Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

July 3rd is International Plastic Bag Free Day!

Amazing news today, as of July 1st 2012 Seattle  has banned plastic bags!

This is a move that has caused great celebration as well as proven that we can move forward with sustainable ideas.

Check out this Great Video- The Majestic Plastic Bag Narrated by Jeremy Irons.

By now most people are aware of the side effects of plastic bags ending up in the oceans. I wrote this article four years ago when I first learned about the Garbage Patch that exists in the Pacific Ocean.

Last Fall I attended a talk by Sea Captain Charles Moore. He writes of his experience sampling and exploring the garbage patch. His book Plastic Ocean documents his findings. Refereed to as “The 21st century Silent Spring it is beyond a wake up call. It is a remarkable account of one mans experience with the Sea and the devastating effects of plastic on sea life.

We are all compelled to take action. To protect the ocean and animals of this planet, and to make sustainable choices in this new century for the future of  life on earth. It is the small everyday choices that make a difference.

“if we do nothing it will all be gone”

Shallow Waters

These are the words of Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a ten year old North Vancouver First Nations girl. She, along with her singing coach, wrote this moving song in protest of the proposed Enbridge Pipelines One pipeline would carry 525,000 barrels per day of Alberta tar sands crude oil westward to a new oil tanker port at Kitimat. The other would carry condensate – a lighter petroleum product used to dilute bitumen – eastward for use in transporting the tar sands crude oil.

The Alberta Tar Sands are the world’s dirtiest industrial project. It is also the largest  single source of Greenhouse Gas on the planet. Greenpeace and the environmental activist group Wilderness Committee have spoken up against the plans of mega corporation Enbridge. Bringing hundreds of tankers to the pristine coastal shores of British Columbia has the potential to be devastating. There is no way to ensure the safety of these oil tankers and the billions of dollars of damage, not to mention the loss of animal and marine life would be insurmountable.

Exporting raw crude oil to refineries over seas will lead to a loss of national energy security, and Canadian jobs.

The Coast Salish people have already said they do not approve of this pipeline. Ta’Kaiya’s sings that “if we do nothing it will all be goneShe is referring to our natural heritage, clean water and air, she is right.

The powerful oil industry has its plans, and is responsible to its stock holders first and the environment last. It is up to each of us;  Canadians, Environmentalist around the world, People who care about clean water,air, and marine life, as well as the health of the planet. Now is the time for us to be heard.

Say “no tanks and join with others who want to help create a sustainable future.

One young girl has tried to make a difference. She will inspire others to action. We all have a voice, choose to use it and help stop the pipelines and oil tankers and protect the worlds coasts.

World-o-meters

I just found this site called Worldometers, made by the Real Time Statistics Project.

This site keeps a running total of many fascinating and frightening statistics! Ever-changing World Population, Government Economic, Social media, Environment, Water and Energy Use and types. The project is constantly recalculating data.

Find out how much money is spent on video games in the world today. Or how much energy was used and the source of that energy. Ever wonder how many news papers were circulated today?  It also keeps a running total of Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions this year, in tons.  You can even learn how much Desertification happened this year ( in hectares) and how many days to”end of oil!”

There is even a section with “statistics of the month” like these


The numbers are surprising and sobering.

Originally published December 2010

Save Our Earth

 Earth Day 2012 –  Commercial Drive, Vancouver, B.C.

Green Water

A Virtual Water Economy

The term green water may conger up images of a murky swamp or a swimming pool that is needing some attention. A Virtual Water Market exists today.  The green water is embedded in crops; it takes 1350 litres of water to produce 1 KG of wheat  and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Many countries are now choosing to import products with a heavy “water footprint” (volume of water used per year) rather then use the resources to grow the crop in their homeland.

Changes in the world livestock production, the increase in consumption of meat world wide and the overall change in land use has created an unsustainable system. This is the most important fact that must be recognised and dealt with.

Water scarcity is now a reality in many places that have never known droughts.  Valuable farmland has been turned into golf courses and developed into subdivisions while the need for food has reached an all time high with no slow down in sight.

Last year  Oxfam, an international organisation that addresses issue of poverty and social injustice, released  a new report warning that food prices will sky-rocket in the near future.  With prices set to rise from 120 to 180% in the next 20 years, this will lead to food shortages and even more hunger.

Having recently attended a presentation at SFU I learned about the U.S. Drought Monitor which shows clear data on the climate situation state by state. The data is clear; there is trouble in the American south and now that we are in full growing season the effects of these droughts will soon be felt.

How we choose to use water has never been more important then now. If we continue down the present path we can  predict more water shortages will  happen.

Growing food for human consumption (instead of fuel or livestock feed) must be the priority. Governments, farmers, and consumers must all get on board with making changes that will ensure a future of food security.

Originally published June 2011

Humankind has not woven the web of life.

We are but one thread within it.

Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

All things are bound together.

All things connect.

~Chief Seattle, 1855

Occupy Vancouver _ today’s experience.

I was down at the the Occupy Vancouver movement  on the lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery again today. It was a nice day, dry, and my six year old daughter Ava was with me. We made a donation to the food tent, Girl Guide cookies, of which we have an ample supply. We walked around the “tent city” and visited the healing tent and free people’s library. Then Ava had to climb the stairs all the way to the lion and sit on the outer most ledge, for the “best view”.

We made our way back down to the fountain and someone gave us some side walk chalk. We proceeded to draw stars and flowers and  a hop scotch. Other people joined us and we all decorated some of the concrete there. Lots of people mingled around. Many people were eating, dogs and  poy spinners were there, an especially good roller skater was doing some tricks,  there was music playing. People were arriving and setting up signs and posters. People in business suites where there, people in ripped, dirty camouflage were there.

The place had a feeling about it that was part carnival, part camping comradery, and part exciting platform of change.

That is what is going on at Occupy Vancouver.

What does a movement that will change history look like?  This.  If you accept we are already  living in a new paradigm.  If you have been waiting for a message to arrive there couldn’t be a clearer one. People want change. We can’t continue to marginalise people and stand by while corporate greed is rewarded.

While I was on the Occupy Vancouver grounds I was approached by a member of the media. A female reporter and her camera man came over and asked me if I would answer some questions. Always happy to give my opinion I agreed.

It turns out the “Santa Clause Parade” which is known as the “Rogers Santa Clause Parade” in Vancouver,  has decided to move the route, instead of strolling down the same street that currently is the domain of the Occupy Movement. I was asked how I personally felt about the route being moved ” being this is the biggest fundraiser for the food bank of the year” somehow implying that this movement was impeding the collection of donations? I was also told my presence there was representing the 99%, and I corrected her with the fact that I was only representing my self there.

. The reporter told me some people “would not feel comfortable bringing their children there.”   I couldn’t think fast enough of all the clever retorts I could come up with over the next few hours. I was able to say  it felt like a safe place to me, I had my child there.  It seemed to me they didn’t need to reroute in my opinion. But the implied fact was we couldn’t let the families see people and tents in the middle of a cold and damp November day.Apparently  that does not make happy shoppers!?

What is the message?  They are not going away.  All People deserve to be treated equally.  A corporation is not a person, and should not be pandered to by our “elected officials” and others who stand to profit at the expense of our environment,the rights of people, jobs , food security, biodiversity and the list goes on.

What the reporter failed to realise is that the food bank exits for the very people who are out protesting the state of world affairs. The irony that this parade and food collection can not co-exist on the same street as the Occupy Vancouver movement goes to show how narrow minded people still are. It is time to rise up and Occupy some deep thoughts about the kind of world we are creating.

 

World Food Day – October 16th

October 16th is World Food Day.  Developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of The United Nations, the purpose is to raise awareness about food security issues, agriculture, poverty and hunger around the world.

Each year a different focus is taken in an attempt to encourage dialogue, highlight areas of concern, and as a call to action. In 2011 the theme is Food Prices -From Crisis to Stability. Food Security is on the minds of everybody these days. From shopping local at farmers markets and growing food in community gardens, to  buying sustainable and fairly traded foods.  The media is saturated with stories and images about hunger, from the horn of Africa to our local elementary schools.The story is the same, poverty leads to food insecurity and in the poorest nations, death.

Yesterday I went down town to Occupy Vancouver, to stand in solidarity, and bear witness to this important movement.

What do the Occupy Protests have to do with food security?  The movement is a voice for us all, it is students, and families and seniors. It is the unemployed, and the underemployed. It is a global call to action for every person who feels the system needs to change, starting now.Occupy Wall Street is the direct result of the dissatisfaction felt by  millions of people.

The issues are varied, but one message is clear; We can not continue to consume and exploit natural resources.

The famine that exists today is a direct result of greed. Will we allow this to continue?  Sometimes these issues seem far away and we can feel overwhelmed and helpless to make a difference. Action speaks louder then words.  Grow some of your own food, volunteer in any capacity working with food. Help people in your own neighbourhood, donate to local food banks, and organisations around the world that are helping the most vulnerable. You can make a difference.

Solar Bottle Light

 

A good use of plastic bottles, using water, bleach and sunlight  people are turning trash into a useful and necessary product – light!

This website gives more details.

Happy Birthday GREENPEACE

Greenpeace was started 40 years ago this week in a living room in Vancouver, BC.

On their website it proudly boasts 40 years of  Inspiring Action, Making Change, Bearing Witness, Solutions, Victories! And this is what I think of when I hear the name as well.

Activists had a simple message in 1971 and it remains vital today; TAKE ACTION! The founders of Greenpeace were regular Canadians. What began as protests against nuclear weapons testing / transporting/ now covers climate change, toxic pollutants, protection of forests, oceans, agriculture, and even PEACE and disarmament.

I am proud to live in the same province where such ideals could evolve into an international movement called Greenpeace.

 

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URBNgreen is committed to education and environmental stewardship. Our objective is share information about what people are doing locally and around the world to create a sustainable future.
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