Why the drive for perfection is killing us!
At PlantPlots we firmly believe it is our responsibility to leave the planet in a better state than we found it. In all aspects of our lives we can make easy and simple changes to how we live that cumulatively will have a huge impact on the world we inhabit. So what are we talking about here, what is meant by ‘why the drive for perfection is killing us!’
Did you know the average household most likely will contain over 60 chemicals that are toxic and possibly cancer causing sitting right there in our homes.
But that doesn’t seem to bother us, but why? The why is because over the last 40 years companies can sell their products and brands directly to us whilst in our own homes; television has allowed commerce to fill the airways with adverts and images.
This is about the message the advertising conveys; which is always ‘the drive to improve and perfect’. For decades the general public has be inundated with images showing gleaming sparkling work surfaces, prisine clean floors and bathrooms so shiny sunglasses are required. The subliminal message being – this is good, this is what you should be striving for, this is ideal; this is perfection!
This message is reinforced by advertising that highlights the downside of not being clean. Advertisers use messages about ‘killing 99.9% of germs and bacteria’ and keeping your family safe by using a certain product. Again the underlying message is that by not using it, you might put family at risk!
The message is rammed home – immaculate is good and so is killing germs!
So why is this killing us then? And what relevance has this to do with gardening?
The problem is is this, the constant barrage of imagery and messaging in adverts has altered our view of the world around us. More importantly thogh, it has increased our physical and emotional disconnection from it. We use phrases like; the world outside or the natural world, well outside what? My house? Am I not then ‘natural’ because I am human? This disconnection is reinforced by using phrases like germs and infection, which add to the view that there are dangers lurking ‘outside’ that humans need to protect themselves from.
So, collectively we thoroughly disinfect our houses, keep things perfectly clean and kill 99.9% of the ‘germs’ in the house.
The trouble is, because this spills out into the garden too. Advertising images are always of immaculate gardens, perfectly mown weed free lawns, large exuberant flowers and rich lush green foliage. Butterflies and bees are permitted images, because these are ‘good’. Why, because these insects enhance the enjoyment of the garden.
Weeds and non permitted insects are portrayed the same way as germs – with nasty evil looking images hell bent on sabotaging your efforts. They deserve their fate!
One spray kills all known invaders in a single application are advertised, so you too can have the perfect garden!
So why is the drive for perfection killing us!
I must state that this is my opinion, but the evidence is there (some proven, some anecdotal and some common sense) but I am of the view that just because there is not a scientific research paper proving a theory, it does not mean that theory does not exist! So here’s some food for thought:
- Humans do not stand alone – we are part of the ecosystem
- There has been a significant rise in allergies, chronic illnesses and behaviour disorders over the past decades.
- Humans in urban areas have lower levels of gut biodiversity then those in rural areas, but higher levels of chronic inflammatory disease
- Humans coexist with trillions of microorganisms that live on and with us
- Certain pesticides are known to cause damage to bees brains and kill millions of bees. In the USA these chemicals are still permitted and regularly sprayed on the food you consume.
- Einstein predicted all life on earth would cease after 4 years if bees became extinct.
- 45,000 tons (40,000 tonnes) of pesticides (banned in parts of the world) are sprayed onto lawns. AND THIS GETS WALKED INTO HOUSES.
The point is this: Humans have survived without cleaning products and perfectly sterile conditions. In fact, if the germs and nasties out there were so dangerous; I wouldn’t be here to be writing this at all. Humans would have been already wiped out.
The problem is not that germs or weeds or pestilence or disease exists. But that the fear of disease has been used to ensure the public try to eradicate these threats from their lives.
Paradoxically, it is the chemicals we use to kill those germs, pests and garden weeds that are most likely responsible for making us ill.
So just remember; if there are ‘germs’ inside your toilet bowl…. it’s ok, the germs can’t jump out. Maybe there are weeds in the lawn, but do you really need to reach for the chemical spray? If the roses have aphids – is it really worth killing the bees, butterflies and ladybirds too?