Influencers often get a bad rap for being self-indulgent when it comes to social media, but one well-known figure has decided to use his platform to raise awareness of a very important cause.
Israel Cassol, 38, has spent Plastic Free July highlighting the worldwide issue of plastic waste and how it is destroying our planet with his 98,000 followers on Instagram.
Israel, who is originally from Brazil, lives in London with his husband Rupert and their pooch Toby, and was keen to bring attention to the issue in the Capital – in particular, the River Thames.
In June, Israel decided to visit London’s famous river near his home in Chelsea after noticing a huge amount of face masks and gloves washed up on the bank during one of his morning runs.
Speaking to Uspire, he explained: “I asked my husband if we could go to the River Thames and check if what I had seen was really true. We went the next day at low tide to collect some of the rubbish, with black plastic bin bags and gloves.
“I was so shocked at what I saw. This was right on my doorstep and I had never noticed before. I decided to call attention to the world on my social media about the dangers of people just throwing away the masks and gloves, and polluting rivers and then the seas.”
“I want to use my public image to raise awareness about this huge issue that our planet faces. I hope to continue to raise awareness throughout the year, not just in July.”
Of course sometimes it feels like a major effort to recycle properly but Israel revealed that everyone can start by making small changes every day.
“People need to start at home, reducing their use of plastic where they can but above all making sure that any plastic used can be recycled,” he said.
“At my home, I try to recycle every piece of plastic we can. We use metal straws instead of plastic and always take re-useable bags when we go out shopping. I also take the time to look at the back of each product I buy to see if it’s ethically sourced and whether or not the packaging is fully recyclable.
“But in an ideal world, we really need local governments and councils to have a consistent plan for the best long term solution.”
When asked how important he thinks it is for everyone to do their bit, Israel continued: “Extremely, it’s our home! Every single person on this planet should play their part to help our planet survive for the next generation and beyond.
“Don’t have the attitude: ‘If I don’t recycle this it’s not going to be the end of the world’, because even if half of the population have that mindset, we’d be in serious trouble. Every single person is accountable, don’t just assume others will make up for it. We do not have a Planet B. Let’s look after our home which is this planet.”