40 days to reduce your plastic footprint

by Alison, 1/03/2017


''Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams'' 
Yeats was speaking of the precious dreams and hearts desires we share with the one we love and their capacity to hurt us once we have shared these dreams. But what if the thing that gives us the most joy and pleasure is the earth itself. What if our dreams involve exploring and falling hopelessly in love with the beauty of this earth. Now how easily can we and others destroy our dreams. Frankly the answer is very easily and on a daily basis.

In the past year, I have become more and more conscious of the large amounts of waste that I produce. I am especially conscious of the large amounts of plastic that moves in and out of my home and the horrible knowledge that the majority of it will not or cannot be recycled but instead will end up in land fill, or worse, in the ocean where it will sit for hundreds of years. Single use plastic items are so ubiquitous, so handy, that most of us do not even realise that we are using them. Cups, cutlery, food packaging, water bottles, straws, scrubbing brushes most of us use these items on a daily basis. Society has taught us to value convenience and what could be easier then to use something and throw it away without ever considering the extraordinary amount of resources that went into making and shipping the product, let alone those used to dispose of it.

The area we live in is one of the most beautiful and scenic in the world. However, on a daily basis I am confronted by the juxtaposition of two seemingly opposite but closely held ideals. The first is that people recognise the beauty of this place and want to share it with their loved ones, the second is that they do not recognise their responsibility in helping to maintain it. Every day people leave their rubbish, invariably plastic, for someone else to deal with. While getting them to pick it up and put it in a bin would be a start this should not be the end goal. Much of the waste produced does not need to be made in the first place if we  become conscious consumers. 

So here is my challenge to you. Can you use the next 40 days to reduce your plastic footprint? I've chosen this time of year partly because I was brought up as an Irish Catholic and Lent, much more then New Year, symbolises a time to give something up / form a new habit. The other reason is there is no better time then today to increase your awareness of the waste we produce and take some responsibility for it. So for the next 40 days we will be posting on Instagram (follow us there at gorseandcoconuts) the different ways we try to reduce our plastic, the blogs / people we look to for inspiration and information and reasons that might just make you think twice before accepting that next piece of plastic.

I do, however, want to be clear and frank from the start, that I fail at this challenge more then I succeed. I forget my shopping bags, I am lazy and complete all my shopping in the supermarket rather then going to multiple shops where I can get different items plastic free, I accept take away cups of tea rather then going without, and I continue to be saddened by all the rubbish I produce. A perfect example of "do as I say, don't do as I do", this challenge is as much mine as it is yours.
I am not writing this to smugly show off my mason jar of rubbish or my minimalist home. I am writing this because I think it is one of the most important and most empowering messages I can give people. We cannot live on this planet without having an impact on it. However we can actively make decisions that dictate the type of impact we have on the world. I fail at this challenge on a regular basis, however, the important thing is that that is no reason to stop trying. 

So remember tread softly.

1 comment:

  1. As the mother who raised you as a Catholic while starting to have serious doubts myself, I am delighted that you have come to such a practical way to look 'doing something for Lent.' I think it is an amazing challenge and I am signing up !
    What an original and perspective view on W.B.'s words.

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