Shell vs Plastic
When I was a little girl, living in the remote islands of the Caribbean Sea, our family’s favorite pastime was hunting for shells. By boat we would travel to desolate beaches and small sand islands for the simple pleasure of finding treasures from the sea. We would bring them home, polish them, and decorate our home with their natural beauty. I would place my ear to the shells and hear the echo of the Caribbean singing to me the sound of crashing waves. I remember finding large trumpets, Bull Mouth Helmets, and perfect conchs. Nowadays, we only recognize these rare treasures from pages of google images. The nostalgia of finding these beautiful treasures has been replaced by something more durable and much less exciting.
Flash forward 20 something years and here I am living in a seemingly remote town in the jungle of Costa Rica. When I take my morning walk on the beach, I return home with a bag of findings. But these days instead of sweeping the beach to find shells, I sweep the beach to clean it of trash and plastic. The plastics range in sizes, sometimes large tough pieces to the smallest particles of micro-plastic. It is a painful and severe reality that we are all facing every day. Here I am on one of the planet’s most breathtaking white sand tropical beaches, and I come home every day with bags and bags of plastic. My love of finding shells seems like a distant fantasy. Instead I am surrounded by plastic in all directions.
At what point did our love of consumption overtake our love of the earth? How is it possible that nearly everything we buy comes in plastic? It doesn’t make sense, especially when we live in a world that is all about making things easy and fast. For example: buying that packet of almonds may serve as a quick snack, but its packaging will take hundreds of years to fully decompose.
How did we become so far gone? Its a pretty frightening reality to consider that every single piece of plastic we have ever used in our lives still exists somewhere on this earth. Multiply that by the number of people occupying the planet and that is a recipe for a sincere shit sandwich. And the worst part is, most people remain blissfully unaware of the severity of our planet’s pollution.
The world continues to blindly consume with little concern of how this inconvenient truth is affecting our lifetime, future generations, and our relentlessly giving Mama Earth. The rapid rate in which we humans have polluted our home in such a short time is catastrophic and surpasses the damage of any mammal to proceed us. Pretty soon we wont even be able to eat fish anymore because of the large amount of plastic in which the fish are ingesting. How do you feel about taking a big delicious bite of plastic to go with your meal? Are you thinking….Hmmmm I wonder what the protein count of plastic is? Studies have revealed that buying sea salt is no longer advised because of the high density of plastic that makes its way into our food and our bodies.
The other day I walked into the grocery store and noticed they had wrapped each zucchini individually in cellophane. Such a strange and alien dynamic. Something that takes hundreds of years to fully decay is used to preserve a veggie with a shelf life of one week.
Many times, have felt my heart being ripped out of my chest and been depressed by the state of our world, screaming to the universe “how can I change this!”
And the answer is just that. It starts with “I”. Here are some commitments that I made in my life. “i promise to do my best and be a loving steward of the earth”. “ I promise to do my best to educate others to give their best”. “ I promise to minimize and or eliminate my consumption of single use plastic.”
Trying to save the planet in one day is a daunting uphill battle. But the most honest and achievable conclusion is to always do our best. We must find ways in which we can personally minimize or eliminate our consumption of plastic and positively impact those around us in our communities. We rise by lifting and empowering others.
Now, whenever I go to the beach, I always bring a bag with me and do my best to free the beach of its arch enemy. I often get children involved and speak to them about the importance of preserving our planet. I truly believe that educating children about the severity of plastic usage is one of the greatest gifts we can give to this world.
When we do our best to live a sustainable, plastic free life, we set the example and inspire others to do the same. And truly it isn’t so difficult to live without single use plastic. Consider it like going back to the roots, returning to the indigenous ways. Plastic isn’t a convenience that humanity always had and it doesn’t need to be our crutch. There are many alternatives solutions to buying single use plastic. And generally most things that come in plastic aren’t very good for us anyhow.
One way I fight single use plastic is buying all of my produce directly from the organic farmer. I am sourcing most of my needs locally and feel grateful to support my local economy. For bulk items such as nuts and household supplies, I only purchase items that come in recyclable containers. I carry my water bottle with me always so I never have a need for plastic bottles or cups. When I go to the super market, I bring my own bags and mindfully avoid items that come in single use packaging.
Maybe you live in a city or feel like much of this doesn’t apply to you. But the truth is, with a little effort it is all achievable. You are likely to actually save money by refusing to buy single use plastic and you will giving your body the gift of radiant health by buying real food that comes straight from Mama Earth.
I have experienced a huge transformation from living this way. I am so much more appreciative of my material items and I take great care of what I have. When things no longer feel disposable, we develop a deeper sense of care for the items that we own and use daily. I highly doubt the indigenous were so wasteful and careless with their belongings, so why should we be? I personally feel a strong pull to return to the heart of what is real— the heart of living in harmony with the planet. And I promise every day to do my personal best to make a positive change in my life and the lives of those around me. Together may we rise and be the change we want to see in this world. May we be open to making lifestyle changes and create the sustainable and green planet that we long for. I hope to one day take my grandchildren on scavenger hunts to find shells and experience pristine beaches free of plastic just like the good old days.