Today, we celebrate this genuinely jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, out of this world planet that we call home. In the spirit of this day, I wanted to say a few things.
I know I am incredibly fortunate to have seen so much of the world and everyday I’m grateful for that – especially as I travel through Central America, a continent so rich in biodiversity and beauty and is opening my eyes to things I never knew existed.
But everyday seems to be one distressing eye-opener after another: a new Facebook video shared of a plastic river running into the ocean; another species on the cusp of extinction; a drastic change in unnatural weather patterns. Everyday seems a little closer to this upsetting reality of where our world is headed.
I THINK GAMES OF THRONES MIGHT BE ON TO SOMETHING.
Have you been watching Game of Thrones? Whistle-stop tour for those that haven’t, but basically *spoiler alert*, their world is about to be massacred by an army of the dead. Most of them have finally stopped bickering about who wears the crown and are joining together to fight their common enemy (known as the White Walkers). Other certain people haven’t – their perspectives still a little skewed and are still concerning themselves with the title of power and other frivolous stuff.
I wouldn’t blame you if you flick past the social media plastic-protests; there seems to be a new one everyday that it’s become a natural part of our newsfeed, but this is where I feel the problem lies. We’ve become so densitized to these videos, so overwhelmed by these messages of ‘climate change’ that the problem seems so huge to comprehend, let alone fix.
“I’M JUST ONE PERSON – WHAT CAN I DO?”
Now, I won’t sit here and write that I’m some Climate Change Connoisseur or that I know as much as Recycling Rebecca (who, at the time, I thought was a name I made up for the sake of this situation but turns out she’s a musical recycling truck – go on Rebecca), but this phrase is pants.
YOU ARE ONE PERSON AND YOU CAN DO A HELL OF A LOT.
There are so many things you could be (and should be) doing to do your bit. It shouldn’t be a chore: it should be habit/common sense – much like keeping your house tidy for when guests come over is common courtesy. Things like:
- STOP (as much as you can) USING SINGLE-USE PLASTIC
Re(f)use the straw, or buy a bamboo one. I brought one to a club with me and it was the best night of my life – looking like a total dork and the coolest person on the d-loor all at once.
Don’t buy plastic plates/cups/cutlery. Get a reusable lunchbox – even reusable cutlery too (bamboo ones are LIT). Stop buying more plastic bags: you probably have so many in your cupboard already so why don’t you reuse those? And for the love of God by a reusable waterbottle (if you live in a country where you can drink the tap water you have no excuse).
- STOP USING UNECESSARY PACKAGING
Like using those wispy, sticky plastic bags to hold your vegetables. Just stick ’em in with the rest and give them a wash when you get home (or bring your own, because I understand it’s a different matter when you’ve got a pastry that’s going to flake everywhere).
Try and get your Amazon and other online orders shipped together so you don’t waste time/resources/energy on lots of separates packages.
And if you’re the person buying Chopped Vegetables in supermarkets (the ones that come in wrappings of plastic) when you have a chopping board, a knife, and a fully functioning brain, then you may need to move off this planet.
- TURN IT OFF
TV’s, radio’s, lights, heating, engines. Don’t be that guy who turns the AC on in the car but then winds down the window.
- EAT WISELY
I’d be hypocritical if I said stop eating meat altogether as I am more than impartial to a burger – but eat wisely. It’s simple maths that a growing population consumes more, and the rate we are consuming is simply unsustainable. As I hysterically/horrifically heard the UK’s Environmental Secretary say on the radio once, “I’ll never be the person to tell the British people they can’t have their steak and chips at the end of a long hard week,” but at least consider your eating habits. You may think you’re one measly person not making any harm or difference, but if you eat the equivalent of two chickens a week, add it to those other measly people all over the world eating two chickens, just think about many chickens we’ll need to feed you all.
- APPEAL TO POWER
A lot of us – myself included – feel the real decisions need to come from those higher up than us. Theoretically, yes. But who is it currently appealing to those Decision Makers? Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old Swedish activist who is taking matters into her own hands, simply because she is sick and tired of waiting for those ‘in power’ to do something themselves. Instead of sitting and waiting for someone else to make this all better, we should be using our voices to appeal – to demand – for it. Fuck, if Greta can make such a noise in today’s world, imagine how loud a thousands voices would be?
- VOTE GREEN
I’m not a political person at all – the most I ever got into politics was when I was watching Theresa May dance her way around Africa – but if you’re the type of person who expects People in Power to be the ones to do something about this kind of thing then vote for ones that do. I remember in the last General Election I was laughed at for voting for the Green Party. “Don’t waste your vote,” I was told. “They’ll never win – vote tactfully and vote for ___, so at least your vote will count.”
Your vote, opinion and voice always counts.
- WATCH/READ/RESEARCH INFORMATIVE & INSPIRING NEWS
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of watching documentaries and reading articles that make me depressed (like I should start building my ark now as the world’s basically over already). Instead, I now seek out stories that will inspire me. Inform me, yes, but tell me the facts I need to know and the acts I need to follow. Remind me (gently) that the world IS fucked but there are some things we can do about it. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go and listen to David Attenborough (or watch his new show Our Planet).
and lastly (and MOST importantly)
- CARING IS COOL
Remember at school, when ‘being clever’ and getting good grades was somehow considered lame? I thought, growing up, you’d escape that childish backwards ideology, but somehow I still get scoffed at for wanting to recycle. Somehow, caring about your planet and having something to say about it brands you ‘a hippie’ (and not the good kind).
It’s cool to care. If someone’s got something to say, respect them and listen. If they’re doing something about it, respect the fact they are actually doing something. And then maybe ask yourself why aren’t you?