It's now thirty years since I went into the health food store in West Cumbria, some thirty miles from the Windscale nuclear reprocessing plant.
I wanted to buy some herbal teas. I'm not sure what flavour or, indeed, why as the mother of Son No.1 and I were avid wine and tissane makers, using the fruits and flowers of the local countryside.
Whatever, for some reason I wanted 5 teabags. Each of these was in a paper envelope with a pretty picture on. These five enveloped teabags were enclosed in a cellophane wrapper, probably with one of those pull tags which can be found on cigarette packets.
The sales assistant then proceed to put my purchase into a bag advertising the shop; I can't remember if this was a plastic bag, biodegradable or not, or whether it was a paper bag, recyclable or not. It was immaterial, as I put my small shopping into a pocket and suggested that she should cut down on the packaging.
," she told me, "I'm into the environment
I stopped smoking on February 13th this year, and jobless and stressed that I currently am, apart from a few passive intakes I haven't inhaled a cigarette or joint since. What I have inhaled, though, is the massive pollution that pervades Jakarta, particularly in the dry season.
To counteract the coughing and dry throat I've developed a mild addiction to Plonk
sweets (US: candies) which get rid of smoker?s bad breath and itchy throat
and are made from licorice extract, Plonk clears your throat and replaces cigarette breath with fresh, minty scent.
But why is each sweet individually wrapped in plastic and then sold in another machined bag?
As a species, those of us not in the poverty trap but with disposable incomes are now spending the capital of the Earth's resources.The Ecological Footprint
which measures the amount of biologically productive land and water to meet the demand for food, timber, shelter, and absorb the pollution from human activity
shows that we are now in debt.
Not only are we wiping out plant and animal species in our rapacious rush to fill our shopping malls with consumerables and fancy packages, but in contributing to global warming, we have set in train the extinction of life as we know it.Sir Nicholas Stern, an internationally regarded economist, spent more than a year examining the complex problem. After a week of rumours and leaks, yesterday he formally launched his 579-page report. Though dry in its delivery, it had a simple and apocalyptic message: climate change is fundamentally altering the planet; the risks of inaction are high; and time is running out. Sceptics may be right
when they say that global warming and climate change is encyclical. I don't necessarily agree with them because I tend to think that the Industrial Revolution, which kicked off in the UK some 250 years ago, is the root cause of the current catastrophe..
The invention of machinery which relied on fossil fuels for energy enabled massive productivity and the need to seek out global sources of raw materials and markets. Colonial empires have come and gone in this never-ending quest. Wars have been 'won' and 'lost' in the desire to dominate people and thereby monopolise resources.
Industrialised countries are belatedly trying to cut down the carbon emissions from factories, appliances and vehicles, as indeed are poorer countries such as Indonesia which, as reported today in the Jakarta Post (temporary blog site
), is in the process of cutting down on the import of chloroflurocarbons (CFC). Whoopee, considering that CFCs are banned elsewhere it's good that the Department of the Environment here is actually doing something.
What is disturbing though, is that according to the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) Living Planet Report 2006
, Indonesia is a debtor nation, not just in terms of Chinese-Indonesian tycoons stashing their ill-gotten gains in Singapore but in terms of the depletion of natural resources.
Oil, copper, gold, coal, gas, wood. These are all non-renewable, yet conglomerates and cabals gladly dispose of them for short-term gains with little thought of this nation's destiny. Is it because the Indonesian birthright has been sold for a mess of potage
What a bunch of plonkers
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