Woohoo, it is that time of your again – Plastic Free July. Oh wait, you probably have never celebrated this occasion have you? Well do not feel too much like you have failed your inner eco warrior, because this is the first time I have seen Plastic Free July too.
When I first saw a facebook poster for Plastic Free July I knew that this was my kind of challenge. How hard could it be right? Saying no to plastic for one month – or at least avoiding it where possible.
Growing up with an enviro-guru father, recycling and reusing has always been second nature to me. I adamantly take eco bags to the markets and grocery stores every time I go. If i do not have one on me I will even carry everything with bare hands if I have to. I will go to every stop to avoid carrying and ugly white or grey plastic bag.
But looking trendy most certainly is not my point. This is a real issue and an issue that should have been in a better state by now. We still have big chain businesses giving out millions of plastic bags every damn year. Coffee cups are wasted by the shipload daily, and plastic straws make up more than the grains of sand and my local beach. Yet most of the masses are still oblivious to the ever increasing concentration of non-degradable plastics to our prescious ocean and environment.
Now, of course we can talk about the endangered sea turtles mistaking plastic bags for jellyfish, or invision those educational posters from school with a 6-pack plastic ring caught around a seagull’s neck. But this environmental issue has far exceeded the detriment to our wildlife.
Like the broken down lungs of an 80-year-old smoker, our oceanic lungs of the Earth are suffocating. Plastic micro-particles that have taken decades to break down, do not break down completely. Instead they float around the ocean in high concentration and are easily taken in by the sea’s living organisms. Now think about this flow on affect. Sea life reproduction levels fall, sea plants will fail to flourish, and then both of these factors will affect the food chain. Furthermore, communities who depend solely on fishing to feed their family will ingest the toxic fish, which then passes on health ramifications to humans too. This is just a skerrick of problems in the large dying fish pool of what it really is.
Www.vice.com recently executed a confronting and brilliant short documentary on exactly these real-life issues called ‘Garbage Island‘. Two brave journalists took a voyage out to a distant part of the sea where all these micro-particles have accumulated. Here is the link if you wish to watch it ‘Garbage Island’. This doco shows the harsh reality of what seems like a sick joke, if we do not change the materials we use right now. Not next week, not next month, not in a few year’s time – we need to change this RIGHT NOW!
So, what can you do about it right now? We might still have big franchises that continue to mass produce non-degradable plastics, but we can certainly start to boycott the products. By buying products, we take a vote with our money; you buy the plastic and you vote those products back in. But if you do not vote at all, the product sales start to dwindle. That is the most powerful message you can send a company to influence their products.
Let’s do this
Start packing your car and kitchen with eco bags.
Ask your local barista to fill your EcoCup instead of using another disposable coffee cup.
Go out and buy yourself some glass or stainless steel straws.
And start telling everyone else about it – right now!
It is pretty easy stuff really, and you can even save money in the long run. Watch this space everyday throughout July as I share 31 environmental ways to save the planet and save some money for this great initiative, Plastic Free July. Share your tips in the comments below or on facebook and instagram and I will re-share them on the website and social media too.
And make sure you sign up at www.plasticfreejuly.org
Take the challenge – right now!