Written by Kath Hooper.
You’ve heard the buzzword. Sustainability. You’ve seen Blue Planet. You know that plastic pollution is killing the oceans. Is there more to it? Why does it matter to your life, right here, right now? Let’s discuss why sustainability matters.
The Perils of Plastic
We’ve all had our eyes opened about the perils of plastic. We’ve got the message that single-use plastic is bad for the environment. We are re-using shopping bags, finding plastic free cleaning products, and using chrome water bottles.
But sometimes it feels like a hassle, doesn’t it? Here’s a quick reminder, why our continued efforts are so important:
The oceans: Plastic can take billions of years to decompose. That means it is essentially around forever. The mountains of plastic in the oceans don’t reduce. They are only piling higher. Each plastic-free day we can achieve is one in which we don’t contribute to the problem. Forbearance is a virtue.
- The beaches: Where does it all go? You’ve probably noticed the increase in litter on beaches. Our propensity to ocean-dumping plastic causes more of the stuff to wash up on our beloved shorelines. Imagine the Maldives peppered with plastic bottles. It’s not quite so idyllic. Again, abstaining from plastic use is one step towards keeping our beaches cleaner.
- Wildlife: It’s not just the devastating scenes of turtles caught in can-holders, and sea-birds entangled in plastic bags. Plastics contain hazardous chemicals. That innocuous looking plastic packaging actually includes chemicals that are associated with deaths of marine animals. Micro plastic particles in the oceans are eaten by all sorts of marine creatures. Once ingested, those animals become toxic themselves. The whole food chain is affected.
- Our health: We are part of that food chain, that circle of life. We end up eating the toxic particles as well. Toxins from plastic can be associated with all sorts of health issues, including reproductive disruption and metabolism issues.
OK. So that’s the stick. It’s not all doom and gloom. There are also several juicy carrots in this equation of sustainable living.
Yes! In an effortless segue from our last “stick” point, there are major benefits to your health from living in a sustainable way. How does living sustainably correlate to better health?
- Ferocious Fitness: Environmentally low-impact modes of transport are great for your fitness. Particularly in Bristol, where every road is a hill and flat journeys last all of three minutes. Riding your bike around Bristol will burn calories and propel your fitness to new VO2 heights.
- Ambient Ambling: Never underestimate the power of walking instead of taking the car. Sometimes walking can feel slow, unappealing and much effort for little reward. Let’s reframe it - any moving is better than no moving. Those steps will keep your heart, mind and body healthy. You don’t stop moving because you get old, you get old because you stop moving.
- Mood Boosting: The happy consequence/side effect of all this time outside, is simply that… More time outdoors. All of that increased exposure to natural light is great for your mood. Seasonal Affected Disorder is real, and whilst hibernating feels like the natural option, actually our bodies are craving those Vitamin D rich rays, which we can absorb even on the dreary, overcast days.
- Beauty: All that walking and biking will take you out of your tin box on four wheels and into nature. You’ve heard it said before, but green space is good for you. Natural beauty is inviting us to get involved. When we see a beautiful mountain range, a picturesque river scene, or your local park, it doesn’t feel sufficient to simply observe. We want to be immersed. Satisfy your innate desire for beauty, and take a walk.
- Clean Air: Taking this one step further, your new-found love for ambling, ambience and solar-absorption contributes to the wonderful possibility of fresher air. Imagine a world without asthma or respiratory issues. Imagine winter alpine air as you leave the house. That’s what you’re walking towards. Step-by-step.
An eco-system is the interaction of living organisms with the natural world. As we all know, humans have potential for enormous impact on the natural world, which can reap havoc on the balance of an eco-system.
- Do it for the Bees: By reducing the amount of waste in landfills, we can rebalance and restore biodiversity to our local ecosystems. Using land effectively protects local wildlife and encourages it to thrive. Bees and insects will continue to pollinate our gardens, supplying their essential service to developing the beauty of our local natural environment.
- Crystal clear water: We’ll end up with cleaner water. We need to look after our wetlands, rivers, streams and lakes, because these systems remove or render ineffective, various pollutants.
Our efforts to live plastic-free contribute to living harmoniously with the wildlife around us.
So join us for the zero-waste revolution! Let’s live plastic free. Let’s live sustainably. You can find our no waste shop online.
And follow us on Instagram: @bloop.bristol