Plastics vs Heroes?
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Plastics vs Heroes?

My childhood was spent with my two brothers watching every possible superhero film and cartoon that was made at that time. The battle between good and evil, between love and hate, between peace and chaos, between balance and excess. The simplicity of the dualities portrayed can feel ancient and timeless. It exists not only in superhero stories, but in stories across time, geography and culture. Stories that culminate in the final battle scene which gives you both goosebumps and anxiety. Where the heroes are outnumbered, lacking in resources and technology, and it feels like all hope is lost. But they always have something that the anti-hero does not – something worth fighting for. Love, friendship, blue skies, hope, and home.

This year’s Earth Day theme of Planet vs Plastics reminds me of just that. The epic battle between our planet and this seemingly helpful artificial material which has seeped into every part of daily life and slowly started destroying everything in its wake. From our oceans, our eco-systems and even our health and well-being.

Our planet has been doing all it can to naturally protect itself, to replenish, to heal, to keep going. But without balance, how can anything truly survive? We cannot remain spectators- this isn’t a battle between Liverpool and Arsenal for first place in the Premier League. This is the final battle scene in Lord of the Rings where every single person, creature, giant tree and hobbit was ready to take action, to make a difference. This is when Doctor Strange miraculously appears with everyone from all the other Marvel films to defeat Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.

I know life isn’t a movie, and that we live in a world that often feels overwhelming, that we are made to feel too small to make a difference by the powers that be.

I remind myself that there is so much power in

  • Collaboration and collective change- find community near you who are doing their part for climate justice.
  • Building small regular habits- in our consumer choices, how we shop, how we approach waste, and how we strive to recycle and reuse.
  • Educating ourselves and raising awareness within our own circles-researching the impact of plastics to our oceans, our ecosystems, and our health.

Throughout our histories, people and communities have come together, to imagine, to create and to stand up for the world they wish to see. No moment is more meaningful than right now. It is time for us to do that – to know that change is possible with hope, community and determination. To know that we can, and must, build the world we want to pass on to our youth, to future generations who will inherit the fragile earth we leave behind. It is up to us to act now to be the superheroes we so desperately deserve.

– Faaria Ahmad, Head of Global Learning London

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