Shoes and Cigarettes, 2018
We all are jeopardising the future of our planet. Some more than others. It’s a tragic situation and tragedies don’t have happy endings. They are supposed to convey a moral message though. Will there be a public to receive this message once the piece will be over? For we might not survive until then, unless we realise that we are not merely an audience; we are on that stage and the way we play our role will make the difference. The ultimate tragedy is the one where, at the end, the public die as well. I admit I am not the most righteous person, but yet I care. I am genuinely worried for my family, my friends and my peers, in flesh and in spirit, those I’ve met and those I won’t be able to meet. Some years ago I bought a pocket ashtray. I used to carry it everywhere. I was so proud of myself! One day it got broken, my pocket was full of stinky cigarette butts and ash. These days, I occasionally throw my cigarette on the ground. It happens rarely but it happens. I always try to find a trash bin or an ashtray but when there are none I get tired of holding the dead thing in my hand. Or when I run to catch the bus, for as usual I am late, and I throw the still-burning cigarette into the gutter, hoping that the city cleaning service will get there before the the rain flush my wasted smoke in the sewing system. Sometimes I fantasise around the idea of a plastic-free life and I think about shoes. Which are the most environment-friendly shoes? I guess the sole is the most problematic part. For an everyday regular usage, wood and leather are not the most suitable materials in terms of flexibility, comfort, grip, waterproofing or low resistance to wear and tear. Nowadays, most shoes have a rubber sole. Natural rubber soles are mostly made with the latex extracted by underpaid workers from the rubber tree Hevea Brasiliensis. Moreover, rubber plantations have an adverse environmental impact. Synthetic rubber soles, on the other hand, use a large amount of resources in the production and possibly in the recycling, not to mention the issue of litter pollution. Have you noticed that the possibility to recycle the sole is never mentioned on the shoebox? Last winter I bought a pair of warm, expensive, wool-lined leather boots. Animals were killed to produce them. I hope they will last for many years. I hope it was worth it.