“To the Environment, and to Hell with it!

“To the Environment, and to Hell with it!

A trashy New Year’s Eve party toast (that actually works every year): “To the environment, and to hell with it!”

We’ve just rung in 2014 and, for those of us who do not suffer from short memory, 2013 should look just like any other year gone. In 2014, whether we like it or not, our living conditions will continue to change for the worse, and not in spite of ourselves – or because of the party-pooper, Economic Crisis, as we shall continue to reap in the new year what we sowed during the previous year.

People should not be so modest as to think that their individual actions do not have a direct negative impact on the environment, and the environment includes all humans, family, friends and all those anonymous people, living – or barely surviving – on the other side of the planet.

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The winter holiday season with its inevitable production of dutiful merrymaking, aka over-drinking and eating, casts a stark light on how terrifyingly conditioned man’s behavior has truly become. It is too late to fear that men will soon be replaced by robots, as robots have already been replaced by men.

It is lucky that most of those who are starving or living in indigent conditions in so many parts of the world do not get to see how we truly live in rich countries.

Of all the things that men have to share with each other and other species, nature is the most essential and it is the least cared about, the least respected and the least celebrated. For me, the winter holiday season is precisely when man’s shallowness shines the most, amidst an abundance of food, alcohol, plastic, and waste.

I have always dreaded this time of yearly celebration, even as a kid. As I grew up, it started to feel ever more like an artificial and insincere moment which I had to endure. Whatever sacred or spiritual Christmas was supposed to symbolize was lost in an obscene display of materiality.All the same eating and drinking, year after year, for no reason other than building up a fleeting state of collective merriness, I never could get it.

And now, it has become the time of the year when I feel the most desperate about the fate of our trampled mother nature (even that sounds tacky!), hopeless as to mankind’s capacity and willingness to stop in its self-destructive tracks and take responsibility.

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What are men celebrating year after year, really? One should celebrate a victory, an achievement. Celebrating a year of doing nothing to spare our planet, by hurting it more during a two-week eating and drinking marathon that generates so much more waste (not just trash) than usual is at best a non-event. Celebrating only in order to do as others do is laughable. The persistence of that sort of social pressure is absurd and pathetic.

I prefer to try and celebrate daily all the simple and good things that nature offers us and that hardly anyone ever pays attention to, the blissful chirp of a little bird, the pure joy on a child’s still-innocent face, funny-looking clouds in the sky, any opportunity to express genuine care and interest for nature and other humans.

I do not “celebrate” Christmas or New Year’s Eve, meaning that I do not eat and drink like there is no tomorrow, or “no yesterday” for that matter! I would be most happy to join in collective celebration if only I felt that we had, together, achieved something good or valuable.

Anyway, that whole end-of-the world celebration farce is not actually what prompted me to write… On the Friday following Christmas, when I took my weekly load of recyclable garbage down to the basement, I had a shock. All the recycling tanks were full to the top, bursting with post-party junk, glass bottles, plastic containers, cardboard boxes, a lot of it even strewn onto the ground. People are recycling all right! Is that good news for the planet? Come on!

How is more “recyclable trash” the efficient and rational way of dealing with ever more trash stemming from ever more people sustaining the world economy (or man’s life principle, really) by buying, eating and wasting ever more?

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At that moment, I had an epiphany. All that recycling business seemed to me so sadly pointless… No one believes in it. Some do not even bother to recycle arguing, not without reason, that some recycling hardcore adepts drive heavy 4×4 vehicles and regularly take long distance flights to conscientiously sustain the local economies of under-developed countries.

Whether one plays along with it or laughs out loud at it, we shall end up bearing the inevitable consequences collectively. The truth is that people cannot be environmentally conscious for themselves and hope to benefit from their efforts, if the neighbors who live next door do not take their part. The efforts of some are inevitably reduced to nothing by those who despise those efforts.

There is now a serious risk that the most benevolent among the environmentally active will get tired of seeing their efforts being trampled by those who do not give a damn or hope to take advantage of the situation. Caring for the environment has all but turned into an economic opportunity or a marketing argument for the (would-be) ex-polluters.

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I recently watched a documentary about migrating birds. They are possibly the epitome of how the little good that is being done by a few in one part of the world is crushed by the unceasing and unconcerned evil done by others, next door or far away. Those little birds are protected in Europe but when they leave Europe every year, they are not protected anymore.

As soon as they reach the Egyptian shore, at the end of a long exhausting flight, they are met with giant nets, set up by the locals during three long months. It has been established that 10,000 of them are captured every day during those three months.

The locals call this a tradition. 10,000 birds in 90 days, that is not a tradition, that is a massacre: nearly 1 million little birds, every year, ending their lives in people’s plates just in Egypt, their winds and tails torn off alive while they are crammed in cages waiting to be sold and cooked.

For me all the so called measures and efforts to save our planet are starting to resemble the fate of these birds, a screen of fog. To make matters worse, there is a growing number of educated people that do not feel that they should pretend to care about the environment, their justification being that all those environmental preachers are a bunch of hypocrites. Who can really tell anymore?

Oh I forgot to tell you the end of my post-Christmas story: I just threw all my recyclable junk in the regular trash tank! Happy New Year and F**k the Environment!

C.H

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