Initially I started this blog simply to share my journey in health and wellness, however this year I am pivoting my social media voice to speak on things that concern me – mainly the environment. So, although you may find this blog a bit random at times, if you know me – that is exactly how I thrive, by being multifaceted. This can be attributed to my short attention span at times.
This is also a space for sharing some of the writings that I have found enjoyable. Here is one written by Miranda Larbi for metro.co.uk:
For as long as I can remember, I’ve gone plant-based for Lent. Being a full-time vegan now, however, I thought I’d dial the change back a bit and simply give up vegan chocolate this year. After all, Vego is life.
And then I went to the Lush Summit – the annual convention hosted by the cosmetics brand – and realised that giving up chocolate would benefit no one but myself.
Never one to shy away from the big environmental topics, one big element of this year’s Lush summit is the ocean and our role in the destruction and regeneration of ocean life.
And most of that centres around our absurd use of plastic.
We’re currently experiencing a ‘plastic smog’ in our oceans. You don’t have to go to places like West Africa or East Asia to see the impact. When we think about plastic pollution, it’s easy to conjure up images of shantytowns drowning in black plastic sacks or dirty beaches in far-flung developing countries. And while that’s not untrue, the terrifying reality is that we’re seeing the effect of our plastic addiction far closer to home; the Mediterranean Sea is, according to Plastic Pollution Solutions, ‘incredibly impacted’.
This is no longer a problem we can shut our eyes to (and we should have cared about those affected in other areas way sooner).
It’s not just the fact that plastic doesn’t biodegrade; plastic pieces attract cancer, hormone-disrupting, diabetes-causing chemicals the longer they stay in the sea. And that plastic then enters the fish we eat, the water we drink and the salt we use.
The bioaccumulation of plastic – the fact that it’s getting into our food chain – should freak us the f*** out. You can cut a huge amount of that by going vegan…but you’ve still got to eat and season your food. And we should care that we’re literally poisoning animals and ecological systems needlessly.
The 5 Gyres Institute recently went about testing various products to see how far this contamination has spread. Every single one of the German beers they studied tested positive for microplastics.
So, where’s all this plastic coming from?
Plastic bags are already on the decrease, we know microbeads are trash and people are becoming ever more woke about plastic straws. They’re not the main problems anymore.
The real issue today is packaging and polyethene is the new bad plastic in town.
That’s the foamy stuff used to make thick, cheap takeaway cups. It’s also used in things such as hard coffee cup lids. It looks and feels different but it’s just as environmentally unfriendly.
And it’s going to be the next thing you’re going to see targeted.
You can tell if something’s made out of polyethene if it’s got the triangular arrow sign with the number six in the middle. ‘Nix the Six’ is a new campaign by 5 Gyres, aimed at getting people to give up coffee cup lids, plastic cutlery and those red party cups.
25% of plastic produced globally is packaging. Just look at what you had for lunch; even if it didn’t come in a packet, it still probably had a plastic film. Only 14% of plastic is recycled and by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea.
In 1950, we were consuming around five million tonnes of plastic. In 2014, that figure had shot up to 311 million. And the 2015 Plastic Europe Report predicts that that figure is set to double in the next 20 years.
We hear things about plastic taking 500…600…1,000 years to biodegrade…but the thing is, we have no idea how long it takes. There was no plastic around 500 years ago to be confident about any future prediction. So imagine a world 500 years from now if we don’t try to stem the tide of plastic rubbish now.
We don’t need plastic packaging – that’s what makes this so maddening. Things such as condoms and sanitary pads are really bad for the environment but it’s easy to see why people choose to use very durable materials to make them. But food packaging? Coffee cups? There are so many other options.
So what’s the solution?
Well, you could go to a packaging-free supermarket, many of which are listed here but the thing is, not everyone’s got the time to schlep around looking for these places and not everyone has the money to spend.
Some companies are talking about buying up refuse plastic to make fuel because plastic is a fossil fuel. The problem? Burning plastic creates carbon and carbon is what is literally burning the earth alive. ‘
The most practical thing to do is try to shop from places like Lush who make it easy to buy unpackaged or paper-packaged goods, and who offers rewards to those who bring their plastic containers back to be refilled.
There’s talk of coffee houses introducing 25p taxes on people asking for a plastic coffee cup lid and offering the same amount off their drinks if they don’t use one. Why would you want a potentially cancer-promoting material on your lips anyway? You don’t need a lid if you’re careful…and if you do, there are plenty reusable coffee cups out there made from glass or bamboo (like ecoffee cup) which are way more reliable, attractive and better at keeping your drinks hot.
Meal prepping is also a really simple way of cutting down on packaging consumption. Simply get yourself a solid bit of Tupperware and a set of cutlery and you’re good to go. Sure, it takes a little planning but trust us, your waist and wallet will thank you, as well the planet.
Why give plastic up just for Lent?
Lent is just 40 days. Six weeks isn’t loads but trust me, trying to go plastic-free for over a month is going to be a massive challenge. That means not buying any pre-packaged food, no bottles of fizzy water, no shiny bags of crisps, nuts or biscuits.
It’s a start and an opportunity to see just how much plastic we subconsciously consume every single day. Once you start noticing it, you’ll be horrified.
Lent shouldn’t be about going on a diet masquerading as piety. It’s a season of reflection, of dedicating time to God – and by proxy, our fellow beings.
No one gives a crap if you eat chocolate or not…but you could choose to eat a chocolate that doesn’t come packaged in plastic (like Pana Chocolate, for example).
Why not take these six weeks to make an active difference – one that will impact animals, people and environments around the world?
Source: Miranda Larbi (metro.co.uk)