Who, how and why

This is where I hope to tell you a little bit more about me, why this issue is important to me and how I came to the decision to begin writing this site.

In case you missed the home page, this website and blog aims to discuss the issues and the causes of our societies ever increasing waste production and will focus on the overwhelming reliance we have on plastic, perhaps the worst offender of all. It aims to educate and inform and to make as easy as possible a shift towards living in a way that will reduce the negative footprint we leave on our planet, our home, every day.

Why write about it?

It all stems from a desire to try and make a difference, however small, and actively participate in the movement to protect our environment.

To really explain why I am doing this, I guess I should talk a little bit about me. I am a Marine Zoology graduate and newly qualified science teacher who was born here, in the UK, in East Yorkshire. I was lucky enough to be brought up with plenty of countryside around me and boy did I make the most of it. Ever since I can remember I have enjoyed being outdoors, playing with family and friends, be it in the garden or out in the countryside and in particular I have always had a love of animals. From critters, spiders and birds to the animals I would only really see in books or on the TV, I found them fascinating. I loved crawling through fields, looking at bugs and going bird watching.

Despite not living by the sea, the oceans and marine life were my biggest loves growing up, especially dolphins, and I would find any excuse to draw them in art or write about them in English. It is no surprise then that I went on to study Marine Zoology. Despite the fact that I haven’t continued a career in this field, in becoming aware of just how much our oceans are struggling in the face of plastic pollution, my love of the ocean and my desire to protect it has only strengthened in recent months.

But it isn’t just our oceans we should treasure and protect, I walk around now and see people walking briskly with their earphones in and I wonder if anyone stops to take them out to listen to the sound of the birds, the rustling of leaves or even just the sound of people talking. It might seem a little ‘hippy’ for want of a better term, but in a world where there seems to be a worrying disconnect from nature, I am glad to be someone who stops to appreciate those smaller things. So yes, I am the strange lady who, from time to time, smiles whilst walking, listening to the birdsong among the tide of people switched off from it all and walking with their heads down.

The one thing that doesn’t make me smile is the volume of litter that I see everywhere. I don’t remember crawling through litter in the parks as a child, or sidestepping it on the streets around town. Maybe I was just oblivious to it, I was a child after all, but now, as an adult, I notice it and I notice it every day. It is strewn across footpaths, caught in hedgerows, left in the parks and fields and even piled around bins. It is a visual indication and reminder of the rife throwaway attitude that society these days seems to have. Not only is it unsightly and potentially dangerous, it is harmful to our environment too, not just locally, but worldwide.

And what was I doing about it?

I had always considered myself to be well educated on the environment, I recycled when I could and would happily discuss the pitfalls of our country’s environmental policies with those around me, however, I realised after a few months exploring New Zealand in a campervan that, despite all of this, I actually did very little and I could so easily be doing a lot more.

So why did it take travelling to the other side of the world to realise this? It’s simple really. In New Zealand they make it easy, they talk about it, it is a big part of keeping their country’s green appeal. Don’t get me wrong, not all of their policies are perfect but that is a discussion for another time and place. Simply being somewhere that made it easier to be less wasteful and that by doing so forced you to think about it and actually act on it, made me realise how little I act on it at home. I could easily get annoyed and blame a lot of this on the lack of foresight in this country when it comes to making recycling and waste reduction easier, but then I realised that there are people out there trying and that instead of getting annoyed about it, maybe I should just try and do something about it too.

So began the research. Looking for solutions online brought up various blogs dedicated to others all trying to do the same and sharing their experience. There are some very popular blogs on this topic with some incredible information and depth, I will list many of them on here when I get the chance, but in all honestly I found much of the reading left me feeling quite overwhelmed and intimidated as to the sheer gravity of the task ahead.

I began to feel quite useless in the small efforts I had already begun to make and honestly, felt quite defeated on the matter. I was so aware of how important it was, yet here I was questioning the possibility of being plastic free and the difference I could really make.

For some time I put off the task, waiting to start my efforts when I knew I had the time, money and energy to actually achieve something. Funny thing is though, that time never really came around, so instead I just continued to do nothing. Some help I was being.

It dawned on me then that as much as I have major respect for anyone who is aiming to go totally plastic free, for most of us it just isn’t practical and it really isn’t helped by the idealistic goal of living a life totally free of plastic waste. It sounded amazing, but then so does going to the gym five days a week and getting amazingly toned, it doesn’t make it easy. I can’t count the number of gym subscriptions I have wasted, and more often than not the reason I give up is quite simply because I push myself way too hard to begin with. I hit a wall, the whole seems impossible and it becomes easier to let it slide and tell myself I will try again next month. I’m sure I am not alone in that observation, in fact I know I’m not, and it was the same thing that made a shift to plastic free living seem so impossible. I was looking at it as an all-or-nothing task, and as a result I was failing to do anything.

So I realised, being waste free might not be practical, being plastic free might not be practical, but adopting new habits and making changes to reduce your waste can be done. It is just a matter of setting small goals, being proud of the little achievements, forgiving yourself for lapses and slowly but surely changing habits.

In time, I hope to fill this site and blog with plenty of ideas, no matter how small, from simple and cheap to hands on and frivolous, to help everyone to do this and achieve a lifestyle as practically free of plastic as possible, in as practical a way as possible, so that together we might better take care of our planet and our home.

I came across a quote a few years ago which I wanted to put on here because I believe it so perfectly explains the importance of educating others on a passion you feel strongly about. It was spoken in 1968 by Baba Dioum, a Senegalese forestry engineer who felt strongly about the natural resource management. It is directed at conservation, but nevertheless is applicable to so many scenarios.

“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.”

I hope that you will find this website educational and informative as to the current issues we face, that it inspires a desire for change and makes the task of doing so more achievable, practical and tangible for all.