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Environment & ethics   |   Plastic

Putting the joy into environmentalism

What I’m doing is this. I’m looking for every single way that I can help the planet. How we live and work, travel, shop, eat, drink, dress, vote, play, volunteer, bank – everything.

We all want to do what we can to make a difference. But it’s a bit overwhelming – and we’re busy. We either have too many school or university exams, too many bills or way too many humans in our lives. We don’t have many hours in the day spare and few of us are getting enough sleep. So, as with my previous books, I’ve done a little research on your behalf. All you have to do is read and use any of the ideas that you like.

And life is short. So joy is vital. There is a lot of overwhelm around this subject which doesn’t help. Where do you start? The good news is that there is much that we can do. So much. Let’s enjoy changing the way we live and make choices that enhance life for ourselves and for others. Anything less is a disservice to our one brief life and to our beautiful planet.

So that’s the ‘joyful’ bit. As to being an environmentalist – who or what is one of those? Wangari Maathai? Jane Goodall? David Attenborough? Greta Thunberg? The dictionary defines an environmentalist as ‘a person who seeks to improve the quality of the natural environment and to protect it from harmful human activity.’ If you’re holding this book you probably recognized yourself in the title. That’s you. That’s me. That’s all the sane ones who live on this earth.

You are an environmentalist. One who wants to be part of the solution. We are many. We are millions.

From chapter two: Plastic

Ten New Plastic Products Sold to Us on Social Media This Year

Oil companies have spent $180bn in the last seven years finding new products that we need to buy. Here are ten of the items they have created and promoted, all of which have arrived in my feed this year on social media in an attempt to get me to hit the ‘buy’ button.

1.          A plastic pram for pushing a watermelon – includes chiller to keep your melon cool. £130

2.         A plastic contraption for hard boiling eggs without the shell. You take the eggs out of their shells, put them into an egg-shaped container which you then place in boiling water. £14

3.         A seat with an attached step that fits over your toilet so that your toddler can climb up the one step to sit on the loo safely. Comes in pastel pink or pastel blue so your child knows what sex he or she is. £26.58

4.         A doormat made of plastic which is apparently superior to a normal doormat. (However, unlike traditional doormats, will never biodegrade.) £90.72

5.         A plastic Dust Daddy attachment for a vacuum cleaner with strands to suck up ‘delicate objects’ – like leaves and dust on books (as if a normal attachment wouldn’t do the job). £10.99

6.         A plastic egg to hold your soap powder in your washing machine. Marketed as an ‘eco egg’ – although quite what is ‘eco’ about an unnecessary plastic egg isn’t clear. £9.82. Buy a different one for your dryer too. £9.99

7.         A ‘mascara shield’: a piece of plastic shaped to go over your eye so that you don’t get mascara on your eyelid when you are applying it. £6.89

8.         An eyeglass cleaner on a plastic stick (cleans both sides of your glasses at once) to save you using a cloth. £8.34

9.         A ‘toothbrush of the future’ that is made entirely of thermoplastic. Says it’s recyclable – it certainly isn’t biodegradable. $12 in the US.

10.       An intimate shaping tool – a piece of plastic that women can put between their legs to shave pubic hair into a heart shape, a downward arrow or an exclamation mark. £14.95

The Joyful Environmentalist, by Isabel Losada, is out now, published by Watkins Publishing and available for sale at independent bookshops, or various online retailers for RRP £12.99.

Joyful Environmentalist

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