Sarah O’Connor is programme manager of NiftyBins in Ireland and advocate in Ghana. 

Why is recycling as important as climate change?

How is recycling linked to climate change?
This one is for the ones (you know who you are!) who don’t believe climate change is caused by us humans, or in some cases, don’t even believe that it’s real. My point here, is — it doesn’t matter.

  • What do you see/feel when you go to the beach and there is plastic everywhere?
  • What do you think about the waterways being polluted by big (manufacturing, pharma, oil, gas) companies?
  • Overwhelmed? Angry? Frustrated? Reaching for the nearest addiction of choice?
  • Understood.

 

Pictured below by Menual Meurisse

“How can we help?” has been undermined by the news leaks that we are actually not the ones doing the damage (for the most part). Everyone was willing there for a while (at least those educated and caring enough to see the problem) to do what we could. But when we realise that the big companies who are causing most of the problems, are not willing or are hiding and lying about what they are doing — or just railroading over objections and through protests — it becomes increasingly depressing. We feel helpless.

But look at that mess created in that beautiful field after a festival, for example. Did big pharma make that mess (ok let’s not go down that recreational rabbit hole) or did you and I, the attendees?

My point being, what can We do to clean up our planet?

And why are cleaning the planet and climate change linked?
If you want to keep reading, accept that I don’t believe in coincidences. For example, when I see the same man pop up a few different places, I will approach that man next time I see him. (Think Celestine Prophecy, not conspiracy paranoia, but if I do disappear, there’s a slim well-dressed guy walking around with scraggy reddish hair sticking out from under a farmers cap walking around Dublin 8 and maybe he’s a string worth unraveling, just saying!)

I do believe that this planet is a living breathing entity. Our Mother. Gaia. That is not a religion. That is a fact. Whether you believe it (yet) or not. And we have an obligation to our mother, just as we do to our own biological family, just as we have an obligation to clean up our own rooms, houses, cars (my car really needs a valeting just so you know I’m not perfect) — our planet is our home, if that is an easier analogy for you. Keep it clean, take care of it, no built in obsolescence, no planet B.

Look after it well and it will last. Furthermore, keep it well and it will take care of us. Allow us to live here longer. Because mark my words, science has proven that whether or not we spend the next twenty years arguing about whether climate change is real (and in some parts of the world it is not even debatable anymore) or who is to blame — the planet will survive, but life as we know it may not.

The changes we see may not be caused by us, but they are happening and I can’t help but feel that the planet is sick and tired of being raped and abused and like the most patient and loyal friend — keep fucking with her and find out. It is up to us if we want to keep and honour our sacred mission to protect this beautiful abundance of life that is showing already alarming signs of decay and extinction. The planet doesn’t differentiate between vulnerable or privileged few, and neither should we. In fact, each of us has a unique privilege AND is vulnerable.

“If you tolerate this, then your children will be next” — Manic Street Preachers.

And I could quote an entire Bob Marley or Peter Tosh song here.

If one suffers, all suffer
“When we recognize ourselves as allies, co-creators, with the earth and the natural world, our relationship to our environment begins to change.” — Daily Om.

Ok enough doom and gloom — solutions, guys, Let’s not dwell any longer than we have to upon the fear. Let’s use the energy we have and get to work.

So what we can do — you and I — is to start where we are.

Clean up our immediate environment. Start a compost system (I’m looking at me, here, too) educate our local schools, community centres (If they are open to it, if not, move on, they will cop on soon enough when everyone around them is doing it) and educate ourselves. I suggest first start within. Get organised. Stir up your inner cleaning gods and goddesses. Marie Kondo the heck out of your home and life. And when you are clearing out — recycle. Start where you are, do what you can.

Where are you going to begin today?
Why not read up on the NiftyBins education system? Reach out if you are interested in getting involved.

Pictured below Body Grassland in Yili, Xinjiang, China by Qingbao Meng

#wegotthis

Rolling green hills
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