Well, as we know, the world doesn’t revolve around the Sun anymore.
Instead, we’ve got excess(ive) plastic packaging, unreused plastic bags, plastic straws, and the best of them all in Taiwan, the plastic cup! Of which each typically has 1 life.
Many have heard of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, AKA Plastic Island, but there are actually 5-7 of these massive floating rubbish collections and many smaller ones in our oceans’ 5 gyres … going around and around…
In Taiwan, to stay away from the deadly and accumulating stuff in your everyday, you have to ask to not have it. “不用袋子，谢谢。” “有自己的(马克)杯子。” Imagine being served a spoonful of corn with everything without asking?
Now that you’re fully depressed – kidding – the first step is facing it. Look into the open mouth of the dragon, watching without blinking as time slows down and you see it from when the flames poke up from the throat, to where they twist out past the lips, scalding whatever they lick… It is time to open our eyes wide and be awake to minor details of our day-to-day lives that we don’t think about, which on a massive scale do a lot of damage to plants and animals that need specific environmental conditions to survive. Get a little angry, get beyond the apathy that leads to defeatism and complacency.
Now that our inner engines have been revved, next is the fun part! Making change! Weeee!!! 😀
The start is to dis-associate with plastic! It’s like that friend that never goes away. It’s not fun, it doesn’t treat us well, and it’s something we need to consider when we buy our drinks from Starbucks 辛巴克 , eat at McDonald’s 麦当劳, and consume from our everyday Taiwanese-style coffee/tea/juice shop.
Coffee shop solution! Bring your own cups if they don’t provide them.
Imagine on a mass scale everyone in Taiwan (and everywhere) bringing their own juice containers and travel mugs for take-out drinks!
Imagine this habit then trickling over to bringing your own containers for take-out food orders? Imagine a world where everyone thinks about what they need before leaving the house?
Imagine a world where after you eat take-out food, you do the dishes rather than take out the garbage…
I think that is the major personal difference: taking reusables and doing the dishes afterwards.
For those of you who feel really strongly about this (to the point of extreme activism, veganism, and not having kids), exercise a lot of compassion and patience towards yourself and others… Yes, even to CEO’s and unthinking consumers who fuel the game, because how do people respond when they’re attacked?
Remember the time before we changed? We did some of the same things. So what did it take to switch?
Awareness, alarm, and a big decision! Some people just haven’t gotten there yet. It’s a lifestyle that slowly grows on us. It begins as a gentle practice of remembering, where we know what to do, and we do it. Changing habits and being forgetful are growing pains. After all, when you just wake up out of a slumber and feel the pain of the destruction and pollution around you, you will need support. Find a community. Talk to friends. Write about it like I am.
Upcoming projects you can be apart of or do in your region:
- photoshoots popularizing travel mugs! Use the pictures for posters, advertisements, on the sides of buses, in schools, restaurants, cafés…)
- make little beautiful bilingual cards asking customers to request to-stay mugs in coffee shops. On the back of the cards have point form facts about plastic (health and environmental). Include instructions to pass the card on to other beverage drinkers.
- brainstorm / find options on how to buy drinking water for the home without use of plastic bottles…
Have a WONDERFUL time making change. 🙂 The happier we are as we go about our business, the higher vibe we have, the bigger area we can affect and the more energy we will have! Think about an open-heart and smiling face, versus a crusty person demanding change. The more fun the better! So, let’s popularize and cool-ify reuse cups (among other reusables)! 🙂
Rebecca G. Kehl