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.
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.