Imagine this…

It’s 7am on 1 June 2017 and there is a knock at my front door. A man in a dark green uniform, perhaps bearing a slight resemblance to James McAvoy, stands in the doorway. “Yes?” says I, just awake. “Madam, I am a member of the Environmental Police. We are declaring an International Emergency and, as of this moment, the use of all single-use plastics is now a capital offence. We will be removing all items of this nature from your home immediately.” The sound of neighbours screaming echoes on the tenement stair …

So just allowing the panic to subside a little….

The Marine Conservation Society issued a challenge to give up single use plastics for the month of June. If I took that literally, with immediate effect my personal hygiene is in dire straits.  I can’t clean my teeth – toothbrush, toothpaste tube, Barbie bottle brushes favoured by dentists everywhere, dental floss – all single use plastic . I can’t wash my hair – shampoo. The toilet’s an issue as well – loo roll comes wrapped in plastic. I can’t have my morning cuppa – Clipper teabags wrapped in plastic – and the granola’s off the menu as well – nice cardboard box but it’s got an inner plastic sleeve. Already the day is unfolding in a haze of consumer confusion. And the Environmental Police haven’t left me any alternatives…

No matter what I do or where I do it in my urban world, I’m encountering plastic, especially the disposable kind. So for me this challenge has to be about an unfolding process. It has to be an opportunity to make something more conscious in order to make it workable and more long term. So it’s a compassionate exploration – walking a path between recycling and re-using what I can and, I suspect, awakening to the enormity of the plastic challenge.

Onwards…