Last Friday night, my brother Will and I were hanging out on the phone discussing our book-writing aspirations: his dream of writing children’s books (He’s already a fantastic illustrator of books that other people write. See the end of this post for an amazing demo) and mine of creating a plastic-free book to inspire or at least entertain the masses.
Will’s not a treehugger, but unable to avoid my plastic-free influence, he wants to help me figure out the best way to speak to a wider audience of people — people like him who care, but maybe not yet enough to act. So he wrote the following letter to you guys. Overlooking spelling, punctuation, and the fact that he was most likely drunk on half-cooked brownie mix when he composed it, what do you suggest?
Dear Fake Plastic Fish readers:
I was thinking about plastic the other day partly because I had run out of things to think about but also because my big (big as in older not heavier, taller, fatter,or meaner) sister just spoke at the TEDx conference, and I’m proud of her. I started to think about my own relationship with plastic and that became painful because I’m a slacker by nature — so then I thought about my dog because that was more fun. But then I knew I was avoiding thinking about plastic which forced me to think about plastic more — then I couldn’t get it out of my head. Oh yeah — I forgot to mention that I was on my daily walk, and so I knew I had to have a personal conversation with myself to finally confront my plastic usage so I could get on with thinking happy thoughts — like soap.
I’ve always rationalized my plastic usage with 3 arguments, and mentally I usually only need the first one to content myself. 1) I’m a family man raising 3 boys – I have a wife, a dog, a mortgage, and I have little time left over to worry about plastic. 2) I run my own illustration business, and I usually work 60 — 80 hrs/week. I’m sure that living plastic free will cost more — extra money that I don’t have. 3) I consider myself a “normal guy” not some tree hugging freak… if I start down this road I’ll have to change… change isn’t fun.
Ok — before you all start picking up stones hear me out — I don’t stand behind any of those ideas. It’s taken me 44 years to confront those irrational thoughts, and I’m doing it because of the awesome example my big sister is setting. I’ll admit that being busy is no excuse for environmental carelessness. I remember making a life choice when I was about 7-8 years old not to litter. It felt cool to label myself at the time – “I don’t litter.” I’m sure that I need to do the same sort of thing with plastic.
The money excuse — I know — lame — it will probably cost less in many cases to avoid using unnecessary plastic.
The environmental wacko thing — also lame — it’s been my way of avoiding the crucial conversation I’ve needed to have with myself.
So here’s what I’m asking Beth: knowing me, my lifestyle, and guys like me — could you give me 3-5 of the most important and highest impact ways I can reduce my plastic usage? I can’t live like you overnight but perhaps you could give me the most important baby steps. I think if you can get a guy like me to make environmental lifestyle changes you’ll be successful getting other “normal” dudes on the bandwagon.
Here’s a little more about Will to help you understand who we’re dealing with here:
He likes winter sports.
He likes his dog.
He likes Photoshop.
No, I mean, he really, really likes Photoshop. And making videos. Even if you have no suggestions for Will regarding plastic, watch this video just because it’s awesome.
So, um, Will’s not exactly normal after all. But then, is there really any such thing?