It may not be easy, but I believe we must all join together and step out of our plastic comfort zone. It’s time to reduce our consumption of plastic in all its forms, today!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll be well aware of planet Earth’s plastic crisis.
David Attenborough’s beautiful documentary series ‘Blue Planet II’ highlighted the damage we humans have created in the oceans today.
If we don’t start taking more responsibility for our plastic trash, soon our seas will contain more plastic than fish. A pretty scary thought.
We managed to reduce cigarette consumption, advertising and promotion…
When I was a little girl, I remember seeing cigarette adverts on television and in magazines, and on posters at bus stops.
Characters smoking in movies and TV shows was commonplace – as was smoking in offices, restaurants and aeroplanes.
And then throughout the 1980s, prompted by medical and scientific research, ‘we’ (the public consumer) began to realise that smoking was bad for human health.
Slowly, images of blackened lungs and long lists of health complications filtered into our lives on a daily basis.
At school we learned the negative impact of smoking cigarettes and consequently made different choices to our parents’ generation.
The same thing has happened with sugar, alcohol and stress related illness.
We’re more aware of the risks and actively take steps to protect our physical and mental health.
So, if we can make such substantial shifts with cigarettes, sugar and stress, why is it taking us so long to change our plastic habits?
Is it because the results aren’t seen and felt within our own bodies?
We’re bombarded with photographic images of floating plastic islands and third world populations living in squalid conditions surrounded by dead lakes and rivers; water suffocated through plastic pollution.
And yet we still don’t make a change.
We were horrified by video footage of a turtle with a plastic straw stuck inside its nostril, and yet, beyond cutting out plastic straws and plastic shopping bags, still we continue along the same path that will result in irreversible environmental damage.
A grim future for humans and many species of animal life.
It’s as if we don’t really care enough.
We know you can’t quit smoking by having ‘a couple’ a day, nor reverse diabetes by indulging in sugary processed snacks every evening.
Equally, we cannot solve the plastic pollution epidemic by just dipping our toes in and out when it’s convenient for us.
It’s time we pulled on our big girl pants (or superhero cape) and stepped waaaaaaaay out of our comfort zones to really make a difference.
We have to stop and consider our choices every time we make a purchase.
Even if that means missing out on our favourite snack or spending more money on a more durable (or recyclable) option.
Or learning to be more patient while we source a better, non-plastic choice.
We’ve reached new levels of destruction…
On a short trip to mainland England last year, I witnessed the level of destruction we’re causing to our beautiful planet through our bad habits and incessant use of plastic.
On various train journeys across the country, I saw large sections of railway line littered with old plastic items. These weren’t simply bags and bottles that blew here on ‘dustbin day’ a week or two ago, these were items that have been laying there for years.
Their colours faded but their shape still very much intact.
As I watched plastic bags caught in trees, forlornly blowing in the wind, I felt a sense of sadness, as if they were waving for help that would never come.
This has to stop!
I’m calling time on plastic.
Now, it’s fair to say that the majority of people who read this article will already be somewhat aware of the plastic issues and will be actively making a difference.
I know I maybe preaching to the converted: you carry a reusable water bottle wherever you go, take food to work in your stainless steel lunchbox and you do your grocery shopping with cotton bags.
But, even as an advocate for intentional living, I realise that I’m not perfect and it’s time for ME to step up MY game.
I feel like you and I are missing many parts of this complex equation because we …
- Focus on just a tiny part of the plastic problem (i.e. straws, bags, coffee cups).
- Do too much of it alone instead of collaborating and connecting with others.
- Don’t commit 100%.
So, what can we do TODAY, this week, this month and this year to truly step up our game and be part of the change?
- Learn more. A lot more. While there are statistics available, it’s up to us to dig deeper, do the research and contact manufacturers. We must write to politicians, make connections and share knowledge. A world with less plastic and less plastic pollution is the only way forward.
- Stop and think before you buy. Do I really need this item? Is there a non-plastic alternative? Will this item be delivered wrapped in plastic? How will I dispose of this item when I no longer need it? Can it be repaired?
- Commit to a life with as little plastic as possible – particularly single use plastic but also larger items such as garden pots and storage containers. (Use swap groups and second hand sites to ensure we use the existing items in circulation rather than creating demand for new ones.)
I believe that life is a beautiful journey; that we receive the information and opportunities when we need them in order to progress to the next stage.
BUT…. at some point you have to stop playing small and step up your game.
That’s the point I’m at now.
I’ve had enough of sitting quietly and doing my thing. It’s time to make the ripples in the world that I’ve been talking about for so long.
You see, I’ve been here before.
I was an early advocate of plant-based eating but I played small through my own fears of being judged and lack of action taking. I only managed to engage a relatively small audience of around five thousand people and sold a few hundred copies of my plant-based e-books.
(They’re on sale HERE if you’d like to support me on my mission to make the world a better place for all of us and future generations.)
It wasn’t enough.
And my plastic action-taking isn’t enough either.
Are you truly doing enough? Could you do more?
Don’t leave it any longer. Today is the day we must all embrace the challenge and step out of our plastic comfort zone.