29 October 2010

Viral video asks consumers to 'Refuse' disposable plastics

Have you ever played ‘Where’s Waldo”…but with plastic? For the next few minutes, scan your personal environment and take note of all the things made with various types of polymer materials, including compact discs, food/health/beauty packaging, office supplies, pet toys, seasonal d├ęcor items, etc. What an eyeful, huh?

Seemingly impossible to escape, this pervasive synthetic plague has been bemoaned, protested and extensively documented by countless concerned planetary citizens, including writer Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish, photographer Chris Jordan (specifically through his “Message From The Gyre” series), environmentalist David de Rothschild via his epic Plastiki journey and even Ivan Cash through his Plastic Porn website.

For all of the negative attention that the synthetic, man-made material has received in recent years and the glaringly real existence of not one…not two…but four individually confirmed ocean-bound plastic pollution zones (quite likely, even a fifth), global manufacturers are still supplying willing consumers with a never ending supply of shiny new single-use plastic water bottles, daily household staples and easily dismissable trinkets. What will it take for us to finally break the habit in favor of a more sustainable, planet-friendly alternative?

Perhaps a simple promise. The Plastic Pollution Coalition is tapping into the power of social media by sharing a 60 second video asking viewers to not only refuse disposable plastics like straws, utensils, water bottles and bags but also sign a pledge so they stick to their word. The organization – which is supported by countless entertainers and eco-luminaries including Ed Begley Jr., Jack Johnson and Jacques Cousteau’s grandson, Fabien – is rolling out their campaign in an effort to draw attention to special upcoming forum on Saturday, November 6th called TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch.

On that day, various design, science, technology, business and entertainment leaders will gather at Santa Monica’s Annenberg Community Beach House to discuss the Global Plastic Pollution Crisis and share various perspectives on how we can all take personal action to reduce our consumption of this chronic environmental pollutant. Those who aren’t able to physically attend this worthwhile event can take heart since it will be streamed live, and with speakers like Algalita Marine Research Foundation’s Captain Charles Moore, musician and environmental advocate Jackson Browne and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics co-founder Stacy Malkan in attendance, it will no doubt be worth the investment of time.

In the meantime, This Dish Is Veg wants to know what you've personally done to alter your personal plastic consumption habits. More importantly, what was the actual inspiration for your lifestyle change? Have you begun supplying restaurants with your own reusable to-go containers? Are you currently committed to making sandwiches without plastic wrap? What about incorporating reusable mesh produce bags in your shopping repertoire? We'd love to hear all about the sustainable alternatives that have made your eco-commitment a lot more doable (as well as your own home-grown, light bulb moments) so please share your voice in the comments section below!

Elizah Leigh | @elizahleigh
A dedicated green journalist and currently commissioned to write a comprehensive reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah Leigh hopes to inspire people through her words. Follow Elizah on Facebook.

Photo credit: video screen capture