Thursday, May 06, 2010

Hell in a handbasket

I read this column in NYTimes today.

And it made me depressed and scared. Very scared. The information is not really new but everytime I read about it, I feel panicked afresh. Scared for my myself, sure. But more scared for Kuttipa. What kind of world have we brought him into? What toxins was he exposed to in the womb and what more has been exposed to since then? How has it affected him? Will he grow up and thrive? What about all the other kids on earth? What's been happening to them? Will humans survive despite their own efforts to self-destruct? Is the world going to hell in a handbasket?

I recently went to a gardening centre because we needed some advice on gardening and didn't know where to start. This was a large, large store filled with almost anything you could possibly need for a garden. There were plants of course and soil and seeds and other things you might typically expect. What I didn't expect to see were the sheer varieties of herbicides, pesticides and other cides. Do you hate your neighbours dog peeing on your lawn? There is a chemical for that. Perhaps you didn't want deer on your lawn? Or bunnies? There is a chemical for that. Or birds? Or ants? Or caterpillars? Chemicals, chemicals and more chemicals! Yum!

And then here is the ultimate irony. There were statues of bunnies sipping from a water fountain, Mom and baby deer nuzzling, clusters of birds perched on a branch, etc. I guess after you're done killing all the real animals and critters, you need at least statues to symbolize life in a garden. When you think of a garden, do you think of living growing things or the WMD?

And this is not one particular store. Just walk into any Canadian Tire or Home Depot or equivalent, and you'll see all these chemicals displayed proudly. What's the average consumer to do? The average consumer who doesn't spend his nights reading news articles, but wants something to kill his weeds, bunnies and what not? He pulls some shiny bottle from the shelf (probably the one priced lowest) and hopes it delivers on its promise of killing whatever it is he wants killed? Harmful to humans? What's that??

How does this change? The average consumer is not interested in advice beyond the immediately tangible, Health risks are intangible unless of course his kith and kin are injured. Even then, how do you prove these things? You just blame fate and go back to spray your garden with 'Weed n Feed'.

And that's why I feel so helpless and scared.

1 comment:

Partha said...

True! this seems to be humanities greatest achievement. Successfully poisoning the biosphere. No other species has managed to achieve this!