Karen Cannard: Reaching the heights with social media

Last weekend, following an international Zero Waste conference in San Francisco, I sat down to brunch with an old blogging friend, Beth Terry, who lives in Oakland, California.

I’ve known Beth for five years. She was also the person who introduced me to Twitter and back then I would never have thought we’d ever meet, but thanks to her Plastic-free Life blog, my own Rubbish Diet antics and our respective contributions at the international conference, our paths eventually crossed.

It was a real reminder of the power and opportunities of social media, being able to connect to people who share your passions and interests. We certainly live in a different world of opportunity to that which existed 10 years ago. Today, a personal stance on an issue can now travel far and wide, and instantly too, speeding up action. A great example of this is the story Beth told me over brunch that day.

Beth’s particular passion is how to live in a world with less plastic. Having successfully reduced her own plastic trash count she has written a book and now regularly travels the US advising others. Whenever this involves flying, which she hates, she always travels with Virgin America, a company she loves, except for the plastic rubbish their flights create.

In January, she blogged about it in an open letter to Richard Branson. Within days, he responded in agreement and offered an invitation to sit down and talk about how they can reduce waste on their airlines and influence others, too.

He has kept to his word and even though she can’t divulge any detail, I have a feeling that my modest friend could now have an amazing influence on a multi-billion industry. And all from a shared passion and a blogpost, not just travelling far and wide but reaching great heights in the process.

Beth’s blog can be found at myplasticfreelife.com