How to lose friends, alienate people and care for the environment

2016-06-10 13:30 - Anje Rautenbach
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On the 8th of June we celebrated World Oceans Day, an annual observation to honour our oceans, create awareness and appreciate its value.

I’m not a beachgoer; I don’t tan on purpose, I have a weird relationship with sand and honestly, the immensity of the ocean scares me. Give me mountains, rivers and forests. Oh and penguins. Boy oh boy do I love penguins, but I’m not a beachgoer. I probably like elephants more, but my penguin love started when I found out that the African Penguin will be extinct by 2025. Words like overfishing, plastic and oil made me bow my head in shame and put the tuna sandwich away. It is easy to throw a blind eye to all the protests, go green campaigns and causes. I did it. Not because I didn’t care but because I said “that’s so sad, I don’t want to see that”. It is just too easy to throw a blind eye. I visited SAMREC in Port Elizabeth, and I threw a wet eye, yes, I cried. I ugly-cried. It is sad.

Humans really do suck and we really do screw up our environment in the most selfish ways ever.

I’m not a beachgoer, I don’t swim in the ocean but I do care, and not only about the penguins.

So on World Oceans Day I put a few lines up on Facebook. This post did not only honour the ocean but it also shifted the focus towards my incredible maternal instinct and it probably warned friends and family that they should never ask me to babysit. Ever.

“Today is World Oceans Day. Don't be an arsehole or an asshole. Pick up your shit. Be a grown-up, suck it up and pick up the shit of others. Stop saying "yes" to plastic bags. Start saying "no" to straws (you are more than capable to bring the glass to your mouth). Give your child a high-five instead of a helium balloon and respect the ocean, that thing can swallow you whole if it really wanted too...”

High-five. Maternal. Nailed it.

Not only will I give your child a high-five, but your child will learn a few new words too.

I do apologise. Well not really. Okay fine, just a little, but sometimes you need to lose friends, alienate people and care for the environment.

Sometimes you have to bow your head in shame for all the times you’ve turned a blind eye and speak up. Sometimes it is necessary to take straws out of people’s hands and ask them “do you really need this?”. 

Sometimes you need to pop a shocking video of elephant abuse in Thailand over to a friend’s inbox before their departure, just in case. Sometimes you need to give the Blood Lions DVD to someone before breakfast and say, “watch this, it is really good”. Sometimes you need to stand up to older people, screw respect and tell them they can’t litter.

Sometimes you need to forbid friends to take their children to a zoo and share the harsh truth behind that lion and cheetah experience. Sometimes you need to be called ugly words over social media because you’ve expressed your concerns. Sometimes you need to take the plastic bags out of your own hands and try again.

I still make a lot of mistakes; I don’t recycle everything, my carbon footprint is nasty and I really like sushi.

We only have one chance with this world. 

If your kid is born today will he be able to see the African Penguin when he is 10 years old?

High-five. Maternal. Nailed it.

Sometimes you will lose friends and alienate people as you care for the environment. But don’t be the flipside of the arsehole; tone the superiority down, leave the arrogant attitude and close the condescending eye.

Allow your care to be bigger than your judgment.