Our Life in Plastic

I know, you know, we all know single-use plastics are terrible. But there are also times when we need them. I fully realize and understand that our medical system wouldn’t be what it was today if caregivers weren’t able to use single-use plastics. I try my hardest to do all the “right” things and make “good” choices for the environment. But I’m not perfect, there are some things that are hard for me to avoid. There are plastic lids on many items I purchase, I buy special dental picks for my teeth that are the best for me so I can avoid thousands of dollars in dental bills (and yes this has happened and yes for me, they work) the spinach I like comes in either a plastic bag or plastic box, my yogurt, my rice crackers etc. etc.
It’s pretty difficult to eradicate plastic from your life, period. I know there are some that live a zero waste life and I do applaud them because it surely is not an easy undertaking. I believe even the District of Squamish was going to ban plastic bags due to urging of the community and a highschool presentation that was made to the board. But many logistical issues arose and they were unable to keep the commitment.
However, and it’s a rather large, *heavy sigh*, inducing however, I really wish we could all do better. And again 100%, I mean myself as well.
Because….I just came back from a lovely trip to Belize. It had been a while since I’d traveled anywhere and I was craving a dose of sand and surf. The last leg of my journey was to be dedicated to just that in sunny, beach laden Placencia, Belize. A cabana right on the beach, Caribbean sea almost to my door. What’s not to love?!
Sadly the beach, the beach was what not to love. All day and all night the beautiful turquoise waves washed more and more plastics up on to the shore. I’m talking everything from plastic bottles, plastic lids, toothbrushes, to bags and straws. Is it made of plastic? Then I saw it there mixed in with all the Turtle grass. Now of course the hotels and bars and restaurants that are on the beach hire people to go out and clean, pick up garbage, rake up the seaweed and comb the sand after. After all that…you still see plastic. Tiny little bits here and there mixed in with the sand as if they belong together. As a lover of beaches this was incredibly difficult for me to witness. Of course I have read news and watched documentaries about the state of our oceans and plastics. But the extreme visual evidence was staggering…depressing really.
But what does it mean? Did I pick up garbage as I walked from one place to another along the beach? Yes. Did I laugh at the futility of it all as I placed the garbage in another plastic bag? Yes. Did I talk to other tourists who seem unconcerned? Yes. Did I talk to some other tourists who did seem concerned? Yes again. Being back home will I try even harder to use less plastic? Yes. Do I hold out hope that everyone will start trying a little harder? Yes.
But what does it mean?? That the world just isn’t the same any more and I’m not sure it ever will be but I will go on trying to do the “right” things and make “good” choices because at the end of the day that’s all I can control. I will also choose to remember that the water was still a myriad of brilliant turquoise, teal and aqua hues. That the sound of the crashing waves against the shore were like a lullaby to my soul. That when I close my eyes I can still feel the gentle sway of the sea calling me home.
Caffe Garibaldi

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