I’m tired of ecology being used for the sake of someone’s business and profit. Everyone talks of transparency and then… they display a board with a text like that: “If you care for the planet and don’t want to contribute to your children seeing trees only in a tree ZOO and drinking only artificial water produced in a laboratory – please hang the towel back in place. If, however, you are an egoist and a slob – sure, we’ll wash it for you, we have no choice.” Seriously? That’s how you want to play the game? By shifting responsibility and using cheap manipulation tricks?
Throwing a bottle overboard in Indonesia is a lack of awareness and education, while our planet being destroyed by corporations is simply greed, hypocrisy, thoughtlessness and laziness. Here’s a day of my life that took place last month:
I land in Australia and throw away never used boarding pass that they didn’t even check since everything was on the phone. I fill in a paper emigration form. I have no idea how Australia is going to benefit from knowing my profession, who issued my passport and what the flight number was, but I fill it in anyway. After passing through migration control there is a large box where I should put the form. No one reads it, no one checks it and no one devotes even a second of their time to what’s written there. It’s time wasted for filling it in and thousands of trees wasted for printing millions of these forms every year. It’s a waste without any excuse.
The coffee in airplanes tastes always the way – that’s its hard to tell whether it’s coffee or tea, so my stomach, brain and heart all smile when I notice a coffee shop. A beautifully smelling coffee brought by handsome Australian in a beautiful double cardboard cup:
“Why is that cup double?”
“Because a single one is too thin and can burn your hand.”
“But it’s good neither for the environment nor for business.”
“But it’s good for the fingers of customers. We told the head office. But they don’t want to change it.” – so it’s ok to drink from double cups because the forests are “somewhere” and not “here”.
My bitterness about the cup becomes a little lesser when I receive a small chocolate as a gift. It has a beautiful wrap with a koala bear and a beautiful golden foil. And then there is the litmus paper, probably for the chocolate not to catch cold. If I wanted a whole pack of these chocolates I’d probably get them in a box in which all these chocolates would be pressed into a foil so that they don’t run away anywhere. It probably takes longer for me to unpack it than the 3 seconds it takes me to eat it.
Finally at the hotel… The first thing I check is the bathroom. Immediately I noticed a leaf-shaped leaflet which for me is the symbol of hypocrisy and insolence of hotels. It’s insulting to the intelligence of hotel guests to provide information telling them not to change towels every day for the sake of environment, considering that at the same time the shampoo, the body balm and the shower gel are all in small disposable containers. All the extras such as toothbrush, razor or even comb are packed into additional cardboard boxes so the rubbish bin is half-full already after opening those. In the room there are also 4 small plastic bottles (how generous!) with water and the air-conditioning operates at 100% efficiency. I feel like a kangaroo in Antarctica. I hate it that the hotels use environment protection to obtain further gains and do absolutely NOTHING to be truly pro-environment.
Sadly, I notice that once again some sock-eating monster took away almost all of my socks, so I have to visit H&M.
I enter the nearest mall. After 5 minutes I have hoar frost on my forehead because the sweat on it freezes under the influence of sub-zero temperature. Australia is only a little bit warmer than Asia, a place which for me is the peak of environmentally unfriendly behaviour. While freezing in Sydney, I recall Singapore which claims to be oh-so pro-environment. If someone forbade the use of air conditioning there I’m pretty sure that the ozone hole would immediately shrink by a couple of metres. Singapore is always hot and humid, but I always have to take a sweater with me, because I literally freeze when I stay in any shop for more than 15 minutes. I understand that it’s hot, but it’s not enough of a reason to create pockets of Antarctica in the middle of Asia.
So, I run to that H&M because now I need not only a pair of socks but also a sweater. I’m very glad the clothing is so ecological, that eco-cotton is promoted all the time and that they have the ambition of using only eco-materials by 2020, but until then there’s more show than truth in that – every product has 3-5 layers of paper labels. Who needs that? I understand one with price and basic information, but another one for saying that it’s an environmentally friendly collection and another one saying that they save Amazon forests and the whole of humanity from a fashion disaster is really too much.
It seems that only socks don’t have 5 layers of sewn-in labels informing you in all languages of the world that this piece of clothing is made of polyester and you have to wash it in 30 degrees Celsius. The socks are so great, that obviously they require a paper ring because the fact that they are sewn together is not enough. And thus, after purchasing them, further tree rings land in the bin. But that’s not important, it’s important that the cotton is “eco” – at least we have some starting point for marketing.
I didn’t buy a sweater because they were either too pretty and fit only for chemical laundering (which is very environmentally unfriendly and I try to buy as little clothing that requires it as possible) or they were plastic-synthetic, so after getting an allergy I’d have to get rid of them and Mother Earth won’t be able to make it decompose for the next 1000 years. I pay for my socks and receive a 42cm-long bill + card payment confirmation on paper. The bill is probably worth more than these socks and it will land in a bin immediately – very useful. I don’t understand what’s the point of printing bills that look like the Proust of fashion. My fingers and toes are like icicles and I sneeze and cough because of that cold. Plus, the air-conditioning is so “clean” that it causes allergies, so I run to get some Claritine and Aspirin.
A big, beautiful self-service pharmacy. 4 tiny Claritine pills are in the box that could hold at least 250 grams of a drug for allergic people. Why do you need this box for? As someone who works in marketing I know why – so that it stands nicely on the shelf and stands out. How else would a brand be a brand and build its uniqness? In Latin countries the blister with pills has just small leaflet that is held with a rubber band. It includes only indispensable information and the address where it is possible to read more.
Air conditioning and excess of thoughts have left me totally dehydrated. It’s hard to make a choice while looking at all these plastic bottles. Every single one shouts how “eco” and organic it is and that it contains no artificial additives, just juice, pure fruit without preservatives and without any additional pests. Great… but what about the bottle? I know that we all have to drink and that glass is heavy but promoting bottled water with quality worse than tap water (of the kind you can get in Warsaw) is just immoral to me. However, one thing is great in Austalia – you can refill water everywhere, at any place you can ask someone to fill your bottle with water. And they will – for free. I think that it’s great that there is no pressure to buy bottled water there. So, that’s a win for Australia – maybe this will balance those hectares of forests that get thrown to the bin at the airport.
I won’t show you images of me wrapped up in sweaters because it’s not a particularly interesting sight. I’ll also spare you the pictures of hotel garbage, that is, all these empty toothbrush and cotton swab packagings. Instead, I’ll show you one of the marvellously beautiful tribes that I met during my last trip – natives from French Hariana. They don’t talk about environment protection. They don’t ask anyone to behave decently. They don’t lecture anyone. They just are. They care. They love. No bullshit.