It is International Earth Day – and this is what is on my mind!

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc
photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

It is International Earth Day today.

I have been thinking of the Earth a lot lately, even more than usual.

Global warming, endangered species, renewable energy have all been in the news lately, and well they should be.

But that’s not what I am thinking about.

I am thinking about plastic!

In fact I am thinking about plastic so much I am trying to think about anything else!

But I can’t!




My ten year old daughter did a project on plastic for school recently.

Here are just some of the facts she shared with her class…

photo credit: jschneid via photopin cc
photo credit: jschneid via photopin cc

Plastic takes 500 to 1000 years to degrade.

It has been estimated that over ONE TRILLION plastic bags are used worldwide EACH YEAR and only 0.5% to 3% of all these bags are recycled.

In 2006, the United Nations found that each square mile of the ocean has 46,000 pieces of plastic in it.

Over 100,000 mammals are suspected of dying due to plastic pollution every year, on both land and in our oceans. 

Marine trash, mainly plastic, is also killing more than a million seabirds each year.



But it is not so bad, right? We can recycle the plastic we use!

Unfortunately not!

My obsession has run to reading all the fine print and checking the recycle symbols of the packaging we use everyday.

Supermarket shopping has become a major stress… it is not enough that it is Irish, locally grown or organic… the plastic it comes in cannot go in my recycle bin!

The more I look, the more I see…. and I wish I didn’t! I wish I could go back to a previous state of ignorance, but I can’t!

It is driving me mad.

So what will I do? Little old me, what can I change… and what difference will it make?

I am not sure what difference it will make, but I have to do something. I may rant and rave here from time to time but I am not a big activist.

So I am going to start off small.

One piece of plastic at a time!

I am going to bring a cloth bag for my vegetable.

I will change to choosing loose vegetable whenever possible and they will go into my cloth bag, not a little plastic one that is on offer for such purposes!

I will choose more farmers markets, where loose produce are more readily available.

I will join a local scheme that delivers a selection of in-season fruit and vegetable to my door each week. It may cost a little more but if I cook wisely I can make these go further.

I can grow more vegetables in my own garden.

Small changes I know, but often small things can lead to BIG changes… so I will keep reminding myself of the Butterfly Effect theory, every time I eliminate one plastic bag from the shopping trolley!


So that is what is on my mind this Earth Day, what’s on your mind?



Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!

10 thoughts on “It is International Earth Day – and this is what is on my mind!

  • April 25, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I hear you on the plastic, it is a nightmare trying to find food without packaging. My veg comes from a local veg bag scheme or farmers market, fruit is more difficult though……
    To those ne’er sayers who want cheap veg in the supermarket which is less effort than growing your own, there is nothing like the taste of homegrown veg 🙂

    • April 25, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Here here! Yes fruit is a lot more difficult! I have considered keeping more to what is locally in season … but haven’t put it into practice yet!

  • April 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Great post Naomi and timely as I was having a conversation today with a friend concerned that the little things she does won’t have an impact. I had to disagree. If each and every one of us did a few small things – not using as much plastic, switching light bulbs, growing a few veggies, being more mindful – it has to all count, it has to add up to be something big and substantial. But we have to start somewhere and you have. Those plastic figures are shocking, truly shocking and you’ve inspired me to think more carefully about the packaging my products come in as a result, so thanks for that.

    • April 23, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks Dee that is a lovely comment, I guess you are right, if we all did a little…

  • April 23, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Sorry for the long comment: Plastic is a problem for me too and now you’ve made it a worse one! I like your suggestions about vegetables. We have our potatoes and onions planted outside along with fruit trees and bushes. We also have tomato plants inside glass doors and I’m hardening off courgettes….and yet I listened to someone scoffing at my efforts the other day because she said those things are cheaper to buy in the shop. They’re not always and also not having to lift bags of potatoes is nearly as important in my books as enjoying the freshness but I wish I’d thought about the plastic factor for my rebuttal! So, your small step has just done something big, I’m on the mission too! Now, to get people to stop using weedkiller…

    • April 23, 2014 at 9:25 am

      Oh wow I love the sound of your garden…. I am way behind you but have similar intentions! Although I have yet to have success with the courgettes 🙁 I can’t believe that person’s comment… doesn’t even justify a rebuttal really does it? I’m with you on the weedkiller too!

  • April 23, 2014 at 12:02 am

    oh dear, I’ve a bad feeling that I’ve been recycling some things that are not recyclable. You are going to unfriend me now … I am going to have to start reading the fine print – you’ve really made me think about this

    • April 23, 2014 at 9:21 am

      I was the same Office Mum, I assumed most of what I was putting into the recycle bin was fine, until my husband suggested otherwise recently… and I started to look a little more closely. Take a look at the fine print, but be warned… you might end up as obsessed as I am!

  • April 22, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Oh I feel your pain when I get an obsession like that it is all consuming.
    My eldest went to the US last year to Myrtle Beach. She worked in a big, very busy restaurant bar. Imagine the amount of bottles and cans and packaging they had. Not one thing did they recycle, not even bottles!
    My daughter couldn’t believe it. She tried to get through to them but she said on no level did they care. I couldn’t believe it.
    On the other side, we lived in Australia over twenty years ago. Everything was recycled, long before we even thought of it and most babies wore cloth nappies.
    I do agree every little counts, but what plastic can we not recycle?

    • April 23, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Ouch Tric, I can’t believe the restaurant wouldn’t do any recycling… in this day and age! Check the labels and the fine print on plastic and you will notice (like I recently did) that most is not, in fact, suitable for recycling 🙁

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