Simple things You can Do

Find a place to recycle your bottles, cans and paper.
Say “No” to plastic bags!
Bring you own shopping bag

We now have plastic in our water and in the fish we eat. Do we really want to put plastic fibers into our bodies every time we eat and drink?

I have three simple thoughts about litter and recycling today: First, countries that have less plastic have less litter. Second and third, if everyone would recycle more, and change the plastic bag habit, it would make a big difference on our planet.

Here is an interesting plastic comparison for you.  This is based on observation during the past month while I have been travelling through Central Asia and Iran. Central Asia uses very little plastic except for black plastic bags for purchases and plastic bottles for soda.  Iran by contrast uses lots of plastic. Beside plastic bottles, restaurant food, hotel towels, and many things that don’t need to be, are wrapped in plastic. Plastic cups and straws are used in Iran, but I saw none in Central Asia. Where would you guess there is a terrible litter problem? The contrast was enormous.  I brought Iranian plastic home to recycle.

Governments clearly need to become aware of the problem, and businesses like Coca Cola need to take more responsibility for the plastic they produce.

While I was thinking about this I came across an excellent essay by ECOwatch with great suggestions for everyone (see below) But keep it simple and by recycling and reducing  plastic bags you can make a big difference on our earth!

From Ecowatch:

  • Complain to retailers. Pressure retailers to do away with over-packaging.
  • Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
  • Use natural clothing fiber rather than synthetic clothing, as synthetic cloth releases plastic fiber in every wash cycle.
  • Choose to reuse. Neither plastic shopping bags nor plastic water bottles can be easily recycled.
  • Deposit return schemes are highly effective ways to reduce plastic bottle waste. In Germany, where a bottle-return program is in place, nearly 98 percent of plastic bottles are returned.
  • Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics.
  • Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.
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The Arctic and Whales Collecting Our Plastic

Do we want waterways that look like this?

This shouldn’t surprise me, but I am upset to read about the plastic trash in the Arctic Ocean.   Plastic trash is now so ubiquitous that researchers have found hundreds of tons of it floating in the Arctic Ocean.  Read the whole story here.

Why shouldn’t I be surprised by this?  The “local control” advocates, in the Minnesota legislature are trying to derail Minneapolis’ plastic bag ban from happening later this year. I have just returned from a road trip to Washington, D.C. and I found only a few places to recycle along the way, most on college campuses. I could go on and on about what I see throughout the world in regards to plastic trash. A sad story about a whale collecting all this plastic . Our earth has a massive problem!

Plastic breaks into tiny pieces and wildlife eats it!

Where are the companies that manufacture and make a profit on this plastic and Styrofoam when it comes to clean-up?

Styrofoam I pulled from Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. It is breaking into small pieces and could last forever!

The oceans belong to all of us.  No one has the right to pollute and trash the ocean or the rivers or lakes.

What can you do? Have plastic-free shopping trips by bringing your own containers, and never purchase products on Styrofoam trays.  2. Encourage your community to put up and maintain recycling containers.  3. Pick up trash on your walks. 4. Recycle everything you can. 5. Always bring your reusable bags shopping.

Last, a remote Pacific island has become a reservoir for the waste of the world as it piles onto this pristine island.

Bring you own bag

 

 

 

 

Five Stories to Brighten Your Day

I am craving good news, and am constantly looking for good news stories. Please send me good news stories you have. Solar power dominates the good news, but wind energy and Ashley Biden are heroes also.

1 Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn have donated land to solar-power Plains, Georgia    Show sharing options

2. China doubled their solar power in 2016. They now have more solar power than any other nation. Read about it here.

3. Ashley Biden, daughter of Vice President Joe Biden, Has her own made in the USA clothing line and donates the profits!

4. Another fun story at Texas A&M.  Texas A&M’s bike lane glows due to a solar luminescent paint. It soaks up the sun’s rays during the day and emits light when it gets dark. The lane is also the nation’s first to receive the Federal Highway Administration’s approval for the green coating it used.

5. Wind energy breaks a record.  On February 12, a wind power record was broken for the Southwest Power Pool, states from Montana to Louisiana. Over 52% of the electricity for fourteen states was generated by wind power. The entire story: wind power

Increasing the Efficiency of Wind Turbine Blades

Please send me other stories of things that are making the world a better place. Thank you.

This is my occasional series on good news.

 

 

The Horrifying Impact of Plastic Pollution

This is the third blog this week I have done on plastic. If this doesn’t cause you to reduce plastic use, nothing will.  Plastic is harmful to wildlife, but it is also ending up in our food. Make reduction of plastic-use a daily habit.

Photo: Shutterstock

 

“The horrifying impact of plastic pollution on marine life is well documented.  Greenpeace found that plastic pollution in the ocean has negatively affected at least 267 species worldwide, including 86 percent of all sea turtle species, 44 percent of all seabird species and 43 percent of all marine mammal species. Large pieces of plastic floating in the ocean are easily mistaken for food by seabirds, whales, dolphins and turtles. When plastic is ingested by these animals, it blocks their digestive tracts and gets lodged in their windpipes, cutting off or filling their stomach, which results in malnutrition, starvation and death. It also causes fatalities due to infection, drowning and entanglement.” Earth911. Read the entire article here 

Simple ways to reduce your plastic pollution:

Bring you own bag
Bring you own bag
  1. Start simple and add one idea at a time
  2. Bring your own shopping bags
  3. Buy bulk and refill your own containers
  4. Don’t purchase bottled water
  5. Say “No” to straws, plastic spoons, forks, and knives
  6. Always choose glass containers over plastic!
  7. Never purchase Styrofoam (Be aware of meat and produce trays)

Does “climate change” exist in Wisconsin?

Ice on Lake Superior doesn't last long, and the lake is warming!
Ice on Lake Superior doesn’t last long, and the lake is warming!

As Wisconsin and the world have probably just experienced one of the warmest years on record, Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, is deleting climate change from existence, or trying anyway. Sorry governor, climate change is not going away!

I have a cabin in Wisconsin, and can rattle off the climate changes I have seen in just the last few years:  First I have lived through three very dangerous storms.  All three were 100-year events with flooding and loss of many trees. Second, Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, lakes surrounding Wisconsin, are warming at a pace never seen before.  Third, good winter snow is a thing of the past.  Either it doesn’t snow, or after it snows, it rains or warms up making winter sports icy and dangerous.  We experience long droughts, then too much rain at one time.  And finally, the night temperatures are rising; it doesn’t get as cold on winter or summer nights. Where I sit in Wisconsin the climate is changing!

The governor must feel the need for some attention, or maybe he is applying for a position in the Trump administration?  What is the purpose, to waste taxpayer money?

As a taxpayer in Wisconsin I do not appreciate such a waste of time and resources. Can this be good for the Wisconsin economy? I know people who refuse to spend any money in Wisconsin. They drive through refusing to stop or spend a dollar.  Why would businesses want to locate in such a backwards place?

Why should we care about climate change?

What is the future, when we can't accept the reality of the present
What is the future, when we can’t accept the reality of the present?

http://www.ecowatch.com/climate-change-deleted-dnr-website-2166939088.html

Good News! Humans No Longer Caused Climate Change, According to the State of Wisconsin

http://gizmodo.com/good-news-humans-no-longer-caused-climate-change-acco-1790641483

Do You Care About Clean Water, Clean Air?

What can you do?
What can you do?

The environment is where we all meet; where we have a mutual interest; it is the one thing we share.” Lady Bird Johnson

One presidential candidate has promised that he will eliminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) if he wins, which means we can kiss the best, most important parts of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act goodbye, along with almost every other federal clean air and water safeguard.

And if you want even more evidence that this candidates extremism will mean havoc for our nation and our planet, look no further than his stance on the climate crisis: he has called it a hoax created “by and for the Chinese.” Read the entire article here.

And a voter’s guide to candidates.

wpid-wp-1423799335727.jpeg

The Magnificent Butterfly

An American lady on a dandeloin
An American lady on a dandelion

Have you looked carefully at a butterfly?  They are some of the most beautiful living species on our planet.  The past few years I have loved learning about butterflies.   Butterflies often sit so we can see them, and many binoculars make it possible to examine them closely.

Be sure to get outside this summer and look around for butterflies and other wildlife in your backyard. If you see a but aren’t sure about the species, you can consult this handy identification guide.    This is from http://ecowatch.com

Here are 10 fascinating facts to consider next time you cross a butterfly’s path:

1. There are more than 17,500 recorded butterfly species around the world, 750 of which can be found in the U.S.

2. Butterflies and moths are part of the class of insects in the order Lepidoptera. Butterflies are flying insects with large scaly wings. Like all insects, they have six jointed legs and three body parts: the head, the thorax and the abdomen. The wings are attached to the thorax and they also have a pair of antennae, compound eyes and an exoskeleton.

3. The Cabbage White, is the most common butterfly in the U.S. Although it appears mostly white with black markings on the top of its wings, underneath those wings are yellowish-green. These butterflies have a wing spread of just about two inches. Males have only one spot on each wing, while females have two. As you probably know, you can find Cabbage Whites in most open spaces, including gardens, roadsides, parks and cities.

4. Monarch butterflies migrate to get away from the cold. However, they are the only insect that migrates an average of 2,500 miles to find a warmer climate. The iconic North

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly

American Monarch has been greatly affected by extreme weather events, going through drastic dips and spikes in numbers over the past several decades. The overall pattern continues to point downward, with a 95 percent population decline over the last 20 years, but conservation efforts are helping: There were more monarch butterflies migrating in 2015 than there were in 2014.

5. Monarchs are not the only butterfly that migrate. The Painted Lady, American Lady, Red Admiral, Cloudless Sulphur, Skipper, Sachem, Question Mark, Clouded Skipper, Fiery Skipper and Mourning Cloak are among the other butterflies that also migrate, but not as far as the Monarchs.

6. The Common Buckeye Butterfly is one of the most striking butterflies, with its bold multicolored eyespots and thick upper-wing bars, all designed to frighten away any birds that might be tempted to chomp on them. If you look under its wings, you’ll find a more abstract profusion of brown, orange and beige. These insects are pretty common all over North and Central America, although you won’t find them in the Pacific Northwest or in the far north of Canada.

The Common Buckeye Butterfly. Photo credit: Thinkstock
The Common Buckeye Butterfly. Photo credit: Thinkstock

10. The Giant Swallowtail Butterfly, as its name implies, is one of the biggest butterflies, with a wing spread of four to seven inches. The female is once again bigger than the male. It too is found throughout North America and sometimes as far south as South America. These butterflies are called “swallow” because they have long tails on their hind wings that resemble the long, pointed tails of the birds known as swallows.

The Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke
The Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. Photo credit: Brian Gratwicke

Read the entire list here

http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Butterflies  Identification Chart