“There will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050, unless the industry cleans up its act.” – Davos World Economic Forum 2016
And I would add: unless we change our choices.
I don’t know if you are aware of a giant garbage dump in the middle of the ocean called “The great Pacific Patch.” It is a huge extension of un recyclable plastic, and it’s double the size of Texas and growing.
It might seem ironic, but most of the problems we complain about are being created by…us.
Yes! It is you, me, your neighbor, your children’s teacher, the guy in the gas station, your boss, your colleagues, even your grandparents! We are ALL creating the reality we live in.
Our daily choices have daily consequences. When these pile up, they create entire realities. I’m not saying everything we are creating is wrong, on the contrary, I absolutely love life and think we have achieved so much greatness! But we do have some areas of growth to be recognized and urgently addressed.
The good thing is, that because it is us that are creating all this chaos, we also have the amazing capability of creating the solutions!
I want to share something that happened to me a couple of years ago during Christmas season that was a big wake-up call:
On the morning after Christmas, my son Pierre (4 at that time) was so excited opening the gifts that “Santa” brought him. As I sat there with him I realized he was actually more excited by the big boxes and unwrapping the paper than by the actual gifts! And this was not because he didn’t like them. Santa had brought almost all the toys he asked for, and even more surprises!
At the end of the “unwrapping frenzy,” Pierre left all the toys in the floor. He played with the boxes, piling them in towers, and then grabbed a few Legos. And…that was it.
The boxes were thrown away minutes after, and the toys went in his room, never to be remembered, or maybe once or twice in the next year.
What? – I asked myself – I thought he was dying to have the ‘Ninja-Go Legos’ and the ‘Mini Dog-robot’ and the inflatable wave runner, the Lego watch, the Star Wars characters, and… Well, I guess Pierre didn’t really want most of this toys. He just thought he did, as we parents fool ourselves into thinking that buying the toys will make our children happy.
Few months after, I gave away most of the toys, some of them still brand new. Since that day I “woke up” to this “toy industry set up” most of us parents are thrown into.
The more research I did about the toy and children’s entertainment industry, the more shocked I was!
It turns out most toys are made in China by women in deplorable conditions. (If I could show you pictures, you would never want to buy a popular plastic toy again, believe me) Toys are made using the lowest quality and even toxic materials, so the cost is minimum. The owners of the major toy brands are of course the ones paying the money to produce the popular animation movies each year.
Well yes! It all makes sense. At least for them! They spend the money to produce big movies, invest millions of dollars in marketing and merchandising to get into our children’s brains and then have us parents buy their cheap toys so they get much more money back to their pockets.
Plastic toys are used by children for an average of two hours over two weeks. After that time, they are forgotten, given away or thrown into the trash.”
The toys get thrown out of our homes, but because they are made from plastic, they stay around, polluting our Earth for more than 500 years or even forever!
This experience changed my entire vision on toys and Christmas and gifts. I’m not saying I became a Grinch, but I am surely more aware of what toys I choose to buy.
Children don’t need the fashionable toy to be happy. They need fresh air, nature, our time and love.
I would like to invite you this Christmas to prefer toys that are made of natural recyclable materials: wood blocks, books, puzzles, board games, colors are some good options. I know it’s not easy to change our habits, but giving the magnitude of the issue we are creating, we might at least make a little effort here.
If we start making new choices, we will create new realities!