“The pollution of the planet is only an outward reflection of an inner psychic pollution: millions of unconscious individuals not taking responsibility for their inner space.” – Eckhart Tolle
Pollution is a big problem affecting the human race without us knowing. Somehow, we always assume everything will clean up by itself. We have left our mess created through our everyday lives to county council officers and trash collectors claiming we pay taxes and we pay trash collectors respectively to sort our mess for us. We think the problem is the waste management system in our country. But is it?
Eckhart Tolle, in his book, The Power of Now, has emphasised a great deal about how our inner being reflects back out. How humans, not living in the present moment affects how we do what we do every day. He highlights how our inner being, what we have grown to learn is seen in our outer being. It is said, you cannot work from outer inner. You can be clean and be all groomed up on the outside but that does not define who you are on the inside. How you behave, your values and what you believe and stand for can be seen on the outside whether you try so hard to hide it or not.
It starts with one. One straw, one sweet wrapper, one bottle. We are more than 7.5 billion people on planet earth. Imagine if everyone threw one sweet wrapper on the streets on one particular day. Where would all those sweet wrappers go to?
“It’s just one sweet wrapper?” Said 50 million people.
“It’s just one straw?” Said 7 billion people.
All the plastic trash we throw away goes somewhere, it doesn’t just disappear. This is not rocket science. Plastic waste will outlive us. I have developed a disorder called Plasticities. A new term coined by psychiatrists where individuals think way too much of where their plastic waste accumulated and used over the years is. I think about my child hood years and how I loved plastic straws. How they came in beautiful colours, with small juice and milk shake cartoons and how I could not drink carbonated drinks without a straw. Where is that straw right now? With marine mammals being found with tonnes of plastic waste in their digestive system, I cannot help but think that could have been my plastic straw, my plastic bag or the plastic sweet wrapper. It does not matter whether I placed them in the right place (because my mother would have given me a lecture if she ever saw me throwing trash on the streets). Even though we have a plastic bag ban in place we still have them packing our bread and the illegal ones are still finding their way into our hands whether we like it not.
Does banning plastic make any sense when we are entirely addicted to plastic? Consumerism has made us believe we cannot leave without plastics. We have been made to believe, right from when we are young that it is okay to use plastics. That they can be recycled. But are they always recycled? Yes, we can ban plastics, but when the people using plastics do not know how to live without plastics, we are forced with alternatives that will still do damage to our planet either socially, economically or environmentally. Corruption increases when individuals see an opportunity to infiltrate a country with paper bags (fro trees. Frankly I really don’t care whether it’s from planted forests or not) and imported synthetic bags when we could see an opportunity to bring back to life our cotton and other fibres industries. In the end, we still have a plastic mind-set even if we have a plastic bag ban in place.
I cannot stand straws and plastic bottles. I have even vowed not to use plastic bottles in conferences. We may choose to burn plastic waste but all we do is create another problem; air pollution.
We can choose to be better citizens of the planet we depend on for ecosystem services such as the air we breathe and the food we get to eat to nourish our bodies. We can choose to have a green mind-set.
Instead of throwing that one plastic wrapper aimlessly on the streets, think about how light it is and how easily it can miss to be collected by the county council clean – up crew. How that one straw can easily find itself in the water ways. How that plastic bottle will find itself floating on a river. Think about all this just for a second and free yourself from inner pollution. Just as you wouldn’t want your home to be filled with dirt, then do not fill the planet with all the plastic waste you use. You can rid yourself of plastic one item at a time. Even if we do have synthetic carrier bags, choose to keep them instead of throwing them. Not because you have to buy one but because there is no need of trashing a synthetic bag that will outlive you as well even though not as long as the plastic bag will.
Are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess? You are responsible for your inner space; nobody else is, just as you are responsible for the planet. As within, so without: If humans’ clear inner pollution, then they will also cease to create outer pollution. – Eckhart Tolle
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