In a world full of competition, economic progression and growth, we are faced with many slogans and phrases. Advertising agencies spend months perfecting their catch lines in order to induce consumers into buying from them, something they probably do not need.
In a world full of slogans, we have become desensitized to the important ones; ‘We only have one Earth.’
Luxuries have become throw away ‘necessities’, and in an age where it is more important to have an Instagrammable photo, over sustaining our world, the human race has become a little bit selfish.
Whatever your beliefs are, we were put on this world, and that is incredible in itself. Life is a pretty big gift. So why are humans so ready to destroy the ground we walk on?
These thoughts have come out of a term at University, where I have seen people around me grow and become people who want to protect the world. This has been done in a variety of ways; starting societies, reducing plastic, or cutting it out altogether, raising awareness of poverty and inequality and becoming more aware of what you eat.
It is incredibly inspiring and motivating.
So, let’s talk plastic.
Look around, and it is everywhere, it is your bottle, your pen, part of your laptop, your décor, your utensils, your everyday used items.
I had a phone call with my Grandma recently, and mentioned that as a house we were trying to reduce our waste. She made me aware of a story she had read, where a ‘Plastic patch‘ had developed in the Pacific.
Food is wrapped in a lot of plastic, which can make cutting it out difficult. But even if you can’t find an item without plastic, or a substitute, be active. Email the company or shop and tell them your concerns and ask them to think about changing. Because even if they do not, you have tried.
So, let’s talk clothing.
I recently went to an event hosted by a group my friends have recently set up, where they showed a film called ‘The True Cost.‘ The film aimed to expose some of the truth regarding fast fashion in the West, and shed some light on the impacts suffered by the persons who sewed high street fashion items together.
Something which really stuck out to me was a section discussing charity shop clothes. A scene cut to a warehouse where mountains of clothes were piled up, which had not been sold in charity shops. It made me think, some of us replace our clothing with new ones, lightening our conscious by passing the rejected clothing to charity shops.
Another shot showed the vast amount of chemicals pumped into water supplies from the fashion industry. Another showed a woman speaking of what she wished buyers in the West would know when they buy from high street fashion shops.
We often don’t need the new clothes, we just want them. We don’t need the same shirt in a different colour. We are just encouraged to think we should be consumer culture.
Now, when I walk past a high street shop I usually would go into, I think of the words in that film, and the images I saw, and realise, it is not worth it.
So, let’s talk food.
Not only does food link back to plastic, in that a lot of food is packaged in non-recyclable plastic, but what the food actually contains and the way it is made is important.
Meat is one of the main contributors to climate change, and whilst you may not wish to stop eating meat, becoming more aware of that fact and adapting which meat you eat may benefit the environment. Buying food that is grown in your country, as opposed to being flown over, discourages shops from selling these items, thus raising awareness of the environment and encouraging production of food in a more sustainable way.
Thanks to my housemates example, I have started making my own bread, which is a lot easier than anticipated, and which also cuts down on plastic consumption.
Food waste is a major problem in the world. People are too readily throwing away food that either does not need to be thrown away, or which was purchased on a whim and not put into the meal plan for the week. Doing something as simple as creating a meal plan for the week can cut waste and cost.
So, let’s talk about you.
It is not about doing everything. You can only do what you can do, and even if that is reducing waste or becoming more aware of what you are putting back into the earth, it is something, and that is better than nothing. It’s about making one small change at a time, and encouraging others to consider doing so also. It’s walking, or cycling rather than driving. It’s turning off lights. It’s cutting out food which contains harmful chemicals, and making your own. It’s about reading labels. It’s taking an extra few minutes to look for a product which has recyclable packaging. It’s taking your reusable coffee cup with you, rather than using a disposable one. It’s saying no to plastic bags and straws. It is about making people aware of their options, and making them aware of the impact their choices have, rather than letting them revel in their naivety. Again, it is doing what you can.
I’ll leave this post with a Cree Indian prophecy, which sat on a shelf in my home, and which I read almost every day.
Only when the last tree has died,
And the last river has been poisoned,
And the last fish has been caught,
Will we realise, that we cannot eat money.