People have been in organized societies for the past 12,000 years in a world where, until recently, the climate was largely a natural phenomenon not significantly impacted by man. In the 21st century, the exponential growth in the population of the world, and the need to house, cloth, feed and provide gainful employment for this populace, has led to a scale of construction, resource extraction and pollution this is transforming the planet and may even be changing our climate.
Extreme weather including droughts, hurricanes, and floods, acute resource shortages and vanished species are all becoming regular occurrences.
Many people believe that, as individuals, they are powerless to resolves these unimaginably enormous problems. Some people believe that science and technology will save the day if properly funded by government.
I believe that both of these points of view are wrong. The reality is that the science and technology to make changes to help restore some balance to the world already exists. But it will take more than just government legislation or large funding to make the changes that are needed. It will take the concerted effort of everyone.
The small efforts of each person can, collectively, make a huge difference. I will be writing a series of articles outlining the practical impact we can all have as individuals to create a better future for ourselves, our children and countless generations to come.
One of the simplest things that you can do right now is to not throw plastic away so that we don’t contribute to the plastic pollution in our landfills, fields, forests, streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. Make sure that plastic is recycled. If you see discarded plastic, pick it up and put it into the recycling.
You may be discouraged when you read articles or see documentaries showing that 50% of the plastic collected in recycling programs cannot be recycled because of contamination. The technology to take post-consumer, mixed-waste plastics, even contaminated plastics, and locally remake it into useful, cost-competitive products now exists. Its use will spread in the months and years ahead.
Here is another equally powerful tool for change. You can help to create consumer demand for plastic products made locally with 100% post-consumer, plastic waste by buying these products. If companies realize that people want interlocking walkways, decks, fencing, furniture, siding and other products made of 100% recycled plastic they will make them. Look for companies that will recycle the products that they have previously made by taking the waste plastic from them and making new products. This reuse of plastics will greatly benefit our communities.
Reusing plastics creates local jobs, minimizes the need for new plastics, reduces the transportation costs for plastics, and will have a huge positive impact on our world.
Consumer demand can be a force for nature and can help save our world.