4 Shifts Campaign

Weekly Action - 15 March 2024 - Plastic Waste


Plastic waste

This past week, tens of thousands of people have been taking part in the Big Plastic Count.  It’s an annual initiative where each family and household records the amount of plastic waste they generate in a week and submits the information online.  The combined information is a powerful tool to pressure governments and companies to take much more radical and ambitious action to reduce plastic waste.  Plastic pollution is a huge issue around the world.  Marine plastics are having a devastating impact on ecosystems.  In developing countries 2 billion people have no access to proper waste management systems and are left with no choice but to dump, burn or bury plastic waste – none of which are good options, and all of which have huge negative environmental and health impacts.  A friend of Arise, Amir in Nepal, reports how the river near his home, which he used to walk or run alongside, is now clogged with plastic waste – it is ugly, unhealthy and creates a huge flood risk for hundreds of homes.


Caring for creation

As Christians we know that God’s beautiful creation belongs to him, not us.  As the Psalms tell us, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24: 1).  Furthermore, we read in Genesis that rather than polluting God’s creation with our plastic waste we have instead been instructed to “take care of it” (Gen 2: 15).  Our current linear economic model uses polluting methods to extract, consume, and then discard natural resources faster than the planet can replenish them.  We must shift to what experts call a circular economy.  Just as God designed his creation so nothing is wasted in nature but gets broken down and reused in the biosphere, a circular economy would eliminate all pollution, overconsumption and waste and push resources back around the economy in a circular fashion, moving us back into balance with creation as God intended.  Arise’s 4 Shifts Campaign calls for a shift to a circular economy as a key part of rewiring our global economy to be green and fair, so it still creates the jobs and wealth that lift people out of poverty, but does so without relying on fossil fuels and overconsumption which is wrecking our planet. 


A global circular economy law

The governments of the world should negotiate a new global circular economy law.  This new global treaty should revise, strengthen and incorporate the existing global agreements on the environment into a single global agreement on the circular economy.  Specifically this treaty should ban all polluting activity, further human expansion into wild lands, the production of natural resources that takes out more than it puts back in, and all waste (including plastic waste).  It should also prevent invasive species, and invest in conservation, re-wilding and reforestation programmes.  This treaty should be brought into law in every nation.

Will you take action as part of Arise’s 4 Shifts campaign this week and call for a global circular economy law?


Take Action

Speak out in advocacy

Contact Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs via social media.  Ask him to take urgent action to:

  • Shift the UK and the world from overconsumption and waste to the circular economy, by urging the government to call for a global circular economy law.  This new treaty should ban polluting activity, further human expansion into wild lands, the production of natural resources that takes out more than it puts back in, and all waste, in order to trigger the shift to a circular economy.  Urge him to also bring in a UK national circular economy law to implement it here in Britain.

Contact him on Twitter at: @SteveBarclay, on Instagram at: @stevebarclayofficial, and on Facebook at: Steve Barclay, or search for him on your favourite social media platform.


Pray for dramatic progress on tackling plastic pollution around the world.  Pray that the use of non-recyclable plastics will be banned, all plastic waste cleaned up and future plastic waste eliminated.  Pray that a global circular economy law will be brought in to extend this to all forms of pollution and unsustainable production.


Give to Christian organisations like Tearfund, or secular organisations like the World Wildlife Fund, that are doing crucial work helping to provide proper waste management services in developing countries and clearing up plastic pollution on land and in the oceans.

Ethical Consumption

Avoid purchasing plastic as much as possible.  Buy products that don’t use plastic packaging, and use a reusable water bottle rather than buying plastic bottled drinks.

Practical Action

Why not organise a plastic waste clean up in your own community, with friends or through your church.  Use it as a chance to get to know local people better, and spread the word about the need for a global circular economy to end all plastic waste.  Also, plan ahead and register now to take part in the Big Plastic Count next year.


Encourage us and others by letting us know what actions you have taken – message us at info@ariseuk.org, or via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.


Find out more

It’s great to take this action as individual Christians, but even better to come together with others to pray, discuss, worship, learn, have fun and take action together.  Contact Arise if you are interested in joining or starting a local Arise group in your church or area.  If you are already in an Arise group, take this action to your wider church, and get them all to do it too.

Find out more about why the world needs 4 Shifts to transition to a green and fair global economy in Arise’s 4 Shifts Report, and how this forms part of God’s bigger vision for our world in the Arise Manifesto.

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