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#PointlessPlastic

Plastic was created for the sake of human convenience.

Invented in 1898 and popularized in the 1960s, plastic replaced heavy materials (such as metal) and has since been used for nearly anything, everywhere (The Atlantic, 2014). It’s used so much that plastic pollution has become a prominent issue for the entire world—coastal cities are the first to face face those consequences. Widespread use is seen as a need for consumers but what most consumers don’t actually realize is, there is a larger cost for this “convenience.”

Considering the amount of technology that exists and how much smarter we about our earth, we have the resources to stray away from plastic use–or to at least begin the rollback of using it. The fate of our natural world honestly depends on it.

The changes that we need to see in an environmental respect are possible. Using less plastic though, requires some planning for businesses as well as for individuals. But since individuals can make the changes much more quicker than in large companies, where should we begin with them?

Each and everyone of us are consumers. Whether we are buying frequently or not… even trends constantly generate business. We create the demand for businesses to give us what we want and that’s the same exact rhetoric I’m implying we use here. As consumers, we need to show businesses where they are at fault, where they can do better, and that the change is necessary.

Greenpeace is doing exactly that by putting big business markets on blast with their #PointlessPlastic project. By using your social media platforms, share proof of excess plastic using the hashtag #PointlessPlastic and tag the big chains responsible (like Trader Joe’s or Costco). Below are examples of what excess plastic looks like:

apples pointless plastic
Image source: Twitter

avocados pointless plastic
Image source: Daily Mail (UK)

halo clementines pointless plastic
Image source: Buzzfeed

Greenpeace is also featuring photos (a small incentive) but something larger is surely developing. Projects like this create awareness no matter how little. They raise questions in people who are unfamiliar with environmental issues. They force people to reflect on their decisions that can ultimately contribute to plastic pollution. Do you want to get involved? Click here to download Greenpeace’s action toolkit. Or, if you’d like to submit a #PointlessPlastic photo to the organization, click here.

Don’t be afraid to speak up for our planet!

Sources
Laskow, Sarah. “How the Plastic Bag Became So Popular.” The Atlantic, Oct 2014. Jun 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/10/how-the-plastic-bag-became-so-popular/381065/.

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Greening at the Local Level

We know for sure that humanity has a devastating impact on all life. Science is proving over and over how much our lifestyle/consumer choices collectively affect the planet at large. With so many countries contributing to environmental pollution, different sources of pollution and differing pollutants, the issue is a complex global one. So how are we to solve such a big issue? We have to think about it on a local scale.

I attended a City Ecological Footprint Webinar hosted by Global Footprint Network and it got me thinking about how we can be more aware of our personal daily impacts. Here are some things to first learn and consider:

  1. The earth’s biocapacity is the amount of living things it can support with current sustainability practices (agriculture, fishing, greenhouse gas emissions) and its ability to replenish itself

  2. The U.S. government always wants to to increase its gross domestic product (GDP) which is literally increasing the United States’ citizen buying power or our consumption

  3. With an ever increasing demand for GDP growth, there is an equal increased demand for resources within the environment to create products but growth does not equal sustainability

  4. Earth is already in overshoot meaning it’s beyond its biocapacity; it physically cannot sustain the current the lifestyles that developed countries have and developing countries are lacking

  5. The problem with finding an immediate solution is that national governments and international governing bodies alike work too slowly

With that being said, it’s clear why the answer lies at the local level. Change is happening quicker and more readily at the bottom. Corporations have more to lose when making green decisions. The solution is really within the changes that ordinary people can make in their everyday lives. Here are some changes you can make to be more green:

tips for greener living.png

If you’re interested in finding out more about your personal affect on the environment, you can use this Ecological Footprint Calculator from Global Footprint Network. It asks questions about your everyday life and shows which areas are causing the most damage to the earth. I hope you’ve gained something today. 🌱

Stay green, bloomers.