad; the sign is for a planning application to build houses all over the meadow. Wise Old Bee suggests that only if a rare or endangered species is found in the meadow is there a chance that the meadow can be saved. Bea suggests a wild idea on how to save the meadow from this happening. If they don’t then they are going to have to move the hive.

Her plan is fairly simple. There are some red flowers down near the stream that produce some fairly sticky pollen and she thinks that if she disguises herself as a red bee people will believe that there is a new species of bee. At least it will give the bees time to find out if there is a rare or endangered species in the meadow. Time to tell the Queen about the problem and also a possible solution.

Bea tries out the deception on two young people camping in the meadow and they take several photographs that they load onto social media. Bea has started a series of events that she is unaware of. Two teams are set up, some normal bees to keep a lookout on when visitors are coming and a “red” team to sow the story and keep each other from being caught. They will now try and convince other people but will experts believe them?

Can Bea’s plan and her friends from the meadow find a way to save it from being built on?



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