The ocean is increasingly my lifeblood. Maybe it’s because I continue to spend more time wrapped in a rubber suit than in the past, but it has become the natural progression of myself. I live a few hundred steps from the beach although surf in this area is rare and tiny. Despite this, I often find myself sitting on some logs watching little mouse and cat barrels peel off the point for hours on end. There is always so much activity going on in the water whether it be waves, birds, mammals, or boats, many things are always happening. When I need a little quiet time away, I’ll wander down the beach along the high tide line, keeping an eye out for unique pieces of wood to take home and put in my stash of ‘cool wood to work with in the future’ pile. I’ve scrounged like this for years, but only in the past few did I really begin to tune into the other elements along the tide line – plastics.
When one spends so much time near the water, the evidence of daily plastics washing up on our beaches hits you square in the face. Inspired by a friend of ours, Taina, a number of years ago we began consciously being very aware of our plastics consumption and cutting down on anything that wasn’t necessary, and most isn’t. There is often the misconception that we as humans, citizens of Planet Earth can do nothing to stop the shit storm of destruction and waste that we currently have set in place. The ozone holes are opening, the oceans are filling with plastics and our streams are being polluted for the sake of big business. No, we cannot change some of that larger scale stuff by ourselves, but when you take a moment to think about it, many of those ‘big’ problems have ‘small’ beginnings. It is our job to care for this planet in order to maintain human species survival, as not only to save the animals and the trees, but to save ourselves. As critical habitats and species on Earth die off due to human pressure, so will we. We’ve managed to rape and pillage the land and sea at such an astonishing rate in the past 100 years, that we almost do not know where to begin to cut back. Well here are some things that are dirt simple to cut back on or stop using completely. Change starts small and grows big, everyone needs to do their part and fundamental societal change will follow. It has to.
1) Straws – do not use a straw. If you go to a store or bar or restaurant, either do not take a straw or make sure to ask your waiter or bartender not to put a straw in your cup. We are not 2 year olds who do not know how to drink out of glass. Straws are a massive waste of one-time use plastic and can easily be eliminated.
2) Plastic bags – like straws, there is absolutely no reason nor excuse with the knowledge we have today, to use plastic bags. Buy a few cloth bags (most people already have a lot) and remember to take them when you go grocery shopping, get beers, or whatever you may purchase that gets shoved in a plastic bag only to be pulled out as soon as you get home. The age-old argument of ‘I re-use my plastic bags’ doesn’t fly anymore, as it is better to not use in the first place and we all know that. We all forget from time to time to take bags to the store or we need some food on the fly, and for those cases, simply ask for paper bags or don’t use any bags at all….after all, most things are already packaged. Simple, easy.
3) Bottled water – unless you live in a 2nd or 3rd world country where potable water from the tap doesn’t exist, leaves those bottles on the shelf. If nobody buys them, producers will stop making them. Many areas have better tap water than what is in the bottles (and some bottled water is tap water), and the usage of plastic to hold that water is absurd. 10 years ago when one would go to a business meeting or out for lunch, it was a common status simple to be drinking a bottle of water alongside your chic suit and tie; however, now, when we know the destruction plastic does to the environment, consuming water from a bottle is frowned upon as it should be. Don’t be the douche who orders bottled water.
4) Paper napkins – Mitchell Scott wrote a piece that involved napkins a while back in KMC magazine, and I think he nailed it. Napkins and kleenexes are made of wood, wood comes from trees, and trees are essential to consuming the CO2 in our air and transforming it into energy making themselves grow to only consume more CO2. So why are we cutting these wonders down in order to whip our greasy hands on them once and toss them into the garbage? When I was a kid, my dad rocked a hankie all the time. I thought nothing of it, it was just what everyone did. Nowadays, the hankie has gone the way of the Dodo bird, but why? Image? It is now cool to be aware, informed, and intentional with your environmental actions, so ditch those paper napkins, don’t buy them, don’t take them, don’t use them, and pick yourself up a hankie. Use, re-use, re-use, and when dirty enough, toss it in your washing machine alongside your clothes.
5) Everything else that is one-time use and plastic based (milk jugs, yogurt containers, bulk bags, garbage bags, excessive packaging, cigar tips, among a few thing) – no matter what you are buying, invariably you will have a choice of packaging options, and simply being aware and conscious of your day to day decision making, will make a big difference.
Enjoy nature and the ocean in their clean and pristine conditions and lets all work together to help keep things that way.