The phrase ‘CLIMATE CHANGE’ produces many reactions in people. Some find it overwhelming, some deeply sad, some terrifying and some people just don’t seem to give a stuff, thinking that they can’t make a difference, so why even bother trying to? Whatever your reaction, the most destructive of these is apathy. If we want our children to grow up in a world that is prosperous and healthy, if we want to stop eliminating our endangered species at an alarming rate, if we want to protect our littered oceans, if we want to protect ourselves from the consumption of microplastics, then we all need to become aware, get involved, and make consistent changes in our day to day lives in order to minimise the destructive effects of climate change.
This topic is way too big to cover in one blog, so we are going to break it down into two sections - plastic and air pollution. We want to share some extraordinary and scary facts with you, along with what we do to combat climate change! We find these tips and tricks super easy to implement into our day to day lives and with a little practice it becomes second nature.
We definitely don’t want this blog to come across as a lecture. We want to empower the individual so that feelings of helplessness and apathy can be combated. We truly believe that together we can make a big impact.
Let’s have a look at some numbers regarding plastics (sourced from The National Geographic):
“Half of all plastics ever manufactured have been made in the last 15 years.” (Parker, 2019)
WHAT?! If you think about it, that’s a ridiculously short amount o time to have created one of the worlds biggest global problems!
“Production increased exponentially, from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons by 2015. Production is expected to double by 2050.” (Parker, 2019)
Can anyone else see just HOW UNSUSTAINABLE THIS IS?
“Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world.” (Parker, 2019)
And once that plastic enters the ocean, the effects this has on our beautiful marine wildlife are devastating!
“Plastics often contain additives making them stronger, more flexible, and durable. But many of these additives can extend the life of products if they become litter, with some estimates ranging to at least 400 years to break down.” (Parker, 2019)
Again, how is that OK? How is that in any way sustainable? Long after we are gone our plastic lives on!
Franny and Zooey’s Tips and Tricks:
It’s super easy to implement this at home and almost as easy to implement when you are out. If you can’t find a recycling bin, why not hold onto your rubbish till you can.
SOFT PLASTIC RECYCLING
Any plastics that you can scrunch up can be recycled at any supermarket! We put them in a separate bin at home, and take them to our local Coles for recycling.
WHO GIVES A CRAP!
We love this toilet paper!! Its packaging is plastic free, and is made from 100% recycled paper. Also, 50% of their profits go towards improving improve sanitation in developing countries! Check it out: https://au.whogivesacrap.org/
REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS
Most people bring their green bags to the supermarket, but some still wrap their fruit and veg in plastic bags. Most of the time you don’t need a plastic bag, but if you do you could try using reusable fruit and veg bags, or you could collect your veggies in the paper mushroom bags. Here’s what we use: https://www.onyalife.com/product/reusable-produce-bag-8pack/
We never use glad wrap. Instead we use beeswax wraps or suction lids to keep our food fresh. Check out the suuuppper cute designs! https://www.biome.com.au/809-beeswax-food-wraps
BULK FOOD STORES
Plastic packaging and single use plastics are the main contributors to plastic pollution. Whenever we shop, we try to be mindful of the items we purchase and just how much plastic is used. This can be so hard. There are great bulk food stores out there like ‘The Source’, which make this so much easier. They are committed to reducing plastic packaging with the use of paper bags and glass jars. You can find SO much in their store such as pasta, rice, nuts, oats, cereal, coffee, tea, peanut butter, honey, cereal, even dish washing liquid and shampoo/conditioner! https://thesourcebulkfoods.com.au/
Have a go at picking up a piece of rubbish or two next time you go for a walk. Imagine the difference this would make if everyone did it!?
Unfortunately most single-use coffee cups can’t be recycled. Why not invest in a keep cup!
Think about all the plastic in the packaging used in pads and tampons. Menstrual cups are such a great, practical alternative.
We recommend following ‘Take 3 for the Sea’ and having a listen to the ‘Health Code’ podcast episode ‘Truth About The Ocean and Plastic… Is it Really THAT bad!? - Tim Silverwood Answers’. It’s super informative and interesting! One point they make is if you consume seafood, all the microplastics that the marine life have consumed enter your body.
AIR POLLUTION FACTS:
Cars, planes, power plants and the burning of fossil fuels create carbon dioxide. “Humans have pumped enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the past 150 years to raise its levels higher than they have been for hundreds of thousands of years.” (Nunez, 2019)
Livestock creates a gas called methane which is a significant contributor to air pollution. (Nunez, 2019)
“Air pollution has been linked to an increase in cancer, heart disease, stroke, and respiratory diseases such as asthma.” (Nunez, 2019)
Franny and Zooey’s Tips and Tricks:
Try going vegetarian/vegan or reducing your meat intake. Aside from the horrendous mistreatment of animals that takes place in the meat industry, livestock produce an extraordinary amount of methane gas every year! That creates a HUGE negative impact on our environment. If we reduce the demand for meat it will make a massive difference.
We are super lucky that we live in an area where we have shops, our work and our social life at our fingertips. If you need to travel long distances consider car pooling or catching public transport.
HANG YOUR WASHING!
Tumble dryers are the worst! They use an extraordinary amount of energy. Letting your laundry dry on a clothes horse or washing line is a great alternative.
Investigate where your gas and electricity comes from, and consider switching to green energy. We recently made the switch and it turned out to be only $3-4 extra dollars a month. Switching to green energy helps to increase the demand for renewable energy in Australia.
The list goes on and on. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the things you could be doing to reduce your contribution to plastic and air pollution. Try implementing one thing at a time and slowly it’ll become second nature. If you want to investigate how much your day to day life impacts the earth you can calculate your ‘ecological footprint’. This can be very eye opening. https://www.wwf.org.au/get-involved/change-the-way-you-live/ecological-footprint-calculator#gs.1ke95t
We hope you’ve found this helpful. Remember that you CAN make a difference. However small your contribution may seem, its effects do matter. If you have any other ideas we’d love to hear them!!
Nunez, C. 2019. Air pollution, explained. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/pollution/
Parker, L. 2019. The world's plastic pollution crisis explained. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/habitats/plastic-pollution/
Snowden, S. 2019. 300-Mile Swim Through The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Will Collect Data On Plastic Pollution. Image retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottsnowden/2019/05/30/300-mile-swim-through-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch-will-collect-data-on-plastic-pollution/#13eebfb8489f