This is the story of a bottle. A simple bottle.
A bottle in the sea.
She could be the messenger of an ancient shipwreck delivering a secret.
But the truth is… she is just as ordinary as any other plastic waste. We could even say she is of insignificant value. Like most things we consume it ends up being thrown away. Going from one waste to another. She was promised a long life, about a thousand years (life expectancy of plastic) until one day, she was caught by the power of the ocean. Tossed by waves and finally ended up in a strange place. Where she joined others like her and similar stories. She is now deteriorating in the ocean, gradually contaminating the waters and ecosystems. Whilst she is vanishing under the waves, the bottle remembers…
She suddenly remembers the beautiful house where she was taken too, going from person to person. During this precious time, she felt such a brief but intense moment of happiness. She was so proud to incarnate the work of men and to be ready for consumption. After all, that’s what she was made for. The bottle was born in a company taking part in the historical technical development. During the early stages, she was devoted to ensuring the comfort and well-being of its future users. And of course, let’s not forget she was nurturing the great economic adventure of our time.
Although she was no expert, she often heard people talk about crisis, global warming, threats to the environment. It being dangerous for our life and health. But all this seemed so abstract and distant. The bottle was indeed such a magnificent witness of energy management, especially fossil energy. She helped contribute to a number of agricultural businesses, as she even had the privilege to contain and protect food. She would admit that her contributions were modest. But the bottle also remembers she belonged to this consumerism society, and to the thoughtful governments of this period… A friend even told her the story of this young man who had motor difficulties. Within a team of good friends, he managed to overcome his disability thanks to a 3D a pair of personal pliers to help uncap bottles like her. Truly magic!
“Bottle”, what a name! Now, the bottle asks itself how does bottle translate in so many different languages? Is she really a she or maybe a he? Or an « it » perhaps? For the first time she thinks at that very moment that some languages may not have such a word to express what she is, what a puzzling feeling. But she realizes that the word “bottle” gives her meaning and gave her purpose and an identity. Would she have a dedicated place in a lexicon of our time? Of course! She thinks by inflating her chest. Isn’t she in all her universality an incomparable reference, a clear sign of progress?
Whilst on the topic of progress, she believes that she has just seen a drone flying over her. How strange. A drone, here? An illusion, no doubt. The bottle admits she was hallucinating and goes back to her thoughts.
If she had been able to write books, she would have tirelessly described the foreign worlds she crossed on land and sea, across rivers, mountains, forests, and cities. More than one would be surprised, because the bottle has gone through so many borders, so many countries… She found everywhere blatant inequality levels of wealth and poverty. She also noted the globalization of trade and cultures. And plastic waste is no different, it’s a worldwide movement. Who knows, maybe she could even help analyze our worldviews, plastic bottles have created jobs around the world, reflecting global talent!
A long time ago, when being designed by an engineer and her shape being thought of, the bottle would have almost sworn to conquer the world. The future was going to belong to her. No risk in sight. A disaster seemed so distant and so unlikely… But now she knows she’s fragile, on the verge of disintegrating in this aquatic environment, which is not really willing to congratulate her for life actions. So, the bottle begins to doubt. Would she have lived differently if she had known that earlier?
She thinks of this fragile planet, and feels the growing endangerment of all species, including humankind. As each of her molecules fall apart, she understands that she is the culmination of a long history, of an evolution and its questioning. She is certainly just a bottle in the sea, however, in what may be her last breath, she wonders what is still to be accomplished, a victory. In fact, she fulfilled her duties! Who can judge the measure of this strange situation?
The bottle feels desperately alone. She would like to communicate to the world how she feels. She would like to be part of a “we”. Wanting to be part of most contemporary problems and to their resolution. But isn’t it a bit complex for a dying bottle at the bottom of the ocean? Surely future generations will never hear about her…
She would give so much to change that, to help understand that we have to give up certain things we may have been bound to do, that we have to rethink our educational methods regarding objects, beings, and the world itself. But looking around, she guesses that all of this is only a utopia. Utopia of a – plastic – bottle in the sea, which can no longer arouse any responsibility, any intelligence.
The die is cast, decisions have been made… But then the bottle thinks what she would do if it was to do it again… But she immediately stops because she knows that we cannot go back. But if she could, we would certainly have to anticipate all this, in the hope of a better outcome …
Suddenly, the bottle stops… Against all probability, a hand grabs her… She cannot believe it, yet there’s no doubt. She feels the warmth which had made her love this world. It goes so fast, life flashing before her eyes: the engineer’s drawings, the shelf of the store where she was bought, the wonderful house party, then the long chain of waste that led her to meet the ocean! And soon she hears a voice she had not heard for so long: “Look where this one comes from?” “Unbelievable! A perfect example, take it…”