Our world produces 3.5 million tons of plastic waste a day, and that doesn't include any other kind of waste. The average American produces around 6 pounds of trash a day. There is approximately 15 billion tons of trash in our oceans and only 14% of the oceans ecosystems are undamaged. These facts are scary and there are plenty of other facts about how we are killing our planet. As a young person, seeing how destroyed our planet is already and how so few are doing something about it makes me wonder if there is any hope for us to restore it.
Some companies have moved to reducing their carbon impact but it is far and few between the 4 major corporations that are cause for 6 million tons of plastic every year, being Coca-Cola, Mars, Nestle and Danone. 2030 is the point of no return, that's only 10 years away now that we've reached 2020. The large corporations around the world have the revenue to reduce the impact they have on this planet, but they are more focused on their income than saving our planet. The best way to give them the message that we want change is to use our power as consumers and stop paying them. As they begin to lose money and see that people are focused on more ethical and sustainable brands they will begin to become like those brands so they can maintain their income. This year I have pledged to only buy clothes second hand or from sustainable brands. This will help me to reduce my impact and show that I no longer support brands that waste in access. I also have not had soda in nearly 6 years, reducing my support for brands like Coca-Cola that produce such massive amounts of waste. Another thing I'll be trying is to eat less meat. The industries around meat contribute to about 15% of our greenhouse gas emissions and by creating less demand for this product we can make the companies reduce their waste or make it a less necessary part of our lives.
Thinking about the state of our planet causes me a lot of anxiety and worry for the future. There are so many people with spare and excess income that could donate to help reverse and decrease some of the effects we are having on this plant, but there are not many of them that will take those steps. It's not about one person trying to be perfectly zero-waste and sustainable, it's about a large number of us trying our best to be zero-waste, taking small steps to reduce our impact. I am often overwhelmed by all the waste that surrounds me and all the ways I need to be better, but for now just pick a few options, get good at those and add more are time goes on. Some things you could do would be to stop using single use plastics (a big goal for me), reduce your food waste, donate to an organization that cleans oceans, plants trees, reduces carbon impact or makes sustainable options more available. Be sure to save as much energy as you can, turning off lights you don’t need and using as little water as possible. Bike or walk whenever you can. Do your research and make sure you know what you are investing your time and money into. Take the time to invest in sustainable and waste reducing options, even though these may cost more at the time of purchase, it will last longer and be better for the environment.
We are the generation that needs to make big changes in order to save our planet. Generations before us did not know the impact that they’re actions could have, and we’re seeing the repercussions. It is time to take what we know, learn more and change for the better to keep our planet livable for generations to come. There are already people suffering from wild fires, droughts and other damaging results, but we can save many more people from much worse suffering if we act quickly. It is time for change and it needs to happen now, or there will be no tomorrow.