Waste. Even the word brings a bitter taste to my tongue. There is too much littering and not enough reflection about it. We are all part of the process, whether we like to admit it or not. Although I consider myself aware of the problem and act on it in terms of recycling and avoiding plastic bags, I still have so much to learn.
But can I really make a difference? I have asked myself that question so many times. Wondering if my recycled milk cartons really save trees and whether the eco-friendly items I buy have less of an impact than the commercial products. Some people like to refer to life as a journey in which you constantly develop as a human being, and going to India has strengthened that interpretation of life for me.
The first time I became aware of the lack of knowledge about recycling is when I moved to New Zealand. They had no system of recycling, and when I asked my friends where I could deposit my plastic bottles they had no idea of what I was talking about. Coming to India has reinforced the feeling of how we humans destroy our planet without even thinking twice about it. In the end it does not matter where you come from or whether you recycle, it is the small things that count at the individual level.
Why carry your groceries home in plastic bags when you can bring your own bag? Why always take the car when the public transportation system is really good? Why leave non-biodegradable items in nature when you know they will litter our planet for hundreds of years? It is insane how easy it is to ignore these small steps toward a cleaner and healthier Earth, and how hard it is to change.
One of my favorite artists, Tracy Chapman, wrote a song on the subject and I cannot help but agreeing with her when she sing “Some claim to have crowned her a queen with cities of concrete and steel. But there is no glory, no honor, in what results from the rape of the world”.
Let us all contribute to a cleaner and healthier planet and start thinking about the small things. Stop putting the blame on others and examine your own behavior, for that is what will matter in the long run.
Small Steps – Eco-friendly bags
Eco Femme – Resusable cotton pads
WELLPaper – From waste to design
Bamboo Centre – Sustainable material for a wide range of products
Wasteless – “Reduce, reuse, and recycle”
Louise Jönsson Andersson, Linnaeus University, Växjö, Sweden