Are we earthlings hard wired to discard and dump our waste wherever we please? Are we born litterers? If we take an honest look at our cities and in nature can we find any evidence to the contrary? What if being litterers is in fact a good and necessary practice? Does the survival of our planet depends on us dumping wherever we want?
As far back as I can remember I saw road signs that said $1000 fine for littering, and along that same road there was plenty of litter. Birds seem to leave their food scraps and poop wherever they want, same with fish and wild animals. Babies, kittens, and puppies make a mess with their food and pee and poop anywhere and everywhere. Judging by all the trash I see on the beach adults are also well practiced litterers.
A beneficial regenerative part of the ecosystem.
My understanding is our great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents, when living in tribes and villages, were also litterers and would discard their “trash” on the ground or in the water. Their trash was either plant or animal parts. All of which was easily digestible by nature, and a healthy diet for the organisms that fed on it.
Today all wild animals are continuing this healthy earth friendly practice. At least as long as they stay away from our processed foods and toxic trash. We humans got off track and created real trouble for our planet when we started burning oil and coal for everything.
Right now I’m typing on a keyboard made of plastic, looking at a monitor encased in plastic, all the cables are wrapped in plastic, my chair has plastic pieces, and the energy being consumed is most likely also a toxic production. What good is a super fast smartphone or the newest gadget if their production is so toxic it makes us sick? What’s smart about that? I’m wondering what an earth friendly plastic free computer looks like?
Finding our way.
We humans used to mass kill whales for oil and buffalo for their hides. This was an unconscious practice that was probably wreaking havoc with those ecosystems, but at least it wasn’t polluting our entire planet. We can repopulate whales and buffalo, how do we clean up all the plastic? How do we get all the toxins out of the air, soil, and water and put the oil back where it belongs?
I see babies, kittens, and puppies born without any shame around peeing and pooping, this is normal, natural, and instinctive. Seeing my newborn son instinctively search for and latch onto my wife’s breast was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Leaning that breasts change the chemistry of the milk to meet the baby’s needs blew my mind. I feel sad when well meaning adults with the best of intentions tell us to cover up and hide our bodily functions and that our natural impulses are wrong and shameful.
I have been crapped on by birds and they didn’t seem the least bit concerned. Where are the porta potties or restrooms in nature? I have yet to see animals wait in line when they need to go. It seems to me that we earthlings are hardwired to be “litterers” and to release our bodily works wherever we want. Why not? Especially when it’s a healthy food for some scavenger or microorganism? Plants soak up our breath and feel nourished when we poop on them. We mammals breath in plant gas and need that oxygen and food to survive. Win-win.
What do bodily fluids have to do with trash?
Well it is said that what happens in one area of our life will show up in all the others. So if we are disconnected from our body’s fluids and the natural healthy functions of our internal systems we will also be disconnected from nature’s functions and ecosystems. When we have shame and maybe disgust or even contempt for our bodily functions, we treat nature the same way. And then how do we treat each other?
Many of us create and discard toxic products with no regard for how it will harm nature and our food chain. We give the same toxic treatment to our bodies via processed food, and air pollution. Disrupting our bodies natural function with unnecessary medical interventions or the seemingly harmless wearing of thick soled shoes and heels. Most of our construction and agriculture uproot and destroy the earth’s natural systems. Our neighborhoods and homes are designed for cars instead of bipeds and isolate us from our natural desire for tribe. Is anyone really fed or nourished by concrete jungles, monocrops, and CAFO meats?
Most of us our born into this world in an unnatural way, a large percentage of us do not go through the birth canal. Likewise our inventions are birthed with disregard for the harm they do to nature, short term financial rewards and convenience trump long term health and sustainability. We sit down on toilets to poop – contrary to all of nature – including our babies who instinctively squat to poop.
Plugging in electric cars and pumping fuel into gasoline cars, the difference seems obvious and clear. Apple iPhone charger won’t work on an Android phone, frustrating and ridiculous for sure and still futile. We have seen in videos that lions need to eat meat, and buffalo eat grass and other vegetation. How about we humans apply this same awareness to ourselves? Can we get back in sync and harmony with the way our bodies are designed to function – to embrace, love, appreciate and respect all of our systems, fluids, and waste? When we do we will naturally extend this awareness and love and care to nature and all her ecosystems.
How can we do this? Well fining litterers – punishment – didn’t work when I was a kid and seems to be even less effective now. Punishing businesses for polluting isn’t working either. The solution that makes more sense to me is to return to using renewable plants and animals for our food and materials.
Would anyone care if a pipeline full of plants spilled?
Do we even need tankers or pipelines to transport plants? Would it make more sense to harvest the renewable plants that grow natively wherever we are?
The sun has been shining for billions of years, as has the wind been blowing, and the waters (rivers, rains, tides) flowing. These seemingly unlimited inexhaustible energy sources have been giving life to plants, animals, and humans for millions of years. Why would we even consider consuming anything else, especially something as limited, unreproducible, and polluting as fossil fuels?
We can’t go back in time and change history. We can learn the lessons. The first people to fire up a coal or oil burning engine had to have smelled that horribly toxic exhaust. They had a choice to ignore the signals being sent to their senses and continue polluting, or stop and try another fuel and material source. How different would the world be today if they had listened to their intuition and kept the oil in the ground?
Reviewing history it seems most major world events started with the action of one individual and snowballed to ensnare millions. This idea is hugely empowering and inspiring to me – I can choose not to roll a toxic “snowball” down the mountain or if one is already rolling I can get out of the way and not add to it. I can also get a healthy sustainable “snowball” rolling and invite everyone to join.
Now, today, can we all individually and collectively listen to our guts and take an honest look at our current practices, work, and living? Can we choose plants instead of plastic? If we are the buyer at a business or in charge of manufacturing materials can we make more earth friendly choices, even if they are seemingly more expensive? I say seemingly because how much will it cost to clean up the plastic and pollution in the air, land, and water? Surely it would have been much cheaper not to make this fossil fuel burning mess in the first place?
Many hands make light work.
This is why I’m feeling optimistic, our habits that created the mess are the same habits that will clean it up. Our earth has been polluted a little bit at a time. Oil pipeline and tanker spills make headlines. It is 7 billion people using and discarding toxic products and driving gas guzzlers everyday that are the real problem.
This is good news as 7 billion people using renewable earth friendly products will solve the problem. “Litterers” composting plants and traveling via earth friendly emissions is good for everyone. Me building with bamboo and other plants doesn’t seem like it has much of a beneficial impact. When it’s multiplied by billions it is enormous. Top down change is slow and feels hopeless and impossible. Bottom up, starting with the man in the mirror, change is easily achievable and very empowering. My actions are making a difference and so are yours, this is all we can and need to do.