Saturday marked my first ever fair. I have done car boot sales before, but this was my first fair as a (plastic free) shop owner. Although I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the Ystradgynlais Christmas Hospital Fair, and although admittedly a few people laughed out loud at the sporks in cork! What could have turned out to be a bit of a depressing realisation that people don’t give enough of a shit about plastic pollution and challenging it, actually and happily, turned into a really, really fun day with a lot of positive engagement, feedback and awareness from the public about plastic pollution.
You can never judge a book by the cover: There’s absolutely no ‘look’ or genre to define the worries people harbour about the state of our planet, because this is a universal problem that’s uniting us. Therefore, the idea that you have to be a hippie, whatever that means, to participate in a beach clean up is completely outdated and doesn’t reflect the status quo.
If Saturday taught me anything it is this: environmentalists are everyone and anyone who cares enough to participate in a productive and fruitful conversation. That conversation might lead to more conversations, that might in turn lead to action. Perhaps it will begin by switching from plastic to reusable bags or giving up on cling film, whatever the results, all are significant and important if we’re to have a collective, citizens response against plastic pollution and keep raising peoples awareness to the problems of ubiquitous plastic.
This is the main objective because governments are not doing enough: it’s down to people power. To care is to converse on the matter and to mobilise is taking positive action. This is what we need to realise as a community of stewards caring for our ailing planet: we cannot wait for the government,. Surely they’re part of the problem anyway.
Even though I entered the hospital with slightly cynical expectations, I left feeling optimistic that even if the people there had never considered plastic’s harmful ubiquity, then at least now they might having been presented with a plastic free stall full of alternatives to their plastic disposable counterpart. In the future I intend to have a lot more information about the products, what they replace and why we need to replace them, on my stalls. In Green’s is a concept store, one where most products have a truly useful purpose and always replace plastic, while the gifts are wrapped in packaging that means they are recyclable, repurposable or become something else, like the sprouting pencils.