Change and ‘The Power’

I’ve been feeling pretty rotten over the last couple of days. Had episodes of probably what is vertigo, essentially, dizziness and that run down- bleurgh feeling. Feeling sea-sick as I woke up at 6:45 and as I tried to get out of bed the, ‘why am i doing this?’ question came to me and I got back in and emailed to say I wasn’t coming in. I have spent most of the day reading ‘Power’ by Naomi Alderman. I finished it. And i’m quite confused by how I feel about it.

I’ve had a look at other reviews of the book to get some other insights.

It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting and I gorged on the first 100 pages or so because of how inventive it was . I think as the story developed it did lose some of it’s realistic appeal to me. Yes, the story is pretty fantastical but I feel it wasn’t supposed to be just that.

I really enjoyed the first 100 pages because I really felt a lot of aspects were covered by Alderman. It felt like there was a lot of clear messages to be taken from it. How different people coped and reacted to the changes that happened. I think it wasn’t what I thought because it wasn’t actually as nice and successful as I’d hoped. I think the idea that women are more powerful than men, to me, would mean that greater, fairer things would happen. This wasn’t the case and my naivety has been put to shame!  It isn’t power over another that is successful… Ever. It’s not dominance and submission (oi oi) but being on the same level and this is what this book shows. Too much power in any hands can be a bad thing.

The particularly poignant part in the book is quite early on and it is when women start rioting and cannot be controlled and are feared because of their power. There’s a dialect something like “what do we do?”,  “we kill them.”,  “But we can’t kill all the women in the world”

At this point it very is man vs woman. Which actually is totally pointless because both need each other.

And  it makes you think about other riots and wars. And you think, this is pointless too? We are at war against each other. It’s pointless. It’s power not wanting to be lost. But what are we actually fighting for? Those at the top already, what are they actually defending that’s worth defending anymore? Are we asking to be heard or asking to take over and be in charge?

Most minorities just want to be heard and to have fair treatment. That’s what the women’s marches, the LGBT marches that i’ve been on have been about. They were for me anyway.  How can humans be so anti-eachother? Just seems like such a daft concept when you take a step back and look and what we’re doing now and what we’ve done for ridiculous numbers of years. And for what?

I dunno, all I want is to achieve a couple of things that I’ve always wanted to achieve. Do good where I can and use what I have. Power has never been something I have been after so I wouldn’t know! #simplebutcompletelife 

I lost the flow of the book by the end. I don’t think I quite caught the point of some of the character’s stories, maybe I haven’t digested it well enough yet. I thought the book was very honest and fair. There wasn’t an agenda to the book I think apart from a look into power and where we are at the moment. I think I wanted Alderman to talk more about the injustice in parts of the world but she didn’t go into too much detail. Having read a book recently which I reviewed a lot of the countries talk about – India in particularly the reactions really resonated.

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So I’m moving out this weekend back home for the year. I’m on placements all over the UK and in other countries come next week so I’m pretty much going to be living out my car, Betty.

I’ve been in this little room for two years and It hasn’t dawned on me that I’m saying goodbye to it yet. I was reading and it’s been raining all day and with my cup of tea I saw a photo opportunity. My phone never sees what I see but it got close enough.

I’m half packed. It’s going to take a couple of trips. You can see the magazines i’ve yet to read and leaflets about jobs and careers on the side. You can see flowers that Rosie bought me. They’re probably past their best now but i’m not ready to let them go. There’s a half empty box for packing, my keyboard which was fun to play for the four weeks that it fitted in with my routine. My wooden post from one of the marches I went on. I intend to use it again at some point.. It did have a poster on it..

I do and don’t like the idea that I don’t know where I’ll be in a years time. I think I am naturally a home maker and I do want a home or nest of my own. My own nook. Makes travelling all the more special because you have something special to come back to. 

 I suppose I have just been in so many places that I’m just looking forward to not having too much upheaval for a short time. Until I get bored and a wandering eye ;).. 

Rebecca x 

 

 

 

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The problems with plastic

Like most of us, I try to do the best I can for the environment. But I drive A LOT. Most of the time I don’t really have a choice and I’ll try to avoid as much as possible. I’ve been vegan, vegetarian, meat eater and everything in between. I’m currently neither, more just a flexible vegan who eats cheese and meat as a treat….

I usually recycle plastic and paper where I can. But I never really paid much attention to the plastic I was buying and using, especially the disposable plastics that are used once and thrown away.

The problem is how much isn’t actually being recycled or can’t be recycled.
Non-recyclable plastics are separated and landfilled. Often it can be quite misleading. It’s easy to assume that most are recyclable but this isn’t the case. And for the plastic that is recyclable it can only really be recycled once. Not many companies are willing to use recycled plastic too!

Burning plastics creates toxins which is one of the big reasons that India decided to ban disposable plastics! Bags, cups and cutlery. India is currently responsible for 60% of the plastic dumped in the oceans every year. 8.8million tons of plastic !

India’s new rule was brought into action after the illegal mass burning of plastic and other waste which has been blamed for the air pollution. Recycling glass and tin doesnt have such a toxic release. It was calculated that Theresa May’s trip to Delhi shortened her life by several hours. The pollution is 36 times more toxic than London!

 1.5 million tonnes of recyclable plastic is used and thrown away by consumers in Britain.  In 2015, only 500,000 tonnes was recycled which was 45% of recyclable goods are recycled each year… and that’s not even the non-recyclable stuff.

Where’s it all going?

A lot ends up in the oceans.

Seabirds are attracted to plastic debris because it smells like their food. The waste accumulates algae and gives off a smell similar to the krill that many marine birds feed on. Albatrosses and shearwaters rely on their sense of smell for hunting so are particularly at risk.

One study estimates that yearly about eight million tons of plastic enters the oceans annually. (enough to cover every foot of coastline in the world)..!!

It is known that birds, turtles and fish, ingest plastic. It causes damage to internal organs, gut blockages or build-ups of chemicals from the plastics in the animals’ tissue. Some birds even feed their young bits of waste.

This also happens on land in India. Cows free to roam in India scavenge and often eat plastic along with the food left out for them. Like turtles and fish it blocks their stomachs and they often become malnourished and starve because they can no longer digest efficiently enough.

More facts!

People recycled 7.5billion (57%) plastic bottles used by UK households each year. However, only about 30% of all plastic pots, tubs and trays were recycled.

The least successful recyclable plastics are plastic film products, which include carrier bags, pasta and rice bags, and the film on ready meals, only about 3% of which were believed to be recycled in 2015. 

Recycling is working and will be successful! But it needs to be done more and encouraged with less plastic used where possible. But also, some alternative ideas being raise are to create plastics that are less toxic and easier to recycle, or biodegradable. We can still have convenience but need to think more long term as well!

If we can find better alternatives, why not use them?!

Rebecca x

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https://greenallianceblog.org.uk/2017/03/14/cleaning-up-the-oceans-is-not-a-solution-to-the-plastic-problem/h ttps://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/21/only-a-third-of-uk-consumer-plastic-packaging-is-recycled
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/09/seabirds-eat-floating-plastic-debris-because-it-smells-like-food-study-finds-algae-sulfur
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-delhi-bans-disposable-plastic-single-use-a7545541.html
http://ecologycenter.org/plastics/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/05/plastic-waste-dumped-in-uk-seas-carried-to-arctic-within-two-year
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/theresa-may-india-trip-air-pollution-shorten-life-hours-a7405201.html
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/21/only-a-third-of-uk-consumer-plastic-packaging-is-recycled
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/21/only-a-third-of-uk-consumer-plastic-packaging-is-recycled

Plastic Free month: Prep

I have wanted to go to India for a really long time and in our final year at university we have a lot of time to see practice in as many areas as we like. I found an animal charity and vet clinic in Jaipur with recommendations from other vet students. It looks like a fantastic place, it was a no-brainer. They ask for very little in way of money (as most places abroad charge), but they did ask for some fundraising

I spent a long time trying to work out how to fundraise. Sports is the obvious thing to go for but I’m not great at anything and haven’t really got the time or regular routine to start trying to get good. And it’s quite popular, I wanted to do something a little more unusual.

I made the link between India’s current problem with plastic and then found the plastic-free July campaign. With a little shift-y-roo. I created my own plastic free month starting two weeks earlier. 19th June!

I very quickly realised how difficult this was actually going to be.

  • Food packaging – fresh over frozen, no bags, no stickers! plastic containers, plastic lids, cartons. water bottles, straws
  • Toiletries – no bottles, – soap bars, reusable sanitary towels/cups, toilet roll
  • cleaning products – washing up liquid, disinfectant, toilet cleaner
  • stationary – pens
  • online shopping, eating out, fast food.

I already use soapnuts for washing clothes, already use a mooncup so somethings have come with no issue at all.

About a month ago I started having a look online, reading other blogs about people that have already taken the challenge. Some people seemed to buy more alternatives while others preferred to make as much from scratch.

I found the website Boobalou which was exactly what I was looking for. I ordered a number of things off of them and have been really pleased so far. I bought deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush and reusable sanitary towels and toilet roll.

The reusable toilet roll was a difficult one but I’ve been using the cloths and wet bag now since I bought them rather than buying more toilet roll until the month starts and I’m really happy with it. I bought a wet bag too and the idea is that the cloths are used, put in a bag and when the bag is full open the zip and put in the washing machine. There’s very little handling which is perfect! Similar with the sanitary towels.

Cleaning products I have found a recipe to make disinfectant – basically vinegar, soapflakes and bicarbonate. I just need to find these without plastic and I’ll attempt to make it at the weekend!

I see plastic everywhere! It’s very strange. In shops I hate picking up carrots in plastic bags or apples in a tray. It’s so unnecessary! I’ll be shopping at markets where ever possible! Now that I’ve started using the alternatives it’s already seeming silly to go back to what I was before. I’m not the most organised person, so I do find myself needing to buy food on the go. I think that’s where my problem is going to be during the month. And social events – drinks and food in plastic! ah!

I’ll be blogging during the month with how it’s going, the problems i’ve come across and what I’ve taken from the month!

Rebecca x

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