The problem is upstream.
Hiking 5 miles through the beautiful Sipsey Wilderness, we had nearly 3 hours without a sign of human trash. Then the tire. It doesn’t fit in here, where there are no roads or cars anywhere near. But there it is, washed up on the river bank, shining in the sun. It came from upstream, brought here from some mismanaged area of humanity, a visual image of our waste problem.
We can pick up trash all day, but it just keeps coming. We can clean up the plastic in the ocean, but it keeps pouring out from our cities.
The problem is upstream:
1. the over production of disposable, single-use items
2. the habits of our throw-away lifestyle
3. the lack of effectively supported recycling facilities
4. the lack of widespread environmental education
5. and with the greatest impact, the failure of big business and policy to curb and offer alternatives to this increasingly-produced plastic problem.
As with most change, it has to begin with us, the people. By our choices, small steps and greater activism, we collectively show policy makers and businesses what needs to happen.
What steps can you take today?
When you make purchases, you cast a vote. Buying plastic-free and choosing products made and packaged responsibly send signals to producers, and they will follow the money. Reach out to companies and request more sustainable packaging, better products. Raise your voice. Ask for recycling receptacles in your office, in schools, in public places. Let’s join together, use our human innovation and creativity to solve problems one step at a time.
“We may be little fish compared to multibillion-dollar corporations, but little fish can swim together in the same direction.” -Marcus Eriksen
Small steps made together create great change.