Carbon is everywhere, it’s in the air we breathe, in the food we eat, in the fuel we use in the products we buy and, yes, we’re made up of carbon too. Life is based upon the element carbon. The problem is that we have extracted a whole lot of carbon from the ground, in terms of coal, oil and gas, and by using the energy stored up in the carbon compounds they contain, we have released enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, unbalancing the equilibrium that previously existed.
Our luxurious lifestyles today are supported by the consumption of more and more fossil-fuelled energy. We’re being fed by short-term, agri-chemically produced foodstuff. What on earth are plastic-wrapped, French beans, flown in from China doing on our supermarket shelves in the middle of winter? The seasons have become meaningless as we jet off to winter sunshine more regularly than ever before because the fares are so cheap. Unthinking, self-indulgent madness, because we can’t see the damage we’re causing.
In the past, most people didn’t consider global warming as such a bad thing, especially here in the UK where a couple of extra degrees might take the edge off a cold winter or warm up a British summer. But now we are beginning to experience the extremities of climate change - floods, storms, wildfires, drought, extinction and migration, and things aren’t looking so rosy.
Every decision we make to buy goods or services counts when it comes to decreasing carbon released into the atmosphere. This extends to funerals too. Have you given any thought to where the eighteen per cent of carbon in your body will end up? Will it be safely contained in the soil together with the carbon of the coffin surrounding it, or will all that carbon be discharged into the atmosphere as CO2 and health-damaging particulates and pollutants via the crematorium chimney together with the carbon in the fuel used to fire the furnace? With every cremation, a little more glacier melts.
What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over. We need to open our eyes. To see the influence our collective decisions has over the planet we live on. Little by little a little becomes a lot. We can change the world if we make wiser better-informed decisions.
Stories and thoughts from the Leedam camp.
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