Yesterday in Blijdorp, at the apes pavilion someone was speaking of silent forests and apes threatened with extinction. He talked about the importance of the protection work that’s being done by various international organizations in Africa, projects that stimulate local population to turn to farming (breeding) rather than to hunting and about how difficult it was to make the local organisations sustainable and self supporting. I found it very interesting. I listened till the end and didn’t have a slightest inclination to switch to another topic or simply walk on to next pavilion to admire butterflies. That sudden interest surprised me. Engaging in this sort of topics is just not me. How come I stood there and listened?
I found the reason pretty soon: the person I listened to was not trying to convince me (or anyone else) that he’s doing important work. He was not trying to convince me to engage in this sort of activities. He was not blaming me for my consumptive behaviour. He was not asking for support of any kind. He didn’t look or sound fanatic in any way. Wow! I wish all nature, political or humanitarian activists were like this. I mean ALL of them. We all would be much better off.
I grew up with the notion that wasting natural resources is plain bad. You don’t throw away stuff that can be reused. You switch off the light. You don’t let the food spoil. So I didn’t. Until I moved to the Netherlands. Where food is going to the waste bin every day. Where plastic bags are being used in huge amounts and thrown away after a half-an-hour use. Where shops are warm in the winter even though the doors are open. And where an enormous amount of people is fanatically engaged in an organisation of some sort or other trying to ‘fix’ things with nature, politics or human rights somewhere else on the planet. Living here has gradually turned my default settings to “screw the environment”, “fuck the politics” and “who cares about human rights anyway”. Which is quite scary when I think about it.
No, I don’t blame the Netherlands or the activists. It’s me. And I have to do something about it ASAP! And without being fanatic about it.
Very sweet discovery: Lisa Mitchell – Neopolitan Dreams (the official video is very nice too)