While at a girls travel group meeting (Girls Love Travel) I engaged in a conversation with a young woman who was expressing how she was trying to cut out plastic from her day to day life. The conversation was short and sweet but afterward it got me thinking about how I should try to do the same. I kept repeating Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote in my head…
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
It’s undeniable that there are many changes that the world needs to see. We all know this, but the majority of us hesitate to take a step towards doing something about it. I have decided to finally take that step.
I have decided to try my absolute hardest starting February 21st, 2017 to live a plastic free lifestyle.
Why make a change?
As someone who constantly seems to be travelling, one thing that I have noticed everywhere I have gone is the amount of pollution. Whether it is food wrappers along hiking trails or water bottles floating in the ocean, it seems to be everywhere I go. I want to take a step in changing this. To not only retain from littering, but taking the next step and cutting out plastic from my day-to-day lifestyle.
PLASTIC DOESN’T READILY BREAK DOWN
“Plastic is not biodegradable, but photodegradable. And in reality, most plastic does not ever disappear, but becomes long-lasting “plastic dust”. When items like plastic bags break down, they readily soak up (and release) toxins that then contaminate soil and water, as well as harming animals that ingest plastic fragments. And there’s no winning: producing recycled materials uses copious amounts of energy”. (resource)
The National Geographic Society and many other environmental activist sites have tried to bring this issue to light for year, having the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as a primary example. The GPGP, also known as the trash vortex, is a giant collection of litter floating in the North Pacific Ocean.
DANGER TO AQUATIC LIFE
The Wold Economic Forum launched a report last year stating that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. It is estimated that eight million metric tons of our plastic waste enter the oceans from land each year (World Economic Forum). For the animal activist out there this is extremely disheartening and is why hundreds of thousands of sea birds, whales, sharks, seals, dolphins, sea turtles, and so on die from plastic debris. Our pollution is creating a chaos for the environment, along with negatively impacting our national parks and beaches.
There are many other reasons why plastics are bad including the toxins they release, possible linkages to cancer and how they use up finite natural resources. However, I’m not a scientist or specialist, therefore as of right now I don’t completely understand the scientific side of things. What I do know is that I’m a 21 year old girl that wants to make a difference and as a hiking and ocean enthusiast I want to take a step towards keeping our natural parks and oceans clean.
So what am I going to do?
As of February 21st, 2017 I am no longer going to purchase products that have plastics in them. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Food packaging
- Plastic bags
- Cosmetic products using plastic packaging
- Plastic water bottles
- … and much much more
Instead I’ll be finding plastic-free alternatives and updating you on my process along the way.
It is undeniable that transitioning to a plastic-free lifestyle is going to be challenging and that there will be many roadblocks along the way. However, I’m up for the challenge!