It would be disingenuous for me to claim to have been an environmentalist for almost any portion of my life.
If anything I probably made more jokes about “tree-huggers” than most people.
While home in Venice, I separated my recyclables and compost from trash but that was because my wife was on me about it and the different colored garbage cans in California made it pretty easy. And odds are I didn’t always make the right decisions about what was supposed to go where.
But I never really saw any of the impact until now. The U.S is relatively advanced in the department of environmental conservation compared to Indonesia, Malaysia or Thailand. On an absolute level one could certainly argue we have a helluva lot more work to do within our borders, but no question there is even more work to do elsewhere.
Filling garbage bag after garbage bag with plastics each morning that had newly washed ashore in all of these islands from Bali to Koh Lanta to Sumatra and watching the beaches erode with stacks of dead coral everywhere, is enough to catch the attention of any non believers.
Even if you don’t think any of this matters, it freaking looks terrible and the smell of burning trash and plastics everywhere is awful. And if tourism is your main source of income, well then what?
I am far from perfect, but I think twice now before buying another plastic bottle - it is a start.