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Day seventeen – A toxics visitor

November 17, 2017

A lovely, if all too brief, visit from Darryl yesterday. Now that he an Morag will be living closer to Calgary than Vancouver for the next few years, god knows when I will see either of them again, making the visit even more precious.

He arrived in time for us to share a pizza before heading off to the panto rehearsal, which he’d decided to attend. As I only have two words to speak in the final scene we were able to leave early. When I asked what he thought of the show (he and Morag had been to two of the three last pantos, directed by me), he tried his best to be diplomatic – as I have been here, knowing that a few islanders have stumbled across this blog. I put him out of his diplomatic mystery by telling him I hate this panto, after which he did concede that this script didn’t seem to have quite the same wit of Will Shakespeare or Robin Hood. Bit of an understatement. He also found it difficult to believe, given the rehearsal he’d just watched, that the performances are only a week away. I feel the same.

Like me, Darryl is a former Greenpeace toxics campaigner, who, unlike me, has actual scientific qualifications. Working on this once prominent campaign is how he met Morag and I met both of them. As often happens when the two of us get together over a bottle of wine, we ended up lamenting the inability of politicians, the media, the public and funders to acknowledge more than one environmental challenge at a time.

Obviously climate change poses huge threats to life on earth. Obviously people should be screaming bloody murder. Obviously politicians should get off their arses and do something. Obviously.

But while everyone is busy looking – or pretending to look – at climate change, no one is looking at the damage being done to birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and mammals (which, yes, includes humans) by endocrine disrupting chemicals. The body of evidence, chronicled in the 1996 book Our Stolen Future, has continued to grow in the past two decades. And almost no one is paying any attention.

Hell, in the five years since I wrote this article on the subject, we’ve all got more sick, more stupid and more sterile. (Perhaps this explains Trump supporters?)

So we ranted for a while about this, then started reminiscing about some of the toxics actions in which we’d been involved. This part of our conversation involved a lot of laughter, because it is truly amazing how often things go spectacularly wrong but still turn out just fine.

toxic waste

As anyone who’s ever been afflicted with depression knows – and as I have commented on more than one occasion – laughter really is the best medicine. So, thank you, Darryl. Sorry it’s going to be long time no see.

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