Q: Susie, I saw a disturbing documentary yesterday on PBS about the pollution of our oceans and natural waters. Now, this is nothing new to any of us, but what was disturbing to me was how much plastic debris there is in our oceans. I was really afraid for marine life and for our world. As an intuitive, what do you see happening over time? Do you see people making it better or continuing not to care? How do we not use plastic when it’s everywhere?? Thank you.
A: This fits perfectly with my thought that people are waking up all over the world to environmental concerns, and waking up really fast. That’s the good news. Has this deteriorating been going on for a while? Yes. Is it too late? No—but we’d best be doing something right now. There’s no more time to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that what’s going on in the rest of the world doesn’t have anything to do with us. It does. If a finger is infected, the whole body is affected.
I was also personally shocked to hear about the plastic in the oceans heating up to become little plastic beads that are killing marine life, or the high amount of carbon monoxide changing the alkalinity of the oceans to sicken and kill the ocean life. Sometimes it seems too overwhelming, but then I think we can do it if we all start living more mindfully.
Start at home: take plastic. Look at what containers you bring home from the grocery store—plastic juice bottles, Saran Wrap and Styrofoam from the produce and meat departments, plastic storage bags. Bring your own cloth bags to the grocery store (they even sell them there now), bring a storage container to the restaurant and forego the styrofoam (which never breaks down in the landfills). Bring cloth bags to the mall, or don’t get a bag at all—just keep your receipt in plain view. Buy in bulk, using paper bags, get biodegradable plastic can liners. Buy recycled and recyclable products as often as possible.
Just think before you buy something. Do I need this? Can I reuse it? Is it recyclable? Will it break down in a landfill? Recycle. My husband said the other day that he’s noticed that since we’ve been recycling, our garbage has been cut in half. That means we’re recycling 50 percent of everything we bring into the house. I want it to get even better than that.
As an intuitive, I see us at a crisis point. I think Mother Earth has just about had it, and is ready to blow her stack, and I don’t want to be around for that, but I may be. She’s now adjusting to our destructive tendencies, with weather and land upheavals felt already. We need to get serious about change, and I think we are. People are taking strides to make it better, and I think a majority of the people do care. We may get lulled into lethargy because most of us have it really cushy compared to the rest of the world. It’s hard to think about starving people when we’re eating our vegetable soup, looking at our full pantry. It’s hard to think about oil running out when we can just run to the gas station and fill up whenever we need gas.
The less we choose plastic, the less will be manufactured. It’s the simple law of supply and demand. If we buy recycled products, companies will make more, and the prices will drop. I remember when I first started buying organic food—man, was it expensive! But I kept doing it, knowing that the more people bought organic, the higher the demand. With greater numbers of people becoming ecologically responsible, the economy is following suit.
Crucial to this whole mix is the idea of “more is better.” Mae West used to say, “Too much of a good thing is delicious.” But is it? If our mindset is more more more, then we are consuming more than our fair share, creating an imbalance. We need 3 TVs, 2 computers, 2 cars, a cell phone for every family member, a lake home (so now we have two homes), 2 closets of clothes, 200 pairs of shoes (okay, maybe just if you’re a woman). Too much! I think by scaling back we won’t be so out of touch with the rest of the world—we won’t be so “far ahead” that we can’t see anyone else.
How about volunteering in a soup kitchen? How about grabbing a bag and going out to pick up garbage? How about sitting with someone in a nursing home, or volunteering for Hospice? Are these things related to cleaning up the environment? I believe they are, because it’s all about getting more involved in the world, and less involved with our separate lives, our acquisitions and “things.” That will give us more sympathy, more empathy, and maybe stir within us something that calls us to greater service.
Someone once questioned my adamancy about recycling, telling me, “It doesn’t make any difference that you recycle. You’re only one person.” I replied, “That’s all it can be about, each person doing their best - that’s all we can do.” And if each of us did just one new thing a day to help the rest of the world, we could change it all around. I just know it. And I must say that I’m immensely proud of my children’s generation, and the beautiful steps a lot of them are taking to make a positive difference in the world. I’m seeing it in my daughter and her friends in college. They care. And so do I.
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