Plant as a verb, not a noun. But verb the noun.
I’ve lost count of how many ways we’re trying to cut down on plastic. Not that it’s many, just that I’m wearing mittens. We’re doing well, avoiding the oily stuff wherever we can and sticking to sustainable, recyclable materials like wood, paper, bamboo and chutney. We’ve ditched plastic bottles, coat hangers, toothbrushes, pegs, yogurt pots and such and such. Now we’re on to our next challenge: replacing our plastic plant pots.
These seem particularly stupid. Here we are giving life to the world, protecting nature, nurturing plants from seed and seedlings and preparing them for the ground, and we do it with one of the most anti-nature substances around. We grow herbs and seedlings in oiled-up black pots, we sit houseplants in fossil-fuelled brown plastic and, if we’re particularly careless, when we plant an outdoor plant from a plastic pot we throw the pot away. Etsy houseplant hipsters, who should really know better, have gone mad for concrete pots despite concrete being one of the most polluting materials we have. Even terracotta pots, which are an improvement on plastic and can be used and reused for life, raid our finite supply of clay. Sirs, madams, this must stop. Help is on the way in the form of sustainable, degradable plant pots.
These are a belter of an idea, revealing plastic to be as dumb as it is stupid. We’re talking plant pots made from bamboo pulp, natural latex, grass, seaweed, or recycled paper. We’re also talking pots made from coconut fibre – coir – although given the scarcity of coconuts in the UK it’s likely they take carbon-spewing travel to get here. We can raise babies in these pots and then plant them, in some cases still potted so their roots aren’t disturbed, and watch as the pots degrade in a matter of months. Instead of raiding the earth for materials and filling landfills with non-recyclable plastic, we can just borrow from the earth and then return what we’ve used. This is good. All we need now is a decent closing line and we’ve buttered another fly.
Avoid plastic plant pots
Save the actual goddamn world
Related Blog Posts
Among the million things we need to do to avert climate breakdown, kicking the arse out of plastic is one of the most urgent. Plastic comes from dirty-bad oil, gas and coal, using about 4.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and about 6% of coal-fired electricity in its production. We’re bringing on the sixth mass extinction for the sake of shrink-wrapped broccoli.
In my withered, Covid-infested state I find myself doing less and less for the big battles we need to win: Yer climate breakdown, yer rise of fascism, yer eating the rich. But recently I’ve discovered a critical area of climate activism that requires even less effort than doing very little: Doing nothing at all! By which I mean I’m buying less shit.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the IPCC – issued its latest report this week, pointing out how monumentally fucked we are because we like cars, burgers and mass extinctions. It makes for grim reading – but only if you actually read it. Here are nine ways you can avoid giving it any thought at all!
Desperate to avoid petrol I hired an electric car for the purposes of hard science. I requisitioned a Renault Zoe for a few days, rented a lab coat and three pens for its pocket, bought a clipboard outright and began the grand experiment. The key tests were how well the battery lasted with my commute and the business of social work, how quickly it drained when parked overnight, how big a pain in the arse public charge points are, and how often I’d have to use the buggers.
Back in the arse-end of 2019 I finally ditched my car, having decided humanity was marginally more important than an easy commute. But then Covid hit. And hit me right in the face. Almost two years later I’m still having trouble walking, still working fully from home and only just starting full time hours. I need a car. Which means I need an electric car, which means a lot of expense…
We’ve made it halfway through COP26. It’s been a week of photo ops and erasures, announcements and sucker-punches, protests and Borises being colossal shits. On the surface there have been some decent announcements…
And so we find ourselves on the eve of COP26, where highfalutin delegates from around 200 countries will come together in Glasgow to either unite the world to tackle climate change or to talk shit, greenwash their failures and prove virtue signalling is a real thing after all. In preparation I’ve been hard at work on my soul-crushing climate anxiety. This requires long nights lying awake fretting, long days doomscrolling social media. It requires your heart pounding against your ribs so hard it actually makes a noise.
My grand return to the world of disability hasn’t been great for carbon footprinting. The early, housebound stage was amazing, obviously. The plus side of not leaving my bed for months is that it reduced my emissions – and my activity, social life and hope – to zero. But as I got more with it, public transport was no longer an option…
As the climate crisis escalates and we begin laying track for Fury Roads, most of us are living our lives much as before. It’s a society-wide combover, with all of us pretending not to notice the very clear bald patches poking through. But even with our eyes closed and our fingers in our ears, climate breakdown will keep on trucking. Here’s how, Buzzfeed style: