Recycling is important, but it just isn’t enough to solve our plastic problem. What is the solution? Last week I had this letter (below) published in the http://www.startribune.com/ in response to Target rolling out their new “green” products:
Earth-friendly line is insufficient; stop stocking single-use plastic
Plastic bottles, plastic bottles — Target must have missed the memo on how harmful single-use plastic is to our Earth (“Target rolls out earth-friendly household goods,” April 23). To be truly green, Target needs to offer consumers the ability to refill their own bottles with these new “green” products. Customers who care about all the plastic in our environment can now reuse and refill their bottles at Minnesota’s excellent food co-ops, or the new zero-waste Tare Market in Minneapolis where consumers can save money and help our environment at the same time. Many of these bulk products are even Minnesota-sourced. Let’s move to the paradigm of reusing instead of adding more single-use plastic to our landfills, and I’m encouraging Target to become the business leader in this reuse/refill movement. health4earth
Shopping at a grocery store or drug store is one of the most frustrating things I do, everything is packaged in plastic. Luckily, I have some excellent food coops a bus ride away from my house. I save containers and refill them with bulk items. A local meat department in a local grocery store will even refill my containers with meat purchases, which even my coops won’t refill. Science 101 has one of the best articles on reducing plastic that I have ever read, and I learned things from them. Start with a few items to refill. When you get the idea and feel comfortable move to add more plastic-free items. Here is Science 101’s article, on easy ways to reduce plastic. Refilling containers can be fun and satisfying.
Only 9 percent of the plastic every produced has been recycled, and no one knows how many hundreds of years it will pollute our environment. It breaks into tiny pieces, ends up in our water sources, is in our food and kills wildlife! Why is plastic harmful? Read here.
Coops will help you get started refilling containers, and I am willing to help if you ask. Let’s all work to reduce our plastic foot-print.
Our everyday activities make a big difference and small positive changes by everyone, can make a big difference to the health of our Earth. A Climatarian thinks about their impact on the Earth everyday, and they work to reduce their daily impact.
The news just keeps getting worse and worse for our warming planet as some places are overwhelmed by drought and fires, and others are inundated with storms and water. Warmer air holds more water and has caused ocean levels to rise causing hurricanes to become more destructive. Wildlife and humans are on the loosing end of this destruction. The lives lost, and the struggle to survive and rebuild are staggering. We are facing a climate breakdown! Read about the latest climate report by the world’s scientists here.
Instead of trashing our air and water we need new paradigms to live by to protect our home. Our current United States government is determined to make this climate breakdown worse. Our warming planet is not going to heal itself. With a little personal responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint we can have cleaner air and water, and a much healthier planet. Let’s make it a team effort and make it a win-win for us all! As self-described Climatarian below are the things I work on everyday to reduce my footprint on Earth. To be successful start small, and when one thing becomes a habit try to add another.
Take personal responsibility to heal our Earth. My vision of a Climatarian is below. What is yours?
** Work for zero waste by reusing, refilling and refusing. This takes practice and commitment, but it is fun and easy once you get the idea of how, you can become an almost zero waster! Also, don’t waste food: Freeze and label your leftovers, and put them in wraps, stir fry or something you cook next. Be creative! Managing food waste takes constant vigilance. I will help you get started with zero waste, ask me how to begin????
** Reduce your meat consumption. We haven’t eaten beef or pork for many years, and I actually forget about purchasing from our local chicken source. Meat takes lots of water and energy to raise, and it is a terrible pollutant to our air and water.
** Drive less: No one wants to reduce their driving, but carpooling, public transportation and walking can be fun. Try it!!
** Consume less! The more we consume the more the planet suffers and the more garbage we generate. Buy less stuff and purchase things that last, and that you will reuse over and over. Try to become part of the circular economy.
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:
What is Overshoot Day? It is the day the people on earth start using more resources than the Earth can renew. In other words the last five months of the year we are living on borrowed time using more resources than the Earth can regenerate. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. To stay even we would need 1.7 earths to live on. All countries are not equal in the amount of the earth’s resources they use. The United States is not great, using the most resources. The USA would need 5 Earths to supply their needs, Australia would need 4 Earths to meet their needs, China would need 3 Earths, and India and many other countries helps balance it out and only would need 7/10th of an Earth to meet their resource needs. Read more here.
We use the resources of 1.7 Earths.
We use more resources and services than nature can regenerate.
What about the future? I wish it were easier to solve this problem. We consume too much and waste even more. Everyday we need to think how important clean water and clean air are to our survival. Start by cutting food waste, use fewer chemicals, strive for zero waste and quality when we make purchases, and of course, drive less. If everyone does a small amount, it can add up to a lot!
The Global Footprint Network has listed the four following solution areas to address ecological overshoot:
Cities: If we reduce driving by 50 percent around the world and replace one-third of car miles with public transportation and the rest by walking and biking, we can #MoveTheDate of Overshoot Day back 12 days.
Energy: Reducing the carbon component of humanity’s Ecological Footprint by 50 percent would #MoveTheDate 93 days.
Food: If everyone in the world cut food waste in half, reduced the Footprint intensity of their diets, and consumed world-average calories, we would #MoveTheDate 38 days.
Population: If every other family in the world had one less child, we would move Overshoot Day 30 days by 2050.
What are you doing to reduce your global footprint? Today as I was grocery shopping, refilling my containers, striving for zero waste, and being plastic-free. What good ideas do you have?
How can you have a plastic-free, vegan holiday celebration? There are now many good vegan hot dogs available! Eco Watch has four good suggestions for an eco-friendly Fourth of July. They have ideas to be plastic-free, how to eat vegan/vegetarian, ways to create less pollution, and how to choose the correct sun screen. Read them here.
To their list I would add composting of your food waste, and controlling your noise pollution!