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It’s impossible to list everything I have learned and understood, everything the Global Weather Stations project has given me, but I will try to make a list of the ten most important things:
1. I was reminded about the importance of the issue of global warming and also why most people couldn’t care less about it. Or, if they could, they still don’t care enough. But despite everything, it is not completely alien to them, it affects them.
2. I have learned to take my water bottle with me everywhere I go, but I have also learned to drink all the water from it before getting on the plane. You can refill it pretty much straightaway with tap water in the bathroom.
3. Tap water is tasty and healthy, but people still prefer to buy bottled water, which costs 2000 times more and leaves unbelievable amount of plastic on the planet. There is a nice film about it.
4. There is so much plastic in the world that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was formed. There is a nice film made about it, called Plastic Paradise. Albatrosses eat plastic, which can be seen in photos made by Chris Jordan from Midway, and as a result they die. As do fish. Population of numerous species of fish has decreased within the last forty years by 90%. Eating fish, which have eaten plastic, can cause various diseases. Including cancer.
5. Industrial farms seen from a satellite are more beautiful than Salvador Dali’s paintings. And more terrifying. No wonder conceptual artist Mishka Henner exhibits them in galleries. You can see it on his website.
6. Meat consumption is killing the planet. Meat industry is responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than transport. Forests are cut and monoculture GMO plants cultivated for animal feed, generously sprinkled with pesticides, which cause death of millions of insects and birds. And meat consumption is still on the increase.
7. In the space of the last few years population of animals living in the wild decreased by 50 per cent, but population of animals reared in cages went up. Those animals never see the sun, never touch the soil. We have organised a little animal Auschwitz for them, but on a larger scale. What’s more, we pump them with antibiotics and as a result those same antibiotics will stop having an effect on us.
8. Sometimes you have to travel by plane, even if it is against your deepest beliefs. Though there are people who think that we don’t have to fly at all. And I agree with them.
9. I’m cool, I’m smart, I’m inspirational. Even at events in London or Berlin. Though I think I should learn English properly. Or should I? There are so many great translators. Perhaps it’s better not to take the work away from them. Anyway poetry read in Polish sounds beautiful. So let’s have it in Polish.
10. Everything is possible. I still don’t know how to write about global warming to captivate the attention of owners of companies, which pollute our planet, or the politicians, who are paid by them, but I’m not giving up. And anyway – as far as I know – they do understand the problem. But we still don’t exert enough pressure on them, so it’s worth writing about it to make a change.
This post originally appeared on Global Weather Stations, a project made possible with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union. Jaś Kapela is Weather Stations writer-in-residence at Krytyka Polityczna in Warsaw.
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