Happy Earth Day everyone! This campaign is now in its 48th year and is more significant today than it ever was. More and more of us are becoming aware of our pollution and impact on our planet and the consequences that come with it. As dramatised as it was for entertainment purposes… ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ seems to be an ever more realistic example of what’s to come if we don’t change our behaviour.
Disclaimer – some readers may find the images in this post distressing
Many of you will have seen the video of the turtle with the straw stuck up his nose or the whale that breaches to thank those who untangled them from fishing nets. They’re heartbreaking to watch and are almost an everyday occurrence.
Earth Day 2018 is focusing on plastic pollution. Plastic does not ever fully go away, it just breaks up into tiny minuscule pieces. Both land and sea animals often mistake plastic for food and cannot digest it or get completely tangled and are unable to swim… causing them to drown or die from painful injuries. This just shouldn’t be happening and breaks my heart.
Most of the plastic we have ever produced ends up in the sea. It’s so bad that there is literally a soup of plastic that stretches between 270,000 miles (the size of Texas) to 5,800,000 miles (about the size of Russia). That is absolutely mind blowing and this is not what our oceans should look like.
There are over 150 million tons of plastic in the oceans today.
That is about 1 tonne of plastic for every 3 tonnes of fish. If nothing changes, plastic will be outweighing fish in the ocean by 2050.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, at least 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans each year. That’s the equivalent of dumping one rubbish truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute! Every single minute. If we don’t change our ways this will increase to two trucks a minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050. To blow your mind even more… there are 51 trillion microplastic particles in the ocean today. That’s 500 times more than the number of stars in our entire galaxy.
What’s even worse is that a mere 9% of the world’s plastic gets recycled. 9 frickin percent?! 79% of that ends up in landfill and will ultimately find it’s way into the ocean at one point or another.
A plastic bag is used for approx 12 minutes before it is thrown away
I am extremely environmentally conscious so I recycle, I compost, I reuse and it was a big contribution towards my choice to go meat-free. However, I appreciate that not all of the best measures to protect against it are convenient for some people. There’s next to no chance that my home could end up waste-free, even with my best efforts. But there are so many alternatives to single-use plastic or even just plastic products. From reusable shopping bags to stainless steel travel mugs or refusing straws with your drinks. Giving up plastic can be as simple as a single choice. And those little changes can make a huge, huge difference.
Personally, I don’t see the point in wasting time and money to see if we can colonise another planet. We should be investing that energy and resource into maintaining and protecting the one we live on now. Not just to jump ship and repeat our mistakes over again… but I digress.
I was so glad to see that the UK has proposed a ban on plastic straws, cotton buds and drinks stirrers. It’s a step in the right direction and the fact that Governing bodies are taking this seriously and taking action to protect our planet gives me a little glimmer of hope.
Check out EarthDay.org to see what you can do to cut down your plastic waste and give the planet a helping hand.
Until next time ♡