The earth has been around for 4.5 billion years and in just hundreds of years we’ve managed to destroy a mind-boggling amount of this beautiful planet we call home. Fossil fuels continue to feed our culture of consumption and plastic “convenience” is choking our oceans.
While the earth continues to heat up, the ocean acidifies & fills with plastic, and more than half of all wildlife has been lost in only 40 years - we continue the dysfunctional cycle of extract —> produce —> use (sometimes for only a few moments) —> throw “away” (repeat).
Raise your hand if this makes no sense to your brain!?
We’re destroying what we claim to love and we’re losing what we need to live.
The path forward will require seismic policy shifts, billions of collective micro-actions, and the elimination of waste by design*. Perhaps you’ve caught the meme: “What difference does one plastic bag make … says 1,000,000,000,000 plastic bags?” For me, plastic is personal. The plastic bag in the whale? It could be my plastic. The microplastics in the ocean? Yep, mine too. All the plastic I’ve ever used in my entire life is still here. Plastic doesn’t go away.
I need to acknowledge that climate change and the ocean plastic crisis affects vulnerable populations first and hardest, and that the people who have done the least to cause this crisis, are the most impacted. Going “zero waste” and reducing personal plastic-consumption comes with a whole lot of privilege. Many countries (including Canada and the United States) have the resources and technology to urgently address the ocean plastic and climate crisis. Are we willing to demand action from our policymakers and from ourselves?
To summarize: We (privileged folk) produce too much, consume too much and make an obscene amount of waste. And, we know we can’t continue to extract resources because our actions are leading to irreversible, catastrophic climate collapse. Mother Nature has made it pretty clear she’s sick of our shit.
So yeah, I’m pretty motivated to disrupt the system that got us here. You?
*This is known as a circular or regenerative system and is inspired by Mother Nature and has been practiced by indigenous people for thousands of years. We need to listen and learn.
“In the indigenous world view, we believe that the land, the water and the environment is what sustains all life. We simply can’t continue with rampant exploitation of the land, because there are consequences - global warming, climate change.” - Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Circularity aims to keep products in their highest and best use for as long as possible and then re-imagines and re-uses the raw materials again and again. No more extraction. No more landfill. No more ocean-choking plastic. The system to support circularity doesn’t yet exist on a broad scale- and it’s important to note that the idea isn’t to keep consuming with abandon because it’s “circular” - it’s to create a future where we consume less. Over the course of 2019, we’ll be introducing more circular concepts.
We need to look closely at consequences of overconsumption.
Only 9 percent of plastic waste ever produced has been recycled . We’ve eliminated single-use plastic packaging from our stationery, flowers and clothing and will eliminate all single-use plastic in 2019. Consumers don’t see all the packaging that goes on behind the retail/manufacturing scenes. The next time you’re in a shop, consider how many products came wrapped in an individual, single-use plastic bag before they hit the shelves. We support refilling and will be adding more household refill items throughout 2019. By 2050, there will be more plastic (by weight) than fish in the ocean. If that doesn’t scare the living crap out of ya, I don’t know what will, especially since the ocean provides half of our oxygen.
The amount of time the world’s leading climate scientists tell us we have to keep global warming to 1.5º celsius over pre-industrial levels. Doing so will require unprecedented global changes in the way we move, consume, work and live. If you’re not familiar with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), please use the google and learn more about the urgent call to action.
“The next few years are probably the most important in human history.” - Debra Roberts, IPCC Co-chair
North Americans send 9.5 million tonnes of clothing “waste” to landfill each year. Fast fashion is responsible for 2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per year, which is more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping.
Globally, only 1% of textile waste is recycled. Oh, and clothing and accessories that are made from oil (like polyester), break down and create microplastics in the ocean and soil. Microplastics are contributing to the ocean plastic crisis and are now in our food system.
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