Look at the Light, not at the Tunnel

look at the light, not at the tunnel
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

By Ramon Colon www.zerowastedude.com

This year I realized how big of a problem we have with the waste we produce. If you search for any waste topic, within minutes you will become overwhelmed and depressed. You will be buried in images and videos showing you what our grandparents, parents and ourselves have done to the environment. Almost all goods come packaged. We buy bread that comes in a bag inside another bag, and then we place it in a shopping bag to take it home, and when we are done, we disposed of all three bags in the trash as if those bags would somehow end up in the manufacturer to then bag a new loaf of bread. We purchase everything in plastic bottles because we think is cheaper. We have plastics in our landfills, parks, rivers, and oceans. We have a problem, and this problem won’t get fixed by recycling, but by modifying the way we consume products.

“Placing a box or a can or a bottle in a recycling bin doesn’t mean you’ve recycled anything, and it doesn’t make you a better, greener person: it just means you’ve outsourced your problem.” – Adam Minter

After realizing that we can solve this problem by being more selective on what we consume, we also get overwhelmed because everything we consume comes in plastic. You don’t think you will be overwhelmed? Next time you go to the grocery store, try to purchase your entire groceries list without any plastic packaging. Once you realize that you can only buy potatoes you will feel like you are in a dark long tunnel with no exits.

But I want you to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel instead of the tunnel itself.

Instead of learning how long is the tunnel, focus on what you can do to reach the light. Maybe is just taking your reusable bags to the grocery store and therefore not consuming 7 plastic bags that one week. Now do that for 52 weeks and that small change became 364 plastic bags that you didn’t consume in a year’s period. Rather than getting overwhelmed by how huge the problem is, focus on the little things you can do to make a difference no matter how small it might seem. But there is a secret to getting out of the tunnel, you can’t stay still. Once you get used to your reusable bags, maybe you would like to try something as simple as getting a metal canteen to reduce the plastic water bottles that you consume. Link: https://zerowastedude.com/2018/12/05/saving-the-world-one-water-bottle-at-a-time/  The idea is that you continue to reduce the waste you generate in increments instead of all at once. The execution of little ideas will deliver you a big payout. I am sure this is something you can use in other areas of your life besides reducing your waste.

“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb

What small change can you implement today that would help reduce your waste consumption?

14 thoughts on “Look at the Light, not at the Tunnel

  1. Due to budget cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel has been switched off. Well then, I guess it’s up to everyone to find their own way through life. So… keep on swimming, keep on dreaming, keep on writing, learning, reaching and striving.
    Whoooaaa, for the longest time. It’s been the same shit since the beginning til the end of time. Ugh

      1. But you know with stars and suns, it’s only a matter of perspective… relative distance. It’s all the same shit in the end. People can open their eyes or shut them, day time or night. It’s all just the same thing in the end, but when people shift their perspective they are never the same again.

    1. I am not sure I follow but assuming I do. I don’t think is the same shit since the beginning till the end of time, at least not when it comes to waste. It is changing and it is changing faster than we can control or even react to it. Just a penny for my thoughts.

      1. Waste is waste. Some things can be recycled, but not everything. There is the growing need for sustainable development and innovation if we are to continue to survive on this planet. That is speaking towards the continuation of a species. There is war as well which is the battle for the continuation of a familial bloodline. And there is the inner struggle where one fights to be remembered and have their 15 minutes of fame.
        There is always waste, a forgotten thing, an unnecessary suffering, an unfortunate oversight… There is garbage, trash, waste, litter, mess, dirt, smudge, stain… something. There is always something somewhere that just… isn’t to ones taste. Even though we are all capable of being beautiful, respected, valued and cherished. We are all equals. Just as the planet and its animals and vegetation.
        People destroy shit. They produce it. They consume it. And thereby reproduce it. Again. And again. Metaphorically and metaphorically speaking. Physically and figuratively. It is the same thing again. And again.

    1. That’s right! Actually, in my country it has been forbidden by law to sell plastic bags starting with 1st of January 2019. I’m looking forward to see the impact of this law.

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