Reflections: GAIA, Us and Care

There is a general attitude, in western society that flippantly discarding spent and used items is not a big concern. When going to the store, one finds shopping carts that have been emptied and left a various locale away from the corral. The pandemic has revealed that people find it too difficult to ‘properly’ dispose of their masks. Even from Mt. Everest expeditions, refuse has been piling up for years. It seems that humans, as the ‘most intelligent species on earth’ are content to just leave things in places. These instances of disregarding those little things cause one to ponder humankind’s reaping some sort of  recompense.

Why is it that people in western society feel no remorse when they refuse to return or dispose of various items after using them? The pervading nonchalant manner in which items are strewn about or displaced occurs as if it were natural.  People do not consider that these items would be better placed in or returned to the locale of origin or an appropriate waste or recycle receptacle. The attitude of not needing to return or properly dispose of items is evident as one looks about wherever they (may) traverse. There is this concern about the way that humankind disregards the integrity of Mother GAIA. Yet, a major segment of society just does not care.

Returning a shopping cart to the corral or, better yet, back to the store is a challenge for some. This challenge sets a blemish on the populous, per se. Many people have no issue or problem with returning a cart to the designated areas. The effects of minimal physical activity are evident when looking at the general populous. One sees that many might benefit from the few extra steps required to return a cart. Nonetheless, a pervasive attitude exists that “Someone else will pick up this cart: Why should I return it?? This is a completely dismissive attitude that can possibly spread to other areas of conduct. It may also similarly influence the actions of others.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is contributing to pollution, as discarded face masks clutter urban parks & streets of the city along with plastic and other trash. Ecological pollution problem

The mandatory use of facemasks has helped to stave off major surges of COVID-19, yet there is tangible evidence of these same masks as one walks to and fro. People (just) throw these things on the ground.  These masks are dotting the landscape on a consistent basis. One wonders why people won’t simply dispose of them in proper fashion. Again, this is an exercising of non-concern. The proliferation of these masks can pose problems for small animals. Animals might not be able to remove these things if they were to become lodged onto their faces or around their necks. Properly disposing of these items makes great sense.

Even those who would be considered health and nature conscious are not immune to this phenomenon. Those who have hiked up Mount Everest have left items, liquor bottles, spent oxygen cylinders, etcetera on the mountainside. Sherpas conduct ‘annual clean-up’ expeditions to restore the sanctity of the mountain. This is good; however, the question to be asked is, “Why do well to-do people litter up the mountainside with items that would be more suitably repurposed at lower attitudes”??  Why are rich people too lazy to bring their trash down from the mountain?? A sense of non-caring and entitlement is prevalent even in this arena. It is regrettable that this attitude is part of the fabric of society.

bThis picture taken on May 23, 2010 shows a Nepalese sherpa collecting garbage, left by climbers, at an altitude of 8,000 metres during the Everest clean-up expedition at Mount Everest. A group of 20 Nepalese climbers, including some top summiteers collected 1,800 kilograms of garbage in a high-risk expedition to clean up the world’s highest peak. Led by seven-time summiteer Namgyal Sherpa, the team braved thin air and below freezing temperatures to clear around two tonnes of rubbish left behind by mountaineers, that included empty oxygen cylinders and corpses. Since 1953, there have been some 300 deaths on Everest. Many bodies have been brought down, but those above 8,000 metres have generally been left to the elements — their bodies preserved by the freezing temperatures. The priority of the sherpas had been to clear rubbish just below the summit area, but coordinator Karki said large quantities of refuse was collected from 8,000 meters and below. AFP PHOTO/Namgyal SHERPA (Photo credit should read NAMGYAL SHERPA/AFP/Getty Images)

People in society carry on with daily activities heedless to the small actions indicative of dismissing responsibility to the earth. These small acts reveal a cancer that undergirds the sanctity of the earth. The expansive prevalence of little acts, leaving things strewn about, discarding things inappropriately, are but blemishes reflecting a deep disregard for how the earth is conceptualized. The earth, our home, is not held in reverence, as the ground that supports our everyday activities. Instead, the earth is taken as something that is flippantly utilized, with no cognizance of how similar action might collectively reveal how mankind regards and treats the earth, and by proxy themselves.

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