The Aliens We Fear
Kuta Beach, Indonesia – January 1, 2018
In lieu of 2018, the “New Year”… while we’re all making New Years resolutions… I need to share something so that hopefully, we all can aspire/inspire the onward and upward shift of the way we treat the planet:
Cambodia is admittedly a beautiful country. Chains of fresh sausage links dangle under the interior infrastructure of huge rainbow umbrellas. Edible pink lotus flowers stretch up from surrounding lily ponds and stilted up from the rice paddies, colorful corrugated roofs peek through the trees. Families sit together, selling barbecued skewers from skinned wooden-pole shacks built bridging the gap over the roadside river. Skinny white cows graze on the bright green grass growing alongside the walls of red and gold mirrored temples, seemingly unable to put meat on their bones. Heads of palm trees stand tall over hyacinth bogs and hazy-purple tropical mountains can be seen in the distance. Masked motorcyclists zip by, bouncing through potholes on the red-sand shoulder of the road as they pass. People jump up and down, waving and cheering “heyyyyo” as you pass by, outwardly grateful for even the simplest little smile and any kindness you show them.
But you can see the damage that is being done.
Little boys bathe in the dirty ditch water, dunking their heads in the disgusting brown liquid by the side of the road, swimming amongst the anonymous rubbish floating all around them. People just dump their trash into the river and no recycling system seems to be in place.
You pass through puffs of smoke where people are BURNING huge piles of plastics and releasing the noxious gas into the air, unfiltered. You try to cover your nose and mouth with your shirt, or a scarf, but nothing prevents the poisonous gas from entering your lungs. Choking and sputtering, you make it out of the cloud of smoke just before you swear you’ll stop breathing for good.
The air is always a dusty gray, never a clear shade of blue, and you can stare directly at the sun without squinting, due to the thick haze that shades your eyes.
I used to think the masks they wear in Asia were to prevent the spreading of sickness and disease, but now it’s clear to see the biggest reason is to protect their poor lungs from the horrible air quality.
I used to think, “Oh these poor people! They have NO idea what they’re doing! They haven’t had access to information regarding waste disposal and global warming.” But after more contemplation and realization, I discovered that they DO know. THEY HAVE TO KNOW. They all have phones they’re always scrolling and TVs they’re constantly watching. You walk into stores where 5 employees sit twiddling their thumbs on their phones. They say “hello” to you as you walk in, but they don’t even look up at you they’re so glued to the tube.
It’s also common sense…
This diaper, bottle, shrapnel, bag, box, styrofoam, plastic, gas-can, GARBAGE doesn’t LOOK good or natural when mixed in with nature.
They DO have access to the information, they just don’t CARE.
You may argue that global warming is a natural process the Earth goes through every few thousand years, but it is absolutely IGNORANT to argue that humans play no role in expediting the process. The action we have taken on expediting the process is VERY apparent in Cambodia.
There is not a single square inch of land that isn’t covered in litter in the cities, or out on the country roads. There are no trash cans, you see people just tossing everything into the ditches on the street. You buy a pack of gum, they give you a bag. You buy an open-container iced coffee, they give you a bag to hold it in. You buy a bag, they give you a FREAKING BAG!!! Bags, on bags, on bags, and many restaurants even serve DINE-IN meals in throw-away styrofoam containers.
Bali too. Where taking a sunset swim turns into something more like a gruesome game of trying to avoid plastic tentacles from wrapping around your ankles and tripping you with each wave. Romantic couples sit watching the sunset, slurping the last sips of soda, then tossing the cup into the ocean once finished. A condom wrapper wrapped around my mom’s ankle and that was the final straw (wrapper).
Take this horrible dumping/ extreme case of wastefulness and times it by HOW MANY households in Asia, and you now have a 2×2 mile cloud of trash floating out in the middle of the Pacific, suffocating sea turtles and smothering out some of the most fabulous and diverse forests known to Earth—the reefs.
But it’s not just Cambodia and Indonesia, it’s all of Asia. And it’s not just Asia, though Asia’s main rivers contribute to A HUGE percentage of trash that’s in the ocean. These countries are just doing what it takes to grow and get by. Developed countries employ these countries to make everything for US (rice, pepper, clothing, toys, plastics, electronics, etc.), so it is also OUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure these nations are upholding a safe standard of cleanliness in manufacturing and waste disposal.
I too am at fault. I don’t buy “free range” or “organic” every chance I get and I shop at HUGELY wasteful/criminal companies like Walmart and H&M… always demanding these up-and-coming countries: “MAKE CHEAPER.”
CHEAPER = cutting corners.
…and never at the cost of quality, but more-so at the expense of the environment.
I too am at fault, but I rarely eat meat, I recycle and compost, I wouldn’t dream to leave litter where there once was none, I try not to buy more than I need, and I clean up after myself and others whenever I have the opportunity… but there is ALWAYS more that can be done.
WE ARE ALL at fault. Fingers were made to be pointed.
We have overstepped our bounds as a human race, though I don’t think overpopulation (too many people) is the problem. We have certainly reached numbers that are unsustainable, however, the bigger issue is not too many people, but too many stupid people! Too many stupid, selfish, greedy, wasteful, incompassionate people that don’t give a flying fuck about anything or anyone outside their own little lonely world.
But why would you want to live in such a lonely little world?
I see these poor little children with rotting teeth and think, “These poor children! We should help them! These poor children! We should feed them!” But I also think that as a whole, WE don’t deserve to be helped. We must focus on the most pressing issue—the planet—before helping others.
If we don’t focus on this paramount issue first, THERE WILL BE NO CHILDREN TO FEED.
We have overstepped our bounds, media practically screaming at us, “CONSUME,” “BUY MORE.”
We have overstepped our bounds, but somehow nature is very fragile yet forgiving. We take, take, take and EXPECT that she will constantly provide for us without giving anything in return.
We over-plant, over-harvest, over-fish, over-eat, over-populate, drain the earth of it’s precious (dwindling) natural resources, and suck the life from this beautiful place we call “home.”
WE are the Aliens was we fear.
Alena Horowitz | THE WAVY BUNCH