The Plastic Peril
The world is drowning in plastic. From clothes, furniture, gadgets, toys and appliances to packaging and containers, it has pervaded every aspect of our lives. So total is its monstrous grip on modern society that plastics have also made their way into our cosmetics and even our food – “People needing more and more and it’s all getting lost.” Sadly, these words from Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ 1972 song ‘Ruins’, sound even louder today.
We simply cannot simply stand and watch this synthetic tsunami destroy our environment. It’s high time that we wean ourselves off this destructive, polluting resource. Sure, it may be cheap and convenient with certain very useful applications. However, to put these predominantly financial incentives above the health of the planet is an act of inconceivable folly. Our human race is capable of astounding ingenuity and problem solving so let’s turn these intellectual powers towards tackling the issue of plastic pollution and to finding sustainable alternatives – many of which are already out there or being developed by the outlying heroes in this fight.
Yusuf is supporting Plastic Free July, a global movement that strongly urges people to reduce their plastic use during the month of July so that we can have cleaner cities, oceans and wild spaces. Their goal is to go far beyond a single month of reduced plastic consumption, however, the annual Plastic Free July initiative has become an international focus in the battle for significant and lasting change. In July of 2019 alone, an estimated 250 million people across the globe took part in the challenge from 177 countries. Participants reduced their plastic consumption by an average of 23kg per person saving around 825 million kg of plastic waste. Remember, it’s never too late to start and being part of Plastic Free July will help you to find great alternatives that can become new habits forever. Will you join with Yusuf and Plastic Free July to become part of the solution to plastic pollution?
Through his global Peacetrain initiative, Yusuf will be supporting Plastic Free July in their efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics along with working with it’s Plastic Free Foundation to look at how to reduce, and potentially eliminate, plastics at live concerts and events.
Work has already started by Team Yusuf / Cat Stevens to produce a brand-new Tea for the Tillerman Tea, sourced by the good people at Love Cocoa, which comes in plastic-free tea bags. Yes, shocking as it may seem, most tea bags currently contain microplastics. Furthermore, the packaging for the tea as well as the packaging for the two outrageously delicious chocolate bars that Love Cocoa are also making for him is all totally plastic-free. And to top it off, Yusuf is also offering a Tea for the Tillerman² Eco Bag made by Kind Bag using 100% recycled plastic bottles that were otherwise destined for our oceans.
Yusuf’s deep rooted ecological concerns stretch back over half a century and are most clearly expressed in his timeless anthem ‘Where Do The Children Play?’ and a newly re-imagined version of the song was released on June 11th. Its message has been made even more impactful by director Chris Hopewell and Black Dog Films who took the song’s message to heart and went above and beyond expectations to produce a piece of art that is not only visually stunning, but which was made using almost entirely recycled, repurposed and up-cycled materials. Hopewell states:
“The song has a strong environmental message, so we wanted to make a video that mirrored that. We decided to make the props and scenery from recycled materials wherever possible, to minimise the production impact on the environment. We did a beach clean in South Wales to gather plastic debris and used it to make the ocean you see in the video. Our sea scenes were made from waste plastic washed up on our shores.”
To produce a video in this way certainly took considerable effort but as Hopewell explains, “It was a slightly longer process than usual, but fun!” And this is just the point. Yes, it may take a little more work than using cheap and nasty plastics but looking after the planet and the gloriously complex network of life to which we all belong needs to be embraced as a fun and joyous experience.
The journey to free ourselves from our addiction to plastics has already begun and we must all unite on the path – and that means individuals but also businesses and enterprises of all sizes too. Time is not our friend in this endeavour and we must certainly pick up the pace, but with the likes of Plastic Free July, Love Cocoa and Chris Hopewell’s with Black Dog Films we have clear and shining examples of what can be done. Everyone at Team Yusuf / Cat Stevens looks forward to sharing this journey with you and being a part of the movement towards a cleaner, more caring and sustainable world.
Pre-order T4TT2 here: catstevens.com/tea-for-the-tillerman
Learn about the good things to come: peacetrain.org
Learn about Plastic Free July: https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/
Shop here: https://store.universalmusic.com/catstevens/
– Hallam Kite