How can one not compare a Sunday on a beach in Marbella to an army of ants, busy hoisting sunshades and make-shift pergolas to literally house the whole family, including cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, to feast, together, at the seashore.
For the owners of the restaurants and the beach bars this is not good for business as the happy campers block the stunning views. For many tourists it’s also overwhelming to see the beach disappear as towel after towel, parasol after parasol sets up camp and settles in for the day.
The truth of the matter, when one gets involved, is quite wonderful: the Spanish have taken picnicking to the next level and it’s fun! For the past two Sundays we’ve joined them and also set up our own ‘chiringuito,’ perhaps not as sophisticated as some, but certainly sufficient to hang out all day, mix mojitos whilst any children can play safely in the shade and even take naps; also ideal for us adults.
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Between swims and siestas we chatted. Initially the obvious comes to mind: the ocean, the weather, the summer, how lucky we are to be here and then more serious issues arose. Just the mass of bodies in our faces made us reflect that although we might feel like insignificant insects amongst the mass of bodies, that none of us are insignificant.
All our actions count and we, like insects, have an enormous impact on our environment and are more similar than we’d care to think.
Consciously or not we have all chosen to follow the behaviour of an insect. We are either a honey bee which is productive, an excellent team player, conscientious in its endeavours and which only stings to protect itself or a locust whose only missive is to satisfy its own needs with no consideration for anything else in its path.
The choice is ours, but awareness is key otherwise we might never realise this simple observation and know what kind of bug we really are and therefore not take the necessary course of action.
Perhaps if issues became more personal we’d take more notice. How many of us know that plastic bottles carry numbers to identify how much cancer generic toxins they contain? How many seriously consider that their drinking water is laden with micro plastics as a result? For that matter, how many of us know that governments debate how much plastic be permitted in animal feed so as not to ‘harm’ us. We either do little to find out or little to help clear up the mess or make a change.
Cigarettes butts came up in every other handful of sand and as they are also made of plastic can take up to 10 years to decompose, apart from also containing arsenic, lead and cadmium which are easily absorbed by all living organisms and ecosystems.
So, to bee or not to be, that is the ultimate question…