During these uncertain times that we find ourselves in, face masks, face coverings or whatever you want to call them, have been a new norm that like it or not, have forced their way into our lives.
Despite what the non-believers say, there is significant evidence to prove that they help reduce the spread of the virus; and that is crucial.
This new solution however has unwittingly created a much bigger problem.
It’s no secret that our planet has a massive crisis with widespread plastic pollution. Its ravaging our oceans, cluttering our countryside and killing our wildlife.
It could be argued that we were finally starting to get things under control before the pandemic hit, but as we all now focus on our immediate health concerns, we seem to have forgotten about the threat and have developed even worse habits than before.
The use, and misuse of disposable facemasks are the biggest demon of the day. With it now being mandatory across the UK to wear one of the contraptions, millions of people are now adorning them. With this unusual development I have seen hundreds of the things scattered across our streets.
This obvious disregard for proper waste disposal annoys me, but it doesn’t shock me given the selfish nature of some people. What really angers me however, is to learn that the single use masks are not recyclable or even biodegradable. This begs the question, what on earth happens to these (potentially infected) rags of plastic that will scar the earth for hundreds of years to come? My bet is their forever home is either landfill or worse, onwards to the ocean for further punishment of our waters.
I read something interesting a few days back which suggested that the problem with plastic in our environment is so bad, that traces of the stuff has even been found in our rainfall. Imagine that, we could soon be soaked in used facemasks when we get caught out in the rain. No thanks.
Industry has got a lot to answer for introducing this new pandemic to our lives.
These are testing times for us all for sure and we need to do what we can to stay safe. But let’s not torch our home in order to keep warm shall we. For heaven’s sake lets opt for reusable coverings unless off course there is real need for proper PPE.
Many of us across the North West of England have been subjected to an incredible light show for the last couple of nights. They were quite the spectacle and went on for hours on end.
The sky was angry, the air was heavy and oppressive and forks of lightening flashed relentlessly to illuminate the usually dark night. All the while thunder moaned and groaned a long an aggressive war cry and wild rainfall pounded the streets.
As enchanting as the whole weather performance was, I was kept awake and my nerves were shot. Aside from the obvious disruption caused by the storm, I guess a feeling of unease tormented me and I think it stemmed from the fact that we are not used to this kind of extreme weather on such a regular basis in our country. At least not until the past few years. No matter what anyone says, it is not normal for us.
We are currently enduring yet another blistering heatwave and only last week, the mercury levels reached 37 degrees down in London and the South East. Every year, a new record-breaking weather occurrence seems to take place.
What bothers me most is that I fear things could get much more extreme yet. Mother nature is a wicked mistress who has the power to cause unimaginable destruction in her wake. At the moment the world is making her ill with our toxic fumes and she is not happy.
Monday’s show in particular, sounded to me like a grave warning (to our side of the world at least) that we need to leave the environment alone or we must suffer the world’s wrath.
The EU may have a target to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, but this latest weather phenomenon is just one of the many warnings from our home that we all need to do a lot better than that, and sharpish!
This year has been tough and tragic for people across the globe. Not since the 2nd World War have we seen pain, suffering and death on such a grand scale. The COVID-19 pandemic is certainly the struggle of our generation and one we will tell our grand-kids about in years to come.
Or should I say ‘we hope to tell the next generations about it in years to come!’
Now the reason I say ‘hope’ is not derived from the fear of a complete wipe out of the population, due to the virus. No, these extreme concerns are born out of the even larger struggle of our generation. This is the elephant in the room; climate change.
For many weeks I was able to take some comfort from all the sorrow, fear and difficulty of these terrible times as I watched nature being gifted the break it so vitally needed. Transport and pollution across the world had diminished and it was clear just from looking out the window that mother nature was reclaiming her rightful throne again.
As soaring spring temperatures continued to pummel the UK throughout the main months of lockdown, I was however, troubled by the thought that climate change is a very real threat in spite of the virus.
These fears were soon to be consolidated in a sickening sitting of the evening news one night. Aside from all the usual horror, a story was broadcast that shocked me to my core.
Whilst the world has been held captive by the corona virus, a mass of unscrupulous criminals have been mindlessly hacking away at the Amazon Rain-forest illegally. With the focus of Brazil’s authorities, cast solely on the pandemic, the prevention of illegal logging was no longer being enforced. This basically meant that greedy tree fellers were free to do what they wanted and they did exactly that. It is believed that illegal logging had doubled on the same time last year during the initial month of lock-down and up to 2,000 square miles had now been cleared during that time.
I felt physically sick after absorbing the implications of the scandal.
It was quickly confirmed that the damage caused, had well and truly trumped all of the eco gains made by us all in these times of isolation. To me this felt like another stab in the back.
For those who might wonder why this news felt like such a big blow to me, I will try to explain what it means in layman terms.
The Amazon rainforest is arguably our most crucial ally in the fight against climate change. It is common knowledge that trees absorb carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and expel oxygen in return. The Amazon’s trees play an overwhelming role in this process and also have the ability to form weather conditions.
Some people call the Amazon rain-forest ‘the earth’s lungs.’
Now as difficult as the image is, those illegal loggers could be compared to the corona virus that looks to destroy and consume our lungs. The loggers are doing exactly the same to the earth’s lungs. There comes a point where the virus overpowers our lung’s ability to cope and I fear exactly the same is going to happen to our home if things are allowed to escalate any further.
What worries me most is that Brazil’s current government sound reckless and greed fuelled. They should be at the epicentre of the climate emergency response, when in reality they are exactly the opposite.
Given that we are all focused on the fight against the virus, it worries me that this problem will continue to get ignored. The problem I see is that if it does slip under the radar, the virus will be the least of our worries.
Ironically, they say that the destruction of natural habitats is one of the main dangers to new viruses being unleashed around the world. I honestly believe they will soon become more frequent. I see this current pandemic as a warning call from mother nature. We really need to listen to her cries.
It sickens me to realise this harsh reality.
I guess all I can do from my isolated existence is call out to everyone online to raise awareness of what’s going on.
After what has been everyone’s worst year yet, let us hope that some good can come out this and we can save the rain-forest. If not, I think we should all prepare for things to get a lot worse yet.
If any event in history should spark us all into emergency action, it has to be this one.
For weeks now wildfires have pounded the Australian bush.
New record-breaking temperatures have conjured a smouldering demon that is destroying everything in its path.
It is believed that an area almost the size of England has been ravaged by the blaze, annihilating everything it touches.
Millions of animals lay chargrilled across the land. Hundreds of homes have gone up in smoke. People across New South Wales have fled to god only knows where. Day has turned to a sinister orange and smoke-filled night and what’s worst is that the Aussie summer is only just getting going.
Some might argue that bush-fires are a natural occurrence that happens down under every year, and that may well be the case.
However this year’s firebomb has gone far beyond what could be classified as normal.
This is the terrifying reality of climate change right now in year 2020.
Aside from the immediate carnage and deep sadness at its devastation, what is most concerning is what happens in the aftermath.
Tons of c02 has been released back into the atmosphere. As if levels were not high enough as they were, the grave repercussion of this disaster doesn’t bare thinking about.
But unless you have decided to wave the white flag or remain oblivious until the sorry end, we MUST think about it!
It has been far to easy for us to make light of the situation in the past.
Far too many of us have shrugged off the warnings as scaremongering. The raving tree-huggers are after attention again, trying to turn us all vegan, many have cried.
As dramatic as this all sounds, after seeing the sickening images of Oz in anarchy, it is the only way I can communicate my thoughts.
By now we should all know what needs to be done to curb our carbon footprint and don’t get me wrong we are making progress.
But let’s be honest, they are simply baby steps.
However my angry outcries are primarily directed at the big corporate companies and governments across the world.
Perhaps we all need to stop swinging our weight around in a pre-empt for world war 3 and start working together to take immediate and drastic action.
Perhaps when the weather burns through the millionaire’s fat cat wallet, maybe then we might see some serious action being taken.
But maybe then it might be too late.
I sincerely hope that the best side of humanity prevails this time around; for all our sakes!
As the climate crisis continues to creep up to boiling point, I’m sure most of us are now starting to feel a mild sense of panic.
If it wasn’t for the widescale disbelief in the science behind it all, I think we may be in a state of anarchy.
As crazy as it sounds, my rationalisation behind our sinister state of affairs, is a universal sense of helplessness.
None of us really know (or believe) that we can make a difference to the dire situation we find ourselves in. Instead many of us have decided to bury our heads in the sand, carry on as normal and pray to god that the scientists have got it wrong.
As terrible as it sounds, it is an understandable coping mechanism that we have conjured up to help us get through the day. Life is already too tough for us as it is!
It is also understandable when you consider that the odds are stacked against us. Government doesn’t seem to care, supermarkets seem to get it but are making changes at a snail’s pace and the transport sector are being equally as slow in securing a mass emission crack down.
This basically means we are left with no choice but to go cold turkey.
I for one have been trying to dip my toe into the eco-friendly water for some time; but have found it a challenge.
However, I’ve now stumbled across one way in which to make a difference that excites me…
This is the idea of self-sufficiency.
And the idea was actually born out of the disappointment at having very little garden space.
I wanted to make my granite grey yard look a bit greener and so I went in search of some compact garden inspiration.
During the weekly shop, it is safe to say I found what I was looking for.
I stumbled across a miniature grow house that just happened to be the perfect size to slot into the corner of the yard.
Made from wood and equipped with greenhouse Perspex, it looked like the ideal home for nature to flourish.
When I noticed the price tag, I was amazed at how affordable my idea suddenly seemed.
This little gem was on offer through Aldi’s special buys and I couldn’t recommend it enough!
Obviously, I wasted no time in buying and with such an ease in putting together, it was ready for business in no time at all.
I started with a strawberry plant on its last legs. Its little leaves looked lonely in its new home at first.
And so I decided to give it some company.
I purchased a few small pots, a bag of compost and a few sachets of seeds.
I returned home with pipe dreams of tomatoes, cucumbers, peas and various other herbs.
I soon had 2 full shelves full of mud pots and embarked on my voyage to culinary independence.
At first it looked like a waste of time.
But then after about a week, the late spring propelled us into summer and this nurtured the birth of my first little shoot.
I was instantly flooded with excitement.
From then on, I haven’t looked back!
One by one the shoots came.
I then decided to add a bucket next to the grow house. My aim was to capture and recycle the rain water for watering the plants.
Within weeks everything started to grow like wildfire.
Every single night after work I come out to water the goods and admire their progress. And every night it fills me with joy to admire the latest developments.
And so after 2 months of TLC I have finally been rewarded with some of the sweetest strawberries you can imagine.
Knowing that these little beauties are free, free from chemicals and only a stone’s throw away, makes me feel on top of the world.
Any day now I can see an army of tomatoes, eager to ignite.
But the best thing about it all, is that it doesn’t make me feel as depressed about climate change.
I know this process will make a difference.
No polluting plastic is needed, no ammonia is churned out and no car fumes are being unleashed by driving to the supermarket.
If only everyone decided to take this small step, I think the road to environmental recovery might actually turn out to be more realistic than we are told is possible.
We are currently in the midst of a world-wide co2 crisis.
Every day we are told that our one and only home is on the brink of collapse and we are the ones to blame.
Climate change is plaguing our planet and we need to act now we are told!
This is the record that we’ve all been played on a loop for as long as I can remember.
Maybe it’s just me, but this message seems to be burning with more intensity over the past few years and it’s got me gripped with terror.
But what horrifies me more is that it feels like I am the only one burdened with this fear.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately wondering how we can all go about our everyday lives when we face impending doom.
Worse still, we blissfully continue to burn through fossil fuels, gorge on food and pollute our planet with trash.
I mean I’m coming nowhere close to practising what I preach a lot of the time too, making me wonder what the hell is wrong with me, with all of us!
I have recently come up with some ideas however as to why not enough of us are taking this emergency seriously.
It is quite clear to me that this calamity is a consequence of brick wall barriers which rise sky high in our quest to doing the right thing.
I surmise that our problems stem from a toxic concoction of the factors below;
Clearly governments across the globe are not doing enough to address the issue. This is arguably the most harmful factor in facilitating more and more damage. At the end of the the day, these are the people that have the power. If we want to make a real difference, leaders from each and every country need to yank their heads out of the sand, and quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, some countries are making great progress. Countries such as Singapore, Denmark and Costa Rica (to name just a few) are pioneering the revolution towards a green future.
But isn’t it always the way that a select few like bring down the group. Big hitters such as America and Russia simply need to do more.
Unfortunately too many world-leaders still regard the tackling of climate change a trivial chore that warrants attention only now and then. Worst still, they give the impression that work in this area is a draining expense and ignore the importance and potential for innovate new industry sectors, which could generate tons of new jobs.
Without the backing of government it is going to be impossible to ditch fossil fuels and it makes it very difficult for us to make a big enough difference.
This is the Achilles heel that we all have as humans. We are free to make our own choices. This is great, however we are notoriously bad at making really bad ones. Some might say it is in our nature.
I think we can all agree that making the right choices is really hard. We like to take the easy option. It makes us feel good.
Given that environmentally sound options are still regarded as a choice, not nearly enough of us has conjured up the will power to make a change.
Luckily the tides seem to be turning as clever marketing and mountains of PR have at last started a fad for things such as vegan food and plastic free products. Lets hope for everyone’s sake that this continues to gather pace.
An obvious one really. It is no secret that many green changes are costly. The price of solar panels for example is extortionate and hybrid cars are so expensive for what you get. As a result we simply can’t afford some green options or simply overlook them because we believe our money is best spent elsewhere.
Quite simply, many of us just don’t believe in global warming and the effects of climate change. Maybe it is just easier for us to dismiss the truth, rather than face a reality that is scary. Maybe some of us think climate change is just a fantasy constructed by the media to generate stories, or that the truth has been blown out context.
I think (generally speaking) we are moving away from this now. But there will always be some who ridicule individuals who make certain lifestyle choices. Similarly there will also be people who are too scared to make lifestyle choices, due to a fear of being ridiculed. Far too often have we heard people branded as being eccentric tree huggers or delusional hippies, for example.
I would put this barrier on par with government policy. Even though I vividly remember my school lessons on global warming, I know far too many people who are simply not gemmed up on what global warming and climate change even mean. I won’t even begin to theorise the reasons why, because I imagine there are many. What I do know is that much more emphasis needs to be placed on teaching individuals about it.
I don’t pretend to be an expert on the current curriculum, but I would hope that schools are now giving this turbulent topic the attention it urgently demands.
But I don’t think it is really the school kids we need to be worried about. It is those of us who have blindly ravished our resources for generations.
The science behind the scenes needs to be put in layman terms and communicated on a mass scale.
Without this information it is actually quite understandable why many of us continue to ignore the warnings and even if they don’t, they might not even though what they can do to help the matter.
Whether you would admit it or not, far too many of us are just damn right greedy. We want the world and sadly we are taking too much of it. It’s one of the traits I like least about myself to be honest. Not sure if we have developed this habit from our capitalist culture, but it is something we should all be embarrassed about and need to work on.
I guess this is the final dagger to the heart for us all. Being environmentally friendly is hard. There is no sugar coating it. For some reason mother nature is a cruel mistress that has essentially set us up for a disaster. They say that nothing in life comes easy. Probably the wisest words ever uttered in my opinion. But what we have to remember is that we seem to have this remarkable ability to endure hardship and invent solutions…
The problem with all of the set-backs listed above is that they feed off each other like vultures, each making the solution that bit more impossible to achieve.
And because of this it worries me that only a mass atrocity will shake us to get our buts into gear.
And all the signs of carnage are now brimming on the surface, ready to erupt at any moment.
I believe climate change will be our next world war, a battle we must all fight and the only way we will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Let’s just hope I’m wrong and we can defy our nature for once and adapt before we get presented with a deadly duel that could just be our curtain call.