I want to thank the Orcas Recycling Services and Orcas Island Co-op for showing the documentary “Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?” This 2010 film – a delightful, often funny, and worrisome story of an average person’s journey down the road of eliminating single-use plastic bags from his life – has garnered many awards. Its message is urgent as ever.
Our landfills, waterways, and ocean are suffocating in plastic with dire consequences for us all. In 2010 measurements taken in key locations in our oceans were showing a ratio of 40 plastics to on plankton with devastating consequences for our marine and bird life. More plastics have been produced and used in the years 2000 to 2010 than the entire previous century. The plastics in the oceans act like sponges to absorb the many toxic chemicals awash in our oceans, and these chemicals are then ingested all the way up the food chain to us. Progress is being made incrementally, and I am so glad our county has taken a stand on this issue along with many cities around the world.
In the face of the disheartening election results and serious concerns about the dismantling of protections for our environment, I find myself asking what can I do at the individual and societal level. So I decided to attend this showing, and become energized to look at where plastic packaging still fills my recycling and garbage cans and figure out ways to reduce this stream. With the advent of recycling we are lulled into thinking that as long as we recycle, we are being good citizens. Yes, that is a little bit true, but take the time to watch this film (even again) to consider this enormous waste of resources, including our non-renewable oil reserves, and the threat of too much and unnecessary plastic to our environment.
Throw a “Bag It” party in the spirit of “Pay It Forward.” I have asked our Orcas Library to add this DVD to their shelves. It can also be rented or purchased through Amazon.com. Invite friends to join you in viewing this film in your home and then have a discussion about what you are doing already, how you each might change other behaviors that still invite unnecessary plastic into our lives, and nudge the companies we do business with to take a stand on plastics, too. Each time we as individuals take beneficial action to preserve our environment, we increase our own sense of wellness and bring benefit to the world.