Yesterday was Earth Day! This year’s Earth Day is dedicated towards ending plastic pollution. Plastics have made our lives much easier, but their widespread use, especially of single-use plastics, have polluted the world’s natural environment because they do not decompose. So this year, why not join the growing number of people who are striving to limit their plastic use? If you need some help getting started, then come to the Thunder Bay Public Library. We have many resources to help!
A great place to start is with either Plastic Purge: How to Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out of Your Body, And Help Save the Sea Turtles! by Michael San Clements or Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry. San Clements’ book is fantastic because he breaks plastics into the good (like medical equipment or smart phones), the bad (toxic plastic toys or containers), and the ugly (the aforementioned single-use plastics like straws); rather than trying to cut plastic out entirely, he can help you make better choices about what plastics you use. Terry’s book is a bit more extreme, looking at removing plastic from your life altogether. But don’t let that discourage you – Plastic Free still has excellent tips and helpful checklists for everyone who is new to eliminating plastic from their lives.
If you’d prefer to watch a documentary rather than read about the plastic problem, check out 2010’s Bag It or 2011’s Plastic Planet. Bag It takes a look at plastic bags, and how they are clogging our waterways and oceans; the film also gives suggestions on what we can do today to start dealing with the deluge of plastic bags we have created. Plastic Planet looks at the far-flung reach of plastic throughout the world. While it has a bit of a dry tone that won’t appeal to some viewers, Plastic Planet has many excellent interviews that make up for the tone.
If you’d like to help your kids see the consequences of all of our plastic use, check out Trash Talk: Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World by Michelle Mulder. Trash Talk offers a kid-friendly history of garbage, and gives practical advice for moving towards a zero-waste society. Or you can try How Recycling Works by Geoff Barker, which gives an excellent overview of recycling. If you would prefer to start with a story, rather than a book of facts, check out One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul; it shows how one woman in Gambia made a difference in her community. Or there’s I’m Not a Plastic Bag: a Graphic Novel by Rachel Hope Allison. I’m Not a Plastic Bag has very few words, but its pictures show very starkly how plastic gets out of control, particularly as it hits the ocean.
If you’re interested in reusing, not just reducing, you can check out some of our books on upcycling, like Fantastic Recycled Plastic: 30 Clever Creations to Spark Your Imagination by David Edgar and Robin A. Edgar. Fantastic Recycled Plastic is full of really interesting sculptures you can make with recycled materials. Another option is Jewelry Upcycled! Techniques and Projects for Reusing Metal, Glass, Plastic, Fiber, and Found Objects by Sherri Haab and Michelle Haab, which has some unique jewellery projects.
There will also be workshops offered by EcoSuperior on May 16th and June 20th in the Waverley Auditorium on sustainability. These workshops will teach you how to lessen your environmental footprint with small lifestyle changes. EcoSuperior will be discussing topics like how to cut down on your household waste, how to increase your energy efficiency, cleaning your household without harm, and more!
Shauna Kosoris – www.tbpl.ca. This column appears Sundays on this page. If you have a comment about today’s column, we would love to hear from you. Check out the blog at http://tbplatyourlibrary.blogspot.ca/