Greta Thunberg in her passionate speech to the UN drew a line in the sand. It was the line between greed driven exploitative behaviour and the right of our children and coming generations to a healthy endurable existence. It was a line in the sand between a barren impoverished ecosphere and one of rich healthy diversity.
Drawing the line is a very practical thing that you can do in support of our children and their children. If you do not care about our children, please read no further.
Drawing the line can be done with chalk, paint, tape, string or just in your mind. This is about people power. This about you exercising consumer choice to influence how our country does business. The children are depending on us.
Where to draw the lines?
Draw a line around your car. Cars are convenient but they pump the atmosphere full of greenhouse gases, they kill wildlife and deprive you of exercise. So, walk if you can or ride your bike (buy one if you don’t have one).
Cars are not bad in themselves, people (especially in the country where there is little public transport), need them to get to work, if work is farther away than a practical bike or mobility scooter ride. Tradies need them to carry the tools of the trade. People with disabilities and other mobility issues need them to get around. We also need them for transporting bulky or heavy loads.
Cars – use them sparingly. I seem to only need mine less than once a week. Get a mobility scooter if bikes are challenging for you. Carpool for out of town excursions. Cooperating with each other to minimize environmental harm is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children.
Draw a line across the door of the supermarket. Remember it is much better not to make plastic at all rather than buying it and then recycling it. Increasingly fresh food is arriving in plastic packages and soft plastic bags. Choose to buy alternatives if available. If there are no available choices remove the product from its wrapper and leave it on the shelf or shop counter. There soon will be alternatives if you persist in doing this.
If there is a choice between a product in a plastic container or a glass/ metal container choose the latter. If there is not a choice, try a different shop. Wholefood stores in Bairnsdale, Pambula and Bega give you the opportunity to buy product and fill your own containers. It is very, very important to buy locally wherever possible but local traders must cooperate in the preservation of our children’s future well-being if they want to do business with those of us who care.
Take your own packaging for deli items.
Many cosmetic products are plastic wrapped or sold in plastic containers. If there is a choice between plastic or foil, choose foil. If there is a choice between plastic or glass/metal choose the latter. Many cosmetics contain microplastics that are a major plastic pollutant and potential health risk. Do not buy these products. If there is no choice, try another store or look on-line. The stores will soon include choices if they are losing business.
A recent look in one of our supermarkets revealed only one snack item wrapped in a package that was recyclable. Choose not to buy products wrapped in unrecyclable plastic. Soft Plastics coated with foil on the inside or outside are not recyclable. Encourage your supermarket to set up facilities to recycle soft plastic. To get around the new regulations on soft plastic bags some supermarkets are stocking thicker plastic bags. These supermarkets need to be boycotted until they stop.
The Climate Emergency is not just about Greenhouse gases. It is about a viable ecosystem that sustains human, animal and plant life. Draw a line around your leisure activities.
Avoid activities involving the combustion of hydrocarbons. Avoid activities that harm creatures in their own environment. Take up rowing, sailing, walking, cycling, gardening, arts. Do not fly unless it is a medical or family emergency. Offsets don’t mean a damn, the tonnes of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere by a plane are not in any way affected by the number of plastic shopping bags the passengers don’t use. Once the gas is in the air it stays there!
Visitors to Mallacoota burn over 500,000 litres of petrol annually just to get here and back.
Draw a line around your shopping bag. Everything comes in bubble packs. At the point of sale remove the packaging and leave it on the counter. Encourage the shop to return the packaging to the manufacturer or wholesaler. This will encourage them to change their practices.
In the kitchen
Draw a line around your food preparation.
Plastic is forever. The only way to get rid of it is to burn it which creates huge atmospheric problems. Recycling means it just gets turned into another more degraded form of plastic until it reaches the end of the line and becomes landfill. It is then broken down by weathering and ends up in the food chain of earthly creatures with often fatal results.
Plastic is very useful. Use it with discretion. Good quality plastic food containers will last indefinitely if treated well. Do not use single use take away containers. If you go to buy take away food, take your own container. If the shop refuses you – go somewhere else.
Do not use cling film. Grease proof and waxed paper works well and beeswaxed cloth coverings are available. Never microwave food in plastic packaging or plastic containers. The process releases polymers which will contaminate your food and potentially cause cancer in the future. Use oven proof glass or ceramic containers in your microwave cooker. Draw a line around your children – don’t kill them.
Draw a line around drinks in plastic bottles. Soft drink and bottled water are a major cause of plastic pollution. An alternative is Soda Stream or similar product. The bottles can be used many, many times. You can buy cordial in glass bottles or make it yourself.
It is well known how bad livestock farming is for the country and the atmosphere, but people still eat meat. If you must -reduce and buy organic. Reduce dairy.
The toxic wellness craze has caused a huge variety of ‘milks’ to come on the market. They are between 75 and 95 percent water, loaded with sweeteners, use huge quantities of water in their production (sometimes even more than cow milk) and the packaging is generally mostly plastic and not recyclable. Draw a line around these products. You can make the ‘milk’ in your kitchen very cheaply. Google how.
Draw those lines. Convenience is almost always destructive of the environment and bad for your health. Convenience is always expensive. Convenience is a barrier to engagement with life’s rich realities. Convenience is killing your children.
Draw those lines. Take your power in your hands and exercise it. Without customers businesses fail. Demand that the businesses you deal with support the continued environmental wellbeing of our children and their children. Government needs to do the same. They want to treat you like a customer or a subject, but you are their employers. Demand that they are environmentally responsible. Draw the line in the streets between you and those who wish to curtail your right to protest. Don’t hand over your power out of fear, laziness or complacency. There are no jobs on a dead planet.
Draw those lines!
Come on down to The Gazebo between 11.30 and 1.30 Fridays to chat, play music, share food and hand out choc chip muffins. We will be there every week through the summer saving the planet one choc chip muffin at a time.