Saturday, December 28, 2013

Everything Is Connected

Every day, we make choices and our choices, as insignificant as they may seem, have HUGE consequences. Consequences for you and those around you, for people you will never meet, for animals, and for the environment.  

If, while indulging my daily caffeine addiction, I choose to drink from a Styrofoam cup, here are (a few of) the consequences to people, animals, and the environment: 

  • Styrofoam is made from polystyrene. Polystyrene is made from styrene. The International Agency for Research on Cancer believes that styrene causes cancer and/or birth defects.
  • There are concerns that when heated, polystyrene containers release styrene. Is it possible that simply drinking coffee from a Styrofoam cup could have toxic effects?
  • Polystyrene, like other plastics, is made from petroleum. You may have already heard this but petroleum is pretty scarce. Why use such a scarce resource on something that is meant to be used once and then thrown away?
  • Speaking of throwing things away, according to the EPA 25 billion +  Styrofoam cups are thrown away each year.  They will never decompose. They will last for-eva.
  • Because Styrofoam is not recycled it dies a slow death in a landfill. I should I say it causes the slow death of animals –animals who often mistaken these smaller fragments as food and choke or clog their digestive systems.
  • Technically, Styrofoam is recyclable (#6) but it rarely is because it’s just too difficult and not cost efficient. So instead, millions of tons of Styrofoam are incinerated annually and the incinerated material ends up as airborne toxic ash.

More Good. Less Harm. 
The realization that everything (and every thing) is connected may be a daunting one. It doesn’t have to be. You may have noticed that I gave special attention to the words choices and choose. Our ability to make choices makes us very powerful. The votes we cast when we spend our dollars do matter. We have the choice to make choices that do more good and less harm. 

Living with less Styrofoam.
Today is my first blog post. Starting today I intend live with less Styrofoam. I intend to slow down and smell the coffee and I want you to join me. Tomorrow morning, while indulging my caffeine addiction, I plan to bring my own ceramic mug (or one of my reusable containers), sit down and savor the flavor of my mocha, even if it's for only five minutes. It's better for the environment, other people, animals, my health, and my mental state.