Welcome to Plastic Free July! Take this annual pledge to combat plastic pollution, then let’s get started on our July Changeletter topic. Surprise, surprise — the topic is plastic pollution. (Editor's note: no matter what month you're in reading this, you can still sign the pledge.)
Quick unrelated note: one of our Soapbox members, Liuan, just published a piece in Grist on how children can inspire us to reimagine climate solutions. I’m so excited to share that our community is prominently featured! It’s a beautiful and uplifting article that’s part of Grist’s Joy edition, so if you’re looking for some sunshine, check this out.
Okey dokey. Now, let’s talk about plastic pollution.
🎯 Action step 1 of 4: READ — Let's start by looking at a few articles together.
Today, I’m highlighting three key FAQs from Our World on Data on plastic pollution. The whole article is worth a read — it’s a very helpful, consolidated view of all things plastic waste.
In addition to reading the article, your other bite-sized action is to sign the pledge for Plastic Free July!
Let’s begin our Q&A.
Next week, in our LISTEN module, we’ll talk about what happens to plastics that end up in the ocean and uncover a mystery.
🖊️ If you’re stressed out by the cows worth of plastic you’re representing in this world, make sure to sign the Plastic Free July pledge!
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 1 of 4: READ.
🎯 Action step 2 of 4: LISTEN — we'll watch a short video or listen to a podcast to further expand on our topic.
In today’s LISTEN module, we’ll talk about why 99% of ocean plastic pollution is “missing”. Basically, we emit a buttload of plastic into the ocean and we… can’t… find it.
Vox is here to investigate The Case of the Missing Plastic. Time to learn! Takeaways are below.
There’s no official answer on where exactly the 99% of missing plastic goes, but we have some pretty robust clues: the seafloor sediment, un-broken-down at the bottom of the ocean, the shoreline…
This Twitter account posts regular updates of their simulations of ocean plastic pollution around the world. If you’re a data nerd or an ocean nerd or just a regular nerd, follow them! Also, http://plasticadrift.org/ is an interactive tool for seeing where ocean trash can come from.
So yeah, we’re creating so much waste that we are LOSING IT. Yikes yikes yikes. I’m really looking forward to our ACT module — big problems mean big solutions, and that’s what we’re all here for, right?
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 2 of 4: LISTEN.
🎯 Action step 3 of 4: ACT — Now it's time to do something. Let's go!
Here are 5 actions of varying time commitment, difficulty, and fun-ness.
Solving the plastic problem requires policy and upstream solutions, and we should never forget that WE are part of these solutions. Our individual actions add up and they get us to keep caring about the big picture while finding others who are down for this journey. (Thank you!)
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 3 of 4: ACT.
Before we go any further, it's time for you to pledge your commitment. It takes less than 30 seconds to pledge and we can bother you about it in a friendly way, so we can hold each other accountable. Pledge here!
🎯 Action step 4 of 4: REFLECT — what can you commit to? What fresh perspectives can we look at?
For our REFLECT module, I want to talk about habit-building.
Yes, it’s not a plastic pollution-specific topic, but I’m CONSTANTLY seeing us create more plastic waste not because we don’t care, but because we forget our various mugs/totes/bottles/etc.
Ready to make our lives better with sustainable habits? Let’s do it!
Before we go through all the habit-building stuff, I did want to share an article about how plastic recycling doesn’t work and never will based on the material itself.
The main point:
Chemical recycling is not viable. It has failed and will continue to fail for the same down-to-earth, real-world reasons that the conventional mechanical recycling of plastics has consistently failed. Worse yet, its toxic emissions could cause new harm to our environment, climate, and health.
The other main point is that proven solutions to plastic pollution reduction exist, like single-use plastic bans.
Ok onto habit time!
Many of you may have read Atomic Habits — it’s one of the highest-sold ✨lifehack✨ books ever — and if you haven’t, here’s what you need to know: James Clear, the author, breaks down the four steps of habit-building in a way that is applicable to basically everything.
I’m going to teach you the steps below along with an example of how I might do this with my goal of bringing reusable produce bags with me when I go to the store to reduce plastic.
Your action this month is to pick your plastic-breaking habit (e.g. bring sustainable produce bags to the store) and map out the four steps.
And with that, it's a wrap! (But not plastic wrap, no no no.)
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 4 of 4: REFLECT.
Check out our membership community for more resources like free weekly events with social justice experts, sustainable product discounts, pre-written email templates, a social impact job board, and in-person hangouts with new friends. Thanks for taking action with Soapbox Project!
Get our free bite-sized climate action plans before you go!