AS YOU GROW OLDER, YOU WILL DISCOVER THAT YOU HAVE TWO HANDS, ONE FOR HELPING YOURSELF, THE OTHER FOR HELPING OTHERS.- MAYA ANGELOU
It’s so strange to even be writing about this topic….approaching two years into a Global Pandemic that we never could have anticipated. So many lives lost, so many livelihoods affected and milestones and special occasions missed. This is of course unprecedented in our lifetime and has touched all of us in different ways. The heartbreak from losing a loved one, moments lost that we will never get back…..there is grieving and healing and continuous work to be done. As I write this, in Toronto, Canada, we are entering the 4th wave of this pandemic with the more infectious, deadlier version of Covid-19, the Delta variant, that has us on on our toes even more so than ever. We have more information now about how this virus is transmitted, and with our growing knowledge, and expanding scientific research we all must do what we can to help keep ourselves and our families safe. Between hand washing, social distancing, vaccinating and wearing masks, we can and will get through this, hopefully with as few bruises as possible! We know that wearing masks are an effective and important way of preventing the spread of Covid-19. We also know that reusable face masks are a smart choice for those outside of the medical community. Initially it seemed that our precious planet, actually may have benefitted from our Human ‘busy-ness’ coming to a halt. With limitations and restricted travel, less consumption of gas and oil fuelled production at a standstill, our air, our skies, our streets all seemed a little quieter, a little cleaner for a brief moment in time. It was however, short lived as the appearance of a steady stream of disposable masks, and latex gloves began to litter the sidewalks and streets as life got busy again. And beyond our cement cities, the environmental toll on our oceans and wildlife has a huge detrimental impact.
“Conservationists have warned that the coronavirus pandemic could spark a surge in ocean pollution- adding to a glut of plastic waste that already threatens marine life- after finding disposable masks floating like jellyfish and waterlogged latex gloves scattered across seabeds….Divers have described this “Covid waste” – finding dozens of gloves, masks and bottles of hand sanitiser beneath the waves of the Mediterranean, mixed in with the usual litter of disposable cups and aluminium cans…..With a lifespan of 450 years, these masks are an ecological time bomb given their lasting environmental consequences for our planet.” (theguardian.com/environment)
Wow! Turns out the ‘disposable mask’ isn’t so disposable! As if to add insult to injury, it seems undoubtedly that masks are here to stay. Scientifically proven to be effective at preventing the spread of Covid-19, and other illnesses, wearing a mask just makes sense. It’s incredible to think how long North Americans have been without this practice, so common in many Asian countries with a long history of mask wearing, used to protect oneself from pollution and to protect others from germs. So what can we do, and what should we do about it?
An optimist would see yet another opportunity to level up our game as a species, that we must be the ones to care for our planet and just as our own existence is threatened, so is our planet, our home.
It feels at times, that this whole pandemic has been eye opening, in lots of ways. Good and bad. Can you imagine blowing out a candle on a birthday cake to be passed around and shared with a party of people ever again?! Have you ever been more grateful for the tireless dedication of our front line health care workers, the doctors and nurses and cleaners and volunteers? And the less celebrated hardworking grocery store clerks, restaurant and delivery staff who keep shelves stocked and food on the way. And of course, beyond the physical scare of a deadly virus, is the toll this has taken on our mental health, our capacity and tolerance for a constant news stream that always has the potential to do more harm, just to keep us ‘in the know’.
With the surge of new fears, paranoia’s and awareness of ‘other’ people and how safe they’re being, and who can be included in your bubble, and what’s allowed, and where you can and can’t go…..all new factors to consider on a daily basis. It’s really a lot to think about! At Siddhiwear, we’ve decided to be optimists. To use some of our extra fabric to create a comfortable, washable, breathable, soft reusable mask that can be worn a few ways. Tied around the back so as not to irritate sensitive skin, or for a better fit for those with hearing devices that need to leave space around the ears. An easy to wear mask that can be left tied around the neck and pulled up for ease when needed, going indoors or for when social distancing isn’t possible. Easy to wear and easy to buy online. There are so many obvious reasons to wear a reusable mask. We’ve seen the early signs and potential devastation to our environment caused by disposable and single use masks. In addition to saving the planet, it’s cost effective to invest in a reusable, washable mask. Keeping more garbage out of our landfills, preventing further contamination from having to clean them up, and of course the science that has proven they are an important and effective tool to help keep us and others safe. Not to mention, the importance of saving the medical masks for the medics!
Let us not become another virus on our planet, by doing what we can, especially something so simple and easy. Siddhiwear’s re-useable, washable face mask…easy to wear and easy to buy online, locally made in Canada with Oeko-tex certified fabric to keep our planet and each other safe. Let’s all be optimists and get through this together, so that years from now our children and their children will tell stories of the heroism and dedication we had…..to protect them.