Packaging Indecency

Note: (I wrote this essay about 2 years prior to the covid farce and since, I have changed my stance on “climate change”, I no longer subscribe to that hypothesis) End Note.


Supermarkets are equivalent to houses of horrors to me. There you find the most wanton display of human excess imaginable. Rows upon rows of goods in sparingly-apportioned sizes wrapped in blazing and seductive packaging, sitting tight awaiting the next shopper to take the bait. Each claiming to be better than the other, vying to get your dollars, because business’s number one mission is to make a profit off you. And you my friend have probably bought right into it without even realizing.

Everywhere you look you can see unnecessary packaging that is beyond wasteful — it’s downright pornographic. When you’re conscious of the psychological damage this does, it’s a bit like watching your mother get raped over and over while nobody bats an eyelash. All this trash keeps on accumulating in nature, poisoning waters, land, animals, fish and even ourselves.

Aisles of packaged items over and over. The packaging is there to divvy up the resource, make sure you pay for every gram and to make you bait you into buying the product. They want your money, that’s all that’s in it for them.

Packaging is often exceedingly excessive — its first job is to grab your attention. And most of that packaging is disposed of minutes after the customer gets it home. This casual disposal on a massive scale causes horrendous wastage and pollution that is swept under the carpet by being dumped into another place that we don’t see. It doesn’t just happen at my local supermarket, it happens in millions of supermarkets all over the world. Imagine the trash of all that. And where does it all go?

Only a small portion ends up being recycled. The rest of it ends up in the environment, in waterways, in the ocean, in animals, in the soil, in some other part of the country or the world away from our shopper’s purview.

Water and wind currents capture a lot of the trash into gyres in the Pacific ocean which is two times the size of Texas. This gyre is growing fast. The last time I checked, which wasn’t long ago, the gyre was merely the same size as Texas, now it’s twice its size. The doubling is happening before our eyes and nothing much is said or done about the constant torrent of trash that keeps adding up.

One thing you don’t hear about on the news is that more than one hundred species go extinct every day. Every DAY! Can you imagine that? What are we doing to our world? What kind of stewards are we?

We pat ourselves on the back and say how great we’re doing because we’re recycling. But in reality, we are doing a half-baked job of recycling. Indeed we are making no substantial change to alter the course we’re on. We are not putting our heart and soul and our will into it at all. But it’s important that we do because we’re crashing this beautiful home planet of ours. This unrelenting excessiveness can easily be observed from any place you care to note — the volume of rubbish in people’s trash bin on pickup day is a clear give-away. The accumulation of trash can only be called unconscionable. Have we no sentiment for our home planet and our fellow creatures who inhabit the place with us, or even for ourselves? We are shitting in our own nest.

However doing the right thing is not as difficult or as expensive as we may think. If we do the calculations we would learn what we can actually save if we did things mindfully - we could save money and time and actually gain more enjoyment and even more time. We could for example have less trash pick ups — instead of once per week, pickups could be reduced to one per month. We did this with trash at my home. One person living alone filled a whole trash bin in a week. Today, with two of us not just one, and with renewed “trash consciousness”, we fill a trash bin something like once in two months.

The first thing we did was talk about it and figure out some of the things we could do. We found the most important thing is to prevent manufacturing in the first place because manufacturing causes pollution from fossil fuel machinery, transportation, extraction of resources, soil and species displacement and often results in scarring the aesthetics of a location by commercial ubiquity. Very few items come without any packaging at all. In our home, we don’t buy things that have unnecessary packaging and the products we do buy have packaging that we like and that can be used again. We even reuse the cardboard core of toilet rolls — they make terrific seedling pots that allow the seedlings to be planted directly into the soil undisturbed, pot and all. This eliminates the cost of buying plant pots, makes transplanting easier, has no refuse, and actually goes into building soil, which sequesters carbon! But why hasn’t someone thought of using a durable toilet roll which can also be reused over and over?

At home we use terry towel hand towels instead of paper hand towels and handkerchiefs instead of tissues. Handkerchiefs may be old-fashioned but they are more fun to use, they are delicate on the nose without those paper fibres, easy to wash, quick to dry, and can be made into fashion accessories. I have a handkerchief I really love, creamy color linen with cherry-red lacy crocheting around the edges. It’s spectacular. Another is purple with an edging of lime-green; two others are bright vermillion. Using hankies saves extra purchases for tissues when at the store, and it feels good because you’re not causing forests to be vandalized. And if you like crafts and making things, it’s fun to sew brightly-colored hankies or to crochet lace-edges or whatever your creativity comes up with. We could even hold handkerchief fashion shows!

If you are one who feels like you’re doing your part simply because you recycle, please note that recycling is not enough on its own. Recycling still produces the demand for manufacturing which calls for more fossil fuel and resource usage. Best is to not buy anything new, look for used stuff instead. But if you’re going to buy something, look to buy things that have a minimum of packaging — find items that are loose and require you to provide the packaging yourself. Choose items wisely and pay attention to what you’re going to do with the packaging once you’ve unpacked the item contained in it.

A ring from a plastic container, around a turtle

Lately organic vegetables are being sold wrapped, instead of loose (so we’re going backwards instead of forwards) Two peppers sit on a cardboard tray with plastic encircling the whole deal, or a plastic-wrapped zucchini or lettuce on a Styrofoam tray — why? You’d think people who buy organic vegetables would be conscious of waste just as much as they are conscious of organics. I won’t buy vegetables when they come like this even though we eat organic but I would rather buy conventional than buy the extra packaging. Packaging is killing our planet too. I spoke to the produce master at the local supermarket and hooray hooray, he concurred, and even went a step further, the dear soul, he spoke to the suppliers and they listened, and the store changed back to selling the organic vegetables without nasty wrap on them. I must say I was quite elated to see this occur. But this is what we must do — we must speak up.

One fun way to go beyond recycling is to buy used stuff instead of new stuff. Every time you buy something new, this signals a demand for more manufacturing. And continual buying is something we must learn to avoid, it is something we need to constantly be aware of. Right now it’s not even on our radar, it's never mentioned in chatting with friends and family. This is probably the most important factor — buying it in the first place — because manufacturing causes all sorts of environmental vandalism. Buying used has a wonderful spinoff — it increases the value of the stuff we do have because it creates the demand for the pre-loved. Creating that demand means what we possess appreciates in value. That’s a welcome change from the current pattern which depreciates most things we buy once they are bought. Imagine if the fashion changed around so that buying pre-loved stuff suddenly became de rigeur.

And one of the easiest things to do is to take your own shopping bag with you to the store. Recycle the spares you’ve accumulated from previous uses if you have them lying around. There is no point in throwing out stuff — it will go into landfill and so even delaying that will reduce the torrent somewhat. We are many so the little things count. And there is no excuse for continuing to use disposable plastic bags (or paper bags for that matter) Take a durable bag that can be used over and over again. Don’t wait for a law to make you do it — take the initiative yourself.

Boycotting is the only way to send a message to companies, because remember, all companies care about is profit. It is usually useless to protest in the streets or try to appeal to their sense of morality. It’s our morality that is going to make the changes and don’t ever think anything else or we’re never going to move the trend — we have had decades to see how reliably corporations and governments are able to change things for the better. They are way behind the curve. They will not take the initiative unless we make the changes. The manufacturing of packaging as well as the demand for new merchandise means we will continue to trash our habitat and continue to extinguish more species. The world does not belong just to you and me. A conscious being is aware of other lives as well as their own.

The behavior of human society can only be described as criminally-reckless. My so-called “fellow man” pollutes and rampages on my home planet without a single care — and even thumbing that, they’ll continue to do it as long as it satisfies their comfort. This species has none-to-little intention of addressing our communal problems. This plundering species is only concerned with costs and wealth-making. But that doesn’t have to include you. Our actions have consequences and the good habits you adopt could have a lasting effect on those around you which eventually will ripple outwards. What you do matters a whole lot.

Almost all of the packaging you see in supermarkets and department stores will end up in landfill. If one litterbugs the street one is frowned upon yet we trash our own habitat and call it “marketing”. To make a product seem “rich” or elegant or hip, producers swaddle their merchandise with extensive and unnecessary facades.

Let me tell you a quick story about this that transpired a few days ago…

A friend needed a power cord for his Apple computer to replace the one he had. The plastic covering had worn completely off, exposing the wires making it look like a frayed tassel. The power cord was only three years old and you would think it should last much longer than that (with all the hype that comes from Apple)

The cost to replace this necessary item? (Get ready to gulp) Eighty dollars! Eighty dollars for a power cord? Imagine that. Oh and how peachy — it also came with a bonus power cord to fit European power outlets! The possibility of my friend going to Europe within the lifespan of his Apple computer was about as slim as coral reefs regaining their color, but Apple’s marketing people constantly find new and innovative ways to screw their customers (because they’re famous for innovation) so Apple can go on and make mega profits. Perhaps Apple’s designers don’t have a clue about the Pacific gyre or the extinction of species, but despite it all, Apple customers keep coming back for more. This is sending corporations the wrong message. If the environment is important to them they need to stop investing in companies that ravages the environment.

You must remember that the environment belongs to all of us. And not just us, but also our future generations PLUS all creatures that inhabit our earth with us. It is more than possible to turn things around and adjust our behavior without too much inconvenience, we just have to rearrange our habits somewhat. That doesn’t mean we need to live in austerity. Most often it’s simply the beginning of a new habit that causes the most discomfort but that soon passes as we acquire the new habit which will also become automatic to us.

I would wager we could turn things around and in very quick order if we simply made the decision to, and put our minds to it, if we had the will to. What we have tried so far has been paltry and a sign that we don’t really mean what we say, we care more for our comforts than our life source. This is dumber than dumb. Most people are still flying for pleasure which could cut down emissions significantly if they stopped doing just that. For business, flying is often also unnecessary now that we have the internet and apps like skype and zoom. It’s a matter of thinking outside the box.

The change to new patterns will be slightly uncomfortable. But it will be so worth it when we don’t need to fight for clean air and water.

One sure way of restoring nature is by using hemp. Hemp can be used for thousands of purposes and growing it actually conditions the soil. Hemp sequesters CO2 and can be used to replace wood products and fossil fuels. When do you hear of hemp on any public policy agenda? Is hemp even mentioned? Why do they completely disregard and ignore hemp (ignore-ance?)

We have no idea of the kind of response nature would make if we changed our habits. Granted, the profit-driven world makes it difficult to make these changes but still there are ways available to us even with this massive obstacle. Eventually they will become the normal ways. We could restore the environment quickly if we simply made the decision to. We could start by making improvements in our own personal habits and build on them incrementally. Start at say a small improvement and when you get the hang of that, then go to another manageable improvement (ie: another habit change). Mother earth may be relying on us to take care of all her creatures big and small. That is what makes us different to all the species.

We are the only species that can build cities and sing opera. We are the only species that kills everything in its wake. It will take our species to turn things around to get back to our natural humanity, the way we were before we were usurped by profiteering.

We’re still a vicious species — we kill our own species and destroy our habitat systematically and no other species does this. Aren’t humans supposed to be more intelligent than animals? We have the intelligent capacity but does that make us even more ignorant because we have the capacity but don’t use it. Even comparing ourselves to our fellow creatures, we destroy our own habitat - animals just don’t do the shit that homo sapiens do.

If we don’t get our act together soon, we will be probably sentence ourselves and definitely our future generations — including your own children and your friend’s children — to a life of a climate that is violent and unpredictable, it will make Katrina seem like a tiddlywinks. Imagine if we all had to turn into nomads again, because the weather was so unstable that it destroyed our homes from day to day. Never mind not having access to the internet, life would not be stable for what could be hundreds of years to come.

The exponential factor is something every person needs to understand. It’s a very easy thing to understand and most people understand it without realizing it when it comes to money. Sometimes referred to as the compounding factor, it is used to calculate interest on loans and to find the rate of growth of anything. The compounding factor (or exponential factor) is a marvel that starts by growing very slowly and does this for a long, long, time initially, but after a long time, it hits a certain point and then it rises sharply and swiftly, building on itself as it rises “exponentially”.

I use this word a lot because I feel the exponential factor is a phenomenon that needs to be taught as early in life as possible and be understood by anyone who considers themselves “educated”. The exponential factor can be very deceiving if you happen to be in it. For example, if the population of a town grows by 7% per year that means the number of residents will double within ten years. It also shows that killing off over 100 species per day could get to a point of no return. Well, no return for thousands or hundreds of thousands of years. Because nature will always be able to return, that is the nature of nature, it has regeneration baked in. But we, our barbaric species, we may not be able to return, or not be able to live like we do today in relative stability of climate.

So if you really care and want to do something, how about making the decision to tackle the waste that goes into and out of your home or workplace? Or reduce your use of fossil fuels? You can start right away — there is something every one of us can do today that will reduce our strain on the earth (ie: our carbon footprint).

Taking public transport to work one day a week — that’s a 20% improvement just doing that! Perhaps you already take the train to work every day, ok, then decide you will not purchase that coffee in a Styrofoam cup ever again. That’s another big chunk of earth-healing in just one simple action, and you can always buy coffee somewhere else, somewhere that uses paper cups. Don’t forget to mention it to the personnel at the coffee shop so that this becomes mainstream. Support businesses that do the right thing.

As long as you make the decision, things start to change. You can improve in graduations, it doesn’t all have to be done at once, and the tasks themselves will soon become second nature. As long as you head in the right direction, you’ll be on the up and up. And once you’ve got one new habit down, build on it and add a new change factor to start a new habit. The exponential effect worked to debilitate nature, and it also works to replenish nature.

Believe it or not, just little ol’ you starting a new habit, will cause an exponential ripple that will multiply outwards in a way you couldn’t imagine — these ripples go out to those who see you and deal with you, then they go out into the consciousness of those who see them, ad infinitum. It will inspire others to make changes in their habits because these changes are healthy and smart and stimulating because it gets us to think, to be creative, to live in consciousness.

Going to the government for policy changes won’t do it (we’ve already done that and nothing’s budged). Guilt-tripping the corporations won’t do it, (maybe in the odd case only) but when ordinary people change habits, then an exponential factor will be reached and the rest of the healing of all the desecration we have committed, will be turned around, like a wound starting to heal. Working with nature means our minds will be stimulated to find easier ways of beating the fossil fuel juggernaut — “Necessity is the mother of invention”. The actual act of doing, triggers our human creativity, and doing will help us to rise too because we’re tangibly working with Mother Nature and not against her anymore. By doing, we’ll discover new technologies for saving energy, instigate new fads and fashions like making art out of trash or turning plastic trash into usable items. We’ll be heading in the right direction, the direction of health and wellbeing. We will salute our life source who salutes us back by providing sustenance and abundance. Fouling the earth besmirches us, because all is intricately linked.

All that is stopping us from breathing life back into the earth is for each of us to make a decision. We don’t have to do it all at once or all together. Even one person or one thing at a time — you, just you –making the decision triggers the urge to make change and that will eventually cause a tide. We’ve seen what waiting for saviors will do — nothing! Or nothing substantial. If we love life and nature, then we have to atone and make the effort to begin. No need to be anal about it, just head in the right direction. Talk with friends about it, make it “a thang” but do get down to it because other species depend on it. If you won’t do it for yourself or your kids, then at least do it for the animals.

Information Links:

a. Great Pacific Garbage Patch:

b. How many species are we losing:

c. Dr. Albert Bartlett on the exponential factor: (runs for 1 hour and 14 minutes):

d. National Ocean Service — The Great Pacific Garbage Patch:



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