Do you know why your sweetheart calls you honey? Perhaps, because she or he hopes against hope that you will last as long as honey. Honey (read bees’ vomit) has been known to last for thousands of years; actually, five thousand, five hundred years (5,500) as seen in the grave of a woman of considerable means in Georgia. But more notable is the honey that has been extracted from the pyramids which is believed to be more than three thousand years, yet still sweet and edible.
What makes this ancient sweet treat age defying? Apparently a myriad of reasons; one is that it does not have moisture which means any organism that gets into its sticky self will be suffocated to death quickly. Besides that, because of its high acidic nature, nothing can grow in it so if tightly keep sealed with no foreign body in it, honey is ageless. Three, it is highly acidic so no organism can dare to survive in it. But its ultimate defense and well - kept secret is a chemical known as hydrogen peroxide that is mixed in it while in the stomach of the bees. This does not allow anything to change or to grow in the honey.
Whereas, the story of honey ends very sweetly, sadly this is not true of the time effects of some materials such as glass, metal, polystyrene foam and the renown plastic that we think are a must have! Although it is true that some of the material can be recycled - glass is an excellent sample- most of the rest cannot be used again effectively.
As long as the organisms in the soil cannot break it down, that substance will remain intact forever! Imagine that glass or plastic bottle that you threw out twenty years ago is still alive and well; testifying to your generous contribution to the rapid aging of our mother earth! We don’t even have a clue about how the modern plastic will eventually end up because their existence will outlast us!
In view of the above, a very profound quotation from the Kikuyu people in Kenya comes to mind, “You must treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It is loaned to you by your children. So what interest are we giving back to our much-loved children, vast areas of unfertile land with our legacies of un bio gradable glass, plastics and metals?
Lois Nakibuuka is an educator and counsellor