Recently I posted on FB about the fact that the store Simply Slowveld is now stocking eco-friendly recyclable straws we can use instead of plastic. Unless you have been living under a rock, you should be aware by now that plastic has become Public Enemy Nr 1 for our planet. Even governments are beginning to realize the danger this everyday material, used in countless ways, is threatening our planet and wildlife. Someone commented that we need to start a campaign to create awareness of the dangers plastic poses.
My immediate response was “Nooooooooooo!”
We have enough campaigns. We have enough videos, articles, blogs etc on the dangers of plastic. How it takes a gazillion years to decompose. How it gets stuck around and in animals, birds, marine life. About the kilometres of floating plastic in the oceans. This we know. It becomes exhausting, constantly being hammered on social media platforms about the damage being done to the planet, the unspeakable cruel practices utilized so we can eat meat, eggs etc. Well meaning – sure. But it can all become a little too much.
Instead of signing yet another petition, or commenting on yet another post about plastic, why not start your own campaign. At home.
I took an out-of-town visitor to Simply Slowveld (let’s face it, it is the coolest store around for branded Lowveld goodies, from T-shirts to mugs and notebooks and more) and she bought some of these straws to take home for her nephews. “Because”, she explained, “they need to start becoming aware of the alternatives to plastic and how they can make a difference. They need to know what’s going on in the world.”
Now that’s a productive campaign. That’s a campaign that makes a difference. We can refuse the plastic straw every time one is offered to us. Explain why you don’t want it. (PS: The eco-straws come in different thicknesses so you can even use them for your smoothies and milkshakes). We can decline the plastic bags at the supermarkets and take our own carry bags. We can refuse the ridiculous plastic wrapping we see around fruit and veg, take it off and leave it at the supermarket, maybe they will get the message! We can educate our own children in better, kinder, gentler ways of being on the planet. We can teach them respect for their environment, and by that I mean the space around them because in reality that’s the only space that they can really have an impact on.
It’s fascinating to watch people endlessly complaining about litter and yet not coming up with solutions. When the Municipal strikes are on and the streets are trashed with rubbish bins upended, very few businesses get down and dirty and clean up their little section of road and pavement. Why should they? It’s “someone else’s” problem.
Newsflash! We are that “someone else”. Each and every one of us. We can make a difference in a small way. We don’t have to wait until “someone else” arranges a massive clean-up operation, or addresses the issue. We can make small, but powerful changes every day. Stop using plastic as much as we can. Have fun with meat-free days. Look at ways to reduce our rubbish and our impact on the only place we can call home, Planet Earth. This is do-able and we have a better chance of sticking to it, as well as creating a better future for those coming behind us.
Whatever it is, the most powerful campaigns happen at home. By actually doing instead of talking. Gold star moments where you feel proud of having done your little bit. Because all those little bits add up to a lot. That’s a campaign I can get behind.