PLASTIC TRASH IS A BIGGER PROBLEM THAN GLOBAL WARMING

Plastic is a bigger danger than global warming, or at least it is in the immediate sense, considering it is snuffing out the lowest common denominator in the food chain, says Neil Seldman, a waste recycling expert and president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, an organization with a long track record of promoting sustainable communities.

Forget the hokum about global warming. Plastic pollution can be seen everywhere. This problem is here now not some place in the distant future.

The vast amount of plastic trash that enters the oceans is a real problem, a problem that grows ever omnipresent on a hourly basis.

Plastic pollution is destroying the world’s ocean ecosystems. The real problem with all the plastic entering the oceans is the fact that it never degrades. It photodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic particles.

Billions upon billions of smaller and smaller plastic pieces have now become part of the food chain finally absorbed within zooplankton.

The oceans are constantly in motion.  Areas called gyres pull in waste from one part of the world and bring to other side of the world. As the plastic photodegrades into barely visible pieces, plankton have plastic debris in their bodies. Zooplankton are at the core of the marine food chain.

This situation is so dire that we have places in the oceans where plastic debris outnumbers plankton.

Unfortunately, that is not the worst of it. When birds, fish, and other sea creatures and  mammals ingest plastic debris which they mistake platic bottle caps and bits and pieces for food’ the consequences often lead to a long slow death.

When these creatures consume plastic debris they suffer with blockages of digestive tract followed by satiation, starvation and general debilitation and finally death.

According to The Royal Society of Biological Sciences additionally they suffer a reduction in quality of life and reproductive capacity; drowning and limited predator avoidance; impairment of feeding capacity.

 


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HOW BIG IS YOUR PLASTIC FOOTPRINT?

The world’s oceans are harboring a dirty secret: trash …  lots of it … and we are responsible for it.


 

If you are of a certain age, you most likely will remember that famous line in the movie Mrs. Robinson, “one word Benjamin . . . plastics!”

We took it to heart, because since the 60’s our use of plastics has gone exponentially through the roof.  This is true world wide.  It wouldn’t  be so worrisome if were not for the fact that most of the people on the planet use plastic (in all its forms) in an indiscriminate manner.

It doesn’t matter what corner of the world we are talking about, we all do … more so in the U.S. than other part of the world.

 

Watching a cable program a few years ago changed my outlook about plastic trash in all its forms.  I will never forget the following point.

Every piece of plastic that has ever been manufactured will continue to exist in our landfills and oceans for hundreds to thousands of years to come. Every piece! We use plastic bags, made of a material that has been manufactured to last into infinity, for a minuscule amount of time and then toss them away.

Our throw away society  … “Once ‘n Done” … has created a massive ecological nightmare that has to be faced. We are using our oceans like toilet bowls.

Our thoughtless use and disposal of plastic is helping us kill every form of life.  Fish, sharks, whales, dolphins, porpoise, pelicans, seagulls, etc.; the reefs that support so many forms of life . . . all are negatively impacted by our  thoughtlessness.

If  the oceans are to survive it begins with YOU! Remember it’s not just a plastic bag.

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Death by Plastic Bags & Bottles

The ongoing devastation to the oceans and our environment caused by plastic trash in all its forms continues at an alarming rate.  Our oceans are becoming little more than sewers for the world’s refuge.

Millions of tons of plastic debris and trash are now occupying 5 Gyres in the oceans.  We knew about the Pacific Gyre , twice the size of Texas, only last year did we start hearing about the other four massive Gyres.

It is estimated that there could be hundreds of millions of tons of plastic rubbish floating in the world’s oceans. In Japan alone, it is calculated that 150,000 tons of plastic is washed up on its shores each year.

According to a recent article in  National Geographic News,  44 percent of all seabirds eat plastic, apparently by mistake, sometimes with fatal effects. And 267 marine species are affected by plastic garbage—animals are known to swallow plastic bags, which resemble jellyfish in mid-ocean, for example—according to a 2008 study in the journal Environmental Research by oceanographer and chemist Charles Moore, of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation.

Plastic hits marine creatures with a double whammy, Moore said. Along with the toxic chemicals released from the breakdown of plastic, animals also take in other chemicals that the plastic has accumulated from outside sources in the water.

“We knew ten years ago that plastic could be a million times more toxic than the seawater itself,” because plastic items tend to accumulate a surface layer of chemicals from seawater, Moore said. “They’re sponges.”

Oprah’s Earth Day shows have been a  powerful means of focusing on this unnecessary man made plastic nightmare.


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When Our Oceans Are Barren; Japanese Atrocities of Whales, Dolphins & Sharks

If you have been watching the Whale Wars on Planet Green, you already know what a treacherous existence it is for whales.

 

It isn’t bad enough that our oceans are treated like cesspools where areas have ten times as much plastic trash as plankton.  The trash is ingested by hundreds of thousands of birds and seas creatures … a time bomb  going off in their guts that silently kills.  The number of whales, in particular, that are found stranded with stomachs full of trash is increasing with greater frequency.

No, we have a few nations, Japan in particular, that behave with utter disregard to savage, mind numbing killing of  sharks just for their fins.  Harvesting sharks as a food source is one thing … killing hundreds of thousands of sharks just for their fins and tossing the rest of the carcasses away is criminal waste.

The Japanese apparently feel that all of  the oceans fish, sharks, dolphins, and whales are there to feed their voracious appetites for sea food and the rest of the world be dammed. It’s part of their culture, don’t ya know!

If you have seen The Cove you have viewed  the tragedy of the Japanese insistence of mindlessly killing dolphins every year. The worse part of this story is that the rationale for the dolphin round-up is so that business corporations like Sea World can add to their supply of performing dolphins.

What is particularly hideous about the slaughter of the dolphins and whales is that these aquatic mammals are intelligent creatures that possess self awareness.  They know who they are! They are cultural animals that can learn and teach one another. They mourn and feel pain.

According to the Sunday Times:

Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.

Studies into dolphin behavior have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence.

The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each year.

Just how intelligent are whales?

It has been shown that whales, including baleen species, exhibit exceptional acumen. Studies show that they can solve problems and use tools; show grief and joy; and of course they live in complex societies as a key adaptive strategy to their vast watery environment. Cognitively advanced, whales have powers of acoustic processing, communication and social intelligence.


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CALIFORNIA BANS THE PLASTIC BAG

It’s time for the US to get serious about banning or (at the very least) addressing the environmental damage caused by the ubiquitous single use plastic.

It is ironic that for a country that has led the world in so many environmental issues that we have such a shameful record of ignoring this hazard … all in the name of convenience, of course!

How’s this for a statistic?Plastic constitutes a whopping 90 percent of all trash floating in the oceans, and that represents as much as 80 percent of all plastic waste on earth!

China, New Zealand, Ireland, Bangladesh, India, Kenya all have single use plastic bag bans of some type.

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Oil Glut on World Markets … Obama Lies About Oil Resources Being Depleted!

Last night on day 57 of the BP oil disaster, we heard Obama give the speech he should have given 50 days ago.  All through the first half of the speech I kept thinking, “ya, ya I’ve heard that already… move on!

True to form, once the first part of the “See how tough I am and I really can lead this government” speech/ propaganda was finished, he launched into his “now is the time to for us to go green and stop relying on oil … yada, yada, yada!” He devoted a third of this speech to Cap ‘n Trade and new legislation that we cannot afford or want!

Part of his pitch was to tell America the reason we’re here is because we are running out of places to drill … liar, liar, pants on fire … we have plenty of places to drill, many much closer to the shore, on land, up in Anwar etc.  It is the extremists on the left who keep insisting we ignore our own natural resources … that we stop using coal, gas, oil, nuclear … anything other than those green alternatives/companies that they have invested in.

Here’s what else you didn’t hear.  There’s an oil glut in the world!

According to a recent article on the Esquire Politics Blog:

Here’s the news that really got buried headed into the weekend: Former Shell Oil President John Hofmeister had his first substantive and detailed talk yesterday with Coast Guard officials in Louisiana regarding the viability and importance of deploying supertankers to the Gulf in an effort to recover the oil in the water before it ruins any more coastline.

Hofmeister has been extraordinarily tenacious in pursuit of this idea, and hopefully this breakthrough signifies serious movement toward action.

(According to Hofmeister) After all, it is not as if BP would have trouble finding supertankers to clean up the Gulf.

In all the world, there are 538 VLCC’s, or Very Large Crude Carriers.

[...] of these 538 supertankers dotting the oceans of the world, 47 were basically inert, being used for something (akin to) “floating storage.” That is, they were full of crude oil, going nowhere!

And half of these are full of Iranian heavy crude, which for various reasons no one seems to want. The point of this being that we’ve got a glut of crude on the market at the moment, and it is cheaper to store the oil on 47 of these tankers than sell it. This phenomenon is what is known in the petroleum business as a “contango,” where the delivery price exceeds the market price that you can get for the oil.

Want more?  Europe is facing a refining capacity glut and the possibility of facility closures! Read about it here and here!


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SHOCKING VIDEO… OUR LEGACY OF PLASTIC TRASH & THE DESTRUCTION OF THE OCEANS & OUR ENVIRONMENT

Watching this video it is hard not to become cynical about the selfish, lazy nature of mankind.

It remains incomprehensible to me how ANYONE who talks about saving the environment and the oceans can continue to use single use plastic bags, products, and bottles.

Less than a minute into the video, pause it for a moment and take a good look at the contents inside the stomach of that bird.

The massive destruction of our environment on a global scale is being conducted 24/7, 365 days a year, every year ad infinitum … for what?  Tell me again, for CONVENIENCE … so we can take home our groceries in bags that we use for minutes and that last thousands of years?

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IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN

As Kermit already knows, it’s not easy being green, particularly when you are trying to eliminate the unnecessary use of plastic from your life.

I’ve been writing about using less plastic in all of its forms for close to two years hopeful that with education and persistence that change would come.  Change is taking place, but it is moving at a snail’s pace … partly because some people are resistant to any type of change regardless of the necessity, partly because the plastics industry is too ensconced in consumer retail products to let go, partly because retailers and grocers find it easier to talk about being green than about actually effecting change.

We all know talk is cheap.  Let’s face it, retailers, grocers, manufacturers of consumer products do almost NOTHING to help.  In fact, these businesses are the largest contributors to the plastic mess we face in our environment.

A whopping 52% of plastic trash that ends up in landfills and the oceans comes from grocers and retailers.  Walk into any grocery store, walk the aisles, and look at how much plastic is used in place of alternative packaging that includes paper composites.

As we move rapidly into the New Year, it is time to put companies on notice that they are equally responsible for helping reduce the amount of unnecessary plastic used in this country.

Who’s on our 2010 “hit list” of companies that do little or nothing to address this world wide pollution problem ?

Big box retailers like Target, Wal-Mart

Home Improvement chains

Grocery chains, convenience chains, drug chains

Electronics stores

Discount chains

Celebrate the New Year by pledging to continue your fight to reduce and reuse plastic products.  Join me in 2010 as we move to a more direct approach with companies and corporations that have yet to take the necessary steps to reduce plastic usage and the resultant plastic trash.


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Chris Jordan: Awareness Through Art

If you haven’t viewed the art of Chris Jordan take some time,  and do yourself a favor.  His ability translate social and environmental concerns into visual art we can all understand is immense.

He has published several books including “Intolerable Beauty – Portraits of American Mass Consumption”, “In Katrina’s Wake – Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster”,  “Running the Numbers – An American Self Portrait”, and “Running the Numbers II – Portraits of Global Mass Culture”.

Click the link below from Daily Art Fix and Enjoy!

Chris Jordan: Awareness Through Art

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PANCREATIC CANCER & PLASTIC POLLUTION … FIGHTING TWO SILENT KILLERS

I am passionate about fighting plastic pollution  … I am equally passionate about fighting pancreatic cancer, a disease my family knows all too well . My mother and my step-dad lost their fight against this disease.

Ironically, pancreatic cancer and plastic pollution have a lot in common … both are silent killers &  both are not recognized by the public.

We usually hear about plastic pollution as Earth Day approaches , when the MSM decides its time to ratchet up its coverage about being green.

We hear about pancreatic cancer only when a celebrity like Patrick Swayze passes away.  What we hear afterward are the sounds of silence. {{crickets … hello … anyone there? crickets}}

These are issues that are, for the most part, out of sight and out of mind. It’ time to shine light on both of these killers.

Today Say No to Plastic is waging an ongoing campaign to help defeat these two scourges.  When you go to the Silent Killers tab you can make a donation that will work for both causes.

Your donation will be equally divided between Ocean Keepers and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

November is pancreatic cancer awareness month.  Please help!


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