Small Steps

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I went for a walk at the nearby beach a couple of days ago. Big mistake. Normally I go on my bicycle. You see different things when walking. There was a stretch of rocks covered with trash, most of them plastic bottles. I came home sad and depressed, and woke up at 2 am worrying. So yesterday, I decided to go back to the beach armed with a large bin bag and a yellow reusable gardening glove. I picked up one bagful of single use plastic bottles in less than ten minutes. I brought it home on my bike and put it in my green bin. I know it’s not going to change the world, but it’s something. And I was able to sleep last night.

I have been engaged in trying to reduce plastic packaging for quite a while now. It’s like Sisyphus pushing the rock uphill. My latest approach is buy loose produce or produce with the least packaging from two different supermarkets, and then go to the local farmer’s market on my bike (unless it’s lashing rain) for locally produced organic veg that comes packaging-free and with a low carbon footprint. Frankly, it’s head-melting but I don’t see an alternative. The photo attached to this post is the non-recyclable plastic packaging I now have after three months of various experiments. I would love to buy everything at the market, but just now I don’t have the money to do that. I suspect that many people are juggling in a similar way, trying to do the right thing within budget. David Attenborough’s new documentary, A Life on Our Planet, is on Netflix today. If we are to have a future, let’s hope the politicians are watching. Even the Dalai Lama says that action, not meditation, is what is needed now.

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