Thursday, September 24, 2020

Black, White and Yellow all going green

Nothing has ever been greener than the Garden of Eden. So what happened? We always thought we were cleverer than Old Earth, forgetting that Old Earth humiliated Noah and forced the poor guy into building an ark which, I suspect, led us into constructing superfluous mega structures like the luxury sea liner, the Queen Mary, which does its part in polluting the oceans while Greenpeace advocates clamour for some kind of controls.

Even after Noah’s near miss, the earth remained green and, from that, the dove with the green leaf in its beak today symbolises peace; the dove is evidence of God’s truce with us that never again shall we be flooded to death.
But now the world is warming up and floods are coming from the northern Polar Regions.

The Garden of Eden was nothing but green, a paradise vegetarian’s would have loved before gas emissions and the destruction of the ozone layer.
Come to think of it, was there an ozone layer during Adam’s time? Things were just too good then so much that the ozone layer was of no concern.
Back then, there was no acid rain and the rabbits, the mice and mopane worms were unspoiled natural meats. Imagine the purity of the air and of the food. Mmm…
Suddenly, today, we are awake to the fact that earth needs to remain green and to be taken care of, not rubbished, as we have been doing in the name of development. But now it is urgent; our lives depend on it.

About that, talk to the Americans and the Europeans; they are the ones who call themselves “the developed world”.
Africa and South America ain’t much but “developing countries.”
We are the Third World and I wonder on which end God is waiting.

Now the people from America and Europe, the developed world, leave and go to the rain forests of the Amazon, Africa and Asia to tell us to take it easy on gas emissions and make sure we care for the flora and fauna, avoid cutting trees and plant two trees for every one we cut down.

Yet they are the ones who keep shipping to the “developing world” cars rejected for failing “acceptable” emission levels or whatever it is they say. For some reason, they believe that a car that fails emission levels in America can be sent to be used in another part of the world yet the impurities emitted all end up in the ozone layer under which we all frolic.

Apparently, it’s taking them time to see that we are in this together.
The world, or, to be precise, the people, are trying to force the earth into going green, its original colour, a colour that denoted both human, plant and animal life. It is fighting back and we have no choice but to bow down before Mother Earth.

To day, we now have to fight a war on several fronts to protect the earth.
Recycling suddenly became an issue; plastic products suddenly became unfashionable; use of electricity now makes us feel guilty.

Recycling is “the reprocessing of old materials into new products, with the aims of preventing the waste of potentially useful materials, reducing the consumption of fresh raw materials and reducing energy usage, and thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions compared to virgin production.”
The Garbage Primer (New York: Lyons & Burford, 35-72) says recycling is a key concept of modern waste management and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” waste hierarchy, though colloquial usage of “recycling” can also include “reuse”.

Former US vice-president, Al Gore, won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to fight “global warming.”
Global warming leads us back to the ozone layer, something Adam and Even still wouldn’t understand no matter how hard we may try to explain.
Mother Earth is fighting back and she ain’t joking.

Seas and oceans are rising while land is being lost to the rising oceans that are receiving unprecedented amounts water from the melting ice in the northern Polar Regions.

In their book, The Garbage Primer, the League of Women Voters contend that there is much debate over whether recycling is economically feasible.
“Advocates of recycling argue that judging the process on financial issues alone is not enough. They claim that the environmental benefits, energy savings, waste reduction and raw material conservation must also be considered.”
In order to make such non-fiscal benefits economically relevant, advocates have pushed for legislative action to increase the demand for recycled materials.

In 2006 the government of Botswana took a mild but important decision to ban the use of plastic bags, forcing shoppers to either provide their own bags or pay for the new-style thicker recyclable bags.
Kitso Mokaila, Botswana’s Wildlife, Environment and Tourism minister, said at the time that the new law aimed to protect the environment.

”Plastic waste is the most visible and a major concern because it has environmental implications and there is need for us to manage the problem,” he said.

The same year also saw several other countries, among them Zanzibar, Tanzania and Rwanda banning plastic bags. Eritrea had banned them a year earlier.
At the same time, South Africa, which banned plastic bags in 2003, reported that the government’s initiative to reduce the number of plastic bags used in the country had been a success.

“The purpose was to decrease the number of bags and that has been very successful,” said Bill Naude, the Executive Director of the Plastics Federation of South Africa.
Rantsadi Moatshe, a director in SA’s Department of Environmental Affairs, said surveys conducted by the department showed a 50 percent drop in the purchase of bags by consumers.

“This implies that the regulations have been successful in reducing the number of plastic bags which originally could have reached consumers,” he said.
US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) says that the television set you’re watching right now may be one of the most toxic things in your home. TV screens and computer monitors, it said, are full of lead ÔÇö an average of three to eight pounds each and exposure to lead can harm the human nervous system and cause learning problems, especially in children.

“The lead embedded in a television or monitor won’t hurt you as long as it’s sitting in your living room. In fact, it’s there to help shield you from radiation,” says PBS. “But when TVs and monitors are tossed into landfills, lead can leach out.”

It goes on to say a serious effort to safely recycle electronics is barely beginning in America. Meanwhile, keeping discarded TVs, computers, cell phones and VCRs from contaminating the environment is a struggle ÔÇö in large part because of money.
Almost on a daily basis, I see long haul trucks in Botswana carrying tons of unsold newspapers to Zambia, apparently for recycling.

And daily, people in Gaborone, Francistown and other places collect scrap metal for sale then we see long haul trucks carrying this scrap metal going down Lobatse Road to the sea cost, I presume, to ship the scrap metal to the Far East.

However, much of the difficulty inherent in recycling comes from the fact that most products are not designed with recycling in mind.

The concept of sustainable design aims to solve this problem, and was first laid out in the book “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things” by architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart.

The Economist (The Truth About Recycling) suggested that “every product (and all packaging they require) should have a complete “closed-loop” cycle mapped out for each componentÔÇöa way in which every component will either return to the natural ecosystem through biodegradation or be recycled indefinitely.”

As with environmental economics, says John Tierney, (“Recycling Is Garbage”, New York Times), care much be taken to ensure a complete view of the costs and benefits involved.

“For example, cardboard packaging for food products is more easily recycled than plastic, but is heavier to ship and may result in more waste from spoilage.”
As I conclude writing this article (Saturday 12.30 am), an on-line tracking service, reusablebags.com, is ticking away counting the number of plastic bags being used worldwide every minute.
It records that this year alone, we the people, have so far used 130,182, 076, 506 plastic bags.
Think about it, please!

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