The Daily Haiku for March 7. Mountains of Garbage.
Burying paper straws,
in burning garbage mountains,
your conscience is clear.
For the past seven years, I have been traveling to most corners of the world. That gives you the rare gift of watching more of the forest without so many trees blocking your view.
This is especially true for what's happening with climate change, how it is affecting the world, and how blind we are (or want to be) in the first world.
Asia is full of sanctuaries for Instagrammers. From Bali to Thailand. They show these amazing pictures posing on in front of beautiful, unspoiled landscapes.
It's all a lie. Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Phillipines... They are all dumps for the garbage of the whole world. Out of the frame of the camera, some meters away from the influencer, heaps of plastic and trash pile up everywhere.
The situation in India, where giant mountains of garbage -that have become landmarks of the country in their own right- catch fire from time to time, choking nearby residents in toxic fumes, is particularly alarming. Philippines had to close a whole island not so long ago. It was so covered with plastic waste that not even tourists wanted to visit it anymore.
Most of these countries don't have the resources or the awareness to do something, but the consequences affect us all. More infuriating is the fact that developed countries turn a blind eye on that. We ask for a paper straw when ordering our mocha and a paper bag for our groceries, of course! And we feel the world is alright.
The reality is different. It is almost impossible to escape from plastic, even in Europe or North America. We generate tons and tons of it every year, and only a paltry 5% gets recycled. We know we need to stop using fossil fuels and start investing in renewable energies, but we don't take decisive steps in that direction. We are doing next to nothing to tackle a problem that is truly global. It will affect us all, regardless of borders and flags.
I'd like to see us all acting before it is too late, but sad as it sounds, I think we don't work like that. We are too entitled to do something at an individual level, and we have no will to do anything at a global level. The future is always so far away... until it is too late.
Still, I have faith in the new generations. People such as Greta and the Stop Oil activists among many others may eventually gather the critical mass required to take action. Bold decisions need to be made, and we are running out of time.
As entrepreneurs, we need to do something. If I ever start another business, its goal would be to help us get rid of plastic. Perhaps a Zero Waste supermarket chain... Change cannot come from governments, cause they act too slow, or from corporations, because they only act for financial interests. It's us, the small entrepreneurs and startup founders who need to start the revolution.