One Right Step At A Time: Eliminating Plastic in a Post-Pandemic World
Life is all about perspective. One second you're cruising down easy street, and next the world around you is falling apart. The key is to enjoy the highs, and weather the lows one step at a time.
But when things get REALLY bad, it's important to never stop moving forward.
Anyone who has spent their entire life fighting against pollution can understand the lows that we face today. Not only is a pandemic changing the very world we live in, but so much of the progress we've made for clean seas is being ripped apart.
The personal protective equipment that's designed to save lives is joining the ranks of other notorious pollutants in littering our cities and coastlines. Local governments are actually discouraging shoppers from bringing re-usable bags. To protect customers and limit interpersonal contact, single-use items of all sorts are bound to have a resurgence into our post-coronavirus world.
This is frustrating because as a planet, we were finally making important strides towards a circular economy. Social media allowed everyday people to document the alarming rates of debris in our oceans, leading businesses, governments, and the media to all make simultaneous strides towards a plastic-free future.
We were on the verge of holding producers responsible for the harms that cheap packaging causes the natural world, and providing cheap alternatives to plastics so that businesses can limit their footprint without cutting a loss. The loud, collective voice of consumer demand for sustainable products and services was finally beginning to restructure entire industries.
And then a pandemic hit.
Businesses shut down, and the world went into survival-mode. No living soul has ever experienced a pandemic, but you quickly realize that the loss of human life is simply more important than the health of our natural world.
Governments began taking every step possible to limit social interaction, keeping people safe from this deadly virus. This unfortunately meant that environmental issues quickly took a back seat.
Businesses crept back to their familiar single-use practices, while environmental organizations were hanging on for dear life with reduced funding because they're life-changing entities, not life-saving.
Just keep swimming.
As an advocate for clean water and sustainability, it feels like the world is on fire. But are you going to watch our world burn down, or are you planning to do something about it?
No action is too small. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Contact your local decision-makers, and make your voice heard that you want to see plastic bans continued as soon as possible.
If re-usable bags have been banned in your area, bag your groceries at your car!
Share pictures across social media of littered PPE items (masks, gloves) to help document this new public health crisis, and educate friends and family about this rising issue.
Volunteer with a local non-profit working to fight plastic pollution - they need your help now more than ever.
The world is in a tough place, but as the saying goes - the night is always darkest before the dawn - and I promise, the sun will rise again.