This is a series of journals recording my days in the Yangtze River Headwaters volunteering project. I will try to update every day but there might be delays in the days I work in the wild without the internet. I’m also trying to write bilingual if time allows. Like it? Follow my Instagram (@anar.chica.yichenguo) for updates!
It seems all volunteers of the next two groups will be female except for my dad. Among them there are girls who got married quite early. No matter if they have kids or not, they can be categorised as unorthodox comparing to the average perspective in the Chinese society. ‘You do what the age tells you.’ I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this from older generations. But I think the history of human society is a history of trial and error. During the development, many unreasonable perspectives are slowly abandoned. For example the modern society already cares much less about age than before. And for the conditions in ancient times, we can partly refer to that of the indigenous tribes in the amazon forest or in Africa. When scientists ask the indigenous people about their ages, many time they got the answer that they don’t really know. They don’t understand the meaning of remembering their ages, and naturally nor do they have the habit to celebrate birthdays.
When I read about these, I kept thinking for a long time. And I suddenly realised many anxieties are caused by knowing one’s own age. There is a scale in people’s mind. Ever since we are educated we have the rough idea that we will live up to around 70 or 80 years’ old. And since we know our own ages, in our subconscious we naturally get the feeling of years left and its percentage. Therefore when we are making decisions, many important things are procrastinated because we think we have a lot of time left and it’s not urgent; while some of the decisions are made in such a rush because it’s at the ‘right age’, so they can’t wait. Problems are not limited to these. Many social activities (eg. company recruitment, school enrolment, examinations, competitions, etc.) have age limits instead of looking at the person’s actual condition. In couple relationships, no matter the man is much older than the woman or the woman is much older than the man, either way they will be unnecessarily criticised somehow. Age is worsen the the human social rules in terms of anti-nature. Somehow I envy those indigenous who live without knowing their own ages. That is truly carpe diem.
Coming back to the volunteering journal. While doing the trash investigation in town today, I’ve been thinking that these trash is endless if only relying on picking up every day. While we pick up trash in town, sometimes people from the cars call us to come close and give us their empty bottles. Maybe they think they are doing us a favour to collect recyclable trash. But in fact our station is not a trash recycling centre. We do this only because there are people throwing trash everywhere. It’s even worse if we pick up trash by the national roads. The truck drivers never bother to step on the breaks. They saw us from afar and throw the bottles to us from the open window when they drive near. Sometimes the bottles may almost hit one of us. I start to worry at this point that our actions may have an opposite effect. They may think that there are people picking up anyway so it’s ok to throw the trash out. Environmental awareness relies on policies, education and propagandas. It will never get better if not controlled from the sources. Like the trash on the beach – more trash is washed to shore as soon as the beach is just cleaned up. And there are over 8 million tons of waste plastics pouring into the oceans every year.
PS. Mo Jiecao became a mom last night. We ate fried eggs this morning to celebrate this happy event. For the few of us came back from the Bende Lake and were soaked in sorrow of the baby bar-headed goose’s death for the past few days, the little kitten is a great comfort to all of us.