In preparing for a screening colonoscopy this year, I met with my gastroenterologist recently to schedule the procedure. I told him I was on the “every 10 year plan” since I had changed my diet. He said “You can do everything right” like reducing the amount of red meat you are eating, avoiding processed foods, eating more fruits and vegetables, etc.; however, you cannot avoid ingesting microplastics. He offered that recent research suggests that we consume the weight of a credit card’s worth of small plastic particles every week and microplastics “have even been found in lung tissue”, implying we are breathing it in as well as eating it!!! Hearing this was scary and had me feeling a little helpless and hopeless.
This information came my way at the same time as Jupiter and Neptune were aligning in Pisces (on 4/12/22) for the first time in 166 years. This planetary alignment is known to support new creations and insights. Shortly thereafter I heard about Harvard University’s work to address sustainability at a systemic level by creating sustainable plastics, supporting the release of my fear and opening my heart once again to hope.
In honor of the recent work by students and staff at Harvard, below are intention-setting ideas for you to consider as you reflect on your relationship with our Earth and how you might reduce your carbon footprint as we await the mass production/distribution of these new bioplastics:
- Do Your Own Research. If you want to learn more about Harvard’s research on bioplastics, take a look here. If you would prefer to listen to learn, click here to tune into the most recent Global Energy Transition Talk that was recorded on 4/28/22. It is truly inspirational!
- Buy Local and Fresh. I know we are all tired of hearing about the supply chain issues that have come about during the pandemic. Yet, perhaps this is the exact motivation we need to prioritize finding ourselves at our local farmer’s market weekly and implementing that plan to eat more fresh foods that are in-season locally. And remember to bring your own cloth bag to bring home all of the goodies you find!
- Don’t Microwave Food in Plastic Containers. Transfer foods into a microwaveable glass or ceramic dish before warming it up in the microwave. If you want to take it a step further, perhaps consider getting rid of any plastic storage containers in your home and transition to ceramic and/or glass for both storage and heating. Heating plastic containers in the microwave – or even cleaning them in the dishwasher – degrades the plastic, leaking microplastic chemicals into your food and water supplies.
- Drink Only Filtered Water. Whether you invest in a filter for your taps in your home or you buy a refrigerator that has a filtered water dispenser, consider eliminating drinking bottled water. Research out of State University of New York at Fredonia, Department of Geology & Environmental Sciences found 93% of bottled water showed some sign of microplastic contamination.
- Buy Plastic-free Personal Care Products. Microplastics are used in body washes and toothpastes, to just name a few personal care products that are made with plastics. Consider finding alternatives that are plastic-free or contain biodegradable microbeads for that exfoliation effect.
As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share!