Leave nothing …but footprints

In this past year in South America and also in several other continents before that, I have seen countless of wonderful things, but I did come across shocking realities at the same time. Since I have mainly been writing about all the nice and positive stuff, I would like to critically address more problematic topics from now on also. I have a deep passion for our planet, the people who live on it and all the different cultures it embraces and I would like to share some of my thoughts about issues that I feel are important and that eventually affect all of us (including future generations).

A big and very present problem I encountered is pollution in form of litter (plastic in particular), not only in big cities but also around pristine beaches, turquoise waters, lush national parks, stunning landscapes and dramatic deserts. It is sad strolling down a white, sandy beach sprinkled with plastic pieces in all sorts of different colours. It is shocking snorkeling in crystal clear waters and swimming with turtles while there are cans, condoms, plastic bags etc. floating on the surface.  And it is unbelievable and simply unacceptable driving or hiking through incredible national parks featuring the most diverse and amazing sceneries covered with plastic bottles. These horrible scenarios call for immediate action – action that is needed by everyone.

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A national park in Peru

While most of us seem to realize that plastic is a big threat to our planet many people simply think they cannot do anything about it or at least do not really know how to address this problem. But the good news is, it is not as hard as it may seem. Each of us can easily contribute to drastically reducing the plastic pollution of our planet by just changing a few minor things that we are so much used to. This little video shows us how:

https://www.facebook.com/brightvibes/videos/677818552404787/?pnref=story

It gives us the following, simple but very effective pieces of advice:

  • Reusable cutlery instead of plastic cutlery
  • Sipping your drink instead of using plastic straws
  • Drinking tap water instead of bottled water or at least reusing the bottles
  • Reusable cups instead of take-away (coffee) cups
  • Reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags
  • Tupperwear and reusable ziplock bags instead of take-away plastic boxes/containers

It makes me happy to see that things are changing little by little in some parts of the world. Some supermarkets start charging money for handing out plastic bags to encourage their customers to bring along their reusable shopping bags and many bottles or even cans come with a refundable deposit so they are not just added to the pile of plastic waste right away but can be recycled and reused. Clearly, we still have a long way to go to minimize or to hopefully even stop plastic waste at some point. However, if more of us become aware of how easy it is to make a first step towards a positive change we can very well make a big difference together.

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