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review: turning the tide on plastic

review: turning the tide on plastic

Lucy Siegle doesn’t hold back about the dire straits that our oceans (and ultimately, our planet) are in, but equally she doesn’t leave you crying or cowering away terrified, thinking: ‘Well, we’re totally screwed, what on earth can I do about it? May as well just cancel all future plans and wait for humanity to die out.’ Instead, she manages to make you feel excited – yes the planet needs saving but you can help save it, you can be part of the generation that makes a difference, part of the generation that saves our oceans.

That is empowering.

And that is what is missing from so many other books on climate change, plastic usage and animal agriculture. I know we need books that terrify us into action because most of us are natural procrastinators – if we have a task due at 5pm, we don’t get it done at 9am, we wait until 4.45pm. The same, it seems, goes for saving the planet. We (well the big dogs) have known for years, decades even, that we need to make some massive changes in order to slow down global warming and save our oceans, but we didn’t start drastically cutting emissions and rationing carbon, meat, fish and dairy all those years ago. We’re just starting to talk about it now and that’s because the deadline wasn’t close enough before, but it definitely is now. So the world is waking up and moving ‘save the planet’ to the top of the to-do list, finally, which is fantastic, it really is. But, if you’re completely new to environmentalism it’s also pretty damn overwhelming.

Which is where Lucy Siegle’s Turning the Tide on Plastic comes in…

An absolutely fantastic summary of our plastic problem, as well as a much-needed deciphering of the British recycling system, Turning the Tide on Plastic is full of shocking facts and figures as well as constant reminders that:

PLASTIC IS OIL – and let’s not forget that.

But despite being hard-hitting when it needs to be, the book is also a great guide for the everyday consumer looking to lessen their plastic usage. Lucy invites the reader into the plastic movement in a welcoming and comforting way, helping show how easy it is to make some small changes that fit seamlessly into your busy schedule, but simultaneously make a massive difference. Just please don’t follow the advice to use mushroom paper bags in place of the plastic bags when shopping for your loose produce in the supermarkets – plastic may be incredibly hard to dispose of, but paper bags are incredibly resource-intensive to produce. Swapping plastic for paper isn’t solving any problems, it’s simply creating more.

That aside, I thought Turning the Tide on Plastic was great and I’d like to thank Lucy for writing such an inclusive, readable and educational book just when we need it most.

5 changes to make this week

5 changes to make this week