Photography by Ming Nomchong Artwork by Tyler Spangler
Paul Crebar is the founder of the ‘Nude Your Food’ movement and is seriously passionate about ‘nude food’. This movement started in the Northern Rivers of NSW in 2013, and quickly found followers throughout the U.K, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, U.S.A, Japan, Brazil, Netherlands and even a handful in Sweden. It has real potential to make some positive impacts to not only our oceans that we enjoy so dearly and our health which as a society seems to be diminishing, but more so gets right to the crux of behavioural habits that we can very simply alter. He believes, done collectively, we can make some serious headway when it comes to waste, plastic pollution and the opportunities the next generations are welcomed with in terms of their purchasing opportunities. “It all starts with the money we spend right? That’s what keeps the organisations profitable and running. So at this pivotal time it’s really important we support those organisations that are supporting us, future generations and a healthier planet.” says Paul.
[A]pproximately fifty short years ago, plastic started being used for packaging food and drink and today it’s confirmed that this material made of petrochemicals and a range of never researched additives has entered our food chain. Over 260 species of animals are consuming plastic mistaking it for food and many of them are perishing because of it. It would seem that the recycling, clean up days, awareness raising tactics and all the other campaigns focus (although awesome) haven’t quite been able to curb this environmental damage quick enough and the problem is escalating. I guess you only need to walk along any city or suburban street to notice pieces of plastic lying about, just waiting for the next rainfall to take them into the drain, through the sewerage system and out to the ocean to be consumed by these unsuspecting and continuously dying occupants of this planet whom we share with.
Research proves that plastic never disappears, but instead simply breaks into smaller and smaller pieces until small organisms begin to eat the small pieces of plastic and then these get eaten by bigger fish and then other animals, (like us), end up eating this fish. Our once magical pristine oceans half a century ago have now turned into a giant plastic soup, with parts of the Pacific Ocean holding more plastic particles and items than anywhere else in the world. You only need to check out some of the shorelines of amazing surfing destinations to recognise the scale of the problem.
But it not’s only animals that are suffering. Without getting too dark, you only need to look up BPA or Phthalates (two chemicals used in plastic production that are proven to leach out onto food) on the internet to discover how plastic is causing a plethora of damage to our own human bodies as well. Babies are being born with over 200 chemicals in their system and reputable organisations such as the United States National Institute of Health even report that there is concern on fetal and infant brain development and behaviour because of it! So why is it still allowed? There is no real answer except imagine the thought of banning plastic being used to wrap food. We assume there would be empty supermarkets and a whole population of very confused and potentially hungry humans. It’s also sad to think that there is so much unawareness of this environmental damage. Developing nations are following in our footsteps and without the waste management systems that the Westen world has, so much of their plastic waste ends up in our oceans.
Here are his tips which can really make a difference in our every day living:
Grow something! Grow anything. It’s actually really enjoyable and herbs are so easy to grow. Water, sun and a little bit of love and you’ll have fresh herbs and less plastic in your life. There are so many unique ways to grow things these days; indoors, outdoors, on walls, in pots and even high-rise city dwellers are making it happen. You don’t even need plastic pots, paper ones can be made in a matter of seconds!
You’ll need to remember to take your own bags to the shops, leave them in your car or on your bike and basically be prepared to say “no” to plastic multiple times a day. It only takes 21 days to change your habit and you’ll be an ocean and earth lover straight after. Shop attendants actually really appreciate it and you are raising awareness with them and any other shopper who hears! It’s awesome guerrilla campaigning with just one simple action—just saying “no”.
Darkness aside, there are actually some really easy things you can do today to not be a part of this problem and instead be part of a solution that is quickly spreading—it’s simply called ‘Nude Your Food’. ‘Nude Your Food’ aims to inspire us all to stop buying packaged food unless completely necessary. That means no bottled water, no packaged chocolate and no chips to get started. You may not have realised, but every time you buy a chocolate or chips wrapped in plastic, that 5 minutes of enjoyment will be hundreds of years damage to our earth in exchange. Is that worth it? Paul started cutting out plastic in his life 12 months ago and says he can count the pieces of food related plastic he’s bought in the last 12 months on one hand. How you ask?
First stop when shopping is the farmers markets or green grocer equipped with bag or basket and many reusable bags to put things in. Second stop—and a necessity—is a bulk wholefoods store (or finding your local co-op is just as good and potentially cheaper) that are on the rise everywhere. At good ones you can get virtually anything without it being wrapped in plastic! Check out www.nudeyourfood.com to find your closest. If you haven’t been to one, you might be very surprised with the goodies these places can offer. Third stop the butcher, baker or seafood shop (remember to ask for just paper wrapping, as was the norm until the 1990s) and voila! Shopping done and no plastic used.
A few reusable containers, utensils and a mug or cup kept with your bag/basket goes a long way too, check our www.nudeyourfood.com for some good links and to get the real nude food joy, you can take your own jars with labels that you simply fill up at the bulk wholefoods store and no packaging is required at all. Paul’s also taken the steps to become creative and make his own toothpaste (which saves you money and bundles of plastic containers) and mosquito repellent, both requiring only a plastic screw top lid that comes on the oil containers. You need to flavour or scent accordingly.
By taking the above steps, it’s great that you won’t be using plastic, but you will just as importantly be supporting all the organisations and local farmers who are providing plastic-free alternatives and real proper nutritious food to us and future generations. Have you actually looked at the ingredients of plastic wrapped food lately and the strange numbers on the back? We humans weren’t really meant to be consuming these substances. There is whole food and real food options available for us all—we just need to break the habit of ‘automatic plastic consumption’ and look at the plethora of opportunities around us.
Not only does the Nude Your Food movement assist with plastic pollution and health related concerns but is part of the localisation movement and this in turn has the most amazing impacts for our planet, ocean and communities that we could desire. Check out the ‘Economics of Happiness’ documentary to learn all about it.
For more information head to www.nudeyourfood.com and get in touch with Paul to get involved. There are some exciting developments in the pipeline for 2014 and he’s keen to find some passionate ocean and planet lovers (a.k.a supporters) to step up, go nude and spread the movement.