With this blog, I had planned to work out, as an online community, by how much had we reduced our plastic usage. The main reason behind this was to show that, although as an individual we might not be able to make an enormous difference, if a group of us do it, then the impact will be greater. And the more people doing it, the more the word spreads and the more people join in.
However, it has not worked out quite like that.
Even people I know to be passionate about the environment, have chosen not to pledge. My parents for example. My father has been a keen environmentalist for years. He was the one who got me into it all in the first place. We couldn’t walk the dogs without litter picking at the same time, we never flew anywhere – we even went to Hungary by train pre-channel tunnel – 48 long hours I spent on a train to avoid air pollution. But when I told them I was doing this, my mum simply said, ‘but why?’ and then ‘how would that even work? How would you have mash potatoes?’
Now, there was a time, not that long ago, when my parents would buy potatoes, boil and mash them themselves. But now they buy the stuff you pop in the microwave. In fairness to my parents, they are getting older (my mum turns 80 this year), and maybe when I am that age, I will go with the most convenient option. And let’s face it, convenience is probably our greatest competition.
But a lot of my friends and colleagues, who if you said – ‘do you care about the environment? Do you think it is awful that all these sea animals are dying due to consuming plastic?’ They would say, ‘OH GOSH, YES AND YES!’ And yet, when you try to get them to make one slight change, they don’t do it.
I work in behaviour change and I know how difficult it is to get people to change their behaviour, in particular to achieve sustainable behaviour change due to behaviour being dynamic. So I should not be surprised, and yet I am. Well maybe not just surprised, a little disappointed and frustrated as well.
But then I think of all the people who read this blog, and those who have pledged and are trying to reduce their plastic and I feel overwhelmingly grateful. I know, like myself, you do not want to be the generation who know all about the issues caused by plastic waste and who chose not to do anything.
We may be small in numbers at the moment, but we have people from New Zealand, Canada, America, Australia, Mexico and the UK who have pledged. So, THANK YOU!