Tag: Single use plastics

Climate Change isn’t everything: We’re talking Planetary Collapse. Let’s fix it.

Climate Change isn’t everything: We’re talking Planetary Collapse. Let’s fix it.

The phrase “Climate Change” gets bandied about a lot. But what does Climate Change mean?

As a result of human activity on this planet, we’re seeing increased storms, floods and droughts – and they are bigger and more devastating. Global temperatures, especially in the oceans, are increasing, and polar ice caps are melting, which means sea levels will permanently rise.

Most people understand that burning fossil-fuels such as coal, oil, petrol, diesel and natural gas, cause untold amounts of pollution. This impacts air quality, water supplies, cloud formation and the oceans, which in turns causes climate change.

But the phrase ‘Climate Change’ implies the worst effect of human activity on Earth is widespread, significant change of weather.

And where there’s a crisis, there’s often a money-making opportunity. Enter the ‘Zero Carbon Footprint’ or ‘Carbon Tax’ industry, which enables polluting, fossil-fuel burning, profit-chasing corporations to offset their continued planetary destruction by funding tree-planting or paying subsidies to less carbon-producing, ‘greener’ companies.

Climate Change isn’t everything.

While discussion of problems and solutions for Climate Change is important, all the hype can sometimes take the focus off other problematic environmental issues.

Burning fossil fuels is serious. But these ecological issues are also killing the Earth: Deforestation, Plastics and Waste, and Loss of Biodiversity.

Put together, the cumulative and fast-increasing effect of all of these, including burning fossil fuels, is agonisingly simple:

We’re losing all of Earth’s life-sustaining forces – air, fresh water, the oceans, soil, plants, and the living creatures who keep those in good condition, animals.

Let’s look at these in a little more detail.

Deforestation is the widespread destruction of forests. Almost a fifth of the world’s most important large forest, the Amazon, has been destroyed in 50 years. Forests are cleared for wood, but also to make space for mining/drilling, crops for humans, and feed crops and grazing for meat animals.

Deforestation, waste and loss of biodiversity have a number of drivers.

One of the biggest cause of these is intensive farming for meat-eating by humans. The amount of animals we have to keep and feed worldwide, to feed those people who choose to eat meat, and the substantial pollution (including methane gas) generated from farming animals intensively is crippling the planet’s ecosystems and causing human starvation. We are feeding crops to animals we will kill, while humans don’t have enough food.

Studies have found that it’s cheaper, healthier, more ecologically-sustainable, and more calorie-efficient for humans to eat plants. Why not commit now to decreasing your meat intake and eating more plant-based meals?

Plastics, as we all know, are clogging up our planet and especially the oceans. Much of the billions of tons of plastic litter in the oceans is from sewerage, ships including fishing vessels, and poorly managed waste collection and disposal. Millions of ocean wildlife and seabirds are killed by plastic and litter, and we are digesting micro-plastics in fish. Start today – refuse to use plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic containers; and choose to reuse items more.

Loss of biodiversity and species extinction are also closely tied to other factors. Whilst humans bulldoze vast tracts of land to farm, mine or build factories or houses on (resulting in habitat loss for countless animal species who used to live there), we also relentlessly hunt, trap, kill, poach and poison animals for money, entertainment, convenience, or unsustainable food sources.

The Earth has a very intricate web of ecosystems created over millions of years, where everything relies on everything else to survive.

This arrogance – that humans are the only life form worth saving – has to stop. Speak up against this madness – educate yourself, donate to charities, petition for nature conservation protections and laws, do what you can. Start today!

We also need to consider our actions closer to home.

While Earth’s enormous forests are invaluable to life on Earth, including for humans, smaller forests and individual trees are keeping us alive too. So the continual tree chopping that occurs by town councils, railway companies and people in their own gardens is also a significant threat to our survival. It’s simple – stop cutting back and chopping down trees and plants! We need every tree.

Pesticides, herbicides, weedkillers and other crop and garden chemicals and poisons are killing insects and micros-organisms and damaging and killing other plants and animals in the food chain, including animals and plants they weren’t intended for, and humans. We have to get back to more natural farming methods and wildlife-friendly gardening if we are to survive, and start appreciating and celebrating nature, including so-called weeds and pests, not killing it.

What about you? How are you helping or hindering survival of our planet? What are you going to change, or maybe you’re already making changes? What ideas can you share? Write a comment below this post.

Sources and Further Reading

Animal feed crops are destroying the planet: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/05/vast-animal-feed-crops-meat-needs-destroying-planet

Deforestation: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/deforestation/

Glyphosate herbicides: http://www.pan-uk.org/glyphosate/

Myths about Climate Change: https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/10-myths-about-climate-change

Plastic pollution facts: https://www.sas.org.uk/our-work/plastic-pollution/plastic-pollution-facts-figures/

Save the Earth in your own garden: https://kathrynrosenewey.com/5-ways-save-earth-own-back-garden/

Useful edible weeds: https://pfaf.org/user/cmspage.aspx?pageid=44

Vegan statistics: https://www.vegansociety.com/news/media/statistics

Images from pixabay.com and canva.com

Single-Use Plastic – 5 Ways To Reduce Yours and Save the Earth

Single-Use Plastic – 5 Ways To Reduce Yours and Save the Earth

plastic waste on a beach

Single-use plastic is what it says:

Plastic that’s been designed to be used once only, then thrown away.

What a waste!

We all know it’s a huge problem.

single use plastic - plastic bottles, cups, bags, tubes and lids

Billions of tons of waste plastic lies about as litter, clogs up the oceans, and animals get caught and injured or killed by it.

Plus plastic is made from fossil fuels (oil) and takes decades or centuries to decompose…

And even then, it doesn’t fully decompose – it simply breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces until we have plastic micro-particles in the soil, water, air, and inside animals and humans!

Examples of single-use plastic are everywhere, in lots of things we buy everyday.

transparent plastic cup with pink liquid, with plastic lid and plastic strawHow many of these do you use?

  • Plastic water bottles and disposable cups for coffee, soft drinks or water,
  • Cling film or plastic wrappings around fresh fruit and vegetables or prepared foods like fresh pizza,
  • Plastic packaging like six-pack rings for packs of canned drinks, or sealed around other packaging like teabag boxes,
  • person walking, carrying plastic shopping bag with fruitPlastic straws and plastic spoons, knives and forks,
  • Plastic containers like yoghurt pots, laundry liquid bottles, toiletry tubes and bottles, and take-away/fast food containers,
  • And of course – plastic bags like supermarket bags, carrier bags or shopping bags from stores.

So what can we do about it?

Here’s 5 things you can do right now, to reduce your “plastic footprint” on planet Earth:

  1. We can’t always help buying plastic packaging for some things. So if you do, save the plastic bags or wraps. Then wash them if necessary and make sure to use them again.reusable coffee cup with yellow sun design
  2. Sometimes when you’re out, you can’t find a recycling bin for your waste. Take it back home and recycle it. Don’t put recyclable plastic waste into a normal rubbish/garbage bin, because it’ll unnecessarily end up in landfill, around an animal’s neck, or in the oceans.
  3. Plan ahead – take a reusable cup and your own set of reusable cutlery, including a reusable straw, with you.Mallard Duck with plastic six pack rings around his neck
  4. Use your own reusable fabric shopping bags (even reusable plastic shopping bags can end up as waste).
  5. Think of our wildlife – cut plastic six-pack rings, tear open plastic bags, cut straws up and open or tear up any packaging that might get caught around a bird’s foot, a fox’s head, a sea turtle’s flipper or a seal’s nose.

Speak up!

plastic waste and litter floating in lily pondWhen you’re paying for your food and groceries, make a comment to the staff, talk to fellow shoppers, or complain to managers about all the unnecessary plastic packaging.

Some people even unwrap their food and groceries while still in the store, and leave their plastic waste there – what better way to get the large supermarkets talking to manufacturers about reducing excess plastic?

Start conversations! 

glass cups with reusable straws

Say no in restaurants and coffee shops – is it really necessary to have a plastic lid and plastic straw with your drink?

When you’re out and about, be seen using your own reusable coffee cup, recycled water bottle, paper straw and washable cutlery – and talk to others about it. Many coffee shops offer a discount if you use your own mug or cup rather than one of theirs, so it’ll save you money too.

It’s a challenge, but worth it.

By NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Challenge yourself and your family and friends to use less single-use plastic.

Zero-waste challenges like Zero Waste Life, Apps like MyLittlePlasticFootprint.org, and Social Media groups like PlasticWasteInOceans or PlasticFreeSupport are an informative and fun way to get people involved and motivated.

You can investigate the issue of plastic pollution further with this interactive worksheet all about plastics, pollution and solutions, available to download here.

Here is an infographic from boomerangalliance.org.au – all about plastic pollution around Australia:

Let’s all start taking action today. Here’s to a plastic-free world!

Questions? Comments? Leave a reply below this post. 🙂


Unique novels with environmental themes by Kathryn Rose NeweyKathryn Rose Newey is an author of unique novels with environmental themes, for young adults, teens and children.

Her books include: The Zoo Animals’ Faraway Dream, Animals in the Forest: The Day Terrible Things Came, and Ilnoblet Elmer and the Alien Water Thieves.

They are available on Amazon and major bookstore websites worldwide.


Sources:

https://www.waterdocs.ca/water-talk/2017/12/19/8-single-use-plastic-items-you-can-quit-right-now

https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/coastal/trash/documents/marine_debris.pdf

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/how-plastic-is-harming-animals-the-planet-and-us/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/crushplastic


Photo of litter on beach by hhach of Pixabay.com.

Photo of pink drink in transparent plastic cup by Alexander Kim from Pexels.

Photo of person carrying yellow plastic bag by cocoparisienne of Pixabay.com.

Picture of different types of single-use plastics by maria_johansson of Pixabay.com.

Photo of yellow reusable cup by Michael Frattaroli on Unsplash.

Photo of Mallard duck with plastic by Ian Kirk from Broadstone, Dorset, UK (Please take your litter home!Uploaded by Foerster) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo of litter in pond by Hagerty Ryan, USFWS of Pixnio.com.

Photo of drinks glasses with reusable straws by StockSnap of Pixabay.com.

Photo of planet Earth by NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Infographic “Plastic Does Not Go Away” from https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/boomerangalliance/pages/231/attachments/original/1464851954/MicroPlastic-Infographic-Final-2016.jpg?1464851954.