Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

๐ŸŒฑ A Hopeful Guide to Deplasticizing Our Life

Part V: Breaking Society's Reliance on Plastics

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

Welcome Back! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ

The first step is admitting you have a problem. Houston, we have a plastic problem. We wrap up our Earth Month series by discussing the step-by-step solutions to the seemingly insurmountable plastics crisis. Read on for more...

In Case You Missed It: Are Microplastics a Big Concern? On Sea, Land, and Air

What You Can Expect
๐Ÿ’ฟ Answering the Plastic Crisis
๐Ÿ“ฃ So Raise Your Voice for the Planet
๐ŸŽฌ Time to Buck the Eff Up! New Ad
๐ŸŽŸ Pride in Your Pride Strategy Workshop
๐Ÿ’ก Reflections, ideas, & curiosities of the week

Imagine aliens land on Earth a million years from now. Theyโ€™re space archeologists working to understand the history of the Earth.

The crew is cruising the oceans depths in their spacecraft and see a glint. They slowly approach. Sticking out beneath a pile of coral is a shard of a compact disc. ๐Ÿ’ฟ They travel a little further and find a massive bubbles colony covering the ocean floor. They are multicolored. Most are white blobs but some are red, clear, blue, and more.

As any scientist would be, these alien scientist are intrigued! What is this thing that doesnโ€™t seem to be natural to the environment doing on the ocean floor?

We know plastics are durable, but our society hasnโ€™t caught up on exactly how durable. Over this month, weโ€™ve seen how damaging plastics can be from when they are pulled from the earth as fossil fuels to never-ending overproduction that end up in our bodies, air, and mostly left to leech into the earth and sea. The crisis is clear, but the way forward is more murky to stop the permanent plasticizing of the Earth.

Our Answers Are Here

The bad news is that plastics harm everyone. The good news is that plastics harm everyone so there is a chance to rally more people and shift the tides of the plastic wave engulfing our planet. And people already generally know they want less of it.

Ultimately, the answer to the plastic crisis is regulation, developing an off-ramp plan, and turning to longer-term, more sustainable products. Late stage capitalism is all about cheap and convenience, which means constantly buying new and throwing away the old. But the Earth ainโ€™t having it. We cannot continue to consume the way that we do on this finite planet. Luckily, there are already a lot of smart people working on solutions.

When we approach something so insurmountable as the continued growth of plastic production (by the worst actors), we have to take it piece by piece. Plastics are so universal in our lives that they canโ€™t just go away tomorrow. So we tick away bit by bit to get to much larger solutions.

Last week, I mentioned some small scale solutions like plastic tire catchers in the back of cars to collect the plastic flinging off of tires. Another important technology will be installing filters in our washing machines to trap plastics before they wash out to sea. Some municipalities are working on passing regulations to help mitigate the microplastics that swirl out the sea from our fast fashion and plasticized clothes. These are tools to mitigate the current crisis, but we will also need to solve the already overpopulated plastic planet.

Most importantly of all, we need to hold the fossil fuels industry and everyone who profits off of it accountable for knowing they are infecting even themselves with plastic pollution and yet continue to do it just for wealth and power. I write about capitalism often because itโ€™s a system that goes against the values I hold and use at the roots of change agency. Unfettered capitalism will continue to lead us to more consumption and empower the worst actors lust for more wealth. Itโ€™s unsustainable. We and future generations will be the ones facing the consequences. We all know this about the climate crisis at this point. The question is what will we all do about it with the powers that we hold individually and collectively?

Weโ€™re seeing right now what collective action can do on college campus. The old world is very frightened of the โ€œkidsโ€ who arenโ€™t afraid to speak truth to power. This election year is a chance for us to show our strength in wanting real change that moves us away from the greedy forces of capitalism towards a new world that allows us to build sustainability into our lives and planet.

So Raise Your Voice for the Planet

For us, the most important solution is awareness. We are the ambassadors for the climate crisis. We live in a plasticized world of ignorance. Itโ€™s up to us to make sure that more people are aware of the much larger harms of plastic than plastic shopping bags. If speaking up about these issues isnโ€™t your comfort zone, I get it. I'm an introvert. I recently chatted with some activist friends about this in our latest podcast about Speaking Up While Protecting Your Peace.

What power do you hold in your life to create a change? Since reading about microplastics, Iโ€™ve made a concerted effort to deplasticize my kitchen by using more glass jars for storage and camping gear for food storage. I donโ€™t love the idea of plastic seeping into my food so Iโ€™ve changed my routine. I also recognize that doing so is a privilege that not everyone has.

We live in a plastics world and itโ€™s impossible to escape so my philosophy is do what you can personally, while building the momentum collectively.

But also, make sure youโ€™re not the only one speaking up. Share what you know about the plastic crisis with your friends and family. Change the plastic utensils in your office kitchen. There are countless ways for us to make a difference individually, which collectively helps. That one change in your office might spark a few dinner conversations at home, which turns into a kids science project, which turns into a school-wide plastics effort. Who knows! We holding more influence in our lives and circles than we often realize. We canโ€™t solve the plastics crisis alone, so letโ€™s do it together instead.

2024's Earth Day theme was Plastics vs. Planet. It's the last day of April, but it's not too late to take action and join the millions of people who are advocating and speaking up against the plastics crisis and its fossil fuel enablers. Here are three actions you can take today:

  1. Sign the Global Plastics Treaty from
  2. Send a Letter to the largest plastics producer to release their research on microplastics. Tell the CEO of Dow: Share What You Know
  3. End Plastics In The Cafeteria Lessons

Thanks for handing in there for our special 5-part series on plastics. Next monthsโ€™ series takes a geekier turn. Iโ€™m excited to share it with you!

Enjoying our newsletter? Subscribe for the full monthly series, learn how to navigate ๐Ÿงญ social change activism in our digital world, and support our 100% reader-supported work.

Getting to the roots - evaluating the news with a social change lens
  • ๐ŸŽฌ Parents Stand in Solidarity with Student Protests - Father of USC student is interviewed while supporting his child and the Palestine Liberation camps from outside the gates of campus. โ€œIf she rather be arrested for fighting for Palestine, Iโ€™d be the happiest daddy.โ€ โ€œShe is doing the right thing, fighting against a genocide.โ€ This video really got me. ๐Ÿฅฒ
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ -  What struck me the most is the power that relational organizing can have in this moment. The Anti-Genocide movements across U.S. campuses and beyond are only growing and soon these students will go home to their families and friends. They will talk about their experiences, the violence they endured for being anti-war protestors, the solidarity practices in their camps, and the unjust War on Gaza. What impact do you think that will have in a month? In November?
  • ๐Ÿ“š British Journalist Says NYC Subway Is Safe - The NYPD are regular sights in the New York subway due to Mayor Eric Adams war on crime. If you listened to the media, it sounds like Mad Max! A British journalist rode the subway for 24 hours to see how scary it is. Turns out? It was a lovely experience!
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - As someone who regularly rides public transportation, I hear peopleโ€™s fears of it all the time. In the U.S. we have irrational fear over crime despite our crime stats dropping. Crime hysteria is a tactic to divide and control. We can better counter these narratives when we see them for what they are.
  • ๐Ÿ“š IMFโ€™s Global Neoliberalism Fails Global South Nations - The Washington Postโ€™s WorldView newsletter shared how the IMF stifles global south nations economic growth by enacting demanding economic burdens and enforced social austerity to pay off debts. These policies force countries to choose between economic solvency and investing in the wellbeing of their people.
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - Global South countries are only โ€œpoorโ€ because of centuries of colonialism extracting resources from their land and people. The IMF upholds colonialism by forcing African countries to make decisions against their people only to pay off debt they have no right owing. Reparations are also a global discussion.

๐ŸŒˆ Having Pride in Your Pride Strategy Event

Don't want to plan your Pride strategy last minute again?

Join us next week to Set Yourself Up with your Pride Month communications strategy in an effective and heart-first way. Our free 30 minute lunch and learns are meant to help you get up to speed and learn micro and macro actions to build your communications.

๐ŸŒˆ Have Pride in Your Pride Strategy | Set Yourself Up Lunch & Learn ยท Zoom ยท Luma
Join us for our May lunch & learn! We will be discussing how to prepare your Pride Month communications strategy in an effective and heart-first way. What toโ€ฆ
getting to the roots - navigating tech, media, and communications

New Ad | Time to Buck the Eff Up!

Want a rallying cry for this year's U.S. election? Time to Buck the Eff Up! Last week, I was part of a coalition of organizations that helped debut a brand new progressive messaging ad. From the minds of Anat Shenkar Osario's ASO Communications, Way to Win, We Make the Future Action and Gutsy Media.

โœจWe wonโ€™t give in to the powers keeping us in darkness.โœจ

It's a great rallying cry to bring more energy into the movement as we gear up for the U.S. election in November. On Thursday, I'm going to dive deeper into why it's a good ad and how other organizations can replicate to build momentum to take action. Scroll down to watch the new ad or use this link if you're having any issues.

let's grow together - reflections, ideas, and curiosities of the week

Find our latest videos on our ๐ŸŽฌ Quick Bites page.


Want a rallying cry? Time to Buck the Eff Up! Watch the debut of a brand new progressive messaging ad for the U.S. Election. Weโ€™ve made history before. And weโ€™ll do it again. Join the fight for #OurFreedomsOurFutures #BuckTheEffUp

โ™ฌ original sound - Sam @ Roots of Change - Sam @ Roots of Change

And that's a wrap on this weekโ€™s newsletter! We hope you found this helpful in your work. Forward this to a friend and help democratize communications! If you have any topics you want covered or have any questions, please reach out and let me know.

In Solidarity,
Sam Chavez
Roots of Change Founder

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Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.


Navigating heart-first activism & storytelling. We explore the ๐ŸŒฑ roots of our world to support communicators, organizations, and activists ๐Ÿฅต to avoid burnout and ๐Ÿ“š tell empathetic stories that cultivate connections that ๐ŸŒ empower โœŠ๐Ÿฝ social change.

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