Why You Should Use Less Plastic…

It was Blog Action Day on October 15th. The day has passed, but I still though I’d blog about something related – our effect on the environment.

Now please don’t switch off just yet.

Whether “global warming”, or “climate change” is actually happening, or would happen regardless of us makes no odds. It is no excuse for being wasteful. There’s little to no effort to recycling, so why set such a bad example of values to your kids etc? It’s not good to waste things, just because you can! Odds are, that wastefulness is hurting someone or something somewhere. Like the ocean and it’s inhabitants for example.

So, where does our plastic end up?

Chris Jordan - Midway Albatross

Photograph belongs to Chris Jordan – http://www.chrisjordan.com/ It has not been Photoshopped.

Yes folks, that is an albatross. A dead albatross showing the contents of it’s stomach. 2000 miles away from the nearest continent – and there’s many more. Plastic now outweighs plankton 6 to 1 in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (more info).

Taken from Journey to Midway website:

Midway Atoll, one of the remotest islands on earth, is a kaleidoscope of geography, culture, human history, and natural wonder. It also serves as a lens into one of the most profound and symbolic environmental tragedies of our time: the deaths by starvation of thousands of albatrosses who mistake floating plastic trash for food.

See Journey to Midway and Chris Jordan’s photography for more information about this horror.

But, I recycle, I’m not responsible

I find this film particularly striking (check out from about 5:00 onwards) – a collection of objects found in rotting albatross carcasses. If you were thinking “oh this isn’t my doing”, check out how many toothbrushes, pens and lighters there are there and think again.

Now you “they’re just animals” folk can sing and dance all you want, you can’t think this is right, expecting birds and fish to eat our waste and then die, only to put it back in the sea. No one deserves that. No one deserves to swallow an ink cartridge or golf ball thinking it’s food! Especially just so we can continue this “throw-away society”. It’s not worth it.

What can I do?

Recycling is important, but with plastic it’s called “downcycling” and in the end the plastic still isn’t going to bio-degrade for a very very long time and may well end up in the sea. I’m not saying don’t recycle. I’m saying use less plastic!

Buying throw-away products costs more in the long run, matches are just as good as lighters, use pencils when you can? I’ve vowed to never buy biros again. The few pens I have can have refills and the rest of the time I’m going to be using pencils.

Well if you’re so perfect…

Yes, I’m responsible too. Everyone is to some extent. No one can be completely “green”, that’s not a realistic expectation and it’s not about that. It’s doing what you can and it’s NOT hard. Here in Woking the council has actually upped the types of items we can recycle in our bins. In the new year we’ll have food collections too!

When I feel my efforts slipping I find myself checking out Chris’ work.

I’m almost done, I swear

Remember to do what you can with your recycling, and when buying something, ask yourself, do you really REALLY need it? And if so, buy something that’s built to last you, not for you to throw away.

The Links

http://www.midwayjourney.com/
http://www.chrisjordan.com/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/lastchancetosee/ – Worth watching while it’s still on the iPlayer! Beautiful imagery and very interesting information about good being done in the world, and of course showing the effects of our existence  And it has Stephen Fry. Are you not sold with that alone?