By Francisco Medina, Environmentalist: When it comes to environmental issues which we are facing today recycling has to be one of the biggest ones. I would like to explain why and it all has to with “PRODUCTION”.

In almost any industry you can think of plastics are being made at a very rapid rate. Demand and Supply are at an all time “HIGH”. Whether it is being shipped by huge containers in ships, by planes in the air or by now right to your doorstep by Amazon. Then secondly all your local supermarket and small businesses have continuous deliveries of food, beverages, electronics etc.

Across the world an average 270 million tons of plastic is being produced annually. About 3% of global plastic waste enters our oceans which is about 8 million tons. That is just a portion of our waste globally. How do we combat this problem? Some may wonder. This will be a tall task for a lot of people regardless of the circumstances it is possible. We need to Recycle, Rethink, Reduce and Refuse to Use plastic as much as we can. Environmentalists need to create more businesses to recycle and reduce the plastic that is being made by all these major companies that are ending up in our environment. We need to come up with alternatives and support one another’s ideas. Anyone who is serious about environmental changes needs to unite themselves with like-minded people like them. The quicker people come together and create ideas which are useful for our environment the faster we will get where we are trying to go.

Everything starts with “ACTIONS”. We do not need talkers, we need doers people who will actually engage themselves to get their own hands dirty. Now let’s take a little dive into what it takes to Rethink, Reduce & Refuse actually do to help our environment.

Firstly, we need to rethink by evaluating our decision making. The thought behind this has to do with ourselves. The individual person as a whole. Question yourself? Why am I deciding to do things this way? What is the purpose? Does it matter to you personally? How is it beneficial? Where can I make changes? How can I improve? And so on. My reasoning for this is because if you do not desire to think things through it much more difficult to find a solution. So, let us start by reshaping our thinking as to why plastic use must reduce substantially and why people of our community should slowly refuse to use and consistently buy products in plastic.

Every company which produces plastic will only continue to produce plastics until thousands turn into millions and potentially billions of environmentalists who are choosing to not buy plastic products. There are so many aspects to climate change plastic problems are just at the forefront besides burning down our forests but that’s another topic. My next point on plastic problems is why it is not being recycled properly. We have billionaires and multimillionaires across this world then why are we having this problem. Forgive me it is frustrating just thinking about it but this issue is prevalent and we have to have better resources on recycling plastic because countless things are made.

Reducing the use of plastics is an extremely high ladder to climb for many reasons. Almost everything shipped and made in plastic. Not only that depending on where you live your lack of access to food or products will be brought in plastic directly to small towns or off the grid locations.

What are other ways to reduce? How can we reduce the use?

My belief is that more people should shop more locally at a farmers’ market & go less to Walmart, Target, and Supermarkets. Why do we humans consume so much and fill our eyes and mind to all types of junk food, chips, crackers, candies, drinks etc. Do we really need to eat all this stuff which is actually not helping us in any way? I feel we have been programmed to be this way by being brought up in this society where money, work, education and success is put before anything on our planet. We humans should be ashamed. Refusing to buy plastic is the best way to help our planet. I have searched online and seen many alternatives for plastic which are sustainable for the planet.

Hemp, Bamboo and other plants which grow a lot faster than trees. I am aware we do not all have the same resources from country to country. This is exactly why uniting together as environmentalists is more crucial than ever. Refuse means refuse not to purchase any product in plastic if you know there’s an alternative that you are able to buy yourself. This is the only correct way to make a small dent in the plastic production industry. Let’s be optimistic, everyone, we have options. That’s a good thing though. I’d like to add a few more things which I believe people should consider. People need places to conserve water because in some places there is a high risk of a dry season where it may not rain for weeks or months. 

Another issue is with businesses which need to help keep areas clean. I walk into businesses all the time and see employees chatting and not doing much but outside there is trash all over the place. Businesses should help enforce environmental problems upon citizens with the hope that it will reshape people’s thoughts and perceptions about their behaviours which directly affect our planet’s problem with plastic and how people consciously just litter without remorse.

If we persistently hit home the cause and effect of the choices people are making I believe slowly but surely a change will come about. It will take lots of work but nothing of worth comes easily. Sacrifices must be made to ensure the vision is met for environmentalists who share the vision of a greener planet, protecting wildlife and protecting our oceans across the planet. We are all aware of the dangers which lie in front of us with plastic. So it is on us to take a stand to make a change for a better tomorrow for future generations for a cleaner planet.