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Why individual actions to prevent ocean plastic pollution will always matter

By October 1, 2020No Comments

In moments of doubt, what two things are best kept in mind about your role in solving the ocean plastic crisis?

As far as the environment goes, ocean plastic pollution remains a key issue for most UK consumers. According to a survey by WRAP, impact on oceans and marine life is the most commonly cited concern when we think about plastic food packaging. Yet with an ongoing epidemic and other life concerns, the sheer gravity of the problem can sometimes make individual actions seem disconnected and futile. In those moments of doubt, what are the two most important things to remember about your role in solving the ocean plastic crisis?

You are part of a collective

Some problems seem so monumental, that just the thought of them can be daunting. Climate change and the ocean plastic pollution crisis are two prime examples of this. However, when it comes to ocean plastic, most of the solutions to the problem already exist. For the day to day, this means making ‘reduce, reuse, recycle and choose recycled plastic’ your mantra, and taking the actions that are right for you.

While making better plastic choices is a good place to start, you may be more compelled to get in touch with your local authority, spread the word by talking to friends and family or even giving talk at your children’s school. Remember that individual actions will make a massive dent, if done collectively. No one is expecting you to solve the ocean plastic pollution crisis by yourself, but if everyone is waiting for someone else to do something, we run the risk of not doing anything at all.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist

It’s impossible to know the ripple effect of your actions

It’s only natural to want to know your actions have made a difference. However, not being privy to the fruits of your labour doesn’t mean that it’s all for nothing. Without even realising it, your thoughts, ideas and actions, even if they feel small at the time, can indirectly influence others and spread like wildfire. As social animals, we look to people around for clues about what’s socially acceptable and how to think and behave. Various studies illustrate how social norms can influence environmentally responsible behaviour, such as recycling and energy conservation at home. We are all interconnected and reflect the world around us.

If you care about ocean plastic pollution and don’t translate that worry into positive action, it festers. Aligning your trepidations with a gesture, no matter how small, can instil a stronger sense of purpose in the everyday. Turn those concerns into action by making better plastic choices and recycle whenever you can.