WHAT THE HELL WE DOING… AND WHAT YOU DOING ABOUT IT?
VICTIMS OF PROGRESS
I’m going to go right out and say it. Our moral compass points far from north in our constant drive for technological advancement and daily convenience.
We are caught up in what seems to be a deep-seated and near thoughtless desire to create things that bring us closer to… well, bring us closer to… nothing. Doing nothing but exercising our opposable thumbs. Being nothing but questionable images on our social media pages. Experiencing nothing but through the filter of our phones. This drive to ‘advance’ ourselves (and I use that word lightly) seems to have moved away from a need to better ourselves to a need to simply present ourselves as better, and in reality to make our lives as easy-as-possible.
We should be patting ourselves on the back for the speed with which we are able to advance production of materials to perform better, to be more durable, to last longer – and it seems to cost us less every year. Or does it? I’d argue the opposite. It’s costing us a helluva lot. This drive to improve production is biting us in the ass. Progress is not the essence of our existence. It is the very essence of our destruction.
I’m talking about PLASTIC.
Statistics have shown that in our lifetime there is going to be more plastic in our oceans than fish, and 500 times more micro plastics than stars in our galaxy.
Industry should take responsibility for their contribution, during manufacture, to plastic waste. At the time of writing this blog less than 9% of plastic is being recycled by industry. Why should the end user be responsible for the production decisions of major corporations? The answer is simple: we shouldn’t. But we are.
Now, this blog is not supposed to be about throwing around figures and focusing on the negative (yeah, sorry about that), it’s about figuring out ways to fix the problem. As my dad always used to tell me, ‘bring me solutions, not problems.’ It’s about shining a light on the small things we can do EVERY DAMN DAY to lengthen our stay on this planet. Stop thinking that you can’t make a difference, because you can. You can. I can. We all can. Any difference is still a difference.
So let’s be pragmatic. Those small changes? They’re doable. Maybe not all of them every day. But they’re definitely doable.
⦁ Take away coffee cups… Everyone should have a keep cup, it’s that simple. Most coffee shops sell them at the counter and you can probably even get a discount on your coffee.
⦁ Straws… Simple say “no thank you” when offered a plastic straw. I think those reusable ones are pretty shit, and thankfully most businesses are moving to paper straws. But if there’s no option, I’ll drink straight from the cup. I’m crazy like that.
⦁ Take-away… If you are dead-set on grabbing a take-away, at the very least say no to the plastic cutlery and the carry packet. Most of the time we’re taking our food home or to the office where we already have serviettes, knives and forks.
⦁ Bottled water… Yes, I know you’ve heard it all before, but hear me out. We need to stop with the excuses. If we have to buy a disposable water bottle (whether plastic or glass), reuse it: take it home, fill it up and stick it in the fridge. If you’ve had no other option, ensure its placed in the correct recycle bin. Opt for table water where you can, ITS FREE.
⦁ Shopping bags… This by now is a no brainer. TAKE YOUR OWN REUSABLE BAG.
⦁ Grocery shopping… Besides bringing your own shopping bags, there are a few other hacks here. Stop placing your fruit and vegetables into those thin plastic packets. Bring a separate reusable bag for fruit and veg only. Try also to buy unpackaged fruit and veg as far as possible. I know it’s not always possible, but again, it’s just a lot of these little things that will make a difference.
⦁ Bread… Instead of buying packaged bread from the supermarket, buy from your local baker and ask them not to package the bread. One extra stop is not too much of a pain. The bread is better quality, and most of the time it won’t involve an extra car trip as the bakery is often only a shop or two away from the store.
⦁ Food storage… This is one not a lot of people think about. Don’t wrap your food in cling wrap, or put them in disposable zip lock bags. Store them in reusable containers – you know those take away containers you were about to add to the landfill? Wash them. Keep them. The key here is also to look after your reusable container; this ensures its use for years to come.
⦁ Kids toys… This is a great chance to get your kids involved and teaching them to become responsible and thoughtful global citizens. Just before or after birthdays or Christmas, encourage them to do a big cleanout. If they’re old enough, leave a black bag or box in their room and tell them that they have the morning or afternoon to fill it. Explain to them that these toys will be donated to those less fortunate, or tell them that they can join you in selling them at the markets. Better yet, buy as few brand-new toys as possible. Share with mates, buy second-hand, or buy wood if you can afford it.
⦁ Trash trooper… If you find yourself with some free time, grab the kids and take a walk on your local beach or at your local park and pick up some trash. Better yet, join a community group that already on this path of change and help out.
So I encourage you to take matters into your own hands, spread the word and let’s start changing our destructive habits, If we all do our bit when we can, as much as we can I promise you WILL make a difference.
There are lots of articles out there that deal with this growing issue. Some of the statistics are alarming. Something needs to be done. Start in your home and set small goals.
GOOD LUCK AND SPREAD THE WORD.