On Sunday, the BBC aired Blue Planet 2, and broke viewers' hearts with a stark look at what humans are doing to the Earth and its oceans.
Featured in the documentary was a pilot whale, whose baby had died from causes likely related to plastic ingestion or chemicals in the water. Devastated, the mother was unable to let the baby go, and swam through the water with its decomposing corpse.
People watching at home were destroyed by the images of a mother's grief.
I said this before on last Sunday's episode and I shall say it again: it makes me feel completely #ashamed to see what serious damage our species is doing to the beautiful wonders of our planet. Why in God's name are we doing this??— Trevor Holohan (@HolohanTrevor) November 19, 2017
Very upsetting to see that. 👎🙄#BluePlanet2
this is just awful, crying my eyes out here, how can we do this to anything living?— Spaniels Rule (@sgrenyer21) November 19, 2017
Just watched this now. We are destroying our planet. 🌍 . Does anybody care.— Michael (@duckanddodge) November 19, 2017
One Twitter user, Gemma Tomlinson, used the attention received by Blue Planet 2 to give some suggestions for how the everyday consumer can limit their plastic use, and thus help with plastic in the ocean.
1 - buy a double walled water bottle. you can get these on amazon, eBay, in TK Maxx, online etc for £6+ just make sure they are double walled cause then they keep your water cold for up to 24 hours and keep things hot for up to 12. magic. saves a fortune too! pic.twitter.com/Jpp9PlC0BI— Gemma Tomlinson (@OMGgemma) November 19, 2017
2 - get a reusable coffee cup. did you know coffee cups can’t be easily recycled? i personally love @ecoffeeofficial which is made from bamboo & also @KeepCup, esp the smaller ones which are perfect for a flat white. most shops offer a discount if you remember your own cup. pic.twitter.com/ev9Hi8anwO— Gemma Tomlinson (@OMGgemma) November 19, 2017
3 - if you can’t get a reusable cup, or you forget yours, try drinking in as much as you can, rather than taking out, so you’re using less plastic coated cups + producing less waste. it’s much nicer if you have time, cause we don’t stop and chill enough in 2017. take a breather. pic.twitter.com/6h95h9oTIb— Gemma Tomlinson (@OMGgemma) November 19, 2017
4 - if you get a takeaway cup, which even the most zealous environmentalists do sometimes, did you know that @CostaCoffee will take ANY branded cup and recycle it as part of their programme? you can’t just recycle it at home so this is super helpful. nice work, costa. pic.twitter.com/5FEjsalrkC— Gemma Tomlinson (@OMGgemma) November 19, 2017
5 - when you’re in a bar, ask for your drink without a straw. it’s a small thing but it makes a difference when we all do it. invest in stainless steel or glass straws for at home, they will save you money long term and make you feel ~fancy~ and like a real life pinterest person. pic.twitter.com/R6xYSIMmlk— Gemma Tomlinson (@OMGgemma) November 19, 2017
6 - obviously we all try to remember bags when we go shopping, but did you know you can buy mesh bags for fruit, veg etc so you don’t need those tiny plastic ones? they go in the washing machine and will make you feel like you really levelled up as an environmentalist.— Gemma Tomlinson (@OMGgemma) November 19, 2017
7 - look around in your area for places you can buy loose fruits and veggies. these are often market stalls with independent vendors (who will also take back plastic berry cartons etc for recycling) so if you have the option - support them!— Gemma Tomlinson (@OMGgemma) November 19, 2017
9 - try one week where you are conscious of your plastic consumption. it's everywhere! I try hard but I was shocked when I saw how much I threw away without thinking. it might show you some other areas you can cut down or recycle more.— Gemma Tomlinson (@OMGgemma) November 19, 2017
10 - don't get too overwhelmed or be hard on yourself. the modern world is not an easy place to make better choices sometimes, I fail a lot. some people can't make many changes because of money or because disability means they need disposable options. be kind to yourself too ❤️ pic.twitter.com/n9Q2F1JGCP— Gemma Tomlinson (@OMGgemma) November 19, 2017
All of these suggestions could be implemented in our lives, and Tomlinson's note about not letting yourself be overwhelmed is a good one. See what small changes you can make and stick to, because it's the only way to make those larger changes.
Do it for all creatures, big and small.