Plastic rules the world

ByRoman Studer

Plastic rules the world

In our project we are concerned with “teaching” children how to recycle, pointing them out what trash belongs where, what effects all the trash has on the environment, what happens to the trash when it is not sorted accordingly. We have implemented various activities in the schools in the area. We have built trash bins with students from the lower classes and discussed the different types of trash to them. In a playful way we tried to convey this knowledge, non formal education, of course.
In the higher classes we concentrated on the concrete influence of the individual in this context of environmental protection. With the students we watched videos that deal with the topic. We also talked about ways of living “greener”.
I am convinced that with our project we had an influence on the students.

But, I go into a super market, which one doesn’t matter. There I can buy organic vegetables, which are packed in plastic, so that they don’t come into contact with the other vegetable, which is called inferior. I can buy electronic devices for a low price, whose packaging (made of plastic, of course) is so complicated to open, that I have to buy scissors to open it, made of plastic, of course. (I don’t want to talk about the manufacturing process of the devices at this point, that would lead too far.) When I have slowly filled my shopping cart with stuff to eat, go to the bathroom and load my fancy mobile phone, my shopping cart is already so full of plastic that I would like to leave it standing. But, according to maslow’s pyramid of needs, I have to, at least eat and go to the bathroom. So I buy all the stuff and I am happy that I have saved a little money because the supermarket is so crassly cheap. Of course I forgot my various jute bags, so I have to buy plastic bags. Also due to the fact that the charming cashier doesn’t let me use the carton box I found in his well-assorted supermarket. I could at least burn the box without a guilty conscience. Well then, I have to eat.

 

The supermarket is an indication of how far we have come in terms of environmental protection. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a supermarket in Germany or Romania. Plastic is everywhere. The companies market themselves as green companies, because it is socially desirable and the managers try to get good promo. But the content of the supermarkets reflects a different picture.

As I said, in our project we try to draw attention to a conscious life in the environment. But large companies are always pointing out limits to me. Of course I can teach the children to recycle things and talk to them about the environment. But it doesn’t reduce the amount of plastic produced. So we need to fight the causes. I do not believe that the market regulates itself. That is a neo-liberal misbelief.

So should politics set limits on the market? I am in favor of it. But that demands voters. People hate laws. I can fully understand that. But something has to happen.
I can shop in a fancy shop that sells stuff without packaging. But I don’t find it in rural Romania or Germany. For that I would have to drive into a city. And since there is no bus after 20h, I would have to go there with my diesel and shop in a shop that I can’t afford. So I would contaminate the environment with my diesel, as well as what I find worse as a selfish person (sorry environment)! Because I can’t do my weekly shopping in this shop. So i would starve!

I have no recipe to solve this problem. Maybe time will heal all wounds and in 50 years there will be no more plastic packaging. In any case, it makes a lot of sense to make the people (in my case young people) aware of the environment, to be more attentive and to consciously separate the trash. Even if it doesn’t affect the owner of the supermarket and he doesn’t change his behavior.
After all, the young people’s consciousness is changing and more and more people are going on the streets. Well, a start!

 

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