There are roughly 48 alternative words for ‘shocking’. I went looking for them after checking out the next ‘Somethingist’ word.
I’m not quite sure what to write about tonight. I could write about what’s happened today – my friend had her first article published, I worked on getting my ebook ready for releasing on Kobo, and I had a lovely comment from another friend who has almost finished reading my book. People are enjoying my book! How amazing (incidentally, this is on the list for alternative words). My sister came round briefly to visit after work at the local theatre company. I discovered that a touching Christmas advert from Iceland has been banned from TV because it was deemed too ‘political’, despite the fact that they are just highlighting that their own products contain no palm oil, and that they are trying to make a difference to the habitat of Orang-utans.
This is scandalous because corporations should be allowed to be leaders when it comes to making a difference to our planet. If they are choosing to be ethical, to use their influence to stop the loss of forests, habitats, and oxygen – I see nothing inherently political about that. I can’t remember how long ago I first learnt about palm oil and where it came from, and how it was leaving Orang-utans stranded and homeless, but it was some time ago now. I signed plenty of petitions. And palm oil is more ubiquitous than ever. So it’s a good news day when a high-street food store announces that it will be removing palm oil from their own brand products. It’s a step in the right direction. Other supermarkets should take note. Just a small shift in mindset, a little more awareness, counts. If we all tried to take note of the products that contain palm oil and swapped them for those that don’t, corporations would definitely take note. It’s a cheap, high-environmental cost oil that is much worse for human health than similar oils (such as coconut, olive, or rapeseed).
The small choices we make every day are weighed against the environmental cost. I read an article a few days ago in Eco Living magazine about whether the planet is at capacity. Over seven billion people live on our planet today. That kind of number is staggering. I can’t even begin to comprehend what that means. The simplest causes are the excess growth of human life, and a declining death rate – there are still a great many people living below the poverty line with limited knowledge of family planning, safe sex, and contraception, and little education. The imbalance comes when there is also a declining death rate, because of better healthcare, and advanced fertility treatment, as well as a more hands-on approach to poverty. According to the article:
‘Natural resources, such as water, oil and iron are being drained, putting an added pressure on the planet, which it cannot handle. The Earth can only produce certain amounts of food and water each year, and is currently falling short of the demand. As a repercussion of this growing population, deforestation is becoming more frequent, habitats are being destroyed and pollution – which contributes to climate change – is on the rise.’
The article does offer practical solutions though. Education is key – educating people on the dangers of overpopulation, the necessity of family planning, safe sex, and contraception, and encouraging people to have smaller families. And schools should also aim to tackle safe sex, contraception, overpopulation and the responsibilities of parenthood. I think this might seem like a drastic and painful thing for people to hear, but necessary if we are to tackle the problems humanity currently face. It is only one part of the solution in the fight to save our planet.
If we all consider how the small changes we make each day – using less water in our kettles, air-drying washed clothes if possible, recycling, choosing products without palm oil, using cruelty-free products, supporting people and initiatives around the world trying to make a difference and educating ourselves on alternative sources of energy, lifestyle changes and consumption, we may be able to scale back the damage we have done. There is already more awareness, which is a good start. I’m realistic but still hopeful – we may not be able to save everything, but we can try.
‘The Earth is what we all have in common.’ – Wendell Berry.