If we hypothetically shrank the entire 4.5-billion-year history of our planet into one year, human kind would emerge only in the last three minutes of the last day of that year. Just a bit before midnight ... But because we didn't go very far in the beginning and spent several hundred thousand years mostly hitting one another on the head with clubs and running away from lions more or less successfully, this is not entirely relevant data. It should really make us think that Christopher Columbus discovered America just 20 seconds before 12 and that we've managed to, at least in certain areas, irreversibly ruin our planet in the last few seconds. We can only sing the praises of such progress!
A few days ago, I listened to a few presentations by eminent Slovenian researchers on the topic of waste plastics and the damaging consequences they have on our environment. If I had to sum it up in a single word, it would probably be: “HORRIFYING!” I've seen lots of things on my travels to the open wounds of the third world, but I hadn’t truly grasped how catastrophic the situation on this Earth of ours is until now. Well, to be honest, scientists have also just started to conduct research that increasingly warns us of the dangers of so-called micro plastics, which are very tiny particles that we don’t even notice, but that are considerably more dangerous for us than a plastic bag or a plastic bottle that doesn't end up in a bin and is consequently not recycled. A bag or a bottle can be picked up and disposed of, whereas micro plastics, that already represent as much as 13 per cent of the 200 million tons of waste plastics that ended up in our oceans, are completely uncontrollable at the moment. They were even discovered in the digestive systems of organisms living at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, i.e. 11,000 metres deep. They not only release poisonous substances but also bind poisons such as insecticides, heavy metals and a myriad of other substances that are life-threatening for humans. Calculations show that by about 2050 (which means only a bit more than 30 years from now!), the quantity of waste plastics in the sea will increase to more than a billion tons and will weigh the same as all the fish in all the oceans! We know that on average a plastic bag is used for about 15–30 minutes (which is how long it takes us to put the groceries brought from the shop into the fridge and throw away the bag ...) and the time needed for the bag to decompose is estimated at about 500 years (!).
We are all aware that the main culprit for this is the overpopulation of our planet and yet we act as if this problem concerned everybody but us. We say to ourselves, let others take care of this, and we are still genuinely happy when our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are born and consider any birth in close family as sheer bliss. Bliss for whom? Surely not for someone who is born today and will die in old age on an ecologically devastated and toxic planet? Every child born in the Western (civilized???) world uses so many disposable nappies in the first years of life that they could fill an entire medium-sized room. Each of those nappies takes 450 years to break down. Only in the US this means 3.5 million tons of nappies per year, for which the nonplastic parts require the felling of 200,000 trees. And when we crawl out of nappies, that’s when we really start polluting, burning fossil fuels and eating produce that radically contributes to greenhouse gases. And so on, throughout life ...
But let’s stop being so pessimistic. Maybe this epochal-global pollution is hiding a solution for mankind? Namely, plastic waste is one of the main endocrine disruptors and also carcinogenic, which means it causes cancer. Endocrine disruptors contribute to the significantly reduced fertility of women and to the feminisation of men, while cancer is also taking its toll, which is higher and higher. What could be more beautiful for this planet than fewer (human!) births and a higher (human!) mortality? Maybe when we dump a bag or a plastic bottle, we do something good for human kind after all?
But I don't wish this kind of ecological catastrophe on my children and I’m becoming increasingly confident that my (conscious!) decision to not have any biological children of my own was also my wisest life decision.
My life-motto is “You can sleep when you’re dead!” and I stick to it every day in my life! I worked with the Company “Our Space appliances” for many years now, and together we have prepared numerous successful events, lectures and team-building articles for you to enjoy and read. The best part of it all is when Jure (the CEO of Our Space appliances) comes to visit my family and me at the seaside and together we can grill a tasty fish or 2. That’s when life becomes even better…