ZELLA COMPTON: Space, the final frontier... for corporate litterbugs

Lost in space the Tesla car before blast off. Picture: SpaceX/Elon Musk
Lost in space the Tesla car before blast off. Picture: SpaceX/Elon Musk
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While we’re still discovering how much we’ve polluted the oceans because we let our governments allow big business to ride roughshod over the voices of scientists about the effects plastic would have on the environment, how is it right that we’re celebrating a massive littering?

This week data that was collected from remote oceans during the Volvo around the world sailing race was released.

There are bits of micro-plastic everywhere. It’s scary what humans have done to our planet, and continue to do, yet here we are cheering like idiots, celebrating the most quirky part of human nature, the ‘because we can’ gene.

Yep, that’s the part of us which enjoys the ridiculous and spectacular, this time, littering space.

I’m writing of Elon Musk, the multi-squillionaire who fired a rocket up there and then launched a car from it, complete with astronaut mannequin to float around forever – or however long it lasts in one piece before spreading micro-particles of Tesla across the Milky Way.

Hooray we all cheer, what great pictures, as the car drifts onwards and outwards, a singular example of human detritus.

And it’s not as if there are one or two rockets heading moonwards every year. There are satellites galore being fired off for as little as £150,000, thousands of them.

Seemingly they’re all going up there to help us with our broadband connections, and getting internet and knowledge to the world.

This is all well and good if internet content remains free to one and all, but if those tariffs go up, or the price barriers come down as big business seeks to control more content access, I’m not sure how that stated philanthropical claim will work out.

And what makes me sigh – a lot – is that Coca-Cola is apparently interested in space too.

Great, one of the most polluting companies on the planet in terms of its plastic bottles is looking to infinity and beyond.

In the background to all this, there is talk about privatising the international space station. If any one of us ever thought about a wonderful life across the galaxy for our descendants, you can kiss it goodbye right now.

There will be no sharing of potential wealth for our species, space will be cut and carved by big business.

It’s still free to look at the stars, but to reach for them? That’ll be ticketed before you know it, and what’s more, you’ll have to pick your way through the litter to get there.


It’s ironic to hear that Unilever, those who make Marmite, are threatening to stop advertising online in places which promote hate, fail to protect children or create division in society. For it’s the company that’s prided itself on the divisive nature of its product for decades.

Marmite is the original love/hate product. The division is what makes it so appealing. I love the stuff, but only with the exact ratio of butter to spread, a fine art in itself.

It’s people who don’t know that ratio who hate it, I’m sure. They’re been led astray, never to return to the fold.

That said, I applaud Unilever’s thrust to move away from social media advertising if social media cannot police itself and allows hate, bile, and divisive content to be disseminated.


Remember the gentle tales of Peter Rabbit, from Beatrix Potter?

They’ve been reimagined as a film for faster-paced times and have already caused controversy with various aspects of Peter’s character being labelled as far too crass and smart-allecky and simply a way to show off James Corden who plays Peter’s voice.

The latest threat to the film’s Easter dominance is a backlash about allergies, the rabbit’s murder weapon of choice.

I haven’t seen the film but it does make me wonder what Beatrix Potter would think about her characters being used in this way?

It’s a long way from stealing a few carrots and murder’s not a crime that I can imagine any of her characters contemplating, let alone attempting.