Sorry for not posting in a while. I was on a family holiday in Umbria, Italy. We were staying at an eco-villa in the middle of nowhere.

Unfortunately we struggled being plastic free as we had to drink bottled water due to some issues with the water supply (no idea what though, didn’t understand when we were told that part, but were told not to drink the water without boiling it first). So, it might have been eco-villa energy wise, but sadly not plastic usage wise. We did find a butcher and local bakers that didn’t use plastic wrapping though.

When we were there we did a day trip to a beautiful lake. We had planned to go swimming but when we arrived, this is what we saw. We were rather put off.

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Instead of swimming, our eldest son (who is 5) started litter picking without being told to as he “was worried about the turtles”. Of course, there were no turtles there, but I’ve never been prouder. He saw a problem, and without hesitation felt he could fix it.

I wish we all had the belief that the problem of plastic pollution could be simply solved by us all doing our little bit. But sadly the problem often feels unsurmountable.

However, often the best initiatives are started at a grassroot level by a small group of individuals.

When I worked at Department of Health England, they were initiating smoke-free legislation. One of the senior team members working on it told me that the pressure for change had started with a few small grassroot organisations in the north west of England who were pushing for it. It was then taken up by the larger anti-tobacco NGOs, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Who can imagine going to a pub and coming out reeking of smoke anymore? Most of the population are non-smokers and so I now look back and wonder, why did we ever put up with it?

Maybe in ten years time we will look back and think why did we accept that supermarkets packaged everything in plastic – when we know that plastic affects our whole ecosystem.

Maybe we can learn a lot from my five year old – that sense of optimism and the belief that our individual actions will have an impact. Five year olds are awesome!

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