Support Life, Not Death

This snack wrapper was found and removed at sunset at the Etang de Thau in Sète, France. The natural saltwater lagoon is home to many visible and invisible plant and animal lives that are vital to the health of the very ecosystems that sustain human life on the planet. Plus it is unsightly! Therefore, if I see it I remove it, even you can participate in the effort too.

In spite of being aware of the state of the world and having somewhat made peace with it all, it still disappoints me to find manmade rubbish left so carelessly behind. Whether it was dropped in a city, or sneakily thrown from a window on the motorway, it is likely to end up in nature.

We even wrote a book about it called The Englishman Who Wanted to Clean France@theenglishsnail @lescargotanglais.

Some think we are mad. I guess we just love life; humans, plants, animals, our whole planet basically, and we want to protect it from this toxic and preventable pollution. Most people on this path often struggle to comprehend why this isn’t more important to our fellows.

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Single-Use Madness

In 2015, we learnt that 90% of seabirds on our planet have ingested plastic when the results of a study by British and Australian scientists was published. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it is 100%.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it is actually 100% of animals on earth, including humans, that are ingesting plastics at an alarming rate because of how polluted our environments are. Yet, we just keep adding to the problem instead of starting to look for solutions…

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Real Living Ones

Let’s talk about plants, real living natural ones, not plastic ornamental ones that only end up in landfill and polluting our beautiful, natural environment.

Why are *real* plants in the home important?
– Can improve air quality
– Reduce stress
– Procure feelings of joy
– They look good

Now we are all super busy, I get it. Looking after oneself and maybe even others doesn’t make adding to that load with green friends so appealing.

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Sauvage Méditerranée

Upcycled earrings by Sauvage Mediterranee – made with sea glass collected in the #calanquesdemarseille and lovingly assembled by a small team of real people in an artisanal workshop, nestled in the Provence region of France.

It’s true that I’m a recovering fast-fashion, beauty-trend coveting, shopaholic who shamefully spent far too much precious energy on absolute junktatt throughout the first part of my life. Thus, like most people in our western societies, I often funded hideously unfair working conditions for our fellow humans, along with masses of pollution to our beautiful planet and even vastly contributed to the loading of nasty toxins and chemicals in our waterways and in my own home and body, albeit unwittingly for the most part.

Thankfully, since doing the work to become aware of what I was actually consenting to and allowing by participating unconsciously in the collective consumer folly, I’m no longer trying to uphold that kind of passive abuse. Over time, I learned that carefully choosing where we circulate our money before doing so is vital in order to be able to respect ourselves, especially if we are to be, as Gandhi so aptly put it, the change we wish to see in the world.

NGL, I am pretty proud whenever I manage to play the long, reuse it over and over, sometimes patience-trying, eco-conscious, slow game by straight-up consuming less and consciously opting to use, wear and support small, local brands and artisans.

Basically, the human-scale companies that genuinely* are much more in line with organic, life-honouring values; like trying really hard to make choices that do not royally fuck the planet, animals and humans in the process kinda thing.

*Don’t get me started on the greenwashing many industries actively partake in.

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Where Does it End?

Where do you actually think the rubbish we create ends up? In the bin? Right, but then where? How does all of this rubbish end up soiling our beautiful home? How does it end up in our clean water stores and food chain?

We are obviously far too educated to leave stuff lying around in public after our joyous summer picnics and BBQs. Never would we throw anything out of the car window, nor chuck cigarette butts carelessly on the floor. We might even go as far as sorting and recycling our rubbish. Avoiding single-use altogether and maybe even opting only to purchase amongst items that can be recycled otherwise.

Yet do we really know what happens when we separate from our pollution? Once that trash hits the bin, we think very little more about it, least of all whether it actually ends up being recycled as intended, or even treated correctly and effectively. Is it actually just polluting our planet even further, in spite of our best efforts? Probably.

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Le Grand Saphir

This is the teaser for a highly recommended and stunning French documentary by Jeremi Stadler and I urge you to watch it… (Sadly, I don’t have a link for the film online as it has been three years since I first published this post on Instagram and it looks like the film has now been taken down from Vimeo and ImagoTV!)

Bask in all its glory, for it is the inspirational tale of citizen-led, empowering grassroots groups and individual initiatives sprouting up across France. It follows big and small movements that are creating community around collecting the waste and trash that humanity has carelessly left behind, be it at sea or on land, all with the aim of preserving the environment for us all.

The film features incredibly kind-hearted souls trying to shake things up and make a real difference, notably Edmund Platt aka L’Escargot Anglais aka Eddie Platt, yes, the co-author and star of the book we wrote together: The Englishman Who Wanted to Clean France, and none other than Manu from Sauvage Mediterranee, amongst others.

The beauty of the various initiatives is that anyone can take part. Anybody anywhere can participate and should. We all create waste, and none of us can be sure what really happens to it after we dispose of it, whether we recycle or not. Whether we actually throw or leave our rubbish behind or not. Let’s stop complaining, blaming others and creating even more waste.

Let’s be the change we want to see.

Updated 01/01/22

Bad Blow Job

Ok, let’s get real. Balloons blow.

A good balloon is a balloon that doesn’t exist. Manufacturers are yet to develop a balloon that doesn’t wreak havoc when it is disposed of or lost accidentally.

Even the new “biodegradable” ones are dangerous, they do NOT decompose naturally, and they DO go on to pollute our environment, drinking water and food for years.

Call me crazy, but I’m not sure that the few moments of perceived enjoyment a piece of plastic with old gas in it can bring, is worth the lifetimes of consequences on our future.

Enough is enough, it needs to stop. Even if we ended production, selling and buying balloons today, we would still have the results of decades of balloons and their purposeful and accidental releases in our environment. An immediate stop in production will allow us to eradicate what is still in nature, so that it may establish the necessary balance once again, and nature (that humans are dependant on) can continue to thrive.

You might be thinking there’s no harm done for one little party, you love nature and are respectful, you always throw your rubbish away properly, and would never release balloons accidentally or on purpose. Yet it is already well documented how our governments and local authorities are mismanaging our waste.

We must therefore avoid creating more waste in the first place. It’s the only way to really make a personal difference. If you don’t buy it, they won’t keep making so much of it. At least not in the same way. Change is possible only if we demand it. We create change, not the other way around. It’s us the leaders, and we have the buying power to shape this commercial world. The ball is in our court.

So take responsibility for the place you occupy in the world, and be proud of what you leave behind. Decorations for parties don’t have to be “boring” without balloons. Love is not a disposable piece of plastic. The internet is an amazing resource, hello Pinterest, use it for low-waste party ideas!

Search #ZEROWASTE alternatives, get your family, kids and friends involved, recycle old decorations, upcycle old household items, get unified and get creative!

The only limitation you have is your own imagination.

#oceanprotectionfrance #1pieceofrubbish

Forbidden Rice

Riz noir de Camargue (organic and local).

Black rice aka forbidden rice was known in China as the Emperor’s rice because it was apparently kept from the lower classes. It’s extremely high in anthocyanins due to its dark hue, which means amazing nutritional value and antioxidants! 👌

I’ll be honest, I do actually prefer Asian rice but I don’t really like the idea of my food travelling the world to get to me. Nor do I appreciate long production and distribution chains where numerous abuses to people and planet are often hidden for greedy profits. For a few years now I’ve been trying to reduce my consumption of imported products for this very reason.

Camargue is known for its white horses and pink flamingoes but is also a rice-growing region here in France. This means I have a choice to avoid unnecessary and overly polluting distribution in buying locally grown rice.

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