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The Second Best Time to Save Our Planet is NOW!

December 10, 2018

One of the main problems with plastics is that although we only need them fleetingly, like in the case of single-use grocery bags, they stick around for hundreds of years and end up as environmental pollution.

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - A Chinese proverb states "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." We are all responsible for what we do to this planet. We have to make individual decisions to save it now; not later. Because later may be too late.

Every year, eight million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean. This level of plastic pollution is poisonous - to the oceans, marine life and our bodies. It kills and injures countless marine life. When fish eat it, plastic and its toxins enter our food chain. It's already entered our water supplies. Every day, humans unknowingly eat and drink microplastics.

We must be more responsible consumers. We can't let our throw-away culture destroy our marine ecosystems for the sake of to-go coffee cups, single-use grocery bags, straws, take-out food containers, water bottles and plastic wrap.

One of the focuses of the International Friendship Club (IFC) is to improve society in Puerto Vallarta by improving education. Last season the club donated $20,000 pesos to the American School to buy a plastic shredding machine and a moulding machine. They will serve to teach kids the need to take control of a small part of their planet. The students will collect plastics, shred them and mould them into usable products. This is all part of the "Sustainability Program" at the school which is teaching students, staff and the surrounding community about sustainability.

When I visited the school earlier this month Adam Kilner, the Middle and High School Principal, was surprised that I managed to get past security with a styrofoam coffee cup in my hand because styrofoam is already prohibited within the school's walls. Effective January 1st, the school is banning the use of single-use plastics by anyone in the school's community. That means no more plastic drink bottles, straws or take out food containers by students or staff.

The American School in Puerto Vallarta is part of a worldwide system of teaching and practicing sustainability in the school and the community. It is known as Compass Education. Being part of this system means that students must be an integral part of a whole-school learning community, not only learning about sustainability in the classroom, but rather seeing and experiencing it being modelled and practiced in all that happens in the school and beyond.

So, if schools can practice sustainability, why can't we do the same in our community? Can you give up single-use plastics for a day? A week? Permanently? Will you work to get recycling of plastics a policy in your condo community?

The Earth Charter states "We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise."

It's up to us now!

The International Friendship Club is a registered charitable organization in Mexico, listed as Club Internacional de la Amistad de Puerto Vallarta AC. The majority of IFC members are English-speaking residents and visitors who volunteer their time, homes or money to help kids around the Bay of Banderas. The clubhouse is located at the northeast corner of the Rio Cuale Bridge above the HSBC Bank, Colonia El Centro, Puerto Vallarta. Phone: 322-222-5466. Website: Email: ifcvallarta(at)