Small steps for a healthy planet

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Today is an easy #PlasticFreeTuesday for me. That’s because I #FastForTheClimate. No food for me today. By doing so, I join thousands of people around the world who fast in solidarity with those that are affected by extreme weather events and to underline the urgency of the climate talks in Paris.

There is a lot at stake at the Paris climate conference. Our political leaders need to take decisive action to make sure we stay below a two degrees temperature rise. One of the biggest questions that needs to be addressed is one of fairness.

While Europe and the USA have used lots of fossil fuels for many years, countries such as China, Indonesia, and Brazil have only recently started to industrialize. They argue that rich countries are largely responsible for climate change and that developed countries therefore must pledge relatively greater CO2 cuts and provide funds for climate change adaptation.

Long-lasting new habits

While the 195 countries are working towards a fair, robust climate deal, we too can take action for a healthy planet! Small steps together make a huge difference. In the Netherlands, we use 7 pieces of plastic packaging every day. Imagine everyone here would join Plastic-Free Tuesday. That would save more than 100 million pieces of plastic in just one day!

And the good news is, it’s not even half as daunting as that climate change deal that is currently being hammered out! As Marlies recently explained in an interview with the Dutch newspaper Het Parool: start small, try to live without plastic for just a day. She herself started doing this one and a half year ago and now almost lives a plastic-free life. Taking it slow is the best recipe for creating long-lasting new habits.

Healthy planet

Even though not buying plastic for a day will not solve the problem of climate change (we need much more robust, system change for that), it is an important step towards a healthier and more sustainable planet. As we’ve written before, plastic is made of fossil fuels, is not biodegradable, and is often used for a very short time before ending up in the bin.

The amount of plastic we use just doesn’t make sense. Not economically and not even from a convenience point of view. How often have I bought food in plastic that, when I opened it, is everywhere but not in the plastic packaging. Or take plastic cutlery as an example… just yesterday my plastic spork (that I got at Albert Heijn to go a while ago) was broken into two pieces when I took it out of my bagpack… Not so convenient.

Taking action… today!

So. Today I am not eating for the climate but I will also take some plastic-free action. I will go shopping at Delicious Foods in Amsterdam. This shop has lots of bulk bins filled with pasta, nuts, flour, and more. Ironically the shop only offers small plastic bags for customers to put the food in, so if you visit this place, make sure to bring your own jars and bags. I usually bring jars with a wide mouth because those are easier to fill. I also bring a couple of Re-Sacks. And a shopping bag of course. Before filling any jars at Delicious Foods, make sure to tell the person at the counter so that they can tare the jars.

What plastic-free challenge are you taking up this week?

 

 

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About Author

Annemieke

In 2013, after reading yet another article about plastic soup, Annemieke started her Dutch blog Plasticminimalism where she documented her small steps towards a plastic-free life. To create more awareness about the adverse impacts of our plastic consumption, she launched Plastic-Free Tuesday in spring 2014. She strongly believes that building a better world starts by changing our own behavior. Annemieke is an environmental scientist and sinologist. She alternates living in the Netherlands, Sweden, the US, and China while working towards her PhD dissertation about public health incidents and law in China.

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