From a ripple to a (non-trash infested) wave

Recently, I saw an article that made me really mad and made me remember why I wanted to start this blog in the first place… It was an article about sperm whales washing up on shore dead with their stomachs full of plastic and trash. Among the contents commonly found in the intestines of marine mammals include various types of plastic and plastic bags, fishing ropes and nets, and various garbage including the likes of towels, surgical gloves, duct tape, clothes, plastic canisters, and the list goes on. It’s not just marine animals either, it’s all wildlife that is affected by humans creating too much trash and not disposing of it responsibly. Like mama birds feeding their babies plastic pieces because they think it’s food… The full article about plastic/trash and the impact on wildlife here.

I know some people don’t care about any of that. Not everyone cries when the SPCA commercial is on (yeah, that’s me, animal lover). And that’s fine. But this affects us humans too. Do you really want to live in a world that looks like this?

Trash for eternity

Actually, too late, we do. A trash wave in Indonesia, which once was pristine waters.

This isn’t an environmental blog. I’m not pleading for the sperm whales and the polar bears of our generation. I just know that everything I do in my daily life, every choice I make, big or small, has an impact. Even things I didn’t think twice about, like doggy-bagging leftovers in a Styrofoam container at a restaurant or accepting a plastic bag at the drug store for one candy bar. I didn’t really think about those things before; they were just things that were a part of daily life, things that I took for granted. But when I really think about it, I’d rather not make decisions that might lead to sperm whales ingesting the plastic bags or Styrofoam I used one time and threw away. I’d rather think a little bit more about what I do, use, and buy and its consequences.

Yes, there’s more to it than that of course; there’s political, economical, societal, and cultural forces at work that I cannot control. That’s when I get discouraged, when I start dwelling on the things out of my control. But MY life I can do something about. MY habits I can change. MY consumption decisions I can think twice about.

To me, this blog is about being less on auto-pilot of what I’m used to and being more thoughtful of how my everyday decisions make an impact. What it’s not about is depriving myself of what I love. Or judging others for their decisions that don’t align with my own. I love eating out, cooking at home, buying clothes and prettying things, DIY-ing, traveling, and lots of other stuff. I see the potential to still enjoy the things I love but with a thoughtful “twist.” If I consider myself an average American consumer and all 7.1 billion people lived like me in this world, supposedly there needs to be five earths to support all of us. I don’t want to be an average American whose lifestyle requires such a ridiculous amount of resources (most of which Americans take for granted). I’m pretty sure I can be perfectly happy or even more fulfilled and happier by consuming less resources. Less stuff to buy, less clutter, more closet space, more $ to invest in things that really matter such as experiences and relationships.

If you changed one little habit and it had the potential to make the world a cleaner and better place, would you do it? Even if you couldn’t see the results immediately? What if you changed maybe a couple more habits and inspired (inspire, not force!) your close family and friends to do the same and they in turn inspired more people around them? When the ripple becomes a wave, I believe the potential for a cleaner and better world–a world where whales and birds don’t die from ingesting wayward plastic–could turn into reality.

2 thoughts on “From a ripple to a (non-trash infested) wave

  1. Sharon

    Great post. When I lived in Vancouver, they would charge for plastic bags (like ten cents each) at supermarkets so everyone was encouraged to bring their own bags. I know here they give you ten cents back at Whole Foods and Anthro, but maybe it should be the opposite to really encourage people to bring their own bags and reuse and recycle.

    Reply
  2. Angela

    thanks for always challenging me to think twice before i just mindlessly buy things :) your posts are so inspirational and thought-provoking!

    Reply

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