What are Nurdles and Why Should I Care?


What are nurdles and why should you know? I just recently read that such things exist, and do so with a vengeance. Nurdles are the colloquial term for lentil sized pre-production plastic pellets that are shipped by the billions in barrels for the purpose of making plastic goods. The recent worst maritime disaster ever for Sri Lanka was not caused by oil nor the toxic substances that are regularly shipped to and fro, but by nurdles. Around 230,000 tons of nurdles end up in the ocean every year. They are made of fossil fuel substances and are toxic in and of themselves, but they also act as toxic magnets, drawing to themselves all manner of waste and acting as little transporters of biological toxins such as e-coli. They have been washing ashore for hundreds of miles by the billions, along with dead sea creatures like dolphins which have been found to have these nurdles in their digestive system. In just the one incident near Sri Lanka over 20,000 families whose livelihood was dependent upon fishing have been impacted. Fish is a main source of protein for the inhabitants and consumption of fish has naturally been curtailed. Yet as of this writing these pellets are not labeled environmentally unsafe and as such there are no strict regulations on their transport as there are for more obviously toxic substances such as oil and chemicals. Here is the whole sad story: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/nov/29/nurdles-plastic-pellets-environmental-ocean-spills-toxic-waste-not-classified-hazardous

When you read of such things, what kind of feelings are evoked? I have to admit that while I work at a place that puts emphasis on helping the environment, which of course entails awareness, from time to time it is as though life has to give me a jolt to help me realize the urgency of the situation. This was one such occasion – it grabbed my heart. I found myself long thinking of those families and lovely creatures suffering because of what basically amounts to the rapacious consumerism that we have been conditioned to accept as normal.

Now that we have collectively begun to see the ill effects of our unbalanced, ego-centric way of life, we are fortunately beginning to question this “normalcy”. Which brings me to another aspect of this collective imbalance – everywhere we turn to seek out information we are bombarded by conflicting viewpoints and unreliable sources. Doom and gloom is easy to find and perhaps, because basic survival seems to require so much of us, easy to dismiss. The news seems to want to dis-empower us through sheer overwhelm of things that we feel we cannot change.

But this is a form of hypnosis, just like the notions we have collectively accepted, especially in the West, as to what is necessary for our survival. The beauty of becoming aware of environmental issues is that there exists in this awareness a possibility of shedding a lot of conditioning that really makes us miserable. Our authenticity is the antidote to our enslaved way of being. The ego-centric based conditioning we’ve been molded by keeps us dissociated from the reality of our true relationship to the planet and its many inhabitants. We carry such heavy burdens as a result of believing that we need many of the things that are completely unnecessary except to the maintenance of the status quo, complete with its rapacious greed. And yes, many of us have grown accustomed to viewing ourselves as the other 99% who are not engaged in this rapacity, who are victims of an elitist owned world. But it is not until we have ceased wanting the things of the elitist world that we will actually know freedom.

A sincere willingness to awaken out of the hypnosis of our conditioned lifestyles will present a new set of problems for us, for this kind of movement goes against the current grain. But the upside to this is a view of fresh potential, and a new relationship to the fundamental advice we have been given by truth sayers throughout history to “know thyself”. To know ourselves at a more essential state of being is to free ourselves of the hypnotic pull to be anything but who we really are. To cease operating from the fear induced conditioned grasping that has brought us to this environmental mess.

Like I said, my heart was struck. And everywhere I might turn to look for information on the affairs of the world will bring me to pain. But I have come to realize the aim is to look for the light that can illuminate the darkness. As an individual I do have choices I can make that in a small way, cumulatively, can make a difference. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to refill on my earth friendly products at Gaia Soap Supply. Now that I have that going my next move is to make extra efforts to limit my consumption of packaged food items, and where I have purchased packaged items, finding new ways of using the packaging. Learning how to live more simply, with less, which I am finding is infinitely more. Learning to love the work that it takes to live in the potential of my authenticity.

Writing this blog post, spreading the word about the effects of our plastic use is another way I have to empower that which I wish to embody, as opposed to wallowing in the passivity of overwhelming helplessness. The awakened individual can potentially be far more powerful than the sleeping masses, particularly when awakened individuals are brought to work together. Gaia Soap Supply is a sanctuary where we are given the opportunity to empower our wish for change. Where the vision of possibility for living a new life that is much more aligned to the reality of our planet’s aliveness and innate intelligence is given space to be.

This weekend we will be at the Earth Festival in Nevada City. Please come visit us there or if it has been a while since you have been at the shop, stop by. Renew your commitment to living a more integrated life. See where you might change some small part of your routine to include taking a step in the direction of lessening your “footprint”. You do have the power to care and to act upon that caring – I hope you can give yourself the gift of activating this power. Small acts done with frequency can invite big change.

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