Recently, World Oceans Day to be precise, Plastic Oceans and The Body Shop partnered to arrange a number of beach clean-ups, one of them being in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As much as many of us focus on the fact that not enough is being done to tackle global issues like ocean and plastic pollution, we must shift our mindset in finding those that are making attempts to better our world. Campaigns and events like these portray that many businesses are attempting to improve their Corporate Social Responsibility and help our planet, whether it be for better brand identity or out of genuineness, it still helps us tackle the problems. A lot of these shifts in business models and strategies typically come from us, the consumers, who want to see a change for the better by businesses that we consistently support.
What was extremely heartwarming was the immense turnout. Children, students from schools, families, individuals, parents and grandparents – all with one passion and interest, to improve the state of our environment. Along with caring about the environment, events like these help a variety of people come together to share their experiences with each other. Interacting and putting yourself out there to learn and have valuable conversations is a huge way to contribute all you’ve learned in your own capacities, might even fuel the next big idea!
An example of this – I was using my tools to pick up 1,000,000 cigarette butts (I didn’t keep count but wow it was crazy how many we found when the garbage bin was right around the corner!), someone parked their car at the spot I was cleaning. He then exited his car, let me know he was here for his while voicing his appreciation for what we were all collectively doing. We had the chance to discuss a little bit longer and the next thing I know, I saw him with his own bag and picker gathering trash from the beach and streets. This is the kind of network effects we must fuel however we can, to raise awareness and share everything we all know with each other.
The number of children just goes to show that children are seeing the state of our environment and what we are doing to destroy the planet we literally live on. It’s difficult to see that children are skipping school, or are becoming young entrepreneurs as early as Grade 4 and 5 because THEY HAVE TO, to protect the environment for their own futures. Let’s be real, we don’t want anyone to see and experience what our world could become and what future generations will be forced to go through. We can change this, and now is the time to look at positives like children acting on these issues, businesses gradually changing their mindsets, governments implementing policies on plastic bans and non-governmental organizations like Plastic Oceans Canada doing all it can to educate, host workshops and provide avenues to make changes.
Something that I found extremely eye-opening was the sorting of garbage aspect post-cleanup. We gathered all the waste we had gathered in one central location and began sorting garbage in terms of plastics, paper, glass, aluminum, compost and garbage that cannot be recycled. Why this was eye-opening is because you are on the grass-root level looking at the kind of things that are destroying our environment, marine life and our oceans. Cigarette butts, beer cans, a series of VHS tapes, soiled diapers – like WHAT?! Although it seems like people would never do this, some of us value convenience and ease more than ANYTHING. This comes in the form of a pushback, people sometime are just not aware that what they are doing is something awful. With that said, there’s no time to point fingers. It’s time for all of us to be accountable for everyone’s actions. What’s the big deal? We talk about having each other’s backs, let’s do it!
Residents, including myself, involved in such campaigns, events, activities, and workshops find it extremely enlightening and rewarding. These effects, in turn, leads to genuine motivation to make changes for the better. There are organized cleanups everywhere, but you can also simply organize your own cleanup or your own initiative, don’t think it does not make a difference – EVERY ACTION MAKES A DIFFERENCE, you don’t know who you are influencing or helping indirectly!
The Plastic Oceans Initiatives – To Eradicate Single-Use Plastic and Save the Ocean from its Fast-Approaching Demise.
Check out their website, and social media (Facebook, Instagram) to learn more about their educational workshops, amazing trips to interact with our beautiful ocean while helping fund and raise awareness of an organization that is helping better our planet.
What’s important to highlight here is not what The Body Shop does, but how The Body Shop is now focusing on tackling plastic pollution along with other issues they strongly stand for with regards to women and local community empowerment and striving for equality within our communities. Additionally, they are striving for their products to become vegan to mitigate the harmful effects of animal cruelty. And now, they are taking on plastic.
We can already see the major effects of climate change and ocean pollution in the form of water scarcity, intense heat, increase in occurrence of storms (hurricanes and so on), food shortages and changes in crop yield. These are just some signs, but it’s EASY for us all to realize that we need to make changes.
We must understand that there are 7 billion-ish people in our world, and making changes will definitely be time-consuming. So how do we do it, we become mindful of everything we do, everything we use and all the ways around us to help. This sparks conversations, sparks debates, sparks movements which in turn leads to changes in demand, changes in government regulations and lastly changes to a green economy.