ubi’quitous (adj.) to be found everywhere
“Do you know” said the Beloved “that plastic is so common that it rains down from the sky?”
And then his face blossomed with smiles. “I was nearly hit by a low-flying loo cleaner bottle.”
He was merely highlighting the perils of living with me: I had jettisoned an empty, clean, toilet-liquid container from the bathroom window, on its journey towards the recycling bin nearby.
Trouble was, he was just going out of the back door at the time.
For many years I have been preoccupied with what we do with waste, to the extent that often I can’t bear throwing things away unless I know that they will be re-processed one way or another. That means I have tended to accumulate them, trying to invent ways – often bizarre – of recycling them myself.
From trying to make rag-rugs out of tangerine mesh-bags, to hoarding felt-pen outers to thread up into beaded doors (all right, that was my mother’s idea) i have been much encumbered with Trying to Do the Right Thing.
This practice has been crippling, disproportionate, and unrealistic, and beneath it is the fantasy that I can, and should, rescue the entire world – from plastic waste, from cruise missiles, from misery.
And letting go of that fantasy would be, is being, and has been one of my biggest exercises in waste disposal, perhaps even my life’s work.
I don’t intend to abandon all my ideology. I continue to question my use and misuse of resources, and I notice myself continuing to resent other people’s profligacy too. (Alas, resentment is not a skilful toll for saving the planet, nor for personal integration.)
Yet as I approach and enter my purple years, I experience the energy of younger people and organisations, the active optimism of contact and connection, and feel pleasure and relief in being able to support and promote organisations such as these:
Even though it’s not yet raining plastic (except just outside our back door) there is a tangle, a web, a sludge of evidence of the prevalence of plastics in our seas, and I feel it won’t be long until studies show how ubiquitous it is in our soil, our food, and – ultimately – in our bodies.
Unless we make a conscious intention to turn the tide clear again.