1 December 2019

Plastic and apathy: isn’t it time to pull on the brake?

Every day my social media feed is a mix of inspirational (rescued lambs, disabled dogs in wheelchairs, happy pigs experiencing grass for the first time), worrying (climate change, water shortages, forest fires, wars) and the downright depressing. In this latter category, I place some of the innocent and  sometimes well-intentioned posts of my carni FB friends, whose plans to eat a chunk of flesh at a night market, or triumphant photographs of successfully made scotch eggs really grate. But I try not to be the preachy vegan. I have to hold myself back from commenting sometimes, especially when it comes to animals charities selling body parts of one species to raise funds for another species.

A few weeks I wrote about feeling against everything. But, recently, what really brought home to me the fact that I have gradually become out of alignment with the mainstream world was the arrival of the Lakeland catalogue. When we lived in the UK, it was one of our favourite stores; full of plastic things you never knew you needed until suddenly they became indispensable for a few short months, and then were put to rest at the back of the cupboard. I think I’ve ordered from Lakeland once since we have been here, but ever since they have sent catalogue after catalogue. To be fair, we hadn’t had one for ages, and I thought I had finally managed to remove our details from the database, but I guess Christmas was too good a marketing opportunity to miss.

My irritation with Lakeland was not solely related to animal welfare issues, although so far as I could see, although ‘suitable for vegetarians’ was quite prevalent, there was no mention of ‘vegan’, despite its growing popularity. I’m sorry but vegetarian doesn’t cut it any more. But it wasn’t this that got me down, it was the sheer triviality of it all. Everything was “New & Exclusive” or “Essential”. Who needs “12 Tree Place Cards” to “spruce up your Christmas dinner table”, or “8 Mini Saucer Crackers” as the “perfect accompaniment to a cuppa and a mince pie” – crackers with a cup of tea, get real folks, or what about a “Christmas Trivia Game” that will “get everyone back in the mood for festivities after the post-pudding slump”. It’s surprising anyone could be in the mood for anything, given the state of the world.

I didn’t see any festive fun here with these “essential” Christmas products; all I could see was plastic, cardboard, glittery stuff and over-packaged so-called gifts. The world is “drowning in plastic and apathy”. (I’m not sure who said that, but it sums it up pretty well.) But never mind, put on a festive hat that’s probably come halfway across the world and ignore the fact that half the world is starving, animals are dying unnecessarily and “Our house is on fire” (that’s Greta Thunberg, btw).

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