I’ve never been a big fans of Sundays. It’s the day before Monday, the start of the work week (which isn’t always a bad thing!) and the day after Saturday, which means the weekend is almost over…*sigh*. Sundays are always the days when I feel the most melancholy, possibly because it’s one of the few days where I have a lot of time to think and ponder all of the stuff that’s been floating around my head all week. Inevitably, this leads to reading news and sometimes getting frustrated. Why?
There is so much bad news out there. It sucks. It’s depressing and it takes a lot to slog through it all and remain optimistic. A lot of the time, I get so bogged down, I just want to turn around and ignore everything. I’ve even gone so far as to stop reading/watching the news and instead skim headlines, to avoid being overwhelmed. But really…this doesn’t work. Avoiding the problem just makes it worse, and we could definitely use less apathy in this world.
So this is the attitude I’ve chosen to take with bad news: use it as a motivator. The topic of plastic pollution can make anyone want to throw their hands up and throw the towel in. Even when it seems like nothing matters though, or nothing we do has any effect on anything…it does. I’m kicking bad news to the curb and keeping my head up. Here’s why:
The Starfish Story by Loren Eisley
I first heard this story at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference, and it stuck with me. It varies from source to source (one Google search will yield over 2 million results) but the gist is this:
A man is walking on a beach and he happens upon a child, carefully picking something up off the sand and tossing it into the ocean. As the man gets closer, he sees hundreds of starfish that have washed up on the beach. He asks the boy what he’s doing to which the boy replies with, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” The man is incredulous, pointing out that there are miles and miles of beach, and hundreds of starfish…what difference will it make to throw a few starfish back? The boy smiles, picks up a starfish and tosses it in the surf: “I made a difference for that one.” (Source: http://www.starrbrite.com/starfish.html)
Need another reason to care? To be motivated? Check this out:
Roz Savage, Ocean Rower
Once again, I’m traveling back in time to 5IMDC for this one. The first night of the conference, we were invited to attend a get-together to welcome all the participants. It was a perfect night full of networking, beer and fantastic speakers. One of those speakers was Roz Savage, Ocean Rower extraordinaire. She’s an activist with a twist: to get her point across, that we should “Stop Drifting, Start Rowing,” she rows across oceans. She’s taken over 3 million oar-strokes and can say, most definitely, that “Every oar-stroke counts.”
Now, every time I feel down, I have these two things to add to my arsenal. Feeling inspired yet? I hope so, because I’m passing on a challenge.
Most who know me also know of my love and addiction for Glass Dharma’s wonderful, fabulous glass straws. These straws are physical reminders that we can make a difference with one simple choice: say “no” to plastic straws and either go without, or bring your own.
Well, the wonderfully inspiring folks at Glass Dharma are throwing down a challenge for Earth Day 2011 (Friday, April 22nd, mark your calendars!): write a letter (yes, a snail-mail letter) to a restaurant of your choice, asking them to claim responsibility for the growing amount of trash streaming into our landfills (much of it consists of food/packaging waste). Why is it necessary for the wait staff at restaurants to automatically place unwrapped plastic straws in a glass of water, before you even have a chance to say “No straw please!”? The short answer is it’s not. It’s become so common-place to add a straw to everything that nobody thinks twice. And this is the hope with all the letter writing: that restaurant owners and their staff will stop and take notice. It doesn’t even have to be a letter about saving the environment! Everything these days is money driven so why not tailor the letter to highlight the cost-savings of not auto-filling all drinks with straws?
And here’s the best part…there’s free glass straws involved.
Yep, after you write your letter and send it off, paste a copy of your letter (with the restaurant’s contact info) into the comment section below. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with that same copy of your letter along with not only the restaurants contact info, but also your info! Why? So you can receive a free glass straw! You heard me: write a letter, become blessed with a glass straw (limit 5/participant, one for each letter/restaurant). It’s so simple AND rewarding.
But wait…there’s MORE!
Glass Dharma will award one lucky letter-writer a $100 gift certificate to their online store. So get crackin’ people, because this free-straw/drawing offer ends on April 30th, 2011! Check their blog post for more info on the cause and for letter-writing tips!
(Since this post is getting lengthy, I’ll do a separate post with my letter.) 🙂
Together, our small actions add up and make a BIG difference. So let’s get to work!