Plastic is the new enemy! After years of happily drinking from single-use plastic bottles and accepting that our food comes wrapped in multiple layers of plastic, we’re waking up to the impact this throwaway culture is having on nature.
Blue Planet II changed all that. Filmed in heart-wrenching detail, viewers saw for themselves the plight of birds, fish and other sea creatures tangled in bits of plastic, often still recognisable as the packaging we discard from our busy lives. And that’s just the stuff we can see.
As plastic drifts on ocean currents it breaks down, slowly, into tiny plastic fragments – secondary microplastics. These particles are small enough to be ingested, by fish and other creatures, entering the food chain. That’s our food chain.
Even the pristine wilderness of the Arctic is threatened. A couple of weeks ago, the BBC reported research presented at an Arctic conference in Norway that showed up to 234 particles of plastic per cubic metre of Arctic sea ice.
With every story, it becomes even more obvious that change is desperately needed. And the Church is starting to take a lead. This Lent, Christians around the UK are trying to cut back on plastic as part of the #PlasticLessLent movement. Churches are increasingly ditching disposable cups in favour of washing up real cups. It’s more and more common to see people walk into their local coffee shop with a reusable cup. All of this is encouraging progress.
Ultimately, love is always a stronger motivator than guilt. We can cut back on plastic, particularly the single-use stuff that goes straight in the bin. But let’s not do it because it’s fashionable to feel guilty in the light of a beautifully made TV show. Let’s do it because we love God, we love his nature and we want to preserve it for generations to come.