The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

December 10, 2008

Caring for the planet right now.

I hear a lot of discussion about preserving the planet for future generations.  That’s fine, but to be honest, my motivation to care for the planet has almost nothing to do with future generations and everything to do with this moment… this one… right here… now.

Right now, there are Laysan albatross chicks starving to death with bellies full of plastic bottle caps.

Right now, there are sea turtles choking on plastic bags.

Right now, there are fish swallowing PCB-coated “nurdles” and passing those toxins up the food chain to us.

Right now, there are children being poisoned by the BPA leaching from their food containers.

Right now, there are PVC workers breathing carcinogenic fumes and developing rare tumors.

Right now, there are towns in China that have become toxic waste dumps for our plastic “recycling” and e-waste.

These problems began before I was born and have increased significantly in recent years with the explosion of single-use disposable products. I’m glad there are folks here considering future generations. I wish those who started this mess had considered mine. But for me, considering the impact I am having each day, right now, is enough.

What motivates you to care?

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Green Resolutions
14 years ago

Excellent post. I think this month’s APLS carnival topic was interesting. Becoming a mom did bring environmental issues to the forefront in my life — reading about disposable diapers and BPA-free bottles — but once I started reading blogs and learning, the motivation became as much “doing the right thing” as the health of my family.

Tanya Seaman
14 years ago

Let me add this: I think we may go too easy on ourselves by assuming our children will handle this. What if they don’t? What if it’s too late?

In fact, it is already too late for many creatures that are already extinct or are on the brink of extinction. Our air is already foul and we have weather patterns that are a result of global warming.

Tanya Seaman
14 years ago

It’s for today.

Even if we halted emitting any more toxins, stopped using our land in unsustainable ways — and even died out as a species today — the ecosystem would take quite some time to recover. (I know, this is kind of fatalistic.) Anything the few of us can do to significantly reduce our impact and generate interest in others is what we have to do. The more we can get others to see how deadly serious this is (and take action), the better. You’re absolutely right: it’s about today, not just for future generations.

Robbie @ Going Green Mama
14 years ago

Hayley, are you sure you are 13?? I wish most people had that level of maturity and conscience!

And yes, I completely agree that it is a collective mess, and together we can start to pull out of it!

14 years ago

Although I am thirteen, that younger generation that motivates those you speak of, I don’t work for the future.
I can’t explain what motivates me without getting into a lot of detail, but those details are not details I want out on the World Wide Web.
I will, however, make an attempt at concise explanation. I am motivated in part by guilt, a righteous guilt in my humble opinion. After all, who am I to place my silly want to not bother bringing along a re-usable water bottle over the life of a sea creature? Who am I to place my petty want for ___ toy over the life of a bird that might swallow its pretty wrapping?
I am also motivated by the obvious, the want to save our beautiful planet, for the planet itself. Not for anyone, or anything but the animals and plants and protists and whatever that we destroy everyday simply by living.
And the challenge of it all. The fact that I think what ever I do to help the environment is right, and that there are all these little things I can do everyday. Counting and tallying and recording these little things turn it into a challenge, a competition, something I can hold onto and be proud of or ashamed of. Something that makes it feel social, connected, not just a lone struggle against an insurmountable task.

A Slice of the Pie
14 years ago

First let me tell you about my seven year old’s wish he wished on a star one night- “to save the environment.” He even has an idea about a car that runs on pollution. He’s very interested in all that we do to protect the environment and just this week we had a conversation where he decided that if we just make good choices now we don’t have to worry about the future.

I think he has some great thoughts for a little kid!

14 years ago

I don’t have children, and while I do have young neices and nephews and would like for them and any offspring they may eventually have to live somewhere other than a garbage dump, I have to agree that it is not future generations that motivate me, unless it’s future generations of sea turtles, birds, non-human animals, and this world’s rich diversity of wild plants. One of my friends is motivated soley by her grandchildren . . . in their absence, I doubt that she would be so concerned. So, whatever motivation is fine by me.

Robbie @ Going Green Mama
14 years ago

Beth, you raise great points. The news – when these issues do get covered – tends to either gloss over issues or point to doom and gloom and wringing of hands, but never solutions.

And just think – my children’s children may only get to see those sea turtles or fish in books (or whatever replaces them electronically.)

Thanks for participating in this months APLS carnival!

14 years ago

I linked you in my blog article today. Came to tell you and saw I need to head over to Green Mama…..


I know some of you think I’m enemy because I have SEVEN kids, but my 7 kids will one day sit on the City Council and they will do something that these postwar plastic loving old men cannot seem to do.

Crafty Green Poet
14 years ago

I don’t have kids and no plans to have any in the future, my main motivation is the beauty of the world, I hate to think of that beauty and diversity being damaged and destroyed. I do think to the future too though, if we can get more people to care about today’s beautiful earth then there will be more of them to care whether it remains beautiful tomorrow

Green Bean
14 years ago

You are right. It is right now that matters. But that also means teaching this current generation the importance of living green. I’m motivated by a mixture of hope and fear – much though not all of it for my kids and their generation. I recently became friends with a woman. When she found out about my blog and being green thing, she began to question me for ways to live lighter. Her only motivation? Her kids. I’ll take whatever motivation people have. :)

Oh, and I’m really glad you decided to participate. You always raise important questions.

14 years ago

your day-to-day actions RIGHT NOW, by default, do help make the future world a better place. And even though you don’t have children, you must have nieces or nephews or younger cousins and I’m sure you won’t want them growing up in a rubbish dump.