Culture | Environmentalism

Bottle Cap Time Machine

I casually cracked open a bottle of water and placed the cap on the table. Sitting there, it seemed insignificant and commonplace. But hidden inside that cap is a time machine, bringing my brief encounter with it to the future, likely long after I’m gone myself. That bottle cap may survive the entire bloodline of my family, and by its very make-up an artifact representing an instant in my own brief moment in this world.

Walk into any museum or visit an archeological dig and you’ll find artifacts to past lives. These were the bottle caps of their time, pottery, utensils, arrowheads and other trivial bits from which we derive the larger life of the person who left that artifact behind. That bottle cap represented but a moment of hydration in an otherwise ordinary day of business travel. I wonder what might be derived from it in the future, when millions of such plastic caps live on as time machines for countless other lives?

The only thing certain is that they will point back at a time when the trivial bottle cap immediately became an afterthought, cast aside to begin its life cycle beyond our own. A life of hundreds of years, all to serve a few weeks of containing whatever fluid we happened to consume. The entire transaction is so commonplace in the average life of one soul on this planet, and yet has such a lasting impact on the environment.

I wonder, what will it say about us?

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