A few years ago I had the chance to get SCUBA certified and my life changed forever. Little did I know that it was the beginning of the most amazing love affair with ocean life, which showed me the goods and the bads of human interaction with sea life. Shortly after, I got to visit the Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys and held in my hand a bag of plastic debris extracted from a sick turtle’s stomach. My view on how we impact the earth will never be the same after that day.
Long story short, it’s one thing to talk about being an environmentalist and another to be faced with the true impact of our consumption. I learned that we need more action than just talk. I learned the following:
Plastic in, plastic in forever. Just don’t buy or use plastic. Period.
Plastic is like those pesky splinters – once you get one in your finger, it’s annoying, it can get infected and takes forever to go away. Why would we purposefuly “splinter” the Earth?
I adore turtles. They are the guardians of the reefs. I want them to be safe because they’re alive and useful, not just cute. We need turtles (and other key sea creatures) the same way we need trees. Every time you discard plastic you’re hurting a turtle. You wouldn’t leave chocolate around if you have a dog, knowing that he’d get sick. Why allow plastics to be left around for other animals to get sick?
And please, don’t give me the “recycling” argument. You and I both know that for every piece of plastic we recycle there’s another piece of plastic that ends up in a landfill.
Fleece and other polyester clothing – stop washing it, stop wearing it, stop buying it and if you have any, get it recycled.
And I’m talking to you too, B-Corp Patagonia. Even if your fleece is made from recycled polyester, a study by the School of Biology & Environmental Sciences, University College Dublin showed that:
Experiments sampling wastewater from domestic washing machines demonstrated that a single garment can produce >1900 fibers per wash. This suggests that a large proportion of microplastic fibers found in the marine environment may be derived from sewage as a consequence of washing of clothes. As the human population grows and people use more synthetic textiles, contamination of habitats and animals by microplastic is likely to increase.
There are also problems with how we process organic cotton and wool, so natural fibers are not necessarily “greener.” However, it’s easier to improve manufacturing practices than to take back plastics from the ocean.
And for the yogis out there, very proud of their clean, green living – what are your yoga clothes made of? Do you know where the material came from, how it was processed? Maybe this Earth Day we can do a bit of closet clean-up.
Think before you buy.
Never before have we had this much information on where our products come from and how they were made. We are honored to be a Certified B Corporation, and their website has a wealth of information about the practices of each member company (including Patagonia, Method, Seventh Generation). Don’t fall for the fads out there – buying a Whole Foods organic red pepper grown in Mexico and wrapped in plastic is more harmful in the long term than buying a locally grown non-organic and imperfect red pepper.
Think about it – do I really need this, is this truly what it says it is, whom is this helping, whom is this hurting?
Eat some chicken, leave the fish in peace.
Contrary to popular opinion, being a pescatarian may be worse for the planet than eating other meats in moderation.
A few years ago I dove the reefs of Jamaica. I could picture how magnificent these reefs had once been. Towering over 100 feet in places, with arches and dive-throughs like those I experienced in Cozumel. Unfortunatelly, these reef walls had been dead for years. The coral was in the black stage, and deserted by all life except invasive species such as Lion Fish. In fact Snapper had dissapeared, and the locals had taken to eating Parrot Fish. Parrot Fish, the reef cleaners, were now being decimated.
The Monterey Bay Acquarium Seafood Watch published a nifty sustainable fish eating guide and iphone app. So next time you go out, heed their advice. Or eat some damn organic free range chicken, guilt-free!
Learn from others:
Below is the list of 50 active twitter accounts you should follow. They get two thumbs up for their true dedication to the environment and for being open about their views on the topic.
Who should we add to the list? Click “Add to List” or leave us a comment!
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