In recent weeks there has been a lot written about pollution caused by plastics. Many people believe it is a great scourge, perhaps one of the biggest environmental problems of this century. I believe that too. When you talk to people about it, they all agree that ‘THEY’ should do something about it.
By ‘they’ I think that people generally mean politicians. But politics operates on the basis of the ‘squeaky wheel’. Whichever wheel is squeaking the loudest will get the oil and one thing I think we can agree on is that there are many squeaky wheels out there in the world right now, whatever country you live in. So we can’t rely on politicians doing anything about this problem for a while. Some other ‘they’ must do something and that ‘they’ is us.
Yet it is us, the people spending our money with those retailers, that have the greatest power of all. We can force retailers to change their ways simply by refusing to buy products that aren’t in biodegradable wrappings.
If we do that, then the retailers will pressure their suppliers to change their ways. This is ‘people power’ at its most effective and will produce faster, better results than a thousand protest marches or petitions.
Retailers operate in a highly competitive world. They operate on small profit margins and so it needs only minor shifts in consumer behaviour to make them stop and think.
Now, multiply that up to every supermarket in the country and you have created a very loud consumer voice that is shouting very loudly ‘stop pre-packing OUR vegetables’.
Now, imagine all the meat, butter, cheese, bread and other consumables that would have to be thrown out if it wasn’t sold and imagine what that would do to the supermarket’s profits. It would take a couple of weeks, maybe, but believe me, they would soon start to feel the pinch.
The supermarkets would be forced to listen, because refusal to listen would bankrupt them.
A few years ago we were bombarded with images of drowned dolphins, caught in the nets of tuna fishermen. People stopped buying tuna. Not everyone, of course, but enough to make the retailers stop and think. They demanded tuna that was line caught, not net fished, otherwise they couldn’t sell it; they couldn’t even give it away.
The assurance that the tuna in the can was line caught started to appear on the labels of the tins and the problem of dolphins dying in nets ceased to be such a big issue. I dare say that some dolphins still die that way, but not nearly as many as there once was. It was consumer power that did that. YOUR power.
But that takes time, doesn’t it? It’s inconvenient to shop in half a dozen different places when you can do all your shopping in one place and save time.
Yes, but it is also grossly hypocritical. You can’t, in one voice, say ‘Oh, that poor creature, they should do something about it’ and then, in another voice, say ‘I’d love to help, but I’m in a hurry.’
It is our problem. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
1. Share this blog and other blogs on this subject by other bloggers. Get the message out there that it is US who has the power to bring about change and WE must use it.
2. Every time you buy something, look at the packaging and see if you can buy an alternative that is less environmentally damaging.
3. Make sure that your retail outlets know that you have made this choice and will continue to do so. Use their own social media sites so that all their followers know that you are taking this stand.
I know that my little blog, by itself, isn’t going to change anything. But if all of you out there who read it do something, and persuade others to join in, then we can stop the suffering of animals because of OUR consumer behaviour.
If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. If you WANT something different then you have to DO something different.