Our individual green practices need to become less individual

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By Nathaniel Crouch

Individualism is defined as being independent and self-reliant. When looking to tackle the multitude of problems in the climate crisis we as a planet face, it can be difficult to switch out of the mindset that all of our efforts must be made on an individual level.

Take plastic straws for example. We’ve realized single-use plastics are an avoidable waste and now it seems everyone has a metal straw on them, ready to go whenever they should get bubble tea. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It’s great that we’ve come to an understanding that we should cut our waste, yet it’s devastating this seems to be the peak of our efforts to reduce the volume of garbage we create.

Large companies such as Amazon and Walmart make an individual’s waste levels so small in comparison. I’m not saying “Fuck it, use six straws because Amazon wastes more than we can fathom”—absolutely not. It’s simply time for bolder steps than saying ‘No thanks, I’ve got my own’ when ordering a Starbucks Coffee.

There are companies on the opposite side of Jeff Bezos’s convenience empire. You can still get many of the items you want without going through 16 cardboard boxes. Places like Amazon have gotten a sweet spot that wasn’t even imaginable a decade ago, the sloth sweet spot. The convenience of it all is unreal, two-day shipping on anything and you don’t need to leave the house. 

We’ve gotten caught up in feeling good about lower plastic straws usage, and, unfortunately, we’ve also gotten caught up in making sure everyone else has one too. That’s not a terrible thing, it’s only bad when it’s all we can do.

But we need bolder strokes because large companies with huge waste amounts are happy to give minimal effort as we debate over plastic straws. We need to shift our attention, be proud that we carry metal straws and consume from greener companies. If we don’t, the packages of the past will wash up on our children’s shore.

These are some brands pushing the initiative on green packaging

Lifestyle Over Luxury: A clothing company creating eco-centric, quality and ethical adventure goods.

Boreal Folk: An entire business powered by solar! With face, bath and body care lines as their focus, they sustainably harvest plants that are from healthy plant colonies and process them to add to their line of natural products.

Zero Waste Emporium: A grocery shop that carries a variety of environmentally friendly brands that will ensure your transition into going green is easier. 

Goldilocks: Wraps are an all-natural and eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap. Each wrap is handmade with love in Victoria, BC using locally sourced beeswax.

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