“The Earth Is What We All Have In Common”– Wendell Berry.
Enable Nature – Enable Future
A community is a place where you can feel safe and comfortable, and we are a community for the Earth, and the Earth is our community. But it seems like we have taken our home for granted. No? Should we have some reality check?
- These days, there are up to 500 chemicals in an average human body that was not found in humans before 1920. In total, there are almost 80,000 synthetic chemicals in today´s market.
- Almost half of all seabird species, 22% of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic found in or around their bodies.
- The only relatively clean place on Earth is Antarctica. The continent is protected by the Antarctic Treaty that prohibits military activities, mineral mining, nuclear explosions, and nuclear waste disposal.
We- The fortunate ones, have this beautiful living place but sadly our actions have turned nature into something we can’t even call natural anymore. The rising level of plastic pollution, unhealthy disposal practices and lack of awareness of eco-friendly substitutes are the fundamental causes of downfall world sustainability. Have we really thought over how our actions are leading the whole word towards degrading future scenarios and costing us so many lives?
IS PLASTIC REALLY WORTH THE CONVENIENCE IT OFFERS?
Plastic use has grown at a tremendous rate over the past two decades and it has become an important aspect of our modern lifestyle. We, humans, have identified the conveniences plastic offer, but have badly failed to realize the material’s dark side. More than 99% of plastics are processed from chemicals extracted from oil, natural gas, and coal — all of which are environmentally unfriendly, non-renewable resources. Made to be used just once, plastic can last forever in the environment as it takes hundreds to thousands of years to breakdown and decomposes in nature. Though millions of tons of plastic are created every year, only 9% of that is recycled which means that 91% ends up in landfills, in oceans, and in the bellies of marine life as an unmanaged waste.
Adding to one’s surprise, the majority of the synthetic chemicals that are used in making plastic more strong, flexible and durable have never been tested for how they affect our health. These additives can be absorbed by the skin, evaporate into the air or absorbed via the food or drinks we consume.
Want to know how we consume plastic unknowingly or even knowingly?
- We eat plastic contaminated seafood: Scientists have identified microplastics in 114 marine species, and almost one-third of these end up on our plates. Microplastics (small pieces of plastic)contain chemicals that affect normal hormone function and even interfere with brain development in children.
- We consume plastic via packaging: Chemical BPA exists in many plastic objects that come in direct contact with food through plastic packaging, kitchenware and the inner coatings of beverages. BPA disrupts the human endocrine system and impacts metabolism, heart rate, digestion and fertility in humans.
- We drink plastic via bottled water: The World Health Organisation (WHO) published shocking research in 2018 which exposed the presence of microplastics in 90% of bottled water which had been tested – only 17 were free of plastics out of 259.
- We absorb plastic through our clothes: Yes, you read that correctly. The Global Apparel Fiber Consumption research highlights that – out of 100,000 kg of fibers consumed worldwide in one year – 70% are synthetic. Synthetic fabrics don’t allow your skin to breathe, traps odors and acts as a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.
- We breathe plastic: Where there is poor waste management, people often have no choice but to burn their trash in the open air. A report published in March 2018 shows that 5 billion people globally live without waste collection or controlled waste disposal. Roughly 9 million people die each year as a result.
Have you ever imagined a mountain of trash? Well, that’s the undoubted reality and consequence of our bad karma to the environment. World Bank Study highlights that single-use plastics account for 40 percent of the total plastic produced every year. This means a major portion of the plastic produced is meant to be used just once and then thrown away. These involve daily use stuff such as water bottles, plastic bags, beverage cups, straws, cutleries, and there protective packaging.
We encounter this life-threatening monster on an every-day basis and are fine with it. Like Really???
ARE WILDLIFE CREATURES AT FAULT?
Plastic waste is becoming a major cause of the destruction of ocean ecosystems and wildlife and shortening animal lifespans. Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. According to the United Nations, at least 800 species worldwide are affected by marine debris, and as much as 80 percent of that litter is plastic. Plastic pollution has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife Fish, seabirds, sea turtles, and marine mammals as they can become entangled in or ingest plastic debris, causing suffocation, starvation, and drowning. These toxins can alter the hormones which regulate their body’s growth and development, in addition to their metabolism and reproductive functions.
People often dump a lot of plastic in patches of unprotected wildland. This increases the probability of wild animals encountering plastic exponentially. Consumption of Microplastics disrupts the hormone system of vertebrates and invertebrates and this is impacting food chains and degrading natural habitats. This is just a small peek into the casualties faced by animals. How many of them and up to what they have been disturbed; we don’t know- but we know the consequences will be dire unless we take action.
Is it all really worth the Convenience? Probably now we have got the answer. Dump plastic use, Enable nature and Switch over to eco-friendly substitutes as a responsible being now.
WHY BEING ECO-FRIENDLY MATTERS?
Today, things are being produced, used and then discarded at a rapid pace. We as planet saviors need to switch to eco-friendly alternatives otherwise we will be surrounded by the pollution and toxins everywhere. What do we actually mean when we say “Get Eco-friendly”? It involves adopting:
· Products those are originally grown,
· Products those are recyclable, reusable and biodegradable,
· Products with natural ingredients,
· Products containing recycled contents, non-toxic chemical,
· Products that do not harm or pollute the environment,
· Products that have eco-friendly packaging i.e. reusable, refillable containers, etc.
Choose to be original in this world of imitation. Because this is what will last forever.
Eco-friendliness of a product overpowers all the bad consequences of a plastic product. Being energy-efficient products, they do not incorporate fossil fuel which reduces carbon emissions. Unlike plastic products, eco-friendly items are biodegradable that can be reused or recycled and as a result, promote an effective waste management system. Choosing products and services that use recycled materials or waste as raw material also helps to save our natural resources. Not only are sustainable products safe for the environment, but they are also safe for people and the communities as well. In addition to the products, choosing eco-friendly packaging for them is equivalently essential. Product design that incorporates green packaging is less bulky and incorporates non-toxic compostable materials. Along with conserving natural resources, eco-friendly product packaging is versatile enough to suit any application or industry.
At the individual level, we as consumers need to be well informed of the eco-friendly materials and there positive impact on the environment. We need to understand that small changes in our daily use of products can lead us towards a better life- a sustainable one. Enable original, Enable nature, Enable Future!!!
HOW TO GET ECO-FRIENDLY?
Perfectly said, “Change starts from within”. In order to make the planet a liveable place, we need to identify the daily use of harmful products found in our households. The most common single-use plastics involve carrying bags, plastic drinking bottles, plastic bottle caps, plastic grocery bags, plastic sachets, straws and stirrers, and multi-layer packaging used for food packing. We must replace these commonly used plastic products with eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to Enable Future :
- Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Plastic bottles need an eco-friendly alternative that is disposable and non-toxic in every way.
- Plastic Straws are among the many throw-away products being rapidly manufactured by large corporations because of their cheap rates and durability. We are consuming beverages and drinks using this chemical made straws. By Adopting Bamboo Straws we can become more Eco-friendly.
- Plastic shopping bags on land are one of the most common types of litter which take up to 1,000 years to degrade. Every year we use up to 5 trillion disposable plastic bags.
- Plastic Cutlery and drinkware are popular choices n households because of being light-weight and durable. Synthetic chemicals used in making plastic cups and mugs have serious health disadvantages.
Big change can be brought by introducing small changes in our lifestyle. Along with the support of manufacturers, we as consumers have a big role to play in bringing eco-friendly revolution. Eco-friendly alternatives are available in the market and can become a boom provided consumers demand such products at their end. Swapping regular items for eco-conscious alternatives is the crucial step towards zero waste living. Plastic waste can be reduced by altering manufacturing processes, use of recycled materials as inputs, or designing of new materials that can be degraded or more easily recycled. These could include:
Stainless steel options in the market for food and beverage storage have multiplied in recent years. They inculcate useful property of being tough and easy to clean. One can replace single-use cups, plastic bottles, kitchen storage, and more with this durable eco-friendly metal.
Inert, inexpensive, and infinitely recyclable, glass can serve as another eco-friendly alternative. Today we see many food items come packaged in glass. They can be used for various purposes like food storage, and homemade drinks, or decorated and turned into homemade gifts.
Platinum silicone is made primarily of sand, food-grade and is completely flexible and durable. Due to its heat tolerance ability, one can use it for cooking purposes without danger of denaturing.
Natural fiber cloth
Sustainable clothing made from organic cotton, wool, hemp, or bamboo can phase out the use of plastic bags. As an eco-friendly choice, these alternatives are versatile, safe, and made from compostable material.
Bamboo is one of nature’s most sustainable resources as it is naturally regenerative. This fast-growing renewable resource can replace plastic in items like tableware and drinking straws.
Cardboard is fully compostable as long as it’s not coated with any chemical or plastic. In today’s time, product packaging involves significant use of plain cardboard as it helps to cut down waste and is a sustainable choice.
ROLE OF FARMERS IN BRINGING TRANSFORMATION
Often we neglect our farmers and their immense contribution to maintaining our life. Farmers are the major source from where we can get the natural, recyclable and organic materials that are going to be an excellent replacement to toxic sources of chemicals. Bamboo, wool, corn starch, jute, wheat straw, etc. are some of the eco-friendly materials that can be made available only when farmers make efforts to grow and harvest them. They are the first point of contact for our sustainable efforts. Boom to eco-friendly, natural and handmade products will bring in wider avenues for our framers. From a wider perspective, this change will improve the economic condition of farmers and provide them the recognition they surely deserve.
SO WHAT IS MORE CONVENIENT CHOICE FOR PLANET??
Ecologically sustainable practices build a stable economy. If the earth loses all its pleasantness, what the increase of wealth and prosperity will count for? Survival and advancement are human nature, and to do these things we must adopt a new path that fits human nature into the rest of nature.
Evidently, we need to say goodbye to plastic use and make eco-friendly and sustainable choices. This is very much the start of bringing the change; a change that will enable nature and let it take the lead.
What would refuse one plastic bag from a store change? Well now, the answer is what you think.