“Mummy, how did Daddy die?”
“He went down with all hands on a great ship carrying thousands of containers filled with cheap, plastic toys to give away with fast food meals dear.”
“Oh Mummy… those poor children!”
There was a time, not so long ago, when sailors in little wooden ships, not much bigger (and about as seaworthy) as wine corks, plied the ocean waves for years at a time to bring exotic goods back from far flung places to the delight and wonder of a waiting world.
Upon arrival at the docks, cheering crowds would gather and bands would play, while working girls and bartenders braced themselves for a busy few days as the precious cargo was unloaded.
Today, thousands of bulk carriers criss-cross the seven seas chock full of stuff that has been dug up to be burnt, or smelted, to make stuff which will then be shipped back overseas and quickly transformed into junk and re-buried in landfills within five years.
Look, we all had a bit of a giggle when the cargo ship blocking the Suez Canal caused a garden gnome shortage in British shops and horny Hollanders had to wait a little longer for their sex toys to be delivered.
Oh, the angst!
But I’ve been wondering just how many of the approximately 10,000 plus ships afloat at the moment are full of useless paraphernalia we really could learn to live without, or make ourselves?
Why? Because each ship burns roughly 200,000 litres of filthy bunker fuel each day. Multiply that by 10,000 ships, then multiply that by 7 days (I did it for you, 14 billion litres per week).
Now multiply that figure by 52 weeks (728 billion litres) and you’ll have to agree that the amount of bunker oil being burnt per annum is literally eye-watering.
Also, each year, approximately 10 large ships sink. Tragically, along with the lost sailors, the ocean is polluted with the unburnt fuel and whatever cargo those ships were carrying.
Note: many smaller craft and yachts are lost each year due to striking lost shipping containers floating just under the surface of the water.
Folks, I ask you, if we must risk sailors lives and pollute our environment with oil, poisonous gases and rogue shipping containers, shouldn’t it be for something more noble, useful and longer-lasting than mountains of disposable crap like lawn ornaments and dildo’s?
This article first appeared in the Regrow Queensland e-zine. Check it out!