The last straw
In the billowing belly of the beast, forms a little red straw. Packed, shipped, poked through the top of your morning coffee. You throw it away, but it falls on the road and flows through a drain.
In the vast blue ocean, the silver tuna rushes at his prey, but swallows the straw. He will likely choke and die.
Now you may think this doesn't affect you, but that tuna could be your dinner. You might think: leave the problem for the future to deal with, ruin the planet and escape to Mars, who cares as long as I can keep using my practical tupperware.
Well, what goes around comes around. We should just live our lives? At what cost? Sacrificing the lives of our children, grand children, great grandchildren so we can continue living in blissful ignorance?
How many times must the little red straw’s story be repeated? How many animals must die because of our actions, because of our inaction.
That straw, one of over 350 million tons of plastic used yearly; often for just a few moments.
Yet, that straw can take 1000 years to decompose.
That straw is one of 8 million tons of plastic dumped into our oceans yearly.
There is plastic in the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe. How long until we decide it’s time to do something.
Plastic kills 1 million animals yearly. Fish and sharks, turtles, dolphins, and even birds, who, in their sanctuary high in the sky, still cannot escape the plague we’ve caused.
Floating garbage patches three times the size of France. Soon the area of trash will exceed the area of land. By 2050 there will be more pieces of plastic than fish in the sea.
And still we do nothing. How much longer will we favor the green in our pockets over the green of mother nature, of OUR home. How long until we decide to stop the genocide of planet Earth.
And yes, it is a decision. Everytime you buy plastic, throw it away, pass garbage on the street and don’t pick it up even though you know that THAT piece of garbage will outlive you and your children, and your grandchildren, and live on forever, killing a dozen animals on the way, you decided to contribute to the murder, to the demise of our very planet.
Yet still, we go on, play along, act like everything is okay.
In Lebanon, garbage piles get so high that, when they collapse, they flow through the streets and the forest and the sea like an apocalyptic river.
How much longer until we wake up, stand up, rise up, and DO something.
Pollution affects every living thing, from the small scampering hermit crab to the majestic whistling whale.
Hermit crabs mistake plastic for shells and are killed by the chemical residue. Dead whales wash up on the beaches with hundreds of pounds of plastic in their stomachs. Turtles can't breathe because plastic straws get stuck in their nostrils. Birds mistake plastic for food, feeding it to their hungry offspring.
How long until we realize that this is NOT normal. The loss of these creatures affects fishing, recreation, tourism. But more than that, it triggers a full collapse of our ecosystem, the structure of our world.
But if we learn to work together to reduce waste, if we learn to take initiative, to recycle, we can turn these straws into gold. But first, all of us, every single person on this Earth, we have to stand up and decide that it’s been too long, that THIS is the last straw.