Looking at the world we live in isn’t a warm and fuzzy experience lately. There is so much wrong and what is wrong has been going wrong for ages. It didn’t start (contrary to all opinions to the contrary) with my generation or with my parents generation or with their parents. It has been happening slowly, then faster and ever faster as long as humanity has walked the earth. What happened recently to make it so much worse or at least seem so much worse?
The enormity of our population and machinery. Instead of cutting down trees with an axe, we have bulldozers.
There were slightly more than 3 billion people on earth in 1960 when I was entering my teen years. Twenty years later, when I was heading off to live in Israel, there were 4.4 billion people. By the time I came back in 1988, there were 5.1 billion people on this planet. By the time Garry and I moved here, the number of people on earth had more than doubled since 1960 and stood (crawled?) at 6.1 billion people.
As of November 15, 2022, we topped 8 billion people. That’s a lot of people.
No wonder there are no wild place left. There are so many of us, we are everywhere.
Not only do we have the means to flatten every forest and eliminate any hint of wildness and natural habitat, but with the population exploding as it is, we have made it the only thing left for us to do. All these people have to go somewhere.
What happened in the 1700s? The industrial revolution took off — everywhere on earth. Revolution — ours and then many others — rocked the world. People started emigrating from the old to the “new” world. It wasn’t new to the people who lived there, but to the people coming from the “old” world, it was plenty of room and they filled it as fast as they could.
So here we are today. Trying to hold on to whatever we have left before it all crashes and burns, floods or is covered by mudslides. It leaves people like me wondering, “What more can I do?”
They only pick up recycling every other week. We don’t even have a dump in this town, so if it doesn’t fit in the bin, it has to wait another two weeks and in the end, a lot of stuff gets trashed because bi-weekly recycling is inadequate as are this state’s resources for managing recyclables. Other smaller states (like Rhode Island, for example) have done far better than Massachusetts.
Everything I use in my kitchen is designed for long use or can be composted. I’d recycle more, but they won’t pick it up and we have nowhere to store it. I feed the birds every morning in the hope that we will still have birds a few years from now. I’ve given up any significant gardening outside because the deer eat it, the skunks dig up the bulbs, and the strangling vines take care of the rest. If I can grow it in a pot, it lives. Everything else, dead or almost dead.
What else can I do? What’s particularly bizarre is how Massachusetts keep setting up new recycling laws that apparently apply entirely to Boston and it’s nearby suburbs because out here? It’s the same old, same old. We are the forgotten people, living in a forgotten county. We pay taxes and we get nothing back. We have no sidewalks, streetlights, trash collection, or recycling plants. Not a single dump or recycling facility of any kind.
What more can I do? Nothing, really. If it can be done, I’m doing it.
The real answer for many of us who are “of an age,” is that there is nothing more we can do. We’ve done what we can with the resources we’ve got. Now, those with the power and finances to make a difference need to step up and do whatever it takes so we can do more too.
Clear the way. Make our recycling mean something. Give us a hand. I don’t know about anyone else, but this is as far as I can go unless something changes.