Age of Insecurity: Keep and Discard

Posted on 18th April 2019 | in Community , Environment , Harry McQuillen: Age of insecurity , Opinion

A recent programme on TV showed a wonderful formal Japanese garden, with female gardeners pulling out blades of grass. The blades were growing among a carpet of moss covering the area. Made me think of my own back and front gardens, which are both singularly unmanicured. I cut hedge and lawn and I remove a few weeds when the mood takes me. Otherwise Mother Nature provides plant and insect life. Birds seem to be unfazed by my lack of manicure.
Then I thought about other areas of human activity which involve Keep and Discard. The Primarkisation of the clothing industry has led many of us to buy clothing, wear it a few times then chuck it away.
We have the plasticisation of everything in sight, with inevitable consequences for land and sea. Our streets are full of abandoned items. We do have litter bins. Reminds me of the 50s “litter lout” adverts.
Many buildings are of limited durability. The choices are to renovate, abolish, replace, or to clear the site to create open space.
Transport policy involves more Keeping and Discarding. One day petrol is a No No. Next day it’s diesel. Our High Street is under threat, especially from online shopping. The sell-by date question gives us mixed blessings. If all else fails we can compost plant materials. Our pollinators, the basis of all life, and all food, are in decline. That’s a difficult one!
Fishing is a hot topic. We have reduced fish stocks and the effects of compulsory discard under EU rules. We’re using earth metals at an unprecedented rate. We could run out of them in the foreseeable future.
An American Politician reckons we Europeans have a medieval attitude to food safety. Chorinated chickens and hormone treated beef are perfectly safe in his view.
We discard vast quantities of paper and cardboard. How much of it is recycled, and what do we use it for?
The American owner of a website which contains a number of pirated books denies that his site infringes copyright. We’re in a mess but Man has always made a mess of his environment. We can’t just stop, but we can act more sensibly.
The first part of any Journey is the First Step.
Then there’s Brexit!

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