The earth’s resources are running out at an alarming rate. Four key resources in particular (oil, food, water, and fish) are due to become incredibly strained within our lifetime. If you don’t believe me, check out the following article from gizmag, which breaks it down for you: http://www.gizmag.com/four-crucial-resources-running-out/12630/
An oversimplified summary of the article:
Depending on who you talk to, we have already reached or are nearing Peak Oil (the point at which it begins to take more energy to retrieve oil than to actually use it). As we know, the developed world, as it is today, is structured to be completely dependent on the use of fossil fuels. Combine that with rapidly growing populations and increasing standards of living in countries such as China and India, and we have an energy crisis on our hands.
Along with the issue of population growth, comes the matter of producing enough food to sustain everyone. We have already seen evidence of strains on world grain supplies in recent years. As demand for the limited food supplies has increased, the price of wheat and corn has tripled and the cost of rice has gone up 500% since 2005.
The need for more agricultural production brings with it demand for fresh water, not to mention the greater domestic needs as populations grow and climate change causes more and more weather extremes such as drought and floods.
On top of all that, the ocean’s fisheries are not in such great shape. Since 1950, 30% of all fish species have seen a 90% decrease in their populations. Many countries remain lax on thier regulation of the fishing industry, allowing for undersize fish to be sold on the market, and preventing the ocean stocks from naturally replenishing themselves. In other words, when it is permitted for fish to be caught before reaching maturity and reproducing, the following generations become increasingly smaller, until they eventually cease to exist. This is the direction we are heading in.
However, all is not lost yet…The decisions you make in your daily life can have an impact and help to turn things around. Remember that you speak with your dollar, the things you choose to spend your money on (or not spend your money on) helps to shape the economy. Purchasing sustainably produced products and converting to renewable energy sources are a start. When you consolidate trips (i.e. instead of picking up the kids from school and then going grocery shopping later, plan it so that you do both things at the same time), you help reduce fossil fuel usage. Opting for a vegetarian option over meat (and especially fish!) reduces agricultural and fresh water demands. These may seem like small things, but they can really add up and make a difference.
After my run in the park this morning, I was sitting on a bench stretching and looked down to see a leaf, shaped just like a heart. I took a look around and saw two more lying nearby. They made me smile and I thought I would share them with you. Sorry for the poor photo quality, I took the pics with my phone…
On my way out of the park, I also saw this cluster of mushrooms growing i n a perfect ‘C’ shape. I thought it was odd, but kind of neat. Take a look around your environment, what do you see?
Philadelphia has just gotten a little cleaner, a little greener, with the help of the BigBelly. The BigBelly (I love typing that!) is a solar powered trash compactor used in place of traditional waste bins, which allows for more trash to be collected and reduces the number of pick-ups necessary from garbage trucks, thereby reducing fuel usage and emissions. They even send a text message when they are full, so that pick-ups can be routed to where they are needed most, saving even more time and energy. Brilliant!
The Big Belly
Read about one woman’s quest to go one week only eating unprocessed foods:
A Week Without Processed Foods: What I’ve Learned (Plus Resources for Cooking and Eating Whole Foods) ReadyMade Magazine
I have been meaning to do something similar for a while, by living off of local foods for a week. All the basics are already produced here: Coffee? Check. Fruits? Check. Veg? Check. Starch? Yam, cassava, sweet potato, check. Protein? Beans, dairy, check. All that’s left is for me to get organized, pick a date, and just do it already..
New research shows that there is yet another down-side to the excessive use of plastics and the accumulation of said plastics in the environment: micro-pollution. Much of our plastic bottles, plastic bags, and other plastic waste eventually finds its way into the oceans, and as these plastics break down from exposure to sun, rain, and other environmental elements, it has been discovered that they begin to leach toxic chemicals into the water. Previously, the primary concerns over plastics in our waterways was the choking hazard that they pose to fish and other wildlife mistaking the plastic for food, and the potential for animals to get caught up in floating bits of plastic. It is now known that degrading plastics can release a range of chemicals into the marine environment with untold detrimental effects on marine life (hence the term micro-pollution, a contamination occurring on a molecular level). These chemicals have the potential for a much more widespread effect on the environment than floating bits of plastic. One of the chemicals discovered, bisphenol-A, has been shown to disrupt the hormonal systems of animals. Additionally, degrading Styrofoam releases large amounts of a styrene monomer known for causing cancer.
While this type of pollution is largely occurring out of sight, in the oceans, it is a very real concern. In the Pacific alone, there is an area estimated to be twice the size of Texas permanently covered with floating debris. Much of the plastics have been broken-down to microscopic levels and as of yet, no viable solution has been found to successfully collect this debris. Due to the persistent nature of plastics, the amount of chemicals being released into the oceans will increase exponentially in coming years as more plastics end up in the oceans and the plastic currently in the ocean further breaks down.
Things you can do (the old standards):
- Reduce, opt for products with less packaging or buy in bulk, bring your own shopping bags, assess whether what you really need is actually something you REALLY need.
- Reuse, whenever possible use things again or find new uses for them, try to borrow/lend things you don’t use very often.
- Recycle, the more things get re-made into something else, the less that ends up in landfills or our oceans.
For more information and the full article, go to: