Since I learned about the plastic soup in our oceans it kept bothering me. I can’t believe I’d never heard of it before. Where was I. Was it no item? No news? Did I ignore it?
Well, not anymore!
This week Boyan Slat, founder of The Ocean Cleanup, shared the findings of their extensive research of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They found 80.000 tonnes of plastic, floating in the Great Pacific. 1,2 million m2, three times the size of France…
I’m at a loss for words.
The last 8,5 years we lived in South Africa. We lived close to the garbage dump and passed it everytime we went to town and back. It bothered me that people just dumped their sh*t on a pile, and that the Worcester wind would take it to travel up in the sky. Plastic everywhere. The dump grew and a new place needed to be found.
Looking back I see I’d become complacent. I cheered for those that were trying to deal with the consequences, but I didn’t feel responsible. It was not my problem. Like an ostrich I would stick my head in the sand and say things like: “It is impossible to do shop plastic free in South African. Everything is in plastic.” I complained, but felt too overwhelmed to change my ways.
A couple of months ago we moved to the Netherlands and I found it’s no different here. Most of the Dutchies shop in the supermarket, toss everything they need – and more – into their cart, pay and go home. At home they take of all the plastic, throw it in the bin and move on.
And so did I.
I’m one of them.
It hit hard.
The only soothing factor is that the Dutch love to recycle.
They recycle everything. Awesome you’d say… right?
Well uh.. no.
Zero Waste Lifestyle
I’d been eyeing Bea Johnson’s book Zero Waste for a while now. I watched her TED talk about her family’s Zero Waste Home. The simplicity of her lifestyle and the value she puts in experiences rather than stuff are an inspiration.
I’ve been minimalizing my belongings the KonMari way for a couple of years now, defining what is enough. It’s a journey and I’m not there yet. Moving to Europe defintely helped though. We downsized to a few suitcases and some boxes with books.
The Zero Waste Lifestyle is a whole new level. It’s not just minimizing, knowing what is enough, but it is refusing what you do not need or want. It not only affects the amount of belongings in the home, but also the waste we generate as a family.
The 5 R’s
In her book Bea Johnson shows this picture:
Until now I’ve been reducing, reusing, recycling and even rotting my things. But I discovered that the whole first layer of refusing, is missing in my life.
What an eye opener!
I gladly accept the things given to me. Afterwards I realize that I could have said ‘NO’. I need to become aware of those moments and act in that moment. It needs a mindshift. A change of paradigm.
Time for change
The more I’m reading the more eager I get. Watching the documentary Plastic Oceans made me want to throw up. How can we as humans make such a mess of the planet given to us as a home to live on. Don’t we realize that what ends up in the garbage patch will influence not only sealife, but also humanlife, through toxics in food and water?
It’s time for change!
I’m overwhelmed with the topic, cheering for people like Boyan Slat and Bea Johnson, and ready to start doing my own little part.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Let me know in the comments below!