When I was in middle school, seventh grade to be exact, my Earth science teacher gave us each a worksheet and told us to fill it in. The first question was: how many showers a day do you take? Then: How long are those showers? Next: How much television do you watch per week? Followed with: Do you recycle? As the survey reached an end, the final conclusion stated how many earths it would require for me to live sustainably with my current habits. I was shocked to see that it would take THREE Earths for me to consume as much as I am from this planet! More surprising was that I had classmates who used five -- wow.
This brings into question our behaviors and how they impact each and every part of Earth. Though we may not realize how our singular life could affect the world, we may understand that we are one in a billion of people who feel the same way, and the total of all of our actions have a profound influence on our planet’s health. The oil crisis, deforestation, global warming, etc should not, at this point, remain foreign topics to the general public, for these serve as significant issues that plague our Earth. However, not many people realize that a myriad number of ways exist that continue to harm Mother Nature. Not only does deforestation or using fossil fuels negatively affect the planet, but also consuming seafood, not recycling properly, using single-use plastics, and NOT educating ourselves on such vital matters truly contribute to Earth’s slow death. Not to mention, the massive human rights violations that surround these global issues.
For those that have not seen Seaspiracy, this recent documentary shown on Netflix highlights and exposes the dangers in overfishing, and how human demand for fish leads to the constant slaughter of sharks, dolphins, whales, and other necessary creatures. We do not necessarily realize that something as simple as our diets can cause such mass death. Fishermen in countries that serve as “hotspots” for fishing realize that slowly populations are diminishing. The solution? Kill the animals that naturally eat these fish in order to increase how many can remain for human consumption. Another fact from the documentary: men, young to old, find themselves enslaved on ships, tricked into believing they are simply hired to work on fishing rigs, but then finding themselves barely fed, never paid, beaten to fish illegally at all hours of the night, and abused to the point of death. These men never see their families and sometimes have to jump overboard in order to escape to safety. Though we may be unable to directly tackle this issue from the safety of our homes and in the bubbles in which we may live, we have every ability to change our habits in order to save our oceans and the people whose lives are directly tied to it.
Zero waste living is an up and coming lifestyle towards which increasing numbers of people are transitioning. Zero waste living implies utilising cloths, recyclable goods, reusable items, and eating foods in their entirety (typically non-meat due to meat’s incredibly horrific carbon footprint). Think of it this way: nothing you ever buy goes to waste, and you have the added bonus of making much fewer trips to take out your trash! Instead of paper towels, perfectly sized cloth can be used for spills, etc. and one machine-wash cleans them for their next use. Instead of plastic tupperware, glass tupperware or mason jars efficiently store all products including produce in the fridge. Think of the money saved when there’s reduced spending on continuously replenishing paper towels, paper plates, plastic utensils, toilet paper, etc. Our society has to catch up tremendously on the damage it has inflicted upon nature and its harmless creatures. Remember, we collectively can make a positive impact and work towards replenishing our planet, hopefully eventually reversing the damage.
I highly recommend taking a look at the recommendation below, hopefully these resources can enlighten each and every one of us about our place in this world and what small steps we can make towards global healing :)
Documentary: Seaspiracy - Netflix
Instagram: @going.zero.waste Kathryn Kellogg
Book: Cradle to Cradle: Rethinking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart
Article: Can Fashion Ever Be Sustainable - BBC
Store Your Produce Sustainably - Huffington Post