The Ramblings of an Anti-Litter Activist: Are we in Trouble?
Yep, our ocean, waters, and wildlife are in trouble. We are in trouble. Pollution, particularly plastic pollution, has become an environmental crisis we cannot ignore. Sustainability? Well, we are living far beyond the means of our planet. What to do? What not to do?
As one who wants to enlist as much help from individuals as possible, I’ve thought a lot about what not to do. We often point fingers, blame other countries, blame governments, corporations, political parties, and each other. No doubt we need to make some big changes starting from the top but I choose to take a more positive, simpler approach, in hopes to bring people together to find common ground because it’s going to take all of us working together to fix this mess we’ve made of our one and only planet.
I’m a beach cleaner, a litter picker-upper, and I find some sense of purpose and satisfaction in this. There are many others out there like me who are making a difference one handful, one bucketful, one piece of trash, at a time. I promote this, the practice of individuals cleaning up as part of their outdoor routine, whether walking, jogging, biking, camping, fishing, kayaking, hanging out on the beach, visiting a park, or whatever. Group beach cleanups also have their place and have even become trendy, promoting the businesses or groups that host them.
This is all good stuff, but we also need to do some work on the other end of things, taking steps to prevent pollution, particularly plastic pollution. Where to start? Well, little things done by many become big things. What if everyone reading this would stop buying one-use plastic water bottles? Would it make a difference? You bet it would! What about making other easy changes like carrying reusable grocery and shopping bags? Yep, that’ll help. Heading to your favorite coffee shop? Grab that reusable mug. Craving an ice cream? Choose an ice cream shop that doesn’t use polystyrene (Styrofoam) cups. Thinking about eating out? Consider dining with a restaurant that makes at least some effort be environmentally friendly. I could come up with a long list here of easy ways to help reduce waste but truly, most are common sense, a matter of choosing compassion over convenience. Let’s just do more of that.