Sunday 1 May 2016

A bittersweet moment

I wandered into the lounge this morning, but even before I could forget what I'd gone there for, I looked out of the window and saw a small white feather touch down on the lawn. For a fleeting, unforgiveable moment, I thought "Ha, a Sparrowhawk has caught one of the Linnets eating my wild flower seeds!"

It was not so.

Over the road, an Oystercatcher was sat preening on a gate post, presumably after a spot of bathing in the puddles in some nearby wheel ruts. This was the source of the windblown feather. Within the short amount of time that I assimilated this information, a House Sparrow flew down and seized the feather from the grass and flew off with it to line its nest.


That got me thinking... recycling is actually older than humanity. For millions of years, nothing, absolutely nothing, was wasted by life on Earth. All manner of bodily effluvia (noxious or otherwise), decaying bodies and structures (burrows, nests, dams) are food or shelter for something else. 

And then we came along.

Are we the only lifeform on the planet that litters? I rather think we are, which is a sad and depressing state of affairs. Worse still, our litter is inadvertently mistaken for food or nesting material and results in the death of many creatures who have ingested plastic items or have been trapped in a twisted tourniquet of twine. Our slow-to-decay litter is building up in vast floating gyres in the oceans, spreading into, and further up, the food chain as microscopic particles, which are slowly poisoning the environment and everything in it.

Will some tiny lifeform evolve that discovers a way to tap into this huge, currently toxic resource and begin feeding upon it? Then, as it spreads around the world in a frenzy of Gaian gourmandising, will all our windows fall out and the warranty be invalidated on electrical appliances everywhere?

If we do not take responsibility for our own actions, we have to realise that our future may not be in our own hands.

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