I have to admit I wasn’t initially intending to write as much as I did this month for Plastic Free July, but I hope that you found it useful to have a virtual peek inside my cupboards. I just wanted to wrap up with a few thoughts.
After reading this series, some people may be thinking, “It’s all well and good swigging from a reusable bottle and thinking that you’re saving the world, but what about X? And Y?” Comments like this are fairly common in various corners of the Internet.
And they’re right. There are a lot of problems facing the world today, on all fronts.
From an environmental perspective, plastic pollution is a big issue and getting bigger every day. But so is climate change. And the loss of biodiversity. And deforestation. And ocean acidification. And soil depletion. All of these play a role in the degradation of the environment on a scale and at a pace that the human species hasn’t seen in its evolutionary history.
On a national level, ensuring that everyone can access high-quality healthcare—and that mental health provisions are recognised as part of this—is just as vital. As is tackling homelessness, poverty, lack of educational opportunities, drug abuse, and everything else that stops people from living their life to its full potential.
Then there is the increase of us vs. them rhetoric that has led to more racism, sexism, and xenophobia across the globe. The prevalence of gender stereotypes that emotionally cripple boys and limit the aspirations of girls persists. Bullying and harassment remain problems at school and in the workplace, and many of our political leaders seek to be the ones who shout the loudest rather than the ones who enact sensible solutions. It seems that respect and civility, kindness and empathy are on the decline everywhere we look.
All of these—and more—are very real issues that must be addressed.
So yes, plastic and waste are just the tip of the rapidly melting iceberg, and it is easy to feel that so much is out of our hands and out of our control. Yet recognising that we can only control our own actions and behaviour is incredibly powerful—because that is exactly where we can make a difference.
We can do our very best not to add to these problems.
We can chose to shop for products that are ethically produced and environmentally sound. We can chose what we use—or don’t use—around our homes. We can put pressure on supermarkets, businesses, and governments to do more to reduce waste.
We can shape our future—and that of the planet—by the choices we make right now in the present.
And, little by little, these ripples can grow. We may not always recognise it, but we do have a sphere of influence by setting an example for others, whether it be about the importance of choosing reusables over disposables, dropping the attitude of “boys will be boys”, or simply choosing kindness and positivity over fear and hatred.
I am firmly convinced that we can make things better by doing what we can, whenever we can, to bring about a positive difference in our communities. This isn’t about being superhuman but embracing the super humans that we already are. Being kind to ourselves, each other, and the environment starts where we are today and being willing to take the necessary steps to just keep moving forward.
Reduce Your Wasteline will be looking at how we can all do this together in both the forthcoming blog and in the current Facebook group. Sign up to be notified when the website is ready, drop by the Facebook group to share tips, or get in touch if you have any questions about any of the Plastic Free July posts.
This is a simple design I put together based on a powerful quote from John Wesley that I wholeheartedly agree with. Oddly enough, it’s also become my bestseller on Redbubble, so perhaps more people are willing to take the necessary actions to put positivity out into the world.
Check out all of July’s posts:
- Reduce Your Wasteline: The Bathroom
- Reduce Your Wasteline: The Wardrobe
- Reduce Your Wasteline: Out and About
- Reduce Your Wasteline: The Kitchen
- Reduce Your Wasteline: Everything Else
- Reduce Your Wasteline: Get Social
- Reduce Your Wasteline: Gift Giving
- Greenwashing and Unintended Consequences
- Festival Fundamentals
- ‘Tis the (Summer) Season)
- Reflecting on my Wasteline
- Tip of the Iceberg
If you’re using Plastic Free July as a springboard to reduce your waste year round, consider reading related posts: