It is time to think about things. Or, more precisely, things.
Many of us are scouring the shops - virtually or in person - for things for Christmas. Presents, decorations, food. Lists to check off. So. Many. Things.
Each year the state government produces a list of dangerous or inappropriate things to steer clear of.
This year's batch includes a toy duck that lays choking hazard eggs, a penguin lighter that could burn the house down and magnet toys that can eat through abdominal organs.
The dangerous toy duck piqued my interest. Yes, there it is on YouTube, being reverently unboxed and set up.
The yellow duck waddles around producing music and flashing lights before its trap-door behind suddenly swings open to eject three small plastic eggs.
On Google Images I find the Penguin lighter. It looks like a bubble bath toy, highly appealing to three year olds.
Yes, these things are clearly dangerous to individual little humans.
But I'm waiting for the day when we zoom out and see that the giant piles of mass produced things, shipped around the world, enjoyed for a moment and then discarded, are truly understood to be "dangerous and inappropriate" for the planet.
The sheer scale of it these days, particularly in affluent countries like ours, is off the charts.
One problem is that it is all so ridiculously cheap because we do not factor in the cost to the environment of producing and disposing of it all. The other day I was looking at an old Woolworth's catalogue from the early 1980s.
There were pages of household furniture and appliances, mostly made in Australia, sturdy and expensive. Those things were made to last for decades, not one or two years. They were investments.
I still remember the one wooden spoon we had in our house throughout my entire childhood. Just the one, blackened with use. We had a small square laminated chopping board, the only chopping board in the house.
They were objects so familiar to me that they seemed to have their own personalities.
These days, such items come and go, unheralded, ridiculously cheap. You can buy packets of wooden spoons and pick up four bendy plastic chopping boards for a couple of dollars.
I'm part of this consumerist orgy, tied in by the expectations and rituals of family and friends. But it is possible to tone it down or find gifts that will not so quickly end up in landfill.
Safety first can be extended to the planet as well as our loved ones.
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