Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Many years ago, my mother gave me a grocery list and asked if I would quickly run to the store and pick her up some items. I was only a teenager then, and so I sped to the market and collected what she needed; I can clearly remember eggs were one of the items. As I unloaded my purchases on the conveyer belt and diligently paid, my plastic bag was handed to me with all of my items packed up neatly. I rushed to the car, being careful of the eggs. I could feel the weight of the flimsy plastic bag reaching its limit. By the time I opened the trunk, the bag had broken, causing my groceries to spill out all over the parking lot. Another plastic bag for the garbage. It is essentially, just one bag, right?
Gordon Millar of Edinburgh does not think so. Neither does his thousands of followers at the theglobalwe.com. His movement is a simple concept really. His passion? Enormous. Gordon Millar and his followers want the world to ban plastic bags, and judging on statistics and facts, he is right.
Plastic bags are in no shortage. Over 500 billion plastic bags annually are used around the world. They do not last long, and because of the compounds of a plastic bag, the costs of recycling them are enormous, most cities do not bother. So they end up in our dumps, accumulating and eventually decomposing in an estimated 300 years. Their make up goes back into the earth sinking into our soil. The bags that are not thrown out are littered across our world, killing curious wildlife that thinks it is food, and snagging helpless birds, fish and animals. Our “free” plastic bags are known to clog our waterways, pipes, and become very costly endeavors to remove.
Globally, cities are realizing the importance of a greener environment. Many activist groups care about the world our children will inherit. Huge cities such as San Francisco have banned plastic bag use in grocery stores. As of January 1st 2011, Italy has banned the use of plastic shopping bags. Italy was once known as one of the biggest plastic shopping bag consumers in all of Europe. This amazing stride should serve as a strong example to the rest of the world.
What can be our alternatives? Cloth bags, paper bags, anything that can be recycled. It’s a quick adaption, bringing some bags with you while you shop, with cloth bags for sale at the counter, just in case you forget. They last longer, and save our dumps the unnecessary mess. They decompose quickly and relatively safely.
Theglobalwe.com is a developing site stressing the ban of plastic bags. With over 16,000 facebook supporters alone, Gordon and his team post insightful videos on the environment, with a stress of plastic bags and its effect on the earth. He features others who are environmentally active, and allows his viewers to comment to show their support.
Can you take the challenge to eliminate or at least cut down on plastic bag use in your home? Can you bring cloth bags to the grocery store instead of plastic ones, or use a fancy cloth bag to go to your favourite shop to get your items. You will eliminate your waste and ultimately leave the next generation what they deserve, a pure clean earth to respect and enjoy. What we make on the earth is what we put into the earth, and we must respect the equilibrium of the precious and fragile state of the environment.
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