July 22, 2016 Latest News No Comments

Zero Waste Toolkit imageWildlife Queensland celebrated World Environment Day on 5 June 2016 with a clean-up at the QUT Gardens Point mangroves followed by a short film screening on marine pollution.

Throughout the evening, the audience enjoyed the sounds of Brisbane-based singer-songwriter, Michael Josephson and banjoist Dave Holzberger, both from the Indie-folk outfit Moski Jo. The films shown were thought-provoking and inspiring, addressing local and global issues of marine pollution.

‘More Than We See’ by Emma Thean and Brighde Walker, an entry in the 2015 Cicada Awards (Wildlife Queensland Bayside Branch student film competition), reminded us that littering is a world-wide issue, one that amounts to more than we can see. It recognizes the need to be conscientious when fishing – to take all plastic and other waste products home with us. It also reminds us that detergents and oils that wash down the stormwater drain flow directly to the ocean, untreated, poisoning marine plants and animals.

‘Trash Tribe’, a film from the Clean Coast Collective, told the salty adventure tale of ten environmentalists and creatives who travelled to Cape York where they collected a huge 3.1 tonnes of trash in just ten days. The film highlights the fact that there is still a vast amount of plastic in the ocean (over 5 trillion pieces, in fact) and reminds us that while clean-ups such as these are valuable, they only represent a patch solution. Participating in such clean-ups, however, does help you to begin to see things differently:

“I’m starting to see all the different ways that my life has some kind of a polluting influence. I think you might not notice otherwise, because it’s so easy not to notice it,” said one participant.

This led the evening to a discussion on steps forward for a plastic free future. Ideas abounded of ways in which we can change consumption habits in our daily lives. From using eco wraps (rather than cling wrap), keep-cups (not disposable coffee cups) and re-usable ‘growlers’ (rather than beer bottles) to placing more value on the objects we already own and taking the time to fix them rather than replace them.

It was inspiring to hear ideas like these coming from the younger generation: Create less rubbish in the first place, don’t buy products that are over-packaged, choose products with biodegradable packaging, re-use your plastic shopping bags or take cloth ones to the shops instead, tell your friends, family and anyone you see littering about the dangers of rubbish to marine animals.

Some participants looked at the bigger picture with suggestions ranging from phasing out planned obsolescence to pressuring producers to behave in a more sustainable manner. Above all, it was decided that awareness raising and sharing a positive, urgent and inspiring message is the key to this wicked problem. The outputs of the evening were compiled in this simple Zero Waste Toolkit – please do your bit by sharing it amongst your networks!

Missed the event but still want to be involved? Why not challenge yourself this Plastic Free July? The concept is simple, yet effective: Attempt to refuse single-use plastics during July. Sign up now via the Plastic Free July website and be inspired and supported by members of the community embarking on the same challenge. Our Zero Waste Toolkit might be a good place to start!

Written by wildlife1ict