How much impact does one person have?

Written by Kajsa IngelssonSeptember 15, 2017

The idea that one person can help solve some of our modern days society’s biggest issues: ocean garbage patches, overstuffed landfills, and polluted natural resources can seem idealistic, even impossible.

But here’s the thing. One person can make quite a difference. Making any sort of significant change in the world always starts with individual action. By starting to reduce your consumption of plastic and other goods, choosing reusable and making sure to recycle, you are setting yourself up to be a rainbow warrior of the mightiest scale.

The average American generates about 4.3 pounds (2 kg) of waste per day. Now imagine you spread that out on the beach on in a forest. It would cover quite some space, don’t you think? Now imagine that waste multiplied with 365, each and every year.

We are talking about single-use plastics (to-go coffee cups, straws, food packaging), leftover food, plastic bags, cigarette butts and discarded items such as textiles or paper.

Without applying the lifestyle of the three R’s – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, the legacy you will leave on this planet will be far from pretty or inspiring.

Some tips on how to walk the talk of the three R’s:

  • Bring your own reusable coffee cup, utensils and water bottle.
  • If drinking from a straw is a must for you, make sure to always carry a reusable one.
  • When ordering food delivery or takeaway, remember to ask them to hold off on sending you off with utensils and other single use plastic. And while you are at it, why not bring your own container for your food?
  • If you don’t have a recycling facility in your apartment building or house you can either: buy a couple of different bins and DYI, reach out to your building manager or other person in charge of your community and kindly but firmly ask them to help you organize it, and maybe you even have to call your representative to push for further change.
  • When it comes to clothes, ask yourself: Do I really need this? Will it last? Will I wear it more than once? Maybe you can compromise with yourself; “alright I want it badly, but I will sleep on it and see.” If the desire is as strong the next day, maybe buying it is the right decision.
  • I said it before and I’ll say it again, hit your farmers market and choose all the veggies and fruit without packaging!
  • Bring your own reusable bags when goin shopping.
  • Share and inspire! Talk about this issue with other people, share pictures of the dire situation of our seas, press the social media share button on articles either informing about the issue or exploring the solutions and PLEASE let other people know what worked and did not work for you to make a change.
  • Last but not least, remember that shaming people into change never works. Speak from your heart with passion and lead with example, but please, stay cool, calm and collected when talking to other less informed or passionate people about the issue of our current trash situation.

There is a movement happening right now toward a less wasteful and more sustainable world—and you have the power to be a part of it!

ps. this whale is made by Sky Ocean Rescue and is made completely out of plastic. its 30-foot (9M) long and is made out of the same amount of single use plastic that’s being dumped in the oceans every second.

Photo credit for the seahorse: Justin Hofman