The Plastic Age – Can we bear it?

Not quite 42 is a blog about life, the universe and everything, without claiming to be the answer. It is a home for a collection of observations and reflections (some poems) on issues that I feel to be important and want to explore in different ways.  This first post relates to the current growing awareness of plastic waste and the need to take action

Inspired by visiting museums of antiquity with my six year old in Athens, and in particular marvelling at the skill and length of time that must have gone into making the jewellery, I wonder what our age will reveal:

“Its 2500. Al, aged 7, and her mother are visiting a museum in Western Europe. They have reached the room covering 1950 to 2050, called The Plastic Age. Al is excited. Its so brightly coloured, even after all this time, and in her daily life she doesnt come across plastic any more. They start looking at the shoes and bags. Al tries on the plastic flip flops, so easy to break, yet still around centuries later but decides her bamboo and raffia ones are more comfy. Then they look at the kitchen exhibit. Al recognises some of the devices, but marvels at the fact they were continually thrown away and replaced, not fixed. ” Mum, there must have been loads of people without jobs, if the factories made the mixers and no one ever fixed them.” Al’s Mum is distracted. “mmm”. Then she says “Al, do you know what this means?” It’s a label on a set of white cutlery “Dis….pose…a…bull”, Al sounds out. “No idea. I think its something to do with how long you use things. It must mean they last forever because there are loads here”.

Then she turns to the childrens exhibit. She needs to look at this properly because their school project is on how families have changed. “Wow! My teacher was right. She said The Plastic Age was also when ‘parenting’ became a real obsession. They must have nearly worshipped their childrens artwork and treasured everything. Why else would pre schoolers use stuff that would last for centuries.” “Seriously?” Her mum is incredulous. She leans over and reads “Glitter craft foam stickers pre cut shapes.” Then she laughs. ” Darling, I couldnt adore your potato prints more. When you do something thats worth lasting generations, I will get you some oil paints. How’s that?”

 

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