We’re kicking off the 2017 “Everyday Activism Challenge” at work today, and I’m pledging to go as close to zero waste as possible. That means filling up no more than a 12-ounce jar with landfill-bound trash in the month of April! The average New Yorker creates more than 2 pounds of trash per day (totaling 12,000 tons daily) – and if you walk around in any non-BID part of the city or head out to Rockaway Beach, you’ll see that not all of that even makes it to landfill. We’re literally trashing our planet by destroying habitats so we can produce more and more stuff, killing the animals who live in the spaces we consider “away,” and increasing pollution where our things are made in often inhumane ways that also contribute to growing climate insecurity as global temperatures continue to rise.
Reducing our own waste and consumption can have a small but important impact on climate change, and on our larger consumer culture. Thinking consciously about the choices we make connects us more closely to ourselves and to the earth – do we really need all the things we think we do? Would we still want this stuff if it wasn’t so cheap or convenient? Would we still toss things out if we first thought about what “out” and “away” means for animals, people, and our environment? Plus, I’m hoping that taking action, even on a personal scale, will help to alleviate a small percentage of my daily anxiety about what’s happening to our planet – especially when the policies being enacted at the national level only seem to be making the problem worse.
I’ll be posting photos of my trash jar on my Instagram story every day, along with weekly longer posts about my month (and hopefully more!) of minimal waste.