The United Kingdom might make a unique stand against environmental contamination in the coming years as Prime Minister Theresa May proposes a dedicated ‘no plastic’ aisle in supermarkets, alongside other ideas.
Global dependence on plastic packaging has always been a hot-button issue amongst niche environmentalists, but May’s speech on the issue might make it a mainstream discussion in the Anglo-Saxon political world.
“In years to come, I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly,” the Washington Post reports May saying during her speech on the issue.
While nations like Germany and Bangladesh have imposed either bans or hefty fees for using plastic bags, it seems the rest of the world has some catching up to do.
“It’s brilliant in symbolic terms that a sitting prime minister is saying that the U.K. needs to be clean and green. But there are many things we could be doing today, like introducing a bottle deposit return scheme,” said Green Alliance policy director, Dustin Benton.
Benton’s criticism tracks with other environmentalists in asking, ‘is it enough?’
Indeed, it might not be enough for many young people worldwide. The growing rates of environmentalism might be best reflected in recent data that suggests a societal interest in reconnecting with nature.
Not only are camping rates growing in general at a faster rate than before, but Generation Z campers are amongst the most excited about the activity. Couple this with the fact that 99% of campers say they plan to go again next year, and you have a strong case for a social trend toward favoring nature.
The question is, how does this translate to the environment? Well, the more sentiment individuals have toward the environment, the more likely you are to see campaigns to protect it. With both camping rates and political action to protect the environment both growing at a rapid rate, there must be some interplay, causal or not.
If a person has gone on a camping trip, they’ve likely seen the impact of pollution. A recent clean up of Alaskan shorelines managed to recover 10,000 kilograms of debris, 60% of which was plastic.
For campers and casual conservationists alike, anxiety about what they can actually do to help is growing. Aside from volunteering their time at larger scale environmental cleanups, starting small is the best answer to give.
Reduce reliance on plastic bags for groceries, install LED light bulbs for better efficiency, recycle. These are all well-recognized strategies.
For avid campers with larger properties, the options open up a bit. Since 83% of Americans believe having a backyard is important, and 90% of them would like to see it well maintained, an opportunity for green projects is right in front of them.
Planting trees is always a great step in a sustainable direction. Getting a garden together could help provide food for the family, and if it grows large enough, at a local level. Of course, to maintain one’s own backyard ecosystem, a storage shed for tools is called for.
Instead of reaching for non-biodegradable plastic pop up sheds, crafting a wooden shed would further exercise sustainability. Besides, they can last for up to 20 years.
The point is, as politicians trudge slowly forward through the red tape of legislation, environmentalism and conservationism grow more popular daily. Theresa May might be planning to remove a lot of plastic from the supermarket, and environmentalists appreciate this, but for those who care passionately about cleaning up the earth, it isn’t enough. With a little help from everyone, they believe real change is possible.