Yangtze River Headwaters Volunteering Day 30 长江源志愿工作第30天

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!
这是我参与长江源志愿工作的一系列记录。我争取每日更新,但在野外工作没有网络的那些日子会有延迟。在时间允许的情况下,也会尽量使用中英双语。喜欢的话,关注我的Ins账号(@anar.chica.yichenguo)获取更新吧!

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 human social rules that are already 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. 



听说下两期的驻站志愿者除了我爹外全是女性,其中不乏“英年早婚”的姑娘们。不管她们有没有孩子,相对于整个中国社会的平均观念来说,她们也算是离经叛道了。“什么年龄干什么年龄的事。”这句话我从长辈的口中不知道听了多少遍。但私认为人类的历史就是试错的历史。在发展的历程中,许多不合理的观念也会逐渐被淘汰。比如现代社会对于年龄已经明显没有从前那么看重了。而在更久以前的状况,我们可以参照亚马逊雨林或非洲的原始部落。当科考队员问及原住民的年龄时,常常会得到“不太清楚”的回复。他们无法理解记住自己的年龄有什么意义,也更没有过生日的习俗。

看到这些资料时我沉思了好久,猛然觉得很多的焦虑都是因为知道自己的年龄才产生的。人心中自有一把尺,我们从受了教育起便有自己的寿命大约在七八十年左右这样的认知,而清楚了自己的年龄,在潜意识中便自然而然会有剩余生命年数和百分比的概念。于是在做决定的时候,有些重要的事情被拖延,是因为觉得生命很长,不着急;而有些决定太草率,又是觉得“年龄到了”,生命等不了,太着急。问题不仅限于此。许多的社会活动(公司招聘、学校招生、考试、竞赛等)都有年龄限制,而不去管一个人真实的状态。一对男女在一起,不管是男的比女的大很多,还是女的比男的大很多,都会遭到完全不必要的非议。年龄,为已然过于反自然的人类社会规则雪上加霜。有点羡慕原住民不知年龄的生活,那才是真正的活在当下。

回到义工日志,今天在唐镇拉调的时候一边统计着地上的塑料瓶、易拉罐,一边就在想这些垃圾完全靠捡真的永无止境。在唐镇捡,有车上的人会招呼我们过去,然后把空瓶子给我们。可能他们觉得这是帮我们的忙,收集可回收垃圾。但事实上我们不是垃圾处理站,就是因为乱扔的人太多我们才需要去清理。在国道边则更甚,大车司机是懒得踩刹车的,远远看到我们在捡,开到附近就打开车窗直接扔给我们,有时甚至差点会砸到人。这时我会担心,我们这样的行为反而会让他们觉得:反正有人捡,那就放心扔呗。环保理念靠政策靠教育靠宣传,不从源头抓起,就永远无法真正的改善。就像沙滩上的垃圾,捡完了又马上有新的垃圾被海浪打上岸,而每年还有超过800万吨废塑料流入海洋。

另,漠节操昨晚升级当妈了,大家早上吃煎蛋庆祝这件大喜事。对于我们几个班德湖下来、前几日伤心于小斑头雁之死的志愿者们来说,小猫咪无疑是具有强大的治愈力的。

Mo Jiecao breastfeeding
哺乳中的漠节操

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