Small acts of activism

"ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos have become the first in the UK to remove all single-use plastic water bottles from its shelves."

Reading this at the start of an article on the news last week, I'm feeling hopeful. When the places where the most obvious cognitive dissonance is occurring start to wake up and connect the dots, it sends signals to everybody further down the line.

Apparently, 'ZSL London Zoo, as part of the #OneLess campaigns, wants to see not only Zoo visitors, but all Londoners ditching single-use plastic water bottles, and instead drinking from refillable bottles.' 

ZSL’s Head of Commercial Kathryn England said: “We welcome more than one million visitors a year to ZSL London Zoo, and that’s one million people we can inspire to help protect the world’s oceans. By removing single-use plastic water bottles from our shelves, we’re not only reducing our own impact on the oceans, but opening our visitors’ eyes to the problem and showing them how easy it can be to adopt more sustainable alternatives.” 

This may seem like an obvious move, but in fact the sort of cognitive dissonance that this kind of move goes in the face of happens all the time. We don't practise what we preach. We create these big disconnects in our heads separating us from the cause that makes us donate to a charity like WWF or flinch away from photos of rainforest destruction, and acting from that cause in our own lives, moment to moment. 

In the same way, we share photos on Facebook of turtles entangled in plastic beer six-pack rings, and birds split open revealing plastic bottle necks, but don't make the easy connection to stop buying into the throw-away plastic economy.
 

 Zoo keepers at ZSL put their final plastic bottles to good use: instead of the bin, they get recycled as a floating feeding puzzle.

Zoo keepers at ZSL put their final plastic bottles to good use: instead of the bin, they get recycled as a floating feeding puzzle.


Beef and salmon and imported fruits being served at environmental dinners. Conservation groups selling plastic bottled water. Rainforest action groups serving Nestle products. Imperial College's Grantham Institute (centre for environmental science) holding investments in fossil fuels.

'Activism' can be taken as simply Acting on your beliefs and purpose. Practising what you preach. Every small act changes the larger story we are currently re-writing. Seeing the big picture cannot be downplayed. 

Change personal actions, act smart and connect the dots. Together we change the narrative, the story of our time.