There is nothing better than things that make our busy lives easier. Just think about it, when you’re late for work or in a rush to meet someone and suddenly realize you’re dying of thirst, all you have to do is run into any store and grab a bottle of water, within a few seconds you’re right back on your way. Or say you make an impromptu pit stop to the grocery store to pick up one thing, but end up with a cart full of items, those plastic bags at the checkout counter are a serious life-saver.
The bottom line is, in the midst of our hectic lives, plastic can make things a whole lot easier. The only problem with this line of thinking is that it assumes plastic starts and ends with you. In reality, the process of making and disposing of all of that plastic is incredibly wasteful and detrimental to about every living creature on the planet. And when you consider the fact that we produce around 300 million tons of plastic every year and around 8.8 million of that gets dumped into the ocean, you can start to see the cost of our convenience pile up.
This is something that Lizzie Carr saw first hand when she set out to cross the English Channel on a stand-up paddleboard. According to The Guardian, Carr set out to complete this challenge after witnessing an inordinate amount of plastic trash while paddle boarding in London’s Paddington Basin.
Over the course of her 22 day journey, Carr was faced with plenty of plastic – in total, she catalogued around 1,600 plastic bottles, over 850 plastic bags, 40 footballs, 24 toys, seven dummies, a pair of traffic cones and one bin lid. Having only a paddleboard to support her along the way, she couldn’t exactly clean up all of this waste single-handedly, but rather she sought to document it to raise awareness in local communities.
“You see, I paddle boarded 400 miles across England to make a point. Whilst the global issue of plastic polluting our oceans is a hugely important one I struggle to get my head around why there isn’t bigger focus on the fact nearly 80 percent of it starts inland – on our canals and rivers,” Carr writes on her website, “That makes it a local issue and by drawing on this very fact it becomes very much our responsibility. Once we scale up the problem and look at it globally it transforms into an overwhelmingly large and often meaningless statistic far beyond our ability to grasp. The result? Simply cover our eyes, stick our fingers in our ears and ignore it.”
Noting a stark difference between the pristine waterways of more rural regions of England and the plastic-choked streams near cities, Carr was able to engage with residents and inspire them to act. She explains that everyone she spoke with felt badly about the plastic, but didn’t seem to know what to do about it.
“I’m hopeful in the belief that my actions will make an impact and get people to think serious about how to address the problem. I’ll stay persistent in the pursuit of change and focused on my determination to make a difference. You might be happy to trade nature with plastic, but I certainly am not,” writes Carr, “There is always hope.”
We couldn’t agree more with this idea. Although the extent of the world’s plastic problem is undeniable, we all have the power to take action.
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.