You may have heard it in recent news: biodiversity is dramatically declining. Between 1970 and 2012 already 58% of worldwide animal populations ceased to exist and the future isn’t looking any brighter (WWF, Living Planet Report 2016), especially with the election of a new leader of ‘the free world’ that believes climate change is a hoax. The human race is – at this very exact moment – causing the 6th mass extinction, and the worst thing is the lack of realization that this affects both animals and humans alike. Every year we’re consuming more and more natural resources, putting an enormous strain on our planet. Earth overshoot day fell on August 8 (!) this year, which means we’re currently using the resources of 1.6 planets.
Part of this crisis is due to our plastic consumption, enough of this ‘fantastic’ material is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. Where does it all go? Some part is recycled, quite a bit ends up in landfills, but the vast majority ends up in nature. And if you know that the plastic from just one liter bottle can break down in such small toxic segments, that it could be found on every mile of beach throughout the world, you know that it’s bad news. Plastic currently constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating around on the ocean’s surface, killing one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals annually. Not very odd numbers since almost every piece of plastic that was ever made, still exists in some shape or form. It takes at least 500 years for plastic to be completely broken down in nature (Ecowatch, 2014).
What can we do to end this negative spiral? Ditch the plastic!
- Bring your own reusable shopping bags and water containers
- Ask friends to help with dishes instead of using plastic alternatives for big events
- Sip from cups instead of single use straws (or bring your own reusable straw)
- Buy your groceries in bulk
- Locate ‘no waste’ shops in your country
- Get your cds, dvds, games online
- Ask takeout restaurants and other stores if you can use your own container.
Luckily, some companies in the fashion industry are already one step ahead. ECOALF, for example, was created to realize innovation in recycled clothing. They’ve launched a project that removes waste from oceans with the help of fishermen. Afterwards, the plastic debris is separated from the waste and transformed into fabric. Since September last year, they’ve already collected 59 tons of garbage.
Another company who’s turning the tide on ocean pollution is Bionic. The name might ring a bell, since the plastic yarn company was co-founded by Pharrell Williams. Together with G-Star Raw, Bionic has already designed four “RAW for the Oceans” capsule collections, resulting in the recovery of more than 2 million plastic containers from ocean coastlines around the world. Sounds pretty amazing to me!
So tell me, are you with me and these brilliant companies?
I would like to end with a message from Pharrell:
“Dear human beings, we vacation by the oceans, we bathe in the oceans, we eat from the oceans, but very few of us think of the oceans beyond what we want from it. The oceans need us now.”
Pictures by Maya