Environmental News

January 2017

“ You can’t change the past but you can change the future, always remember to recycle. Recycling Is The Key to A Clean And Safe Environment”

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New Year’s Resolutions

Many people make resolutions in hopes of improving their lives in the new year. Join a gym, eat less, save money, read more, etc. Hopefully many of you added “recycle more” as one of your resolutions.

New for 2017: Reduce Poverty: Recycle!

Plastic Bag Facts from mehmetcan serinkaya on Vimeo.

What is the environmental scourge of our times? The plastic bag. It litters the landscape. It hangs in trees. Fills ditches. Clogs waterways. Kills millions of marine birds and mammals. We produce – and dump – 500 billion plastic bags a year. What to do?

Warm Heart’s two programs, Environment and Microenterprise, are teaming up to work on a new project together.

Nazli and Mehmet, two dedicated volunteers from Turkey, are leading the exciting new project that will help bring sustainable income to poor men and women, utilizing discarded plastic bags and turning them into usable, beautiful products.

They have created a simple process that turns the plastic bags into a strong, flexible, waterproof material that can be used to create a wide variety of products.

The plan includes workshops to teach people how to convert the plastic bags, and provide many designs for products they can make and sell.

It is a low tech solution that benefits everyone. Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project!

How recycling impacts Global Warming

Every year, the world generates 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage. Over the past 100 years, the amount of waste that humans produced has increased by over 10,000% Recycling conserves energy, reduces air and water pollution, reduces greenhouse gases, and conserves natural resources.

Where does it all go?

Dump sites and landfills…..

Landfills = Methane Gas

Landfills = Methane Gas

Because of the way landfills are so densely packed, much of the degradation that occurs is anaerobically, or without air. Anaerobic processes create a tremendous about of methane gas, which is a major contributor to global warming.

Into our oceans…..

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Watch Video
In the Pacific Ocean alone, there is a “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” which is about the size of Texas. The garbage extends 20 feet (6 meters) down into the water and contains over 3.5 million tons of garbage. It is estimated to double in size in the next 5 years. Not only are our oceans heating up, they are polluted with materials that could have been beneficially recycled.

What can we do?

More effort must be made at recycling to reduce the amount of garbage accumulating in our landfills and oceans. In Canada Innovative Reduction Strategies, Inc has designed a system called The Ulysses, which reduces waste volume by 75%, produces a clean inert char with a litany of applications, is capable of producing thermal and electrical energy, and will produce valuable carbon offsets through landfill diversion and carbon sequestration. Waste management of the future.

In addition to reducing our waste through better recycling programs, we need to focus on cleaning up the debris that has already accumulated. The Seabin, designed by two Australian surfers who were tired of all the debris in the water, has great promise to help clean up our polluted oceans. Watch the short video to see how it works.

Daily News Updates

We are all about sharing information. We add a new link to related articles on a daily basis. To see a recap of this month’s articles visit our Daily Updates Archive. (Worth a read!)

January 31, 2017

Iceland is drilling a giant hole, not for oil, but for geothermal energy

By Lulu Chang

If all goes well, Iceland may have found a way to harness the energy of supercritical steam, paving the way for new geothermal energy techniques.

Drill, baby, drill. But in this case, not for oil — rather, the nation of Iceland is digging a giant hole into a volcano in the name of renewable energy. By boring the world’s deepest geothermal hole in the Reykjanes peninsula (it goes down 3.1 miles), scientists say they’ll be able to take advantage of the extreme pressure and heat to tap into an impressive 30 to 50 megawatts of electricity from a single geothermal well.

Full Story

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About Environmental Progress News

Climate change and global warming can be reversed. A gloom and doom attitude does not bring about change. What we need are solutions to fix the problem.

The focus of our Newsletter is on current positive steps that are being taken around the world. Our goal is to inform and share resources.

We encourage article submissions that focus on what is working.

Articles can be submitted to Environmental Progress News.

Did You Know?

A Few Fun Facts About Recycling

Newsprint. One ton of recycled newsprint saves 601 Kwh of energy, 1.7 barrels of oil (71 gallons), 10.2 million Btu’s of energy, 60 pounds of air pollutants from being released, 7,000 gallons of water, and 4.6 cubic yards of landfill space.

Plastic. One ton of recycled plastic saves 5,774 Kwh of energy, 16.3 barrels of oil, 98 million Btu’s of energy, and 30 cubic yards of landfill space.

Glass. One ton of recycled glass saves 42 Kwh of energy, 0.12 barrels of oil (5 gallons), 714,000 Btu’s of energy, 7.5 pounds of air pollutants from being released, and 2 cubic yards of landfill space. Over 30% of the raw material used in glass production now comes from recycled glass.

Aluminum. Recycling of aluminum cans saves 95% of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from its virgin source. One ton of recycled aluminum saves 14,000 kilowatt hours (Kwh) of energy, 40 barrels of oil, 238 million Btu’s of energy, and 10 cubic yards of landfill space.

Guest Article By Jenny Holt

What Overflowing Household Waste Will Do to the Environment

Whether it is your home or a neighbor’s, overflowing waste can have a catastrophic effect on human health and mental wellbeing. Piles of refuse can attract vermin and disease, can expose people to toxic materials, and lead to ill health, depression, anxiety, and stress. This broadens out to the wider community where house prices fall, crime rates and poverty rates rise, and there is tension between neighbors. However, it is worth looking at the environmental impact of waste too, because it goes beyond humans to affect the entire ecosystem.

The Effects of Organic Waste

In theory, organic waste is a natural part of the ecosystem and should not present too much of a danger to it. After all, the natural life cycle is an integral part of renewing and growing, whether it is plant matter dying off or animals passing away and becoming another element of the food chain. Most gardeners keep compost heaps which are decaying organic matter.
Where organic waste may negatively affect the environment is if there is too much of it in one place and this leads to an imbalance in the ecosystem. Waste attracts vermin such as rats and foxes, which in turn bring disease with them. Their presence may either decimate other resident animal populations or cause them to move away. This in turn affects every level of the food chain and will take time to repair – if it can be repaired.

The Effects of Inorganic Waste

Inorganic waste poses a greater risk to the environment than organic waste. It decomposes slower, sometimes taking hundreds or thousands of years and in some cases, never breaking up. Furthermore, there’s a higher likelihood of it containing toxic materials. In some cases this waste will just sit there and will only affect creatures which interact with it. However, wind and rain can dilute and scatter materials, as can vermin and birds.

It is possible for toxic materials to form leachate and enter the water system or seep into the soil. This in turn contaminates both elements of the ecosystem. Taking soil contamination first. The toxic material enters the soil but is then taken up into plants by their roots, which in turn will pass any contamination into the body of whoever or whatever eats the plant. If levels are high enough, it can cause a blight on plants in general, killing off the ecosystem and forcing animals elsewhere.

When it comes to water pollution, we are talking about surface water such as ponds and lakes, drainage, and water courses such as streams and rivers. Most tap water is taken from pipes or table water which are either protected or too deep for leachate to affect. That being said, polluted water courses and surface water can destroy entire ecosystems from plants and fish to insects and birds. Eating said fish or interacting with the water will pass these contaminations on to people too.

There are Solutions to these Problems

Organic waste can be composted either in the garden if it is normal food waste, or on farms where it is useful for crops and animals. Other waste can be divided into recyclables and non-recyclables. Both can be picked up by specialists or can be taken to special plants or tips. Do divide carefully to ensure the maximum amount of material is reused rather than put into landfill. It’s worth being aware also of what has resale value, what might be attractive to scrap merchants, and so on. If you have a messy neighbor speak with them. Some are just lazy and uncaring, but others need genuine help to fix a problem they could not control. There are community and legal avenues to explore to force a cleanup for the sakes of the whole neighborhood.

Be a Part of the Solution - Get Involved Locally

environmental organizations

There are many environmental organizations around the world that offer a way for you to get involved.

350.org is building a global climate movement. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are coordinated by a global network active in over 188 countries.

environemental action

Through research and outreach that inspire action, the Worldwatch Institute works to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world that meets human needs. The Institute’s top mission objectives are universal access to renewable energy and nutritious food, expansion of environmentally sound jobs and development, transformation of cultures from consumerism to sustainability, and an early end to population growth through healthy and intentional childbearing.

environmental progress news

Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions.

Earthworks stands for clean air, water and land, healthy communities, and corporate accountability. We work for solutions that protect both the Earth’s resources and our communities.

Recycled Market

There are many fine products available that are made from recycled materials, here are just a few of our current favorites:

Green Toys

 

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Green Toys offers a wide selection of children’s toys that are made of 100% recycled material.

Fashion Accessories by Warm Heart


Recycled Bags CAUSES
Beautiful and unique recycled rice sack products are sturdy and come in a variety of colors

Recycled Bikes


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These bikes are handmade in Portland, Oregon, from recycled aluminum. The seats are made of renewable cork, and they use belts instead of chains because belts require less maintenance. Though it’s not quite there yet, the company hopes to one day have the bikes made of entirely recycled materials.

Past Issues

December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016 (First Edition)

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