Sunday, 26 August 2018

How Art Helped Me Ditch Disposable Plastics

I remember it well, standing on the scorching desert playa at Burning Man, 2007. The sand was painfully hot through my far-too-thin sandals. I was an awkward Burner Rookie -- and was clearly wearing the entirely wrong shoes for the alkaline, foot-parching ground.

But I wasn't thinking about my feet. Numerous, massive art displays in huge surround of the organized camp-city were all I could perceive. The rigid corners of my mind were expanding rapidly. With a great rush, I was thinking far outside the boxes and norms of my conservative upbringing.

And then, there it was. An art-piece as big as the wall of a house. The words beneath it read, "2 million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the U.S. every fifteen minutes." I gasped. And then I just stood there, paralyzed. It felt like I was frozen in that one spot for nearly an hour. Until tears started running down my playa-dusted face. I felt ashamed, though I didn't understand all of the reasons why. But even without a conscious knowledge of what was born in me that day, I was changed forever.

Plastic Bottles from Running the Numbers by Chris Jordan
Click "Plastic Bottles" by Chris Jordan for an Interactive Experience

This larger-than-life display of human inefficiency and waste set off an alarm-bell in my head. "This just doesn't make sense. And can't keep working forever." And that alarm bell hasn't stopped ringing ever since.

From that significant moment in Black Rock Desert, my life has been a step by step journey to wiser choices. At each turn I learn more and face new challenges. But I have made A LOT of lifestyle adjustments. And I think I'm a better human for it.

I'm grateful for that shocking experience over a decade ago. It was the beginning of my "great change" -- the starting place of seeking my redemption for my ecological mistakes. And while I've made countless adaptations and improvements,  I am still climbing the mountain to zerowaste and true sustainability.

Harmony is the state we're meant to live in. I feel that in my heart. I want to get there. And I'm working at it.

I look forward to sharing my journey with you and thank you for being part of it. I believe we can all get to a real harmony of sustainable living -- together. Namaste.

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