Monday, January 31, 2011

High? Our eco system?

A friend who visited Delhi after some years away reported the new, hip thing to do in Delhi clubs. Cocaine. Affluent men, women of the upper classes lazed around getting high, but it was the lax attitude about it that shocked her.

Cocaine is primarily a substance which stimulates the brain and is highly addicitve. I'll leave the pros and cons to the reader, but has anyone really thought about the supply chain and how it actually affects the eco system?

In fact, even the illegal cultivation of cocaine (AND ganja and other drugs) kills acres of rain forests in Costa Rica, protected national reserves world over, acres of the Amazon and supports violent, drug-cartel related crimes globally. In fact, Colombia being the 2nd largest producer of Coca saw its forest cover falling from 82% to 78% between 2002 to 2007 where as the drug crimes in Mexico just gets worse.

Danilo VillafaƱƩ, an Arhuaco indigenous leader in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta who is helping his people take back lands formerly controlled by guerrillas and cultivated by commercial coca growers.
Photos by Rhett A. Butler 2010.

The implications are frankly scary, specially in a day and age where we need out living greens to at least sustain the earth as we pollute it from one end. The question is, does a drug have to cost so much?

So the next time, someone narrates me a story about getting high in Hikka and how fun it was, I'll only be thinking how misinformed that person is. That maybe being a little less ignorant where your intoxicants come from would probably take you out of a cycle that cultivates deforestation, promotes poverty/dependency and violent crime the world over.


  1. Sadly even more legit forms of agriculture are taking their toll on our rainforests... for example tea cultivation near the Sinharaja, and Enasal cultivation in the Knuckles range destroying the natural forest undergrowth. :(

  2. Coke, Heroin, Meth, LSD can kill and disfigure you in many horrible ways.

    Oh just to add to the post, it's very hard to get pure Cocaine most of the cocaine out there is mixed with strychnine (if i remember correct) which is tres poisonous. :(

    Stick to the smoking stuff, weed :D jk'n everything is bad someway or the other.

  3. good post! well, it seems that the pot smoking hippies will be stuck in a bit of a dilemma now wont they? :P

    will hav to look for ways in growin it at home!

  4. Thought provoking post... I've heard of a couple of said hippes who grow their own plants and pretend it's bandakka!

  5. The ecological damage caused by monoculture is well known, and it's certainly a factor to consider when getting high. Then again, we drink tea, don't we? The damage to the world environment from tea and coffee cultivation far outweighs that from coca or cannabis cultivation.

    A far stronger reason for not indulging is, of course, the human carnage and misery that comes from the drugs trade. The casualty figures in Mexico's drug wars now rival those produced by the Sri Lankan civil war. In places like Colombia and Bolivia, the damage to civil society is endemic, and the death-tolls are also enormous. And then we have Afghanistan, where geopolitical and cultural conflict is sustained by the profits of the opium trade. There are plenty of other examples.

    Then again (again), we drink tea, don't we? A considerable amount of human deprivation and suffering goes into every cup of the stuff. Drive up to Nuwara Eliya via Hatton and notice the sudden plunge into desolate, grinding poverty in villages and towns as the road passes through the plantation districts. Recall that the indentured labour, much worse in many ways than slavery, that estate labourers suffered under the British was not relieved for many decades in Independent Ceylon (rather, one of our first legislative acts as an independent nation was to refuse 'Indian Tamil' plantation workers citizenship and rights) and even today, their situation is dire. Fancy a cuppa?