Environmental change and activism have been on my mind recently. I read a stat on Insta that I couldn’t believe. I then searched the internet trying to confirm these facts, and after multiple news sights repeated these numbers, I knew I had to write about it.
- .03 percent of plastic in the ocean are straws.
- At least 46 percent of plastic in the ocean comes from fishing nets
* Information sourced from Bloomberg Opionion article, 2018
I was left stunned because here I am trying so hard to go zero waste and limit my plastic consumption when there is a much bigger issue. Now, don’t get me wrong I am not saying to throw all plastic elimination ideas in the trash (wow that bad pun even made me uncomfy). All I’m saying is that merely changing your consumer habits is not enough. If you want to eliminate plastic, we have to think bigger.
So What Should We Do?
Creating change within your own life is an easier concept to grasp, and a lot less intimidating. All you have to worry about is your consumption. Involving myself in the fishing industry sounds like a whole other uphill battle that quite frankly I don’t know where to begin. But I found some resources that helped me.
- The Ocean Conservancy
- The Ocean Conservancy is a non-profit working to save the oceans. They also have ways for you to take action on the site! If you fill out your information, they have a preformatted email you can send to your automatically filtered representatives. Super easy to take action and took only 5 minutes of my time.
- The Ocean Cleanup
- The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit using science and technology to create change. They have created tools and solutions to combat plastic pollution in the ocean and claim “utilizing the ocean currents to our advantage, our passive drifting systems are estimated to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years’ time”. -The Ocean Cleanup
- Zero Waste Guy
- Super awesome blog that talks about living a zero-waste lifestyle but also discuss politics around environmental activism and ways to combat this issue in the big picture
The thing is, I think we have no other option but to get political. Especially with midterms coming up are your senators and congressman/woman doing anything to address issues like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Ask them- I dare you.
Here are ways you can ask candidates
- Send an email
And some resources to find your representative
- Directory for House of Representatives
- Directory for the Senate
- List of Members of Congress’ Twitter handles
An outline of the copy could look like
Hi my name is *name*, and I was wondering what initiatives you are planning to take to combat the fishing industry’s plastic consumption ending up in our oceans. It is really important that who I elect into office has a course of action addressing this issue as well as other various issues affecting our enviornment domesitcally and internationally. Any information on these topics that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
And hey if plastic isn’t you’re M.O. but education is or healthcare, or the protection of female reproduction rights well ask them about this too! Merely asking candidates what their policies are for issues that are closest to your heart should be a no-brainer. Quite frankly I think it holds them more accountable too. It is crucial for consumers to change their behavior and I fully believe in the concept of dollar votes, but it certainly isn’t enough. Creating change requires a little more oomph and sometimes that means forcing you out of your comfort zone.
I want to choose to do something with the opportunities I have been given in this world so that in years to come, I can still keep enjoying this beautiful planet. It is up to us to create environmental change.
Are you a US Citizen and you aren’t registered to vote yet? Well, Vote.org made it that much easier for you. I used the site to get my absentee ballot, and it honestly took 2 minutes. So easy, so worth it.