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Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 446: Screw you - I Drive a Prius

We have been told that we can make a difference, that it's the little things that count in decreasing pollution and the destruction of the atmosphere. We're told that we can save the rhinos, or the rainforest by buying some bags. We're told that food manufacturers have our best interests at heart. We are told many things. Tell us these things in just the right way and you've got us - hook, line and sinker. Make it sound good and pretty and we'll dive right in. Throw in a hint at achieving some form of righteousness and we're there. We like to feel good - especially about ourselves.

In a world where our economy is based on the manufacture and disposal of goods, we are told that what will "save the environment" is buying our own grocery bags to cut down on plastic use. Unfortunately, "they" fail to mention that plastic is used in countless different ways and for multiple reasons and purposes - for consumers to use less plastic in their grocery shopping is really irrelevant. Consider all the things you're actually buying: it's packed into tins and plastics, it's shipped around the country wrapped in plastic, it ends up in a plastic refuse bag - there's a whole process that goes on behind our day-to-day products that we simply choose to ignore.

Where does all of our trash go? Some cities dump their trash into landfills, others dump it in the ocean. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

We sit in our pretty homes with our neat lives, taking out the trash is just a  small part of our lives. We have to throw out quite a bit in a day - the packaging that our foods came in, the packaging that our gadgets and toys came in, our old toothbrushes, our old sponges, empty bottles, empty pet food containers/packets, paper and tissues, spam mail, newspapers and so much more. we fit all of our things into neat rubbish bags which we then deposit outside our homes for the rubbish fairy to collect. It is a magical thing, the rubbish is there one minute and gone the next. We like it this way, because rubbish is gross and smelly, and we would really rather not have it lying around the house.

Unfortunately, when we look at things in our lives, we do not see them for what they are, we see this pretty, neat picture that is a nicer version of reality. Alas, it is not reality. There is no magical rubbish fairy. Our trash ends up in the ocean, in the land - all around us really. There is no place we could put it where it wouldn't come back to haunt us - there is no magic trash box that has an unlimited capacity. Buying our own bags is not going to make any real impact on our situation - there is simply too much trash being produced from all aspects of our lifestyle. The idea that buying our own bags is somehow going to save us is just a feel-good scam - we get to think of ourselves as "good people" for having done our part to save the world. If we keep going at this rate we're going to be drowning in our own trash and toxic waste in a few short decades - no amount of grocery bags will change that.

So, to bring this little rant back to the title - the same goes for the mentality that driving a hybrid car absolves one of any further responsibility toward the earth and our fellow man is pointless - it does nothing to change anything except to boost one's ego. There is way too much waste and pollution being generated for something as meager as the emissions of a few cars to make a difference. Our lifestyle and mentality as a whole must change - the culture of buy, consume, throw away is not sustainable - time to wake up and smell the landfills, or they will soon be found in all of our back yards.

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