Video taken from the South Devon Animal Rights Facebook page.
Plastic bottles are a common part of daily life in the western world. In the US 1,500 plastic bottles are consumed every second, 80% of which end up on landfill sites, leaching chemicals into the ground. They contain Bisphenol A and phthalates, which have a harmful impact on human health and are released with heat. […]
Plastic bottles are a common part of daily life in the western world. In the US 1,500 plastic bottles are consumed every second, 80% of which end up on landfill sites, leaching chemicals into the ground.
They contain Bisphenol A and phthalates, which have a harmful impact on human health and are released with heat.
They are made from the petroleum product called polyethylene terephthalate, which requires fossil fuels to produce and be transported. In their production, they require two gallons of water for the purification process of one gallon of water. They take longer than a human lifetime to decompose – 450 years as one estimate states.
Littering means many end up in ecosystems, such as rivers, where they create a plethora of problems for the animals who live there, such as their tops being mistaken for food by fish and birds, with 90% of seabirds now consuming trash.
In Britain, plastic pollution is an environmental catastrophe for rivers, such as the Thames, with plastic bottles being one of the more common items found by those attempting to reduce the damage. The situation has gotten so bad that the Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry into the damage caused by disposable drinking products.
Rather than tackling the issue at hand, most of the proposed solutions and strategies in place are based in industrial recycling measures. But, besides being ineffective and inefficient, the industrial recycling industry comes with an entirety of its own toxic problems and pollutants.
Solving the problems created by plastic pollution appear too vast to comprehend, especially when so many believe in the false promises of the bright-green business-as-usual-environmentalism that dominates discussion. But with techno-utopians and those in positions of institutional authority being less than helpful, it is clear that it is up to individuals and communities who value the health of the ecosystems they are part of to do what they can to reduce the damage of this culture and resist its relentless violence towards the living world.
I leave you with this quote from prominent environmentalist writer Derrick Jensen –
“By now plastic is almost everywhere. By everywhere I mean in a huge portion of consumer products, in food and packaging, in liquid containers and the liquids they contain. By everywhere I mean in the oceans and in the air and on the land. By everywhere I mean on Mount Everest and in the Marianas Trench and in remote forests.”
In February last year, the far-right wing newspaper The Daily Mail reported that air pollution is “killing” 40,000 British people a year. Several months later, Greenpeace posted on their website that air pollution is causing 40,000 lives to be “cut short”.
These claims have been criticised within the British media and by scientists. And the truth seems to indicate that air pollution, rather than being the sole cause of these deaths, is actually a contributing factor in a situation that is highly complex and difficult to understand.
One of the central issues is throughout this debate has been that the figure of 40,000 was produced through statistical research. The problem here is that, statistical evidence, while it can be beneficial in some areas of scientific research, is reductive to the extent that it often limits the variables so as to remove all context from the findings and produce numbers that are don’t actually reflect the situational truth.
So the questions we really need to ask is, what is the truth, in its situated context? What can we say we really know, given that most of us aren’t scientists and are relying on evidence produced by those with personal agendas? Because the lies told by Exxon scientists regarding the harmful effects of oil and global warming serve as a reminder that scientific research isn’t performed in a non-political vacuum, free from authoritarian dynamics that serve the interests of elites.
It is highly likely that air pollution globally causes the death of more than 3 million people, 75% of which are in Asia, where economic globalisation has taken a foothold in, leading to the escalation of industrialism (often in the guise of “development) across the continent. This stands to reason, given the how much air pollution has risen across the worlds cities and the encroachment of urbanisation in the “developing” world. In fact, The World Health Organisation has previously reported that air pollution kills 6.5 million people a year and that pollution causes the deaths of 1.7 children a year. Proposed solutions to this problem, such as a new type of inhaler, are reliant on the production of technologies – technologies whose production are reliant on industrial production and distribution, which are the leading contributing factors in the global air crisis.
According to Carbon Brief, the UK’s carbon emissions fell by 6% in 2016, which would indicate a (slightly) improved situation. But primary air pollutants include – carbon dioxide, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, particulates, persistent free radicals, toxic metals, ammonia, chlorofluorocarbons, odours from sewage and industrial processes, and radioactive pollutants. So does this statistic reflect the situated truth? Professor Stephen Holgate, Medical Research Council Clinical Professor of Immunopharmacology and Honorary Consultant Physician within Medicine at the University of Southampton, states in the video below that air pollution is “affecting our health in many different ways, that we’re only just beginning to understand”.
So far the focus here has been entirely anthropocentric – that is, with a focus on the impact on humans. So what of the non-human impact?
Air pollutants like sulphuric acid, when combined with the water droplets in clouds, can cause the water droplets to become acidic and form acid rain. This leads to physiological damage to plant cells and geochemical changes in soils and soil waters that obstruct growth by affecting absorption of nutrients by roots and by leaching nutrients from soil. In British trees this causes damage to their leaves, which limits the nutrients available to them.
Air pollution can also cause eutrophication. This is the process whereby rain can carry and deposit the nitrogen in some pollutants on rivers and soils, which adversely affects the nutrients in the soil and water bodies. This impacts upon the living beings, such as the fish, frogs, insects and birds who make rivers their homes, which impacts the wider biodiversity of these islands.
The ground-level ozone, produced via air pollution, is also highly harmful for vegetation and can have a drastic impact on ecosystems and the animals who make those ecosystems their homes.
So it is apparent that air pollution is a problem, for the human animal and non-human-living-beings, and the situation is one that is highly complex, confused through the mediums that attempt to reduce the context of the discussion to only those variables that suit their particular interests.
Proposed solutions are highly reliant on the effectiveness of state measures, which have so far failed to improve the situation, and technologies that involve the same industrial processes that are producing this worsening situation. The eco-extremist journal Atassa states – “We are now entering an age of extremes, an age of uncertainty, where leftist illusions and conservative platitudes can no longer prepare us for our future course”. This is a truth than anarchists and environmentalists need to embrace.
Biodiversity is the expression of healthy ecology. It may seem distant to these Isles because these Isles are sick. It has been said that civilised man walks the earth leaving deserts in his footprints. As the frontiers of this civilisation opened up, so the cedars of Lebanon and Broadleaf forests of this island were trampled underfoot. With the great forests all but destroyed the soils of Lebanon eroded, and washed and blew away. Thanks to this island’s mild temperate climate, its fate was to remain a different kind of desert. A desert of ploughed fields, of a thousand swaying barley stalks – from Cracks in a Grey Sky an anthology of Do Or Die: Voices from the Ecological Resistance
Why do civilisations collapse? This TED Talk seeks to answer this question.
“Nudism may be considered “a kind of sport, in which individuals get naked in groups to take a bath of air and light, as one bathes in the sea” (Dr. Toulouse), that is, from a purely therapeutic point of view; it may be considered, as the gymnomystics do (gymnos means nude in Greek), as a return to an Edenic state, restoring humans to a primitive and “natural” state of innocence (the thesis of the Adamites of yesteryear). These two points of view give way to a third, ours: that nudism is, individually and collectively, among the most potent means of emancipation. It seems to us to be something else entirely than a hygienic fitness exercise or a “naturist” renewal. For us, nudism is a revolutionary demand.”
We live in a culture that through various social mechanisms – mass media, cultural taboos, political narratives – encourages us to feel shame towards our bodies and to hate the skins of others. Body-positivity and anti-racist activism has had a mixture of successes and failures, all of which are valuable, as a means of learning from and expanding our means of feral revolt.
This essay by influential individualist anarchist Emile Armand (a personal hero of this admin) discusses nudism, a practice often embraced by naturists and rewilders, as a means of personal liberation.
This was first published in 1934 and we have taken it from The Anarchist Library. I hope you find it as moving as I do –
“Nudism may be considered “a kind of sport, in which individuals get naked in groups to take a bath of air and light, as one bathes in the sea” (Dr. Toulouse), that is, from a purely therapeutic point of view; it may be considered, as the gymnomystics do (gymnos means nude in Greek), as a return to an Edenic state, restoring humans to a primitive and “natural” state of innocence (the thesis of the Adamites of yesteryear). These two points of view give way to a third, ours: that nudism is, individually and collectively, among the most potent means of emancipation. It seems to us to be something else entirely than a hygienic fitness exercise or a “naturist” renewal. For us, nudism is a revolutionary demand.
Revolutionary in a triple sense: affirmation, protest, liberation.
Affirmation: to vindicate the ability to live nude, to get naked, to walk around naked, to associate with nudists, with no other care, as one uncovers one’s body, than the possibilities of resisting temperatures. This is to affirm the right to the complete disposition of one’s bodily individuality. It is to proclaim one’s casual indifference to conventions, morals, religious commandments, and social laws that, under various pretexts, keep humans from disposing the different parts of their bodily being as they see fit. Against social and religious institutions in which the use or usury of the human body is subordinated to the will of the lawmaker or priest, the nudist demand is one of the most profound and conscious manifestations of individual freedom.
Protest: to vindicate and practice the freedom to get naked is, indeed, to protest any dogma, law, or custom that establishes a hierarchy of body parts, that considers, for example, that showing the face, hands, arms, or throat is more decent, more moral, more respectable than exposing the buttocks, breasts, belly, or the pubic area. It is to protest against the classification of different body parts into noble and ignoble categories: the nose being considered noble and the penis ignoble, for example. More importantly, it is to protest against any intervention (of a legal or other nature) that obligates us to wear clothes because it pleases another — whereas it has never occurred to us to object that they do not get undressed, if that is what they prefer.
Liberation: liberation from wearing clothes, or really of the constraint of wearing a costume that has always been, and can never be anything but, a hypocritical disguise insofar as it increases the importance of what covers the body — of the accessory — and not the body itself, whose cultivation, however, is the essential thing. Liberation from one of the main notions on which the ideas of “permitted” and forbidden, of “good” and “evil” are based. Liberation from coquetry, from the conformism to an artificial standard of appearance that maintains the differentiation of classes.
Let us imagine the general, the bishop, the ambassador, the academic, the prison guard, the warden — naked. What would be left of their prestige, of the authority delegated to them? The rulers know this well, and this is not the least of the motives for their hostility to nudism.
Release from the prejudice of modesty, which is nothing but “shame of one’s body.”
Release from the obsession with obscenity, currently provoked by the uncovering of body parts that social hypocrisy requires us to keep hidden — freedom from the restraint and self-control implied by this fixed idea.
We will go farther. We maintain, taking up the perspective of sociability, that the practice of getting naked is a factor in better camaraderie, a less narrow camaraderie.
There is no denying that for us a less distant, more intimate, more trusting comrade is the one who reveals her or himself to us not only without intellectual or ethical ulterior motives, but also without hiding their body.
The critics of nudism — moralists or conservative hygienists of the State or Church — suppose that the sight of nudity, or the regular association of nudists of both sexes, exalts erotic desire. This is not always the case. However, contrary to most gymnist theses — for which opportunism or fear of persecution is the beginning of wisdom — we do not deny it either. But we maintain that the erotic exaltation engendered by nudist projects is pure, natural, and instinctive. It cannot be compared with the artificial excitement of the half-naked, the gallant in revealing clothes, and all the artifices of make-up relied on in the dressed, half-dressed, or barely dressed milieu in which we currently operate.” Emile Armand