The Problem With Plastic

How are you reducing your plastic footprint?

Plastic lasts more than a lifetime! Humans have created 9 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and most of this plastic still exists on earth. Only 9 percent has been recycled, and 11 percent incinerated. That leaves much of the plastic ever produced floating around in our waterways, poisoning fish, or releasing chemicals in landfills. As citizens of this planet we should be doing everything we can to reduce the amount of plastic we use.

The PBS NewsHour is doing an interesting series on plastic this week. I hope you will watch.  See below:

 

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/plastic-lasts-more-than-a-lifetime-and-thats-the-problem

Earth Day 2018

My message for you on this Earth Day is, “Young people want a livable future!” All of us can make a difference for that future. Not just on Earth Day, but everyday!

The theme for Earth Day 2018 is, “End Plastic Pollution” Here is an interview with the founder of the original Earth Day.

If we continue the path we are on with plastic pollution, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Business lobbyists are working hard to make sure we use plastic products. Laws are being passed to stop cities and counties from banning plastic bags and plastic/Styrofoam containers. We are in a sad place when the lobbyists have more power than the common good of everyone. These lobbyists make me more determined than ever to boycott their awful plastic products.

Nice screw-top glass bottles that I can reuse forever! #reusable

What are some ideas to reduce your plastic use? Here is an excellent article from Minnesota Public Radio(MPR) on what you can do about plastic pollution When a plastic product comes your way, ask yourself: Do I really need this, or can I use something else? Chances are you can say no, and yes. 

Each one of us can make a huge difference.  On Earth Day 2018 set a simple goal for yourself, something that is easy to do. Maybe just keeping your reusable bags in the trunk of your car, or refilling olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottles at your local grocery. Maybe refusing to purchase anything in Styrofoam or never again using a plastic straw.  You know your situation, what works for you?

Make sure your environmental goal is easy to accomplish, and something you have a passion or interest to accomplish. Remember, our youth want a livable future.

There are always new things you can purchase in bulk, instead of plastic. My newest way to avoid plastic using bulk hemp seeds to make hemp milk . Trying to reduce one plastic container at a time!

https://health4earth.com/2015/04/20/happy-earth-day/

https://health4earth.com/2016/04/22/everyday-earth-day/

Earth Day tips from Ecowatch

 

Break Free From Plastic

https://twitter.com/Greenpeace/status/981256135243063296/video/1

Everyday there is a new report about the world’s terrible problem with plastic pollution. How did we ever get to this point where plastic pollution is everywhere and so harmful? A world summit is needed to manage this problem. The plastic bottle manufacturers need to be held responsible, but all of us are to blame for the amount of plastic we purchase.

Some co-ops and grocery stores have fabulous selections of soaps and oils to refill your bottles

Everyone uses plastic and we are all to blame! Plastic is used and thrown away by the wealthiest and poorest people on our planet. It is almost impossible to avoid. I have been working on reducing my plastic for years and become better every week at eliminating and evaluating what I purchase. Twice a week I take by reusable bottles to food coops and refill with bulk items. I reuse plastic produce bags over and over and think “zero waste” as I shop.

Plastic manufacturers should never been allowed to make a plastic product that might last 500, maybe forever. Elected officials should have put some regulations on them. From Greenpeace: “So what needs to happen is that these changes must come from the top — multinational corporations like Coca-Cola and Nestle need to be held responsible and switch their single-use packaging to more sustainable options, but we also need to acknowledge our responsibility when we choose those products.” Tamara Adame

Say “No” to plastic bags!

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) floating off the coast of California now measures 1.6 million square kilometers (about 1 million square miles), according to a startling new study. It is 16 times larger than previously thought, and growing! To put that into perspective, the clump of trash is about the size of three Frances, or twice the size of Texas.

What are you doing to reduce your plastic pollution??

Recent Good News

This is my occasional series on good news stories, I hope you learn something about the world and communities working together.

** Students of America stand up to their elected officials and the NRA. “We have the right to go to school without fearing for our lives!” Read at future leaders

** Across the Atlantic Ocean some awesome things are happening in regards to eliminating plastic. First, Queen Elizabeth declares war on single-use plastic at the palace and eating establishments that are part of the Monarchy. Also, a British supermarket eliminates plastic

** The marvelous country of Taiwan has set up a plan to eliminate single-use

Hotel in Taiwan

plastic from their country.  Read here

** A group is planning to plant over a billion trees in Trump’s Forest to counteract the negative environmental damage being done in the United States. Read at Trump Forest

** Below is from https://www.ecowatch.com/  about the positive things that have happened in renewable energy during 2017

  • The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70 percent since 2010 in the U.S.
  • With no fuel cost and lower operating and maintenance costs, solar and especially wind are outcompeting even the most efficient new gas plants in states like Texas.
  • Renewable energy is creating jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy in the U.S.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, solar installer is the fastest-growing occupation in the U.S., with wind technician coming in at a close second.

Other good news stories: https://health4earth.com/2018/01/29/our-world-is-moving-in-the-right-direction/

 

Massive Threats to Our Oceans

Minnehaha Creek drains into the Mississippi River which runs to the Gulf of Mexico

I’ve pledged to reduce single-use plastic in my life, Refuse plastic straws & cutlery, use refillable water bottles, coffee cups, & bring my own bag to the store. Together we can do this! Join me & take the challenge  Mick Jagger

Why would you ever purchase bottled water? It contains plastic fibers. Read here

Two thirds of our earth is covered by ocean, and our oceans are paying a price for our behavior on land.

The Mississippi River water shed drains much of the United States.

This afternoon I walked over the Minnehaha Creek, and saw plastic bags stuck in the ice. I live 1,500 miles from an ocean, but this creek, a few blocks from my house, drains into the Mississippi River which runs into the Gulf of Mexico over a thousand miles away.  When the ice melts, this plastic will probably take a long journey down the Mississippi River and end up in our oceans.What we do to the land, we do to our water.  Most ocean pollution starts out on land and is carried by wind and rain to the sea. Plastic from the land ends up in the ocean and plastic is so durable that the EPA reports “every bit of plastic ever made still exists.” Even the pristine Arctic Ocean is being inundated with plastic. Read at Arctic. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zy5c-BZUjHQ  See this video how Norway recycles plastic.

The second threat to oceans is our warming planet. Oceans in 2017 were warmer than they have ever been.  Most of the heat from our warming planet is absorbed by the oceans. More than 90 percent of the Earth’s heat related to global warming is absorbed by the ocean.  Read at ocean heat.

What are the consequences of warming oceans?  Warmer oceans could bring storms, rain droughts and winds like we have never seen.  The hurricanes in Houston and Puerto Rico are just examples of what could come. The warming ocean melts the glaciers faster causing sea rise.   Cities and countries will be under water if this trend continues, and many people will become refugees having to move inland causing refugee crisis to get worse and worse. Unfortunately, this is only going to continue with extreme drought in some places and too much water in others!

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42947155

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics/

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.