How is it possible that we’re already more than halfway through 2014? Seriously.
August was fabulous. Last month was pretty long and rough with a lot of late working nights for Rob and so we really savoured not one, but TWO long weekends in August! And we’re looking forward a few more delicious long-weekends interspersed through the next two months too. The latter part of the year is always fabulous in India. So much celebration happening. I can’t say I’m a fan of the loudness and the mess that most of it creates, but bring on the days off!
1. Found men selling coconuts on the street, so we filled up our arms and brought them home. So yummy. // 2. Loved having my parents in town for a good three weeks. // 3. Rob Skypeing in on the pre-launch live chat for Wilbur Sargunaraj’s Simple Superstar movie. We were pretty excited! // 4. Luscious greenery on our trek in the Matheran area // 5. We had a good time sitting under this waterfall in absolute awe. // 6. Dahi Handi time // 7. Heading out to shoot in Kerala and Bangalore for the last ten days of August // 8. Gorgeous shoot location in Kumarakom // 9. Our wedding photo up on the wall of photos in my parents’ home in Bangalore.
One of the funnest things we did was go on a rain-trek about two hours outside of Mumbai with a bunch of our friends. Having gone to school in Ooty where our dorm parents would often take us on treks “as long as a piece of string” and varying difficulties, I was nostalgic and excited about this trek! It had been a long time since I’d last trekked anywhere so I think I was also slightly nervous but by the time we got to Neral station, and started walking out towards the hills, I couldn’t wait to just get off the roads and expected it to get progressively greener – which it did and cleaner – which it did not. In fact, as we climbed higher and higher upstream towards the waterfall, my heart sunk lower and lower. Every step we took, we were dodging another chips wrapper, plastic bottle, plastic bag, disposable plate, can, etc. Some bottles were lodged between the boulders where you expect clear stream water to be flowing unobstructed and free.
By the time we finally reached the waterfall, I leaned against a big boulder looked at Rob and said, “I’m going to have to have a good cry about this when we get home.” But as a wise friend advised me recently, “if there are feelings coming at you, just let them come”. So I cried. Right there. And I wondered how nobody else was bursting into tears looking at this…
The “problem” is that I know more than I can comfortably ignore. To me, this isn’t simply about an annoying Indian trait we have of trashing the place, it’s about how we live. It’s about selfish, careless, unthinking, profit-oriented living.
I know that aluminium cans will take 80+ years to decompose, that chips wrappers are generally made of metalized polypropylene which is an impossible-to-separate fusion of metal and plastic and will probably take a couple 100 or more years to completely break down (ie, not in our lifetime), plastic bags also take 100s of years to fully decompose and in the meantime emit methane into the atmosphere, styrofoam simply does NOT biodegrade… Let’s not even get into how much of this plastic is washing into the oceans, harming marine life and/or being ingested by marine life and somewhere along the chain, being ingested by us.
So what are we doing carelessly using this stuff?
On our way down the first waterfall we visited, I was holding my phone precariously in my hand (much to the consternation of my husband) as I manoeuvred myself over slippery rocks so I could take photos of all this garbage everywhere because I wanted to write about it.
My hope is not to scare you into realising by my use of all caps, that THIS IS A HUGE PROBLEM, PEOPLE!!!!!!!
Maybe you are passionate about some other issue and don’t think that the issue of waste and more widely, our irresponsible obsession with STUFF (see here) is as urgent as the lives of human beings being trafficked around the world, or people dying of ALS and other incurable diseases but I want to humbly suggest that it’s all interconnected.
As hard as it is, we have to live with this tension of living in an all around broken world. While some of us have special callings and skills to help with certain issues, we are all called to care about other people and to care for this incredible planet that we have the privilege of living upon.
I hope I can share more with you how this tension plays out in my life and what we are learning through it.