Put the environment first and take the plastic pledge

Photo by Cam Bradford on Unsplash

PROTECTING the precious biodiversity of Australia and empowering a generation of eco-conscious Australians is the mission of Keep Australia Beautiful Week.

Over the week of 16-22 August, Australians should pledge to ditch plastic items.

Choose a plastic item to give up, such as coffee cups or drink bottles.

Each year one billion coffee cups end up on the rubbish heap.

Much of the plastic that ends up in nature can take up to 500 years to decompose and harms animals that ingest it.

Research and project coordinator at Keep Australia Beautiful Samuel Lawson advocates for people’s influence on preserving biodiversity.

“We see the powerful impact of individuals taking small steps to improve their communities and their environments in volunteering awards like Sustainable Cities and Tiny Towns,” he said.

Keep Victoria Beautiful honours communities with Tidy Town awards, which celebrate positive actions taken by groups and individuals in regional areas.

“This year, over 11900 volunteers have entered their volunteer projects into our sustainable cities or tidy towns awards programs,” Mr Lawson said.

“They have spent more than 357,000 hours improving our future, and we are so grateful for their efforts.”

Citizen’s Climate Lobby activist Eliza Booth echoes the sentiment that independent actions on a widespread scale are crucial to addressing environmental issues.

“Environmental volunteers are essential in setting an example and advocating for change; the more people contributing to change, the faster improvements are made,” she said.

“All individuals have the power to influence change through making conscious consumption choices.”

The pandemic has necessitated using some single-use items like disposable face masks for health and safety reasons.

Millions of masks end up in landfill every week due to the increase in demand.

“In this way, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly increased the need for Australians to ‘do the right thing’ for both our environment and our communities,” Mr Lawson said.

In Victoria alone, there are over 3,500 volunteers collecting tonnes of litter every year.

Lucky entrants who share their plastic pledges on social media will go into the draw to win a prize.

The latest IPCC climate change report represents a ‘code red for humanity’.

The report warns that the earth could be just ten years from heating by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This threshold, expected to wreak havoc on humanity, could eventuate into even more severe and frequent fires, droughts, floods and cyclones.

In this context, the Keep Australia Beautiful campaign seeks to connect Victorians to their environment and reinvigorate the drive to see a better future.

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