Inspired by fair trade and eco-conscious businesses, Best Self celebrates a call for a ‘Plastic Free July’ and a global shift one action at a time
I’m a little late in the game because I wasn’t aware of a movement calling for a ‘Plastic Free July’. First off, how awesome is that? On the other hand, if you are anything like me, you like a little lead time, a list of suggestions, a roadmap outlining what you are supposed to be doing like following a well-crafted diet plan.
But what if we all simply committed to starting somewhere…anywhere? Don’t get overwhelmed by the 1-month challenge. Don’t get derailed by the date on the calendar. What about 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week — 1 choice? Just start with one conscious decision to make a difference. Could you do that for Mother Nature?
The science is irrefutable: We are drowning in plastics and its adverse effects.
Simply stroll any beach to witness shores lined with the evidence of our convenience-of-plastic consumption.
Reducing plastic is all the rage in environmentally conscious circles…and it’s gaining traction for good reason: we need it and we can do something about it. Now. It’s not really an option any longer, yet the tides are not turning fast enough and we need to do better.
So what can you do?
Each small action taken can create large rippling effects. One less plastic bag, cup, container, water bottle, etc. — can dramatically restore our environment, save our beaches and marine life. There’s no denying it (and even one does matter).
It’s why learning about companies like Ten Thousand Villages that has a mission to create fair trade with ethical treatment to support artisans around the globe — combined with environmentally conscious initiatives like a call for ‘Plastic Free July’ — is music to my ears. And they are certainly have an agenda to create a ripple effect for good.
As their CEO, Llenay Ferretti says:
“Ten Thousand Villages has been pioneering the world of fair trade and putting people and planet first since 1946. We believe, and so do our artisan partners, that it is our responsibility to be good stewards of our precious planet. Together, we focus on the use of locally sourced, recycled and renewable materials in our products, and we work to promote creative re-use and energy efficiency in workshops. We’ve also been making strides to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic and have committed to using 100% recycled paper bags and tags in our stores, found innovative ways to use recycled newspaper for shipping, and have started the process of replacing plastic packaging with sustainable materials.“
Not only are they walking the global maker-to-market walk, they are talking the talk and promoting beautiful products to support this movement. A simple move from using bottled soap to using bar soap is a step in the plastic-free direction. Check out this piece they published on their website: 18 Easy Ways to Take Waste Out of Your Daily Routine for some hands-on inspiration.
And just imagine if every bottle you currently had in your house in this moment was the last you would ever purchase. In our bathrooms alone we are surrounded by shampoo and cosmetic bottles that we routinely toss out (and hopefully recycle). Imagine refilling them all: soaps, detergents, lotions — from the kitchen to the bathroom and laundry room, etc. And imagine if all of your favorite brands and companies got onboard to support these initiatives. Landfill be gone.
I’ve written about this before, but I’m blessed to have a ‘re-filling’ station in the form of a bright, stylish and eco-chic shop in my small town called Woodstock Bring Your Own. It’s all about conservation with style and convenience. Maybe there’s a similar resource near you (or maybe you want to create one!).
I know it’s not always easy, but when we do good, we feel good. It’s literally about rethinking routines, igniting awareness and taking action.
A few years ago, when I met the one-and-only Captain Charles Moore, Founder and Research Director of Algalita and author of Plastic Ocean— it was hard not to be distracted by his seemingly whimsical, colorful necklace. Upon closer inspection I realized, there was nothing whimsical about it. It was constructed of plastic remnants from everyday objects found in the ocean. Message received. They were the same kinds of things that wash up on shore and get lodged in marine life.
Algalita has a clear vision: To lead the world to a plastic pollution-free future. And Captain Charles knows a thing or two about this. After discovering the ‘island’ of garbage in the Pacific Ocean that is the size of Texas — he decided to do something about it. Today he embraces complex problems by empowering future leaders through research and education.
So all of this inspiration and good works by individuals and organizations leads me full circle back to this notion of a ‘Plastic Free July’ — a campaign led by the Plastic Free Foundation. Each year, millions of people around the globe take the challenge and choose to refuse single-use plastics. Theirs is a vision we can all embrace — to see a world without plastic waste.
To learn more about Plastic Free July and what you can do, check out this LIST on their website of suggestions about how you can get started; things that can be done at home, in schools, offices, community and local government.
Together, we can change the world one straw, one bag, one plastic container at a time. And you never know — perhaps your ‘July challenge’ will turn into your new routine…music to my Best Self ears and those of Mother Nature. And as a matter of fact, whenever I visit beaches I bring along a bag to collect trash. I took this lead picture a few years ago in Tulum after a morning walk.
Remember, we vote with our dollars, so be conscious where you spend them. Let’s request more from the businesses we support. Let’s get them all onboard.
Our planet is calling and connecting us to our humanity — are you ready to show up? Together we thrive.
We must work towards a world where plastic pollution is unthinkable.~Captain Charles Moore