I worry for Planet Earth.
It’s vulnerable now more than ever, and I don’t think we (humans) are doing enough to preserve it. I certainly am not. I consider myself a lazy environmentalist, like I’ll recycle when it’s convenient, or I prefer thrifting because it’s cheaper (not because it’s more eco-friendly).
What was happening around me
- One day I wondered and tracked how much stuff I throw away in the trash, and also what I was throwing away. It was mostly plastic wrappers, but I was also throwing away recyclables in the trash because the Airbnb I was staying at did not have recycling. Lazy environmentalist.
- I visited a lot of museums on my road trip, and there are a lot of exhibits about sustainability and climate change and Planet Earth. This is a huge deal and it’s a crisis that we should not ignore.
- When I flew home to California in December 2018, my seat partner let me read her National Geographic magazines. The cover for one of them was “The Plastic Apocalypse”. It was a very educational and alarming read.
- After the federal government shut down for several weeks, there were people destroying national parks. For all that was destroyed in 2 weeks, it will take about 400 years to return back to that pre-destroyed state. That made me say, “Hey, I want to do my part in being eco-friendly because dumb humans are going to destroy the planet faster than I can imagine.”
Pollution on a Stick (National Geographic)
My Personal Intention to Be Better
When I started researching about simple ways to be more eco-friendly, I quickly found myself falling down several rabbit holes. Everything can be tied to environmentalism in one way or another:
- Food – You can buy in bulk, produce minimal food waste, or decide to not purchase foods from non-sustainable farms.
- Beauty – Are there chemicals in your beauty products, and if so, how are they affecting the environment?
- Fashion – You can donate your old items and buy secondhand as much as possible. You can look at company ethics of brands you wear: how much water, gases, and waste is consumed or produced?
- Plastics – Not all plastics are recyclable or biodegradable, and do you know how to tell which plastics are better for you?
It’s a lot, so this series is me breaking down many of these different areas into more consumable nuggets. A lot of these topics will lead to additional questions and discussions, like sustainable farming and ethical harvesting practices. I’m excited to see where we can go from here.
I want to make this clear:
- I don’t expect everybody to go out there and do all this research before making their purchase decisions from now on.
- I don’t expect everybody to adopt a zero-waste mentality. I do not have an extreme personality and probably could not live a zero-waste mentality myself, but my goal is low-waste.
- I do want to share my journey as I decide to live a more sustainable lifestyle, and drop some knowledge bombs as well as tips so you can make better decisions in your own lives if you choose to do so.
The Art of Plastic Pollution (National Geographic)
Additional stuff that I want to share
- National Geographic Society and Sky Ocean Ventures have put together Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge to source ideas from around the world on how to address plastic waste. There are 3 different tracks you can submit ideas for: design better packaging, creative zero-waste business models, and data visualization track to show the scale of the plastics pollution problem in a creative, intuitive way.