Day by day, our planet deteriorates. Our oceans fill with more plastic, endangered species die off one by one, plants that produce oxygen are destroyed, and the air fills with toxins. And that is just scratching the surface of the harm. Humans have taken a toll on our planet; our beautiful one-of-a-kind planet.
So, while we carry on with our daily lives, the more damage we do. Which is why it is time to take action to ensure that the generations that follow us get to enjoy Planet Earth like we do today. It has always been time to take action, just now, it’s more urgent than ever. It is not only time to be the change we wish to see but to be the change because our planets’ future depends on it. Once the damage is done, little can be done to reverse it.
Unfortunately, there are more people who seem to not care about the environment, than those who do. A mentor of mine once told me to “always love your mother.” She meant not only the one who gave you life but the one who keeps you living, Mother Nature. I urge you to become one of those who does care if you are not already. And if you are not, hopefully, you will be after reading this.
My recent involvement in an environment focused non-profit has prompted me to write this piece. Not because I needed to, but because I care. I have been inspired by this passion project and intend to take this passion as far as I can. My perspective has been changed completely now that I know what I do. I am much more conscious of my decisions regarding reusable items, plastic and eco-friendly products not only at home but any time I leave the house. I’m changing the way I think and I am focusing on living a more sustainable lifestyle. Reusing when I can, carrying my stainless steel water bottle, eliminating single-use plastic from my life, and educating everyone around me.
I’ve been blown away by some of the statistics I’ve read. There have been a select few that have stuck with me more than others. One states that at the rate we are going, there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish by 2050. So say goodbye to sushi on Wine Wednesday if we don’t start making changes!
Speaking of making changes, let’s talk about recycling. In order for it to be done correctly, we need to recycle right. But there is something call wish-cycling. What is it? Well, have you ever thrown away something thinking “I hope this item is recyclable, I’ll toss it in just to be safe and let the recycle center decide.” Wrong. When in doubt, it is better to throw it out. The reason being; contamination. Items that do not belong in the recycle bin can contaminate an entire line of recyclable products that can be repurposed. This is where education comes in. Paper, glass, cardboard, plastic bottles, metal & pop cans, and clean plastic containers belong in your recycle bin. The rest of it, not so much. And the plastic bag you put all of your recycling in under the kitchen counter. Get rid of it. The products must be loose and bag-free.
How about that Styrofoam container you have in your refrigerator from the take-out tacos you had for dinner last night? As far as we and by we, I mean scientists know, it may never break down. Last night’s dinner box could still be around when your great-grandchildren head off to college. Terrifying isn’t it? Convenience at the expense of the planet is not convenient at all.
Now making smart decisions when it comes to recycling and single-use items is not the only factor we can control. Buying eco-friendly products made from recycled materials is another way to lower our carbon footprint. What is eco-friendly? Depends on who you are talking to. Eco-friendly has turned into a branding strategy that some companies use to convince you that you are buying a product that is good for the environment. More times than not, that item you just spent ten dollars on because you were feeling green, may not be what it says. Ensure that the “green” products you buy can indeed be recycled in your area. If the item is compostable, that only matters if composting, again, is in your area. Bottom line, do some research and buy smart.
As much as I’d love for everyone in the United States to see this, I know it’s not possible. Here, we are some of the biggest enablers of environmental damage. We move fast, are set in our ways, and frankly, we are lazy. I hope to in the very least, inspire you to change some of your ways and keep in mind future generations as you take that plastic bag at the Target checkout, or that straw in your water at your favorite restaurant. I encourage you to share this piece or even just the statistics and begin to make small changes. Those changes may not feel like much, but in the long run, it will make a difference. So, bring your own bag to the grocery store, politely decline a straw when eating out, and encourage others to do the same. Together, we can protect our planet, save our oceans, and better not only our lives but also those of future generations.