Ramblings and grouses

Just some unstructured rambling, because my brain has degenerated to a point that I am unable to construct proper thoughts and phrasings.

Ramblings about people and life, our Earth and sustainability.

We live in such a consumeristic society. Somehow, modernity has been equated with consumeristic. Our achieving economic progress is closely tied to how much we consume. No matter how much the government and various corporations and organisations advocate the 3Rs (or the lack of it), it will never fully take hold, unless there is a fundamental change about our mindset. At least, at the moment this is what I believe.

Reduce. Reduce consumption, of everything. Meat, food, water, goods, fuel, everything. Yet if you think about our consumer culture, it is impossible. And if you think about how greedy modern Man has become.

Reuse. Often confused with recycle, and seldom advocated. Reuse means using the item again, even after it’s been used once. Like passing down clothes. Or reusing what is meant to be disposable (to reduce waste, and also consumption). Something that people don’t do, out of convenience or pride, perhaps. Not wanting to be seen with something “old”.

Recycle. The most famous of the 3Rs. Throwing our plastics, aluminium can and papers into recycling bins, for them to be collected and re-cycled into reusable items again. Everything is a cycle. Life, air, nutrient, water, everything. Everything essential to living on the Earth is a cycle. Yet often, how we are living now, is not a cycle. It’s a straight path — to the edge of the cliff. We need to start following cycles again.

And the 3Rs are the least we can do to help “save” the world. But like I was telling some friends a few days ago, the world does not need saving. In my honest opinion, Saving Gaia is nonsense (I’m using a more censored word here). The earth has been around for millions of years, and will be here for many years more, no matter what we do to it. Unless we manage to find a way to obliterate the earth from our solar system. No matter what damage we inflict on our natural environment, Nature always finds a way to recover. We may kill off all the animals and plants that are currently sharing a planet with us, we may cause the 6th extinction, but in the end, the earth will bounce back, and new life form will inhabit the earth. Just like the many extinctions that happened before we arrived on the planet.

What we are really doing, or need to do, is to save ourselves. Because we, cannot live without the earth. The earth can do without us perfectly fine. We’re not the superheroes we imagined ourselves to be. For all our intelligence, the earth does not need us. But we really need it. We need a place to stay, we need to breathe, we rely on many plants and animals and habitats just to keep us alive. Only we are ignorant of it. Or we choose to ignore it, because we have strayed so far from our past that we have forgotten how much of our needs come from Nature.

The problem is that the human population is growing (exponentially), but there are not enough resources. Not at the rate the developed world is consuming them. Or certain developing countries.

But back to daily life, instead of lamenting how we cannot change world events, there are some little things we can do that make a difference.

Practice the 3Rs. Highly effective, if only people really heeded them. Consume less resources (save electricity, don’t drive if you can walk/take bus, waste less water in the form of ice, eat less meat, use 2 sides of the paper etc), don’t keep buying disposable items, and recycle whatever trash can be recycled.

Another thing that really gets my goat is plastic.

Perhaps I’m just particularly sensitive to them, because of their harmful nature to the marine environment especially. Plastic bags choke sea turtles who think they are edible jellyfish, this we all know. Nylon fishing nets trap sea birds and marine mammals and fish and drown/strangle them, this some of us know. Yet there are other things about plastics that most people don’t.

Microplastics. The small, microscopic fragments of plastic that we don’t see floating around the ocean. Out of sight, out of mind. Yet these are possibly the most harmful. Tiny little plastics that come from either the photo-degradation of larger plastics, or from micro-beads in facial foam that are supposed to be exfoliating, or just plastic bits from plastic factories, who find it easier to dump the waste in the ocean than to properly process them. These microplastics get eaten by zooplankton in the water, or fish, and slowly work their way up the food chain. Possibly choking up the digestive tract of the animals that eat them, or accumulating in large numbers in the top predators of the food chain.

So, don’t take plastic bags. Use less disposables (cutlery, plates and stuff). Our throw-away culture preaches convenience over everything, even the environment. But we can’t afford it anymore. Or we could, but the generations after us will suffer.

I don’t get why we can’t all do our part to help. Everything is all interlinked. Us, the environment, biodiversity, wildlife. We are all connected, a part of each other. I suppose we have long missed the connection. Lost touch with our primal roots.

I love climbing at Dairy Farm. But kids these days seldom go out. Not allowed to touch grass. Cannot see sunlight. Must spray insect repellent before going *gasp* outdoors! And they spray insect repellent like it’s some deodorant. I don’t know if it’s just a trend of Singaporean kids, or something more. In any case, I find it sad and disappointing, that this generation of kids, the iPhone generation, only know how to play games on devices that run on electricity. Generalisation perhaps, but I feel that the iPhone is badly misused. From making our lives easier, to sucking the lives out of us.

Yet on other hand, not all hope is lost. Working in the Zoo, I meet kids who still love animals (yet less often, plants or nature/environment in general), and parents who bring their kids to the outdoors, and be ecologically literate. There are more people in our generation who care, perhaps. People who give hope that the world as we know it is not doomed.


About Jocelyne Sze

I'm a Nature-lover, aspiring conservationist, and wannabe traveller in search of outdoor adventure.
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