By Sol Klingensmith
My husband and I take long walkabouts every year. We especially enjoy the Camino de Santiago hikes in Europe.
When you walk in nature for long periods, something almost magical happens; I will gush and say you fall in love with nature, and “hope” sprouts once more!
Last year, we walked the 500-mile Chemin Compostelle in France. The beautiful forested paths beside the rivers usually led us to small villages. In these small villages, I noticed how France has taken action on climate change and some practical ways they coped with the serious drought that ravaged their country in 2022.
When we ordered water from restaurants, it was always served in a small glass, the size a child might use. If we wanted more, a glass water bottle was brought to refill our teeny glasses.
When we bought food at the grocery stores, we were always given paper plates and bamboo utensils—no plasticware.
In 2020, France became the first country in the world to implement a nationwide ban on plastic plates and cutlery to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics. Bravo, France.
Plastic accumulates in seas, oceans, and on beaches worldwide. Plastic residues are found in sea life and then in the human food chain. Microplastics have also been found in the air we breathe.
We can make a difference, and as usual, it begins with baby steps at home:
- Avoid using Ziploc bags or plastic wrap to store/cover food.
- Let’s say “No, thank you” to plastic bags when they are offered.
- Use glass containers to store food.
- Use a stainless-steel straw.
- Patronize ocean-friendly restaurants committed to cutting out wasteful single-use plastic and praise these restaurants in your communities.
- Join the Surfrider Foundation, a local organization that works to reduce plastic in our oceans.
- Join a local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Education/Lobby, an organization that educates people about effective solutions to global warming.
May this “sprout of hope” grow within you and inspire your action plan toward reducing plastic usage.
Now in September, we are off again for our annual Camino in Spain. As I walk in the beautiful forested paths, I will feel nature in its most profound way, I will feel gratitude and love, and renew and nurture my sprout of hope.
Sol Klingensmith lives in San Juan Capistrano and loves the Earth. You may contact her at email@example.com for further suggestions on how to replace single-use plastics and for information on the popular walking trails of Europe known generally as Caminos, Buen Camino.