The environment has become quite the concern of many people. However the reasons behind the efforts to move to a more sustainable life have become less ethical in reasoning and more to follow a trend. Modern social fads such as the whole “ save the turtles” movement, has influenced many teens to ditch all plastic straws and switch to reusable one’s is just one example of how social trends are moving us to sustainability. In saying that are the reasons behind this trend ethical and are those who follow it actually care, or are they just becoming apart of the trend. How has social media influenced these sustainability trends and are those contributing doing it for ethical reasons. 

Sustainability as a trend has spiked in interest since the seventies with the rise of hippy culture. Ideas of giving back to the earth and being more environmentally conscious have allowed many to become apart of a cause. In the modern world sustainable products are much easier to come by and many are taking the switch to be more sustainable. Reusable straws are the main example of how people are coming to less plastic use and becoming more sustainable. But the issue is if those who are making the switch doing it in all departments. While the switch from plastic to metal or glass straws is great, many use it as an excuse to get more fast food beverages, which are often made of paper or plastic and cannot be recycled. Those who do switch to more sustainable products are praised on social media, they use their sustainable lifestyle as a popularity gain.

There are a plethora of plastic waste that contributes to pollution and unsustainability. Our everyday objects such as Milk cartons with plastic linings, disposable water bottles, soaps with small plastic beads (https://www.eartheclipse.com/environment/environmental-effects-plastic-pollution.html)  are large contributors to plastic waste. What is so bad about plastic waste is the chemicals that emit from it. The plastic is made of pure chemicals and decomposing takes up to thousands of years, and if burned the plastic releases toxins that are contributors to water, land, and air pollutants. When the toxins are ingested after long periods of time they lead to respiratory problems. When the plastics are found by wildlife, they are often mistaken for food and often animals will choke and die on the plastic waste. (https://ntepa.nt.gov.au/waste-pollution/plastic-bag-ban/environmental-impacts)

While the trend of replacing plastic straws with reusable one’s has had a positive effect on the environment, it’s not enough. To reduce plastic waste we have to make up for the past one hundred years of plastic use. So many common everyday plastic objects can affordably be replaced with more sustainable objects. Although all the reasons of the younger generation to switch to sustainability may not be in the best interest of the environment, it still encourages change and has a positive effect on carrying out the idea of a sustainable society.

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CC BY-SA 4.0 Sustainability as a Trend by Kaila is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

4 Comments
  1. Megan 2 months ago

    Sustainability has become more of a social trend than a true issue we are facing. Matter of fact, at times those who use reusable straws or cups are made fun of by society. Even with these actions and steps taken, the amount of damage is insurmountable when compared to the actions taken against it. This boon said, I am shocked that it has come to governments, “banning,” various uses of plastics, such as bags. Even with people knowing how bad it is for the environment, they still use single use plastics for the convenience.

  2. Maggie 2 months ago

    Such an interesting connection between social media and social movements, whether for sustainability or other movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too. I totally agree with you–while limiting plastic straw use is a step, we consume SO much more plastic that doesn’t always make it into a recycling bin. I, personally, am shocked that SLC hasn’t banned plastic grocery bags like other major cities (Chicago, LA) have as we are literally in the center of such natural beauty. Like plastic straws, banning plastic bags seems like a given. Also, having recycling bins alongside garbage bags on public streets.

  3. Wesley 2 months ago

    Maybe people are just being sustainable because it is trendy, but does it matter? The impact of actions toward sustainability is more important than the reasoning behind it. Although I agree that people should be sustainable for reasons that have to do with saving our planet I think that it is a good thing that people are following trends that urge sustainability. For example Teslas, these are cars that are electric and hence better for the environment, does it really matter if people get a Tesla to show off how much money they have or to reduce their carbon footprint?

  4. Addison 2 months ago

    Even with the “skip a straw, save a turtle” trend going around, many followers of this don’t recognize or care about the other plastic the comes from cups or lids. Like you said many people just hop on this bandwagon without realizing what they’re actually doing. Much like how joining the trend of juuling or vaping can be harmful to our bodies, these environmental trends might be harming the Earth more than the trend followers think.

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