Just Toss it in the Ocean


    Just Toss it in the Ocean

    What’s Going On

    Plastic pollution in our oceans is a growing global crisis. Nineteen billion pounds of plastic ends up in the ocean each year and that figure is expected to double by 2025. China, which had been processing at least half of the world’s exports of plastics, recently banned imports of many types of waste, leaving many countries baffled at how to handle their trash. Certain groups are taking action – last month Mumbai outlawed the use of plastic bags and bottles, many cities across the US have banned plastic straws, and scientists have been experimenting with bioplastics. While these initiatives help raise awareness and change consumer behavior, they are only a small part of the solution. International communities need to come together to make a global agreement on reducing plastic pollution. Much like how the Paris Agreement sets caps on carbon emissions, countries need to set caps on plastic production too.

    Why You Should Care

    Single use plastic, which can persist in the environment for 500 years, is a reckless abuse of technology that causes massive downstream effects. Plastics accumulate in the food chain and evidence is mounting that humans are now ingesting significant amounts in seafood. A study also recently showed that there will likely be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

    What You Can Do

    The root of the problem lies in corporate generation of plastics – it is a systemic issue that individuals cannot fix. First, you can reject the corporate-sponsored myth that the burden to improve the situation lies on consumers acting responsibly. Second, be vocal about the massive problem that plastic represents, and support legislation to regulate it. Third, change your lifestyle and consider how the choices you make in the products you buy affect how companies produce goods. Although consumers can’t fix the problem by “recycling better”, if enough people refuse to buy unsustainable products, companies will generate alternatives. Organizations like Plastic Oceans and the NRDC have great infographics and resources on how to reduce your use of plastic.

    Next at the Environmental Destruction Agency

    What’s Going On

    Scott Pruitt, the controversial head of the EPA, resigned last week. But is Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt’s deputy and now acting chief of the EPA, any better? Many think that Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, will pick up where Pruitt left off and actually be more effective at implementing Trump’s environmental regulation rollbacks. Wheeler is expected to continue pushing Trump’s agenda by scaling down Obama’s climate policy, shrinking California’s authority to set its own tougher vehicle emission standards, minimizing the Clean Water rule, drastically changing the way the EPA relies on data from scientific research, and more.

    Why You Should Care

    With all of the data that now exists about the effects of climate change, we need the government acknowledge the problem and begin taking steps to combat it. The science is not controversial and this should not be a partisan issue – we should all want to preserve the earth for future generations.

    I Am the Lorax, I Speak for the Trees…

    What’s Going On

    Tropical deforestation hit near record-breaking numbers in 2017 due to increased production of palm oil, soy, cattle and wood products, building on the 41.7 million acres destroyed in 2016. The loss of tropical tree cover adds huge amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere – more than energy-related carbon emissions from the entire US. Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Colombia are among the biggest deforestation leaders. Cattle ranching is the largest cause of deforestation. Palm oil production is also a huge contributor of carbon emissions.

    Why You Should Care

    Tropical forests capture huge amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Proper conservation of tropical forests can have a huge impact on combating climate change by sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.

    Weekly Scraps

    Slovenia is the most sustainable country.

    Hawaii bans sunscreens harmful to coral reefs.

    Pesticides are found in wild turkeys.

    Seaweed helps cows with their methane burps.

    Lyme disease increases with climate change.

    Stay Informed...

    Subscribe to get the latest environmental news delivered weekly to your inbox.