Monday, May 2, 2011
“Remember in the good old days, when you could take 30 kgs?” my friend Lindi says to me in an irritated voice after hearing the explanation for my pre-flight paranoia. I am 10 kgs overweight, and have very carefully packed my stuff together so that I will not get caught and have to go through another draining ninja move with my extensive excess luggage. Coming from Perth to Africa it had been a near-death experience. It seems, however, that human beings are always in the business of wanting more. Taking luggage, for example, my friend Lindi was right in her reminiscing about the insane amount of weight you could bring onto a plane ten or fifteen years back. But there was a weight limit back then, too. Which I’m sure was exceeded, like now. And eventually, like I tend to think I can always get away with a trivial six kilos, I’m sure the airlines stopped to think about how much they could get out of that exact craving in their passengers of wanting more. I can picture the board room meeting, where a brilliant apprentice says quietly to himself “I’d just make ‘em pay for it,” followed by the evolution of such an idea in the greedy CEO’s mind. And where does this leave me some years back? “You’re looking at about 200 dollars,” from an Irish woman who I have to explain the principle of electronic encoded visas in my passport to. That’s what I’m looking at. And still, it gets me thinking; do we always want more? And, much more to the point and so much more interesting; do we assume we can get away with it? These thoughts brought to me further philosophies about our relationship with good old Mother Earth. To me, the parallel is simple; like I tend to assume I can easily get away with an extra 10 kgs, I similarly tend to assume that the global exploitation of increasingly degrading natural resources will not affect my life. I can get away with my massive ecological footprint. I will always be able to throw my trash out into bins for someone to collect, and there will always be healthy salmon for me to purchase at the local Coles. But still, it gets me thinking. What if Mother Earth decides one day that she’ll make me pay for my overweight? I think I can say with fair certainty that the price won’t be in the form of an uncomfortable credit card bill in my mail box.