Plastic convenience

May 8, 2018



Well, the time between this post and the last one shows how bad I am at sticking to blog commitments. And I thought I would do something different today. Because we artists live for experience.


My art (as opposed to illustration) brain has been itching lately, and I'm realising how many paintbrushes I leave all over the house (how?). So I decided to start documenting some of it - art, not paintbrushes -  and they often relate to world issues, including environmental, mental, cultural, and social. 


Today's art for a cause is about the environment. This is the first piece I ever created on the iPad, using Procreate, and I'm not sure I would usually think of my digital work in the realm of my art, but this one seems to transcend that. While commercially viable, I can also imagine it in a gallery, maybe even as an interactive animation where layers are unlocked and information is provided. Ooooooh... *daydreams for hours about my stuff being in a gallery*






Here's the sobering part. 


Plastic seems great. The 16 plastic water bottles that are hiding in your car. The cling wrap keeping your food fresh. Those thick storage containers, complete with their plastic locking lids and plastic wheels. The numerous combs for your hair. Plastic pegs. Plastic cutlery at the park. Plastic little sushi fish with soy sauce inside. Plastic handles on gardening equipment. Toys toys toys. Laundry baskets. dumbells. Cheap phones. Cheap whistles. Cheap anything. But plastic doesn't really disappear. And so all those toothbrushes, bottles, bags and school day plastic sleeves are still with us. And that sucks. 


According to (as of May 2018), there are millions of tons of plastic goods consumed each year. In 2015, that number was 297.5 million tons. And, unfortunately, a whole lot of that stuff ends up in our oceans and seas. It may sometimes break down to the width of hair, but it is still there, floating, polluting the water. This micro-pollution is consumed by sealife, and is also toxic. estimates that by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish in terms of weight. Which is only thirty something years away. We'll still be alive. Which means all this toxic stuff is building up, and every beach you swim in, every waterfall leading to open water, every harbour is slowly becoming toxic. And let's not bring in the compounded effects of global warming to this problem. 


So what can we do?


I'm not asking you to run out, quit your job and become a full time plastic pickerupperer. It's not up to only one person. But there are plenty of times that we have a choice. When you go to the supermarket, take your own shopping bags. And, no, don't buy the plastic shopping bag that the supermarket chain is advertising as its alternative to single-use shopping bags. It's still plastic! Avoid the bags in the fresh food area. If you have a single bunch of bananas, one head of broccoli, a single zucchini, don't use a plastic bag. It'll be okay just chilling with its friends in the basket. Or use the paper mushroom bags if you're confident enough they won't think you're stealing everything. 


Petition. Sign up to things, sign your name. Numbers can count, and sometimes politicians need to know that people do actually care and are aware that they (the politicians) aren't doing enough. 


Buy a plastic free alternatives. As well as ditching plastic bags for a more earth-friendly alternatives, try a bamboo toothbrush, a glass water bottle, a reusable stainless steel straw. There are replacements for cling-wrap, clothing, drink cups and so on. Use google. It'll show you all the possibilities. 


Pick it up. The "don't be a tosser" bit is obvious, but if you are out and about and see something, pick it up. I'm not saying slam on the breaks on the motorway if you see a bottle cap, but if you're walking your dog in the park or walking along the beach and see a bit of plastic, pick it up, and pop it in the bin. It's a bit icky on the germ side, but it may save a little guys life. 


Research. Knowledge. It's an amazing thing. Once you see pictures of baby sea birds and sealife with a bellyful of plastic that has ultimately killed them, you sigh a bit. When you see pictures of beaches with tons of washed up plastic, and see vision of snorkelers swimming through plastic garbage, you sigh a bit more. When you see animals with their heads stuck in plastic containers, well, I don't know about you, but my palms sweat.




It's that little push we sometimes need to make ourselves think "is it necessary?" And, at the moment, many times, plastic is not necessary. Sometimes it is unavoidable. Imagine trying to do a grocery shop with no plastic. Even those little stickers on the apples will trip you up. But we do what we can, we support plastic alternatives, we pick up rubbish, we sign our names, and it will keep changing. 


Because I want more fish than plastic. I like fish. 





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