Britain has a serious and unnecessary drug habit, but the implications of our pill-forevery-ill culture go far beyond the adverse effects on human health. The complex chemicals in modern pharmaceuticals, as well as the manufacturing processes involved, leave a massive industrial footprint on the natural world that is largely ignored by both science and government.
Ever since the 1970s we have lived with the growing awareness that our ecosystem is fragile and the perpetual exploitation of our natural resources impossible. By the late 1980s, even The Sun newspaper had its own green correspondent. Everything we buy, use and throw away has an impact somewhere on the ecological continuum, and nowadays the most bullish Western consumers’ consciences are regularly punctured by shards of eco-worry. We also increasingly realise that working ever harder for more possessions, more options, more stuff, doesn’t tend to make us more content.