hi, I'm alli.
I'm a biologist, a conservationist, and a lover of our planet. Since I was a child all I've wanted to do was help the earth. I thought that by pursuing a degree in the sciences and working to promote conservation, I could do my part to help this world.
In the summer of 2012 I participated in a program with Sea Education Association (SEA), focusing on oceanography and marine biology at sea on the SSV Robert C. Seamens. SEA is a leading institution in the research of ocean plastics. My program sailed through the Northwest Pacific Gyre, also commonly known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. A gyre is a large system of circulating ocean currents. This whirling pattern causes a higher density of ocean debris to collect, including plastics. Sailing through this area, I had a first hand look at what our actions as a species are doing to this planet.
After this trip I went back to consuming in relatively the same way that I had before, although, with a more pessimistic attitude about the inevitable destination of the items I threw into the trash. Eventually, my thoughts and feelings on this issue normalized once I had more space and distance from the gyre and what was stewing there.
In 2016 I took my third biological job out of college in a water quality lab. When you test water, especially for dissolved metals, you need to take extensive precautions with the cleanliness of the tools you use in order to prevent contamination (USGS Field Manual). Often this translates to a very high use of plastic. I felt extremely conflicted. I knew the work I was doing was important, and aligned with my goal of helping the planet. But the amount of plastic we used seemed so counterproductive when our objective was to protect water. I brought my concerns to my supervisor, and she awesomely agreed to adjust the operation to drastically decrease the amount of plastic we disposed of.
This made me realize that without taking responsibility on a personal level for the amount of plastic and other trash I was producing, I was not truly doing my part to improve the condition of the planet. If I was to convince anyone of how important this issue was, I needed to put my money where my mouth was, so to speak.
This lead me to the Zero Waste philosophy and movement which has been slowly gaining momentum since the 1970s. It was immideately obvious that a zero waste lifestyle was achievable. However, most of the blogs I found were people who had been doing this for years, who had already seemingly perfected the art of being zero waste. It felt a bit overwhelming.
I am a newbie, just starting down the path to a zero waste lifestyle. I am going to treat this as a transition. Therefore, I will document the steps I take, the order I take them, and the money I spend to achieve a zero waste lifestyle.
And finally, a note to trash:
I’m done with you.