Sustainability Saturday (Pt. 2)
It’s Lollapalooza time in the city again, and you know what that means-- sweaty teens in crop tops, jaywalking on about every street in the loop, and most importantly more single use plastic per square foot than your weird neighbors trash pile in their backyard. Single use plastic ranges from water bottles, plastic bags, to hair clips that you buy but never actually use. I have heard the phrase before “addicted to single use plastic.” At first, I got a good laugh out of it, and repeated it to a couple of my other environmentalist friends, but after unpacking the phrase, I realized it was wrong. We’re not addicted to single use plastic, we’re addicted to the convenience of single use plastic.
But why is this? Why do we love things that are easy, knowing the destruction they may have? Adam Smith would say that it's because “humans act in their own self interest.” And Robert Fritz would say we try to take, “the path of least resistance.” But I say it’s because we haven't fully recognized our ability to have an impact- so we opt for ease.
For example, humans buy on average 1,000,000 plastic water bottles per minute. To make this even worse, only about 23 percent of them get recycled. This means that if you, just you, stopped purchasing plastic water bottles, you would save 156 bottles annually from falling into a landfill or ocean. This may not seem like a lot, but over an average life-span this well over 12,000 water bottles saved from the angry wrath of plastic waste. Using plastic water bottles is easy, it’s convenient, and we don't think much about this easy pattern of life.
Humans must see their potential for impact whether with single use plastic or their future goals. We must stop limiting our minds potential to solve issues and push ourselves forward. If we were to recognize our minds ability to solve problems and take on issues, we wouldn't choose easy. We would do the hard work, even if it means carrying a reusable canteen around.
At One Solution, we turn to our own minds as the solution to many issues, and we encourage you to do the same. Reverse the thought system that single use plastic is okay. You have a mind for which is capable of anything. You have power for which is ready to be shared. You have impact for which the world is waiting.