The average American generates about 2,072 pounds of trash per year. And in total, America produces 254 million tons of trash per year. We only recycle about a third of that trash. And on a global scale, humanity produces 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage per year. (Titlemax).
Where does all this garbage go? Landfills and the world’s oceans. Many reports estimate that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. (One Green Planet)
Obviously the problem of pollution must ultimately be solved by world governments. But as world governments increasingly fail to do what needs to be done, it is up to us as individuals to try and do our part.
Some people are making an effort to adopt what is called a “zero waste lifestyle” in order to reduce their personal carbon footprint. And some people are so good at it that they only generate one mason jar of garbage per year.
People who adopt a zero waste lifestyle have given up on plastic and other disposable amenities in favor of anything re-usable. Many people are familiar with the practice of using re-usable bags at the grocery store, or bringing a mug to Starbucks instead of getting a disposable cup. But zero waste folk go even further than that, going as far to even do re-usable diapers, re-usable feminine products and re-usable toilet paper. It may sound icky, but it’s not impossible, and doesn’t even have to be unsanitary when done right.
Here are some tips below from One Green Planet:
1) Get rid of disposables in your kitchen.
- Replace paper towels with reusable rags.
- Pack to-go meals with reusable sandwich bags.
- Use Non-Disposable or biodegradable dinnerware.
- Always bring your own shopping bags.
- Earth friendly sponges.
2) Buy in bulk
- Bring mason jars to the grocery store to hold bulk items or foods from the deli counter.
- Consider buying bulk castile soap to use as hand and dish cleaner instead of buying a bunch of little bottles of different cleaners.
3) Eat your leftovers
- Forty percent of all food goes to waste in the U.S.
4) Shop second hand
- Carbon Trust estimates that CO2 emissions associated with clothing account for three percent of global emissions. This number includes out-sourced production, shipping, washing, and drying. Shopping second hand saves good clothing from a landfill and reduces the overall demand for clothing production.
5) Take care of clothes
- Buying fewer items of higher quality will save you money in the long run and make it more likely you will take the time to mend rips and tears instead of throwing it out.
6) Bring your lunch
- Disposable lunches (to-go packaging, plastic utensils, etc) generate 100 pounds of trash per person annually.
7) Go digital
- The average office worker uses two pounds of paper per day! Take notes on your laptop and communicate with your colleague’s via e-mail rather than using paper.
- Unless your office has gone completely paper-less, chances are there are stacks of paper that could be recycled. While reusable water bottles are the BEST option, any plastic water bottles should be recycled as well.
9) Simplify cleaning supplies
- White Vinegar and baking soda are all natural alternatives to dangerous chemical cleaners. They are versatile, effective, and eliminate plastic bottle waste.
10) Make your own cosmetics
- Save money, avoid harsh chemicals, plastic containers, and packaging by making your own cosmetics. Check out Free People’s blog for instructions on how to make your own natural cheek and lip stains, perfume, shampoo, make-up remover, and more. Also be sure to check out OGP’s very own DIY beauty guides right here.
First of all, what needs to be understood in the conversation about climate destruction is that this has the more grievous consequences for the survival of the human race itself. It’s not just the polar bears. It’s not just the ice caps. It’s the future of the human race.
Now whatever happens, nature will survive. In the Earth’s 4.5 billion years of existence, nature has endured 5 major mass extinctions that destroyed most of the life on the planet (at least 60%), and nature will survive humanity, even if it takes a couple hundred thousand or million years for nature to get back on track. However, it is not certain that humanity itself will survive.
Today, mankind is presiding over what scientists are unanimously describing as a sixth major mass extinction event.
According to the Living Planet Report put out in 2014 by the World Wildlife Fund, humans have killed up to half of the wildlife on the planet in the last 40 years (World Wildlife Fund). And according to the Living Planet Report put out in 2016, this level of decline could increase to two-thirds by 2020. And now a recent study 2018 has said that humans have killed off 83% of wild mammals.
What is also terrifying is that the Permian Extinction (the most deadly extinction event on Earth) may have been caused by circumstances similar to the causes of global warming today. A team of researchers from Canada, Italy, Germany and the US say they have discovered what caused the Permian Extinction. According to a paper published in the journal Palaeoworld, volcanic eruptions pumped large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, causing average temperatures to rise by eight to 11°C. This melted vast amounts of methane that had been trapped in the permafrost and sea floor, causing temperatures to soar even further to levels lethal to most life on land and in the oceans.
Professor Peter Wadhams, head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University, has said, “If there were a large methane release, which is now possible because of the instability of the methane hydrates underneath the Arctic continental shelves, the off-shore waters, that could quite easily give rise to a very large [methane] pulse.” He was one of the authors of a paper in the journal Nature, which suggested it was possible for a truly vast amount of frozen methane to be released over just 10 years – a blink of an eye in geological terms, which could theoretically lead to similar events that caused the Permian Extinction (Independent).
So this is the key issue we face today. This should be a political focus, a spiritual focus, and a psychological focus of all our current endeavors. Doing what we can to stop this destruction before it is too late.
METAL GAIA ARTICLES
Humans Are Paving the Way for a Sixth Major Mass Extinction (World Future Fund)
Sixth mass extinction: The era of ‘biological annihilation’ (CNN, 7-11-17)
Study: We’ve wiped out half the world’s wildlife since 1970 (VOX, 9-30-14)
Are We in the Midst Of a Sixth Mass Extinction? (New York Times, 6-1-12)
Extinction Threat, A Call to World Leaders at Rio Earth Summit: (CNN World News, 6-20-12)
According to the article above: 41% of amphibians, 25% of mammals, 13% of birds, 30% of conifers and 20% of all plants are all threatened with extinction.
One in Five Mammals Threatened With Extinction (Common Dreams, 11-3-09)
The survival of 17,921 species is in jeopardy.
Almost 50% Of The World’s Primates Are In Danger Of Extinction (CNN, 8-5-08)
Habitat destruction as well as hunting are the greatest threats to primates today.
In response to an Administration and Congress that seems hostile to science — particularly in regards to climate change — there is going to be a March for Science in Washington DC, this year, on Earth Day.
There are also a growing constellation of marches around the nation set for that day.
What began as a Reddit conversation has grown into a movement of scientists and science lovers standing up for evidenced-based policy making and inclusivity in the science community.
The date of the march isn’t just an average Saturday. April 22 is Earth Day, first celebrated in 1970.
The original Earth Day is seen by many as a turning point in the environmental movement. The year itself also marks a major turning point for the U.S. government and environmental policy. In 1970, Richard Nixon signed the Environmental Protection Agency into existence and it began operating that December.
I usually don’t post politically oriented stuff on here, but I think this goes beyond politics. It is dangerous to me when politicians have so little regard for facts and scientific reality. Somewhere around 99% of scientists around the world state that climate change is a reality, whereas only 50% of U.S. politicians agree with this. Without support for the greatest minds our society has to offer, we’re not going to go anywhere as a country or as a people. It was hostility to intellectualism that thrust Europe into the Dark Ages. There is so much potential in our day and age. Potential to explore the stars. Potential to power our cities with sunshine and wind. Potential to unlock the secrets of the human mind and genome. We can’t give that all up now out of fear and hate.
So if you’re interested in standing up for science, definitely check out this link.
Update: I just joined a chat room with the organizers. So I’ll post more updates if I get any relevant information that needs to be posted here.
Child marriage is a problem in the developed world. When girls as young as 11 and 12 (or even younger) are getting married, this increases their risk of complications in pregnancy, and limits their own futures (in terms of education).
A Malawi tribal chief has taken a stand. Theresa Kachindamoto, senior chief in the Dedza District in Central Malawi, made 50 of her sub-chiefs sign an agreement to end child marriage in her area of authority.
“I told them: ‘Whether you like it or not, I want these marriages to be terminated,’” Kachindamoto told the news outlet.
She also made a rule to annul any current child marriages, which resulted in the break up of 850 marriages.
“First it was difficult, but now people are understanding,” she said to the outlet.
This has protected against girls getting pulled out of school.
“I don’t want youthful marriages,” Chief Kachindamoto told U.N. Women. “They must go to school. No child should be found at home or doing household chores during school time.”
In poor, rural regions like the Dedza District, rates of child marriage are particularly high, according to Unicef, and it can be hard to convince parents not to marry off their daughters in exchange for a dowry. Especially parents who feel like they have no other way to escape poverty.
But this is where Chief Kachindamoto comes in.
“I talk to the parents,” she said to U.N. Women last year. “I tell them: if you educate your girls you will have everything in the future.”
Not to be confused with the Polish Metal band Behemoth, this is a Chinese movie. Zhao Liang’s film Behemoth provides a striking view of the environmental and health costs of coal mining and consumption in China. The film borrows its plot structure from Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, as a coal miner suffering from lung disease. This coal miner guides the audience through a modern-day hell, purgatory and heaven – the coal mines and cities of Inner Mongolia.