When I was in Thailand beach vacationing a month ago, it was wonderful to be at such a lovely tropical, picturesque place. The warm comfortable air and cool sea breeze, the ocean that felt like warm bathwater, the blue sky that turned to an orange-pink sky during sunset and the deserted beaches that made you feel like you were in a remote paradise. Everything about this place was perfect. It was until the first morning that I woke up early to beach comb only to find garbage and plastic that had washed up on the beach overnight. It was heartbreaking to see it and I probably wouldn't have if I didn't wake up early because the staff was actually picking up the garbage to clean the beach before their guests arose. It was then that reality hit me and I was no longer in this dreamy place that probably only now exists in my head.
If you don't know by now, I'm a lover of all things water, ocean and sea. There's just something about the sea that I love, I crave, and just makes me so super happy. It's definitely my happy place. It's also a place I would hate to see ruined or destroyed because of every day human existence, and sadly, it's something that I've seen first hand, and you probably have too if you've ever been to a beach. Whether it's people leaving their trash behind, or plastic that has washed up on the beach from the ocean, or even lumps of tar (yes, some of you Socal folks know what I'm talking about) it's so evident that we are polluting our world, and the thing is, most people don't think about it, or if they do they just think "Oh, this place is dirty", but don't actually realize what it does to our environment and the importance of it and how it affects us. It's not just about enjoyment of nature, it's also about your personal health and well-being. It's not about if you care about the ocean or not, it's about how these things will affect you. I'm not going to go into too much detail, but if my story wasn't enough or you're interested in learning more, I recommend starting off with watching the documentary Plastic Paradise.
Call it my hippie nature coming out, but we've got to start thinking of these things and about the things we can do to help preserve everything we've been blessed with on Earth. Now, I'm not the picture perfect example by any means when it comes to saving the environment. I'm also not so radical that I think everyone should resort to going back to living like cavemen, but I do think there are some simple things we can start with to make a difference, and if we all did them, that difference would be huge. Here are a few simple, easy things you can start (or keep) doing to help:
- Use reusable cloth bags when grocery shopping
- Buy a reusable water bottle or two and use these instead of plastic water bottles (insulated ones are great for hot and cold drinks, especially helpful when getting coffee at your local coffee shop too)
- Try to use less one-time use plastic as much as you can (utensils, straws, cups, etc)
- Take shorter showers
If you're up for a bigger challenge try some of these:
- Going trash free for a whole day (you can do it!)
- Go even one step further when grocery shopping and put your produce in a reusable produce bag or just skip a bag entirely-- it's gonna go into a bag (hopefully your reusable one) when you take it home anyway
- Buy reusable utensils and keep them with you or in your car so you have them on hand if the only option is one-time use plastic
- When possible, always choose glass or aluminum over plastic beverage bottles