Opinion

COLUMN: More to the ‘moon’ than meets the eye

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At some 7,000 feet higher than where I’m sitting writing this, with a horizon over the Fraser plateau almost infinite, I watched in wonder as a truly “super moon” rose in the east.

I was sitting with my dog on the upper edge of a wildflower-filled meadow on the shoulder of Poison Mountain in the Camelsfoot Range of the southern Chilcotin. I’d left my camp, pitched by a tiny stream a few hundred metres away, to check on my pack and saddle horses free-ranging in the meadow when the moon began its assent.

I’m sure I was aware it was to be a full moon, but I certainly didn’t expect its appearance to be so spectacular.

At that elevation, with no discernable pollution for many dozens of miles, the clarity and perceived size of that moon left an impression that remains indelible today.

Two other full moons are memorable – the first when I was about 14, rising above the blue hills east of Keremeos, the scent of sage strong in the evening air. The second was a dozen years ago;  hanging over the Fraser River as I crossed the Mission Bridge. That orb seemed to fill the entire valley, and inspired me to swing back under the bridge to take in its full glory from the river dike.

What brought all those thoughts to mind was the remarkable clarity of Saturday night’s full moon. With friends and family over for dinner, we later watched the moon rise through the firs to the east, and then dominate the skyline. The only sound as earth’s sparkling satellite rose above us was the occasional “wow.”

Which brings me to another wow that relates to really tiny “moons” – those of babies. Reading about a Chilliwack family who is raising their infant diaper-free, I was struck by the amount of diapers consumed by parents not so inclined to exist in an ever-vigilant state.

According to current estimates, infants around the world wearing diapers create some 275,000 to 320,000 tonnes of urine annually. The volume of “number two” was not delineated!

However, despite their contents, parents will, during the first two years of a child’s life, change between 5,000 and 7,000 diapers and according to Environment Canada, more than four million dirty diapers will find their way annually into our nation’s landfills, or if Metro Vancouver has its way, a whole lot of them burned to create energy.

Filling diapers is obviously child’s work, but creating them is anything but. Apparently it takes 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum products and 20 pounds of chlorine to produce one year’s supply of disposable diapers for one baby!

Multiply that by thousands of babies on the Lower Mainland, and no wonder Metro sees a ready source of combustibles for its hoped-for incinerator.

If you are aghast at the pollution potential of disposables, cloth diapers are also an environmental dilemma, due to the significant energy consumed in machine-washing and drying, along with contributing to water and air contamination.

Still and all, had I ever to do it again, diapers would cover baby moons, and only celestial moons to remain naked.

markrushton@abbynews.com

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