Have you watched Ice Age 5? In it a motley crew of animals ranging from mammoths through sabre tooth tigers to sloths and opposums co-operated to save the Earth from total disaster. They each contributed their particular gifts, or sometimes their particular faults were needed!
We could learn much from this film. We humans need to cooperate, giving all that we can in order to avoid planetary disaster. As the children of Dorking Quaker Meeting said in a letter to the local supermarkets, “We want there still to be a viable planet on which our children and grandchildren can live.”
The children’s letter to Waitrose, Sainsburys, Tesco and Lidl was about plastic packaging and use of palm oil in food products. They tailored each letter according to the supermarkets behaviour but all letters included these words, “Like many people we watched and were enthralled by BBC’s Blue Planet, but very upset about the plastic waste going in the oceans. … One practical thing we thought we could do is ask every supermarket in Dorking, where we live, to stop selling bakery items and fruit/vegetables in single-use plastic bags/containers. … The plastic waste choking the oceans is part of a bigger issue of what humans are doing to accelerate climate changes and global warming – which worries us greatly. Along with ocean changes, we have learned that deforestation is a massive contribution to these changes. We need clean oceans and lots of trees to keep our air clean and healthy. One major reason for deforestation is the creation of massive palm oil plantations. We have noticed that you use palm oil in lots of your own brand products.”
The children delivered the letters to the shop managers and have received sympathetic replies from two so far – Tesco and Lidl. Continuing their ‘campaign’ they have put up posters in the Quaker Meeting House to remind adult Quakers to do their bit and have given them small squares of green paper with the word ‘REMEMBER’ to put in their purses so they remember to avoid single-use plastic and unsustainable palm oil!
As their letter says “There is a great deal we all need to do to make our collective way of living more sustainable … We ask this as the generation that will have to clear up the mess our parents and grandparents have made of this amazing planet”. Very humbling!
Transition Dorking is part of the much larger Transition Movement, an international grass roots response to the challenges of sustainability and climate change. Find out more at www.transitiondorking.org.uk.
By Anne Brewer