“In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation…even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine.”
– The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations: The Great Binding Law
It's hard to know where to start when we consider the health of the planet. At times, it feels overwhelming, but to do nothing is never the answer. Over the years, I have written a great deal about plastic pollution, Switzerland's retreating glaciers, and how we must raise our children to connect with the Earth if we expect them to forge a meaningful relationship with the world they are inheriting.
Instead of feeling completely overwhelmed by the big picture, let's take a micro look into a big problem - PLASTIC .
I wrote this a few years ago, but I think it is worth re-posting on our new site. There are meaningful ways in which we can all eliminate or use less plastic, which is polluting our oceans, leaching chemicals into our water and ruining the health of our people and the planet.
According the Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist based out of UCSB, “Virtually all of the plastic we ever made is non-degradable.” Exactly how much plastic has been produced since its inception? We, as humans have produced over, “Eight point three billion metric tons of plastics produced so far.” Plastic is polluting our oceans and water sources, killing our birds and destroying our environment. Not only is plastic in our environment, but it is also showing up in our bodies. We must ask ourselves if we can sustain this way of life and when the answer arrives, we then must be willing to make drastic shifts in our choices and ultimately our behavior.
What can be done?
Say no to plastic water bottles and instead bring your own refillable bottle.
Do your best to avoid plastic all together. Be creative and demand better solutions. When a company is doing the right thing in the way of creating less pollution, thank them for their efforts.
San Francisco has banned Styrofoam, and the rest of the world should too.
Bring your own bags and reject the use of plastic bags.
Teach your children the value of enjoying experiences over things. By educating the next generation, hopefully we teach individuals that happiness can never be bought and that excess consumerism wreaks havoc on our planet.
Take your children outside and into nature. Let them witness the seasons, take care of the landscape and become advocates for the Earth.
Support companies that are doing their best to make an environmental shift, one such company is Patagonia. Their mission statement seems to say it all. “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” Oh, and one more thing, if you want to define a hero, check out Yvon Chouinard, what an incredible inspiration.
Purchase used clothes and items, which keeps perfectly good items out of the trash and preserves the environment by not having to use the Earth’s resources for items we don’t need.
Take the time to think about what you purchase, what you actually need, where your stuff is made and where it will ultimately end up. Say no to shopping as a past time activity.
Take public transportation and if you reside in Switzerland, that choice is very, very easy to make. Just ask us, we have been car free for 10 years!
I realize I have only touched the surface of environmental pollution, however, now that I am educating, raising and ultimately turning over the next generation of people to the planet, I feel compelled to share and hopefully inspire others to make a small difference. I am not claiming to be perfect or even plastic free, but I am trying to be more aware. Aware of my choices, the items I bring into our home and into the lives of the people I love the most.
To continue the education, I have listed some helpful resources below. View, listen and read at your leisure, but let’s all commit to making one small change that can benefit the future of our planet and the lives of us as human beings.
“Health to the ocean means health to us.” -Sylvia Earle
Listen to a podcast with Jack Johnson:
Watch a short film:
Read a book:
The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
Let’s continue the dialogue!