Mission Zero

We are on a mission, but where will our mission land? Will our mission be zero waste or zero life? Regardless of what mission you choose, I am afraid we are already on a mission together. Unfortunately we can’t tell you where we will land and how it will end. Zero waste would be the best possible outcome for our landing because it would enable us for a more waste circular economy: make, remake, return, reuse, repair, recycle and rot.

© Lakeshore Recycling Systems

But are we capable of that?

Let’s talk about electricity, since many of us can currently relate to the lack thereof. Normally we would try and avoid a topic such as this, but it needs to be discussed from an environmental perspective.
At the moment anything regarding electricity - or “ZESA” as we call it in Zimbabwe - is a very sensitive subject, sparking much debate and uncomfortable fury from which we can actually learn.

“How?” I hear you ask.

Our reaction to the power crisis in Zimbabwe could potentially be a glimpse of what life could be like if we don’t start acting on the current global environmental concerns we are facing, such as the plastic pollution problem. We could lose much more than just our electricity.

The era of single use items (mostly consisting of plastics) must come to an end now because it is no longer sustainable. Reliable sources claim most of the world’s single use plastic pollution problem has occurred within the last 13 years. Another states: “Humans have produced 8.3 billion tons of plastics since 1950”…  fast forward another thirty years and we will have created 12 billion metric tons of plastic waste.

When Harare’s Pomona dump site caught fire in November 2016 countless poisons were released into the air, causing major breathing problems throughout the city © Harare News

We have all potentially contributed to these terrifying Anthropocene statistics. Guilty: I have personally been part of the single use plastic scandal, and although I am ashamed I have tried for the past six years to make up for my past shortfalls by making changes and trying to live a zero waste and sustainable lifestyle.

Single use plastics not only create waste; they lead to countless bigger problems. Micro-plastics start life as larger pieces of plastic that break down into small, harmful plastic toxins when exposed for the right amount of time to the sun and water.

Micro-plastics are now being found everywhere. Scientists confirm they are in our air, water and soil. We can go as far to say they are found in our seafood, honey and even beer! There is no escaping the fact that micro-plastics are here for good. We can make the choice to stop contributing to the daunting statistics which project there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.

Plastic from the Caribbean Islands floating in the waters off Honduras © Caroline Power

Our only chance is to start minimizing our single use plastic footprint before we see change, but we all must act now.

I am sure everyone can relate to the thinking how much easier life has been with single-use plastic items. The convenience meant we didn’t think the massive impact their use was making on the environment that supports us.

Is there time to change the path of our footprints? Are we capable of diverting the mission?

 I say yes. There is still time but we must all participate. This communal effort will require us to start seeking and practicing more sustainable lifestyle alternatives and start embracing our connection with the environment and utilizing nature’s gifts to start living in a circular economy. We can start by rethinking what is important to us and what we can do to remake, reuse and reduce what we already have for our future needs.

If ever a negative and challenging situation (like the one we are all currently dealing with) was to have a positive light (no pun intended) then take this time to reflect on how you can rethink about the way you live and what you can do to be better to yourself and to the environment. Our small actions count; refilling your jars at Waste Me Not can save you money and creates less waste which is a great start to rethinking our lifestyle.

A first step towards Mission Zero: refilling your jars

If we were to rename ZESA: Zimbabwe’s Environment Sustainability Actions, I believe that we immediately take control of our attitude to the situation by making our own personal sustainable actions to get us through this tough time together. Remember: there is no Planet B. Let’s take care of what we have now and our sustainable practices can never be taken away from us.

Yours faithfully,

Waste Me Not Sustainable Living

Mission Zero
Mission Zero


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