Earth Day 2018: End Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution litters our beaches and landscapes, clogs our waste streams and landfills, seeps its way into our oceans, killing marine life, infiltrating our food supply.

Unless we take meaningful, positive steps to address the issue continued exponential growth of plastics threatens the survival of our planet.

In response, Earth Day 2018 is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behavior about plastics.

“Earth Day is now a global event each year, and we believe that more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.”

~ earthday.org

environmental progress news

Our April issue is dedicated to Earth Day, and looking at solutions to the plastics problem.

At times our environmental problems can seem overwhelming, as a single individual how can we make a difference?

We can make a big difference every single day with the choices we make.

(Courtesy Alexandra Case)

We actually have the power to control our world and our environment, we just need to wake up and use that power.

Woody Harrelson tells you in simple terms how to do that, in this very short, impactful video, be sure to watch.

The 3 R’s to Cleaning up the Environment

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle have become the mantra of the environmentally conscious. It is up to us to shop wisely, and purchase and use products that are environmentally friendly. As Woody says, we have the power of where and how we spend our money.

1 - Reduce

Reduce your carbon imprint. Use less fossil based energy, switch to green energy when you can. Carry reusable bags with you when you shop. Buy products with the least amount of packaging possible (buy in bulk or in big boxes rather than in individually wrapped containers). Ask for no bag when you buy something you can carry without one. Purchase recycled products when you can.

Useful links:

Package Free Shop

Going Zero Waste

Buy Me Once

2 - Reuse/Repurpose

We are always looking for ways to reuse and repurpose single use items. One story that caught my attention recently was the use of plastic soda bottles in construction.

I shared the video with Michael, knowing that we were planning on building on our property in Phrao soon. His response was “Cool idea. Here’s the extra hook: What if we fixed the sand filled bottles together with styrofoam concrete?

Kill two birds with one stone.”

The next thing I know volunteers are filing plastic bottles with sand, and construction of an experimental wall had been started using our “styrofoam cement”. Now the project is full blown and a new office is under construction.

We will let you know how it turns out!

3 - Recycle

Recycle what you can not use. Advances are being made everyday in finding new life for old plastics.

Adidas and Parley have joined forces to turn reclaimed ocean plastic into shoes.

When we put our minds to it we find solutions. This is just one of many creative uses of recycled material.

Environmental Progress News Blog

We have ended our Daily Updates feature, and replaced it with our new Environmental Progress News Blog, updated as new information becomes available.

Our intent is to shine a light on the positive steps that are being taken to reverse climate change.

The blog will continue to share interesting articles, with an added bit of editorial.

Our focus is on developing solutions, and sharing advances that others are making towards actively cleaning up our environment.

April 14, 2018

Smoke is not healthy for you or me

by Carol Culver De Leo

I live in Chiang Mai, also known as the “Rose of the North”. It is located in Northern Thailand, offers lush landscape, a city full of culture and friendly people. It is a wonderful place to live.

Until smoky season erupts, much like a volcano, the skies are filled with a deadly haze, obscuring the mountains that surround the city. Reminds me of living in Los Angeles as a child when the smog would get so bad the foothills disappeared.

This year Chiang Mai “won world recognition for the dubious distinction of having the worst recorded air quality during peak conditions“. In fact, we have won that title several times this year.

Continue reading

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Bioplastics

New, bioplastic materials are being developed everyday by innovative minds. In his post “Bioplastics and the Truth About Biodegradable Plastic“, Tom Szaky writes “Generally speaking, the greatest advantages of a burgeoning bioplastic industry are a smaller energy footprint and a less polluted ecosystem. The problem of overflowing landfills and floating islands of trash – in theory – will be addressed through increased use of bioplastics. As mentioned above, however, not all bioplastics actually degrade in a meaningful time span; it is entirely realistic that some bio-based plastics will remain intact for decades, especially if they are not discarded properly.”

Cutting back on our infatuation with single use, non-degradable plastics is a step in the right direction for our future. However, we also need to look back, and assess the damage that we have already imposed on the planet through years of short-sightedness, and clean it up. We need to go “Beyond the 3 R’s“.

We all share this planet, it is up to each of us to do what we can to protect it from further damage.

Ubuntu

An anthropologist proposed a game to African tribe kids. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: “Ubuntu, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?

Ubuntu in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are”