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NLP peace mapping the right to a chemical free environment.

 

Do I have the right to pollute your environment?

 

 

(By Abby Eagle) In this article I want to explore the notion that we have a right to an unpolluted environment and I am going to do that by using contrastive examples. Let's start with cigarettes. Most people would agree that an adult has the right to smoke a cigarette in their own home? But what if there should be children in that home - a baby? Do they have the right to avoid side the stream cigarette smoke?

And what if a neighbours cigarette smoke should drift in to your home? Do you have the right to fresh clean air?

What if the neighbours should make a lot of noise? Do you have a right to peace and quiet? What could you do to assert that right?

What if you saw the neighbours do something that you found offensive. What could or would you do?

[Now please go back and read the introduction once again keeping in mind values. Values determine every decision that we make so whether or not someone smokes around a child will be determined by their value system. Whether the smoker is concerned about the effect of the smoke on the health of others will be also be influenced by the meta program of Self/Other. In the above example I used examples that matched visual, auditory and olfactory representational systems. Also the size of the example was quite small.]

 

Is it just a question of values or is it more than that?

Let's say that you live next to a lake (like I do) and that you like to eat the fish from that lake? But what if your neighbour likes to spray toxic herbicides and pesticides on their garden - which pollute the lake and contaminate the marine life? Does the marine life have a right to a chemical free environment? Do you have the right to chemical free fish and does the neighbour have the right to spray chemicals on his garden? [Notice the reference to values and the meta program of Self/Other, including the rights of the fish.]

Now let's consider a rural environment where a farmer sprays massive quantities of chemicals onto his land. What happens if the chemicals pollute the ground water? What if the chemicals should drift in the wind onto a neighbours farm and contaminate his organic chemical free crops? What if the chemicals should drift over urban areas hundreds of miles away and pollute the air that you breath? What could be the consequence of that? [With reference to chemicals you will find beliefs about their toxicity.]

On the question of rights - does one farmer have the right to contaminate the environment with chemicals, and does another farmer have the right to a chemical free environment? Is it possible that these rights can coexist? Or does one right naturally supplant the other? In terms of history which came first 'chemicals' or 'organic'? [Map out the discussion against time]

Do we have the right to take legal action against the one doing the polluting? For example, if toxic chemicals should drift onto organic crops then could the polluting farmer be held liable in a court of law? If so, then could they also be held liable for contaminating the groundwater? [The method of contamination needs to be defined specifically before it can be acknowledged.]

If a farmer can be held liable for contaminating the environment with chemicals and genetically modified organisms then could a nuclear power plant operator be held liable for polluting the air, ground water, oceans, food supply - and each and every person on this planet? How do we hold the owners of the power plant accountable for their crimes against the environment? [Here I reframed pollution as a crime.]

We started the topic of discussion with the suburban example of cigarette smoke impinging upon a neighbours home. Then we mapped it out to a global situation of radioactive contamination of the environment.

 

If you could take action what would that look like, sound like and feel like?

Back in the 1970's - 1980's I had to suffer cigarette smoke five days a week at the University of Western Australia (UWA). The best the smokers could do at tea breaks to comply with my request to not smoke was to open a window. At some point I began a campaign to have smoking banned from tea rooms at UWA but with little success.

It was only some decades later when employers faced possible litigation from employees and customers for side stream smoke inhalation did employers and management in Australian shopping malls finally take action and ban smoking in public areas.

In terms of our suburban example, could a neighbour be prosecuted for their side-stream cigarette smoke entering your home? I doubt it. Yet an employee could take an employer to court in the same type of scenario. Could an adult child sue their parents for health problems that resulted from smoke inhalation? I think this may have happened.

Could I take my neighbours to court for polluting the lake from which I source the fish for my dining table? Could I sue the Council for spraying herbicides on the street verge in front of my home? Could I sue the hardware store that sold the herbicide? At what point along the supply chain could I get enough leverage to stop the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides being used in my neighbourhood? If you remember the story of smoking being banned in public places - that only came about once it had been established to a significant degree that smoking was hazardous to health - and then only when some very sick individuals were able to establish that in court. Then the fear of litigation motivated others to ban smoking. [Away-from negative motivation]

I think there may be certain regulations that determine how industry can use chemicals but none concerning domestic use. Anyone is free to buy Roundup from their local hardware store and use it in whatever way they wish. However, those people who spray herbicides on grassed public areas and road verges, do they consider the people who might sit or walk barefoot on that area? [Meta programs Self/Other. Beliefs around toxicity. Values on what is important to them.]

So far we have looked at cigarette smoke and chemical pollution but what about pharmaceutical drugs such as antibiotics, cholesterol lowering drugs and chemotherapy cocktails? These drugs are designed to resist the action of the body to denature them, hence they pass through the body in their original form into the sewage system and then into the groundwater. Levels of pharmaceuticals are now detectable in the environment as a contamination. Does anyone have any idea of the effect these drugs may have on living organisms in the soil and water? And on how this could work its way up the food chain?

So do people have the right to take pharmaceuticals and dump that waste into the sewage system? (When I worked at UWA as a Laboratory Technician, staff and students dumped all sorts of toxic chemicals down the drain.) But what about the rights of others to clean air and water? Does a nuclear power plant operator have the right to dump radioactive waste into the environment? And whose environment is it? It is mine and it is yours. It is a shared environment. It is not the same as the right you have to do what you like in the privacy of your own home. The environment is everywhere and it 'belongs' to each and every living and non living organism on the planet. [Meta programs Self/Other. Second position shift.]

 

How do we wake people up to environmental rights issues?

To summarise this discussion, does the smoker have the right to pollute their neighbours property? Does the farmer have the right to pollute the environment with dangerous chemicals? Do people have the right to consume toxic pharmaceutical drugs and then pass those drugs into the public sewage system?

And do environmentally conscious people have the right to take action against those people who pollute the environment, whether that pollution beĀ from cigarette smoke, pesticides, herbicides, chemicals or pharmaceutical drugs? And what could that action look like, sound like and feel like? __ © Author Abby Eagle

 

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