Sustainability of the Heart

08CB3D06-751E-44FA-8344-1D802B45010B1 July 2018 marked the start of the single-use plastic bag ban in Victoria. My question  is: why did it take so long?

Every time I see newsfeeds of the amount of rubbish in landfill that doesn’t decompose, the number of marine animals which die from consuming plastic and other waste, and that huge whirlpool of plastic that circles endlessly through the ocean…

…I feel so sad, deep down inside, that our human population has exploited the Earth for so long and ignored the devastating effects on the planet which is our home.

While I am far from perfect I do try to live sustainably: my family lives within its means. We put food waste into our compost. Our vegetable garden has provided us with wholesome, organic nutrition – not to mention joy. Our kerbside recyclables bin is consistently fuller than our rubbish bin. I “make do and mend” and don’t subscribe to fast fashion.

We’ve invested in solar panels and reap the rewards of virtually six months of “negative bills” every summer. One part of our house is entirely plumbed to a rainwater tank (which, since we had the gutters fixed two years ago, has never run out – despite infrequent rainfall). Recently I’ve frequented our local repair cafe, with gratifying results: staffed entirely by volunteers, after one year of operation it has saved over 400 kilograms of household items from ending up in landfill – and has become a vibrant social hub in the meantime.

And for as long as I can remember I’ve been carrying reusable shopping bags with me. They fit neatly into my handbag and have eliminated my need for bringing avoidable plastic waste into my home – the cornerstone of my life, the place where I recharge my spiritual batteries. In this way I’m consciously and deliberately not contributing to the problem, rather, actively seeking to be part of the solution.

If one person and one family can make these routines, why can’t our national leaders promote them more?

It’s certainly a novelty to watch the latest “supermarket wars”, as the major chains attempt to outdo each other in which can most quickly cut down the greatest amount of plastic packaging. Yet I ask again: what took you so long, Victoria? And welcome to being part of the solution.

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