We are living in the world we deserve; polluted, dangerous and with less and less animal life. I am no activist and I am definitely not an environmental genius. My family isn’t either, but it was always obvious that we should care for other humans and other beings. It was part of my upbringing, and it was part of the education I got in the Swedish school.
For example, as a child I was never allowed to throw chewing gum on the ground because it could hurt a smaller animal such as a bird. They could mistake it for food and consequently have their beak “glued” together. They would starve to death. A gum would also get stuck under my shoe now and then. It was annoying but just a bad side effect, nothing more. But is it really true that gum can kill a bird? I’m starting to wonder because I find that if I see an adult throwing a gum in the bin it is only because of the shoe issue, not the possible death of a bird.
But mind you, the number of times I have seem people actually throw garbage on the ground, even out of the train window, seeing someone using a bin just makes me happy no matter what their argument.
When I was young I learnt that it was wrong to kill an animal on purpose and for no reason, and that included scary insects. I didn’t always listen and a lot of insects have been dissected in my days. But, I eventually grew out off toddlerhood and into childhood, and with it grew a conscience and a bigger heart. I am no saint though, I have killed insects since. Because I really, but REALLY, do not like any type of roach in my home. If only they weren’t so damn fast and had such loud little feet… I have sprayed quite a few during my years in Australia, and seen them lie in agony on their back for many long minutes, sometimes hours, before they stop moving those hairy little legs. But I wish I wasn’t such a lunatic, because it really is crazy! How can I be scared of a small little insect that can’t hurt me? I blame it on my mother. I’m sure it is women around us during childhood that are the ones making us scared. I’m therefore adamant to be strong and teach my baby girl that insects are not bad, they are here for a reason and they deserve to live. I will try to show her that instead of killing it you can take it out of the house alive (well, maybe not a cockroach but let’s hope I never see one in my house here… do they get up to the 11th floor?).
I spent a month working in a kindergarten many years ago, and some of you may know from a previous post that I am no child lover, but it was really cool. The kids loved me, maybe because I was young and not so strict and LOVED to take them to the kitchen and bake a cake (and eat it). I remember this one time when we were walking to see a play at the library, a kid noticed a worm and was going to step on it on purpose. One of the teachers saw it and stopped the kid immediately and just asked him “Why would you want to kill it?”. She had to say no more. The kid looked at her, didn’t answer, but he knew she was right. Sometimes it’s just obvious. Even for a 4-year-old. He just needed the question to make him think.
The other day I was at a friend’s place, we were lying by the pool enjoying the sun. As it is an apartment complex she shares the pool with the rest of the residents and there were a lot of parents with their kids as it is summer holidays here. I was observing a dad playing ball in the pool with his two sons, thinking in a few years that will be my husband with our child. And all of a sudden a bee gets into the water and he can’t get up. The father helps the bee out of the water, and I am thinking maybe he should take it farther away from the edge as someone can step on it. But he didn’t take the bee out of the water for the sake of saving it. He takes a piece of plastic and starts cutting the little thing into small small pieces, in front of his maybe 5-year-old son. He cuts it into so many small pieces that eventually there is just a small mess, you can’t tell what it once was. There is no head, no tail, just one wet mess. I looked at him in astonishment. Yes his children may get stung, maybe someone is allergic. But he could have taken the bee someone else, this is a large complex. Geez, he could shave driven the poor thing out of the state if he wanted to. But no, he cut it up. Am I exaggerating? Maybe, but I have NEVER seen an adult do this before! And in front of his child, who will now think that killing an insect is the right thing to do. Even if I hate roaches and other alien looking bugs I will try not to show that to kids, or at least show that I still respect them. I just don’t want them to take after me in everything. I want them to learn from my good sides.
We have a bit of a heat wave here in Brazil and farmers have lost a lot of livestock due to the drought up north. Down south they have had “feels like” temperatures of up to 50ºc. This has prompted the government to announce on TV that people should be careful with their water wastage. Basically, we need to take quicker showers, not let the water run when we brush our teeth or do the washing up and… I guess clean the stone patio and sidewalk outside our house a little less. And this is something that I just can’t get used to. They do the same in Portugal. In some areas I understand as it gets very hot and dry so dogs, cats and drunk men’s pee on the streets will eventually reek… But they wash the streets and patios like there was no tomorrow. With water and soap!!! I actually got a bit upset when I came home the other day and saw that the entrance to my house was all wet. Freshly cleaned for me to walk on. It’s bad enough to waste freshwater on rinsing the street, but continue as normal when some people don’t even have water in their kitchen tap? That’s just selfish and plain stupid. As far as I know we don’t have any animals or drunks peeing on our patio. Every day I see maintenance guys in all the condos washing the patios. Nobody seems to have made any change to the way they waste water even though I am sure everyone sees the plead on TV.
“As long as it doesn’t affect me, then it’s ok”. That seems to be the general mentality throughout the world. Because this isn’t just a problem in Brazil, or a third world problem. In Sweden I know people who, for example, don’t turn off the water when they brush their teeth. They know about the lack of freshwater, about natural disasters, about the worlds resources being exhausted, animals extinct. But it doesn’t happen on home grounds, so why bother.