They hold more, and they don’t collapse in the back of your vehicle spilling their contents everywhere.
I went to junior high and high school in the 80s. Prior to and during those years, I and my fellow classmates were inundated with such cheerful information as you’d better act now otherwise your planet’s going to die and nuclear energy is tantamount to nuclear war, and who wants that? and don’t wear fur, it’s murder!
This information was conveyed to us en masse in assembly auditoriums by such reputable and surviving organizations as World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Oxfam and Ploughshares Youth. While these organizations share different mandates, they do share at least one common thread: make the world a better place.
Or, to paraphrase Gandhi, you must be the change you wish to see in the world.
All our music and media also reinforced this mantra. We were essentially brainwashed, but is it brainwashing if the information being pounded into your head is actually true, awful as it may be? After all, what is the point in living in denial about your own reality?
By today’s fluffy standards, that sort of information seems pretty harsh. However, it was realistic. Not to mention, helpful. It spurred most of us into panicky high gear and we became desperately involved and interested in finding ways of trying to ensure that the bad things we were being shown would not continue. In other words, WE would make the difference and fix our parents’ mistakes. We would be the ones to effect change.
For awhile, we were really gaining ground. Many of us became zealots for the recycling cause, the anti-fur campaign and human rights cause. Many of us joined these organizations and participated in such things as shoreline cleanups and attended rallies. We were making our voices heard, and were even the more energetic when faced with opposing groups who did not wish to hear what we had to say, so we said it even louder. We made them pay attention, even if they tried not to.
But I look around now and wonder despairingly where it all went. Mostly, I wonder when people evidently stopped caring. I see people flicking their cigarette butts out the window on a dry, summer day and then stare around in utter amazement at the fires consuming our grasslands and forests. I have seen people walk within inches of a recycle bin and toss their garbage ON. THE. GROUND.
I see people wearing fur on everything they can affix it to, including hair accessories. They argue, baselessly, that the animal does not go to waste. They are completely and willingly unaware that these animals are raised in horrible conditions, tortured, and their meat goes mostly into the garbage. This topic alone will likely spur a complete other blog post but suffice it say for now that despite what you hear, the animals go to waste aside from their pelts. After all, when was the last time anyone told you they had a lovely and delicious meal of mink?
I have to point out that it takes an incredibly Herculean effort on my part to not give in to my baser urges to throttle these individuals. You’re welcome.
But I do wonder sometimes if my own efforts are worth it, given the apparent apathy of the people around me. Whenever I do get those discouraging feelings, I try to take stock and so far I have been able to convince myself that if nothing else, I will have done MY part and if I should ever have to answer to anyone or anything at the end of my days, I can at least answer for that much. So I continue my efforts, fruitless as they may turn out to be.
I often get asked WHY I care. Generally, this question comes from people who fall into the Baby Boomer age category, or from people who are the offspring of the Baby Boomers. Coincidence? Not a chance.
See, when you are raised by people who regard everything as their RIGHT, and therefore at their DISPOSAL to do with as they please, then following that “logic” it must follow that whatever is at your disposal is, in fact, DISPOSABLE. But where do you draw the line with this methodology? Garbage? Simply dispose or separate into recyclables? Cars? Do you maintain them, or do you instead replace them every year with attractive new lease and financing rates? Where do you suppose those cars end up? Houses? Bigger and better seems to be the expected evolution from the first house you purchase to the last. Pets? Certainly disposable because, after all, if they don’t fit into your lifestyle, then get rid of them, right? Never mind that they are also living, thinking, breathing, emotional creatures in their own right. They’re not one of YOU, so who cares?!?
The troubling evolution of this mindset is that you see also that relationships and people become disposable as well. Statistically it is said that half of ALL marriages in the western world end in divorce. This may be because people don’t want to bother putting the time and energy into their relationships, i.e. riding out the storms which occur in every marriage, or perhaps it is because they didn’t put enough time and energy into their relationship before entering into marriage. Either way, you end up with the same disastrous result: broken hearts and sometimes, tragically, damaged children.
What I’m getting at here, and thank you for bearing with me to this point, is this: if we do not care first about our own circumstances enough to ensure the survival of the planet on which we live, how can we be expected to care about anything else? The basic needs in life are food and shelter. If we can take care of our planet, we will be better equipped and more inclined to take care of everything else we need, i.e. companionship, love, children, et cetera. At some point, you will have to take the good with the bad in equal measure. Facing unpleasantness means that we learn how to deal with it, and hopefully put a stop to it to that we do not repeat the same behaviours. By not facing the less pleasant aspects of life, you are simply turning a blind eye and denying the problem and therefore yourself.
Chew on that while you carelessly toss your plastics in the garbage can instead of the recycle bin. If you would rather be a part of the solution, instead of the growing problem, please visit http://www.wwf.ca/.