Let’s All Be Less Single-Use
By Kelly Alexander, CARE USA, WATER+
“Where’s my hat?!”
“The children likely threw it away.”
“Everything these days in their life is single-use. They probably just used my hat and threw it away like everything else.”
Yikes. Presumably my kids did not throw away his hat, but he has a point. Single-use style of living is everywhere (though of course in some places, …ahem, like the USA, more than others). We also are more aware than ever of the impact of our consumption life-style.
How often do you drink bottled water when you are at home? Not often I assume.
How often do you drink bottled water when you are out around town? More often.
How often do you drink bottled water when you are traveling out of the country? More often if not all the time.
We believe in climate change. We believe in human-caused climate change. This means we believe that in addition to the essential and impactful regulations and changes that governments and industries make – we also believe that each of us is responsible for creating less waste. We need to each take action to reduce our consumption – of plastic forks, bottles, straws, bags, take-away containers, and “free plastic stuff.” But it isn’t just disposables. Washing clothes, taking long hot showers, getting our hotel room cleaned daily – all this adds to our use of water, energy, waste. No matter how consciously we intend to be, there is always more we can do.
Sure, flying around the world to talk about climate change is hilarious – but flying and traveling for work is our current reality. We all do it. We all can do better. We can travel less, travel more efficiently, take advantage of video technology and cell phone calls. We can volunteer in our local school system and local governments to make changes to how energy is used or improve the waste management system they implement.
There is a lot we can do. But we need to start with our own behaviour. We need to use less. But really, we need to start with reusing our winter hats.