31 Jul Bodies Like Oceans – A Talk on Conscious Lifestyle

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Following Solène’s talk during Tech Open Air Berlin at Remerge where about 100 persons attended last July, here are some key facts that were highlighted during the event, making Highvisioned exploring over the last years how to transition away from plastic excess around us and what the next steps for a true plastic-free revolution are.

The truth is, there is an issue with plastic presence. Over the past seven decades, plastic brought a real revolution in every household, city, office. It brought solutions everywhere and removed pain points in various daily situations. We all experience its convenience every day: it is light, cheap, unbreakable, colourful, adaptable. The perfect solution, in appearance. But plastic is a design failure. It is made to last forever but for a big part, it is used in average 12 minutes before being thrown away.

 

A Cocktail of Disturbing Facts (with a plastic straw, please)

 

The earth doesn’t digest plastic

  • Every year, we are producing more than 300 million tonnes of plastic. Hard to visualise how heavy it can be? This is the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population on the planet.
  • By 2050, there will be in oceans the same weight of plastic as the weight of fish: plastics use is expected to quadruple by 2050.
  • Human Activity has put so much plastic in our waterways and oceans that microplastic particles are now virtually ubiquitous. Plastic doesn’t break, it doesn’t disappear. It breaks into particules that no human eye can see.
  • One truck of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean every minute.
  • Placing plastic in recycling bins doesn’t help: only 5 % of all plastic packaging is recycled. The 95% left ends up in landfills and oceans.

Plastic is a social justice issue

  • Plastic waste is either burned or sent to Asia, India, Africa. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • India is fast becoming the largest rubbish dump in the world
  • 15 million people in the developing world today survive by salvaging waste.
  • Trash scavengers can’t keep up. The amount of plastic waste received isn’t reused or recycled; it is dumped into oceans and burned.

Bodies don’t digest plastic

  • Be mindful that your tee-shirt, your toothpaste and your coffee-to-go lids can be all plastic.
  • Plastic is toxic. Plastic leaches everywhere toxins, specially when it is hot or cold.
  • Other toxins in plastics are directly linked to cancers, birth defects, immune system problems, and childhood developmental issues.
  • Plastics can contain thousands of possible additives, and manufacturers are not required to disclose what their recipes are.
  • Know that BPA-free products can still have unhealthy chemicals.

It makes us wonder. Is it the type of world we want to keep supporting? This is why getting engaged is important at all levels.

We can all be the change we want to see in the world

Actions on three levels will enable true changes in plastic use:

  • Be informed and curious of the plastic issue. Acting on an individual scale won’t save the planet, but it will change our perception, which is the first step to act. Many movements already exist, turning the hurdle into simple actions and challenges, such as Plastic Free July and The Last Straw.
  • Refuse disposable plastics.
  • Demand more and ask for more quality of the products you consume. Companies need to adapt their production in order to propose affordable and sustainable alternatives.
  • Choose the right leaders and engage your local, national and international governments to help creating consuming frameworks that are safe for your body, and for the oceans.

The set of mind behind plastic convenience is fortunately changing. From being a consumption normality, it finally starts being flagged. Changes are on their way but require the curiosity and engagement of everybody. And what can be get at the end? A more balanced and conscious lifestyle.