This Christmas the Drabble family began a new bookish tradition. Instead of shopping until we dropped, we opted for a more simplistic ‘Icelandic style’ book exchange. I asked my dad to choose me something that I wouldn’t normally pick for myself and he gifted me The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Whilst it may not be the sort of thing that would catch my eye in a bookshop, I found myself hooked from the moment I turned to the first page. I didn’t know anything about it before I began reading. I glanced the blurb but resisted the urge to google. I entered this bookish pick completely blind!
This book is about a lot of things. Love. Family. Sexuality. Oppression. Injustice. These things alone had me enraptured. Then it effortlessly morphs into a fantasy and reveals itself to be a far bigger beast. It tackles the mythology surrounding Dracula from an angle that was refreshing, inventive and surprising.
The authors’s voice felt entirely authentic. The visual descriptions bloomed in my mind like paintings on a canvas. Page by page I got to know the sisters as though they were real people, not just characters in a book. There were times I almost entirely forgot I was reading a novel, as I was transported into a dark, dark world.
At first I found myself wishing that there had been more scenes showing the twins adjusting to their life after they’d been converted into Vampyre’s, but upon reflection I think the ending was just right. After all, this was not just a tale of bloodthirsty monsters, but at its core, a story about love conquering all.
It’s a wet Sunday evening. Any sensible person probably stayed inside in the dry and the warm. I am not sensible. I pulled on my wellies, grabbed some gloves and a black bag, then headed out to search for beach trash. These are some of today’s findings:
Today I’m talking rubbish. It’s hard not to be aware of the plastic problem our planet is facing. There’s plastic in our shops, our landfills and our oceans. It’s in the food we eat and the water we drink. It’s in our bloodstreams. By 2050 there is estimated to be more plastic in the sea than fish. It’s become a fact of life; no different from acknowledging that we all need oxygen to breathe.
The awareness is there, yet many people remain blissfully ignorant of the full scale of the problem or just don’t realise that they and everyone they care for are directly impacted by this environmental issue. This isn’t just about nature, it’s about us and our survival as a species. Everything and everyone is connected in the great Circle of Life. What impacts one, impacts all.
If you want to have a glimpse at the full scale of this problem head to a beach, any beach, and scour the sand for buried trash. It probably won’t take you long to see evidence of man kind’s footprint. Here are a few items I found on one of my walks in Newbiggin By The Sea:
What is happening is devastating, but all is not lost. Humans started this, so it’s up to us to put an end to it. Here’s a list of things you can do to help fight the war against plastic:
If you see plastic pick it up and dispose of it. It might seem like the obvious solution but it’s all too easy to fall into the mindset of “I didn’t put that there, so I shouldn’t be the one to get rid of it.”
Likewise, don’t be the kind of person who drops trash and thinks someone else will deal with it. In all likelihood it won’t be dealt with and will either fester where you left it or be ingested by some poor creature.
Join in with local beach cleans! They’re fun and you get to play an active part of keeping the shores tidy.
Stop buying products that use plastic packaging. Money talks. This is as much a corporate issue as it is a societal one. Let them hear you want change. Companies need to be held accountable.
Educate, educate, educate. I’m not just talking about children here. Learning about environmental issues is a journey. We all have to start somewhere. Instead of shaming people for their attitudes, let them know why it’s important they make changes in their lives and how to implement those changes.
Use alternatives! There are so many more options out there. Ditch the washing up liquid and reach for the lemon and vinegar, swap your bottle of shampoo for a natural bar, and use a refillable water bottle instead of buying plastic ones all the time. It’s possible to make these changes if you take the time to stop and think.
Buy ethical and be mindful of what material your clothes are made from! If you wear clothes that contain plastic, every time you wash them micro plastics enter the ocean. This doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your fashion sense. There are plenty of companies out there that have started making great looking clothes that are environmentally friendly. I personally use Lucy & Yak, as they use organic fabrics and don’t compromise on comfort or style.
We can’t change the world, but we can change the corner of it we live in. Act now. Don’t wait until it’s too late. You might just be one person but your actions matter and you can make a difference.