Earth week Let's clean up our act

16th April 2018

The world is slowly turning into trash.

While that statement is true in so many senses at the moment, I’m not talking about wars or racism or men who give unwanted back rubs to young women in the office.

I’m talking about the literal piles of rubbish — a large volume of which is plastic — scattered all over the world and infiltrating every ocean.

Everyone’s seen at least one video of a plastic straw or fork being pulled out of the nose of a sea turtle. If you haven’t:

Or perhaps you’ve read about the sperm whale that washed up on a Spanish beach last week, killed by the 64lbs of plastic in its stomach.

In fact, plastic poses an enormous number of problems, not just for sea life. The European Food Safety Authority has warned human health could be affected by “micro-plastic pollution in edible tissues of commercial fish”, meanwhile there are numerous ways the production of plastic impacts human health. This is why this year, Earth Day is all about plastic pollution.

People like you or me are probably not going spend time fighting environmental crime, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing at all we can do

We’re often reluctant to take responsibility for how our own decisions affect the planet and the other creatures — and indeed people — we share it with. After all, if we’re putting our plastic straws in the bin, it’s not really our fault if that landfill ends up being illegally dumped in a poor country?

People like you or me are probably not going spend time fighting the environmental crime by large companies and governments that directly causes so much of the planet’s problems, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing at all we can do.

Rather than just preaching about it, The Overtake’s team took on green challenges in order to reduce the impact of our lifestyles on the world around us.

I quit fossil-fuel-powered transport for two weeks and became a resentful mess with good thigh muscles. My article on that is coming Friday.

Associate editor Ethan Shone smells because he didn’t shower for two weeks. On Saturday he explains how he ended up with no friends and assesses whether it was even worth it.

And on Sunday, Ben Sledge, who is also associate editor, details how he spent three weeks without single-use plastics. It turns out even simple meals are a challenge when everything in our society comes in plastic bags, as he explains.

Do also watch out for articles about green periods, the animals that will be next to go extinct and the carbon footprint of gaming.

More than anything, we hope Earth Week on The Overtake will inspire you to take even a little bit of action. The Earth Day website has loads of advice for doing your own challenges or reducing your long-term impact on the big trash pile that is our planet.

Let us know how you get on and good luck!

16th April 2018