Throwaway Culture

I’ve often complained about the “throwaway culture” in India. Your horse can’t do its job anymore? Chuck it out on the street. Your baby is a girl instead of a boy? Leave her out in a field, where she’ll be eaten by wild animals, or die of exposure. You breed puppies and can’t sell them quickly enough? Throw the barely weaned pups out on the street where they’ll starve.

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It’s a way of life in India. Throw things away, toss rubbish on the streets. I’ve been scolded numerous times by Indians for putting a candy wrapper in my pocket if there isn’t a bin nearby. I’ll take it home with me, and throw it in my garbage. Indian friends don’t get that. Why carry it with me when everyone else throws it on the street.

I struggled for a while with a feeling of superiority, thinking that, in this at least, we were better in America.

But are we really?

The more I think about it, the more I feel that we’re no better.

We just hide it better.

The scads of thoroughbred foals born, hoping for that one high-winning racehorse, or foals of other breeds as the breeders aims for “perfection” in breed standards. What happens to those who aren’t “perfect”? They’re thrown away. Slaughter is a typical ending place for them.

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Sticking with the horse theme, how about the quarter horse geldings, bred to be bulked up so massive at a young age? They’re winning all of the halter shows, but they aren’t expected to live longer than about 4 years. Their joints and hearts simply can’t take the bulk, especially at that young age.

Puppy mills? Puppies born while the Mom is kept in a tiny cage, never seeing daylight, or playing with other dogs. Puppies sold to amuse little kids for a few months until they grow into full-sized dogs and aren’t fun, or they start nipping because the kids are allowed to torment them. Then they’re dumped in shelters or pounds where there isn’t room for anything else, and most of them don’t last long.

I knew someone who was trying to find a new home for her 2 cats. She couldn’t keep them due to some legitimate health issues that made it so she couldn’t care for them. She called several shelters, and was told that adult cats would be euthanized as soon as they arrived, because the shelters were full, and no one would adopt adult cats.

And then, of course, you land on abortion. I’m sure a lot of people are judging the Indian family who dumped this Mowgli girl in the forest, because she was a mentally disabled girl, and thus unwanted. But those same people would have no problem telling a couple that they are selfish parents for not aborting their little boy when they found out that he would be born disabled. Where India is slowly learning how to help people with disabilities lead better lives, the US is learning to get rid of them before they’re born.

They throw their garbage in the streets, because the infrastructure is such that it is hard to dispose of trash properly. We throw our recyclables into the garbage, because we can’t be bothered to use two bins and put in a little extra effort to make such an easy difference.

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Are we really that much better than anyone else? People think India when they think human trafficking. But how about the fact that the Superbowl is as big a deal for sex traffickers as it is for crazy football fans? Didn’t know that? Yeah, it surprises a lot of people.

It’s easy to judge. Easy to say that we’re better than India, or that we’re bad as a country, because we are a throwaway culture after all.

But what good does that do?

Judging never helped anyone.

If you don’t like the way your country does something, or the way things are done throughout the whole world, you have to change what you are doing, and do your best to teach others to do what is right. The wounds humans have inflicted on the earth, as well as on our culture will heal only when we make an honest, concerted effort.

I’ll end this with a quote from a very well known Indian:

BeTheChange_Gandhi

 

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10 thoughts on “Throwaway Culture

  1. The spirit of consumerism is the common denominator and we will watch it unravel us and most won’t know what hit us … and our world happy to be in the pupae stage forever.

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  2. I’m an Indian myself, and have experienced and complained about the same “throwaway culture” that you talk about. Are you an Indian, or have you just lived here? It was very interesting to read your take on it, and I liked how you pointed out that the same problems happen everywhere. I just wish we could do something about it.

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    1. I’m American, but I lived in India for a few years. I have 2 dogs and a cat I picked up off the streets there, and brought back to the States.
      I think the biggest thing that people can do about it is to change their own habits. Most people don’t bother. They think “It makes no difference if I don’t throw my rubbish on the street since everyone else is doing it.” But that’s a little less rubbish on the street. And then you teach your friends and family about it. And they teach their friends and family about it. You never know how far it can go just from you making the decision to be more careful. Also check out places like http://www.tolfa.org.uk/, which cares for the neglected street animals of India, including caring for cows who are eating plastic.
      One person can’t fix the problem alone, but one person can start to make a change.

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      1. What you’ve said actually echoes my mother’s philosophy so much – she strongly believes that every individual bit helps, and spends her whole life just trying to fix things, one person at a time. And she does this for all the problems we see, whether it’s traffic or honking or litter or just about anything else.

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      2. And i’ll check out this site for the street animals, I haven’t heard of it before, but I do spend a lot of time with stray dogs through something called CUPA, where they rescue and rehabilitate dogs. We adopted a kitten off the street last year as well, so definitely trying to do our bit one step at a time 🙂

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