Earth Day 2010

Tomorrow’s will be the 40th Earth Day; the world’s largest (secular) event, more than a billion people are expected to get involved in a variety of activities this year.

A good one takes place on Sunday: a rally at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to demand that Congress pass strong legislation in favour of clean, renewable energy. It will include a host of notable speakers, like-minded celebrities and live music, with free buses running from many cities, should you wish to attend.

You can sign the Declaration of Energy Independence from the comfort of your home – here, right now, please – and ask your senators to choose clean energy legislation over the existing flawed policy that continues to damage the natural resources upon which so much depends and, to further offend, handsomely rewards those most guilty of causing untold environmental damage.

Easier still, and for everybody, click to donate. Every day, if you can.

Yes, I’d like to focus on our planet’s glorious seas on this latest occasion of social conscience-racking, if I may.

To coincide with Earth Day, for one thing, there is a new Disney film (that’s Disneynature, there are no dancing monkeys or teapots) to be released called Oceans, narrated by Pierce Brosnan and with some breath-taking footage. For each ticket sold during its debut week, Disney will make a donation to protected marine areas in the Bahamas.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking: it’s yet another token event pencilled onto the world’s calendar to make everyone feel guilty and hopeless. But can you not make a pledge today to do something as simple as buying a petroleum-free, recycled (and recyclable) aluminium or stainless steel bottle that can be safely refilled time and time again, and ditch those awful plastic bottles that have been found lodged in beached whales’ blowholes (with other plastic evils clogging their intestines, mistaken for food)? Did you know, for example, that it takes nearly two gallons of water to make the plastic for just one single-use bottle that is then filled with over-priced, often tap water… which most likely, if not causing panicked suffocation to one of our planet’s most amazing creatures, gets buried in a hole in India as a result of what you thought was recycling but, as this video shows, is usually far less encouraging ‘downcycling’?

The five oceans cover about 70 per cent of the globe, provide more than half the oxygen we breathe in and absorb a quarter of the carbon we spew out. A 2008 report estimated that around 100 million people are dependent on coral reefs for their livelihood. Coral reefs generate some $30 billion per year for the world economy, largely through tourism and fishing industries.

Yet 20 per cent of the world’s coral reefs have disappeared. Many are dying.

Since 1990, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – the largest living structure on Earth – has slowed in growth to its lowest rate in 400 years at least. This is a result of warming waters and ocean acidification caused by the absorption of carbon dioxide.

The world’s oceans naturally store carbon, absorbing approximately 118 billion metric tons from the atmosphere between 1800 and 1994, according to a ten-year survey. Were it not for this absorption, the CO2 level in the atmosphere today would be about 55 parts per million greater than currently observed.

About half the CO2 generated by human activity and produced over the last two centuries can be found in the upper ten per cent of the ocean. It is estimated that, over time, 90 per cent will end up there. And at a great cost.

Due to increasing carbon emissions, atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are rising, altering the ocean’s chemistry significantly. It has been surmised that, by 2050, ocean acidity may well have increased to 150 per cent, an increase that would be 100 times faster than any change in acidity undergone over the past 20 million years. Changes in acidity levels have triggered mass extinction events before. During the worst on record (the Permian-Triassic extinction, some 250 million years ago), approximately 95 per cent of marine life became extinct.

Acidification specifically threatens marine life with calcium carbonate shells, such as crabs and clams. A lower pH makes it more difficult for these creatures to produce shells and skeletons of sufficient strength, likely leading to their shells dissolving, followed by widespread decline and inevitable extinction. Should carbon dioxide levels continue to rise at their current rate, scientists predict that global ocean levels could drop from pH 8.1 to 7.7 by 2100, and the amount of calcium in shells could be reduced by as much as 45 per cent by the end of the century.

90 per cent of large fish have vanished since 1950, and all species of sea turtle are listed as either endangered or critically endangered, because of overfishing and pollution. We extract 100 million tonnes of food from the oceans each year. But do you know, or care, whether or not your seafood of choice is sustainable?

We’ve talked of Meat-Free Mondays (meat production being responsible for 18 per cent of global emissions, says the UN). Will you go Vegan for Earth Day?

Disgracefully, there’s six times as much plastic than there is plankton to be found in the Central Pacific, not to mention a largely non-biodegradable ‘continent’ of discarded waste said to be at least as large as the state of Texas – in the North Pacific. Greenpeace say that about 20 per cent of it came from ships and platforms, the rest from land. UNEP figures reveal that there are over 46,000 pieces of plastic floating on every square mile of ocean today. Some eight million items of marine litter have been estimated to enter the sea every day.

Please read that again: Eight million new items of marine litter. Every single day.

As well as acidification, rising sea temperatures can also trigger ‘bleaching’ events, where coral expels the algae that provided its nourishment living in its tissues. Prolonged bleaching can cause irreversible damage. Since 1979, there have been at least seven serious bleaching events. Some researchers believe that the Great Barrier Reef could lose 95 per cent of its living coral by 2050 should ocean temperatures increase by the 1.5 degrees Celsius projected by climate scientists.

The convenience of that plastic bottle doesn’t seem so precious now, does it?

Your recommended plastic alternatives today, please; plus simple ways in which we can all help the marine life that inhabits those vast oceans which captivate and stimulate in equal measure. Some ideas from the Huffington Post to start with, and, once you’re done, you may be inspired by one of my favourite blogs, Fake Plastic Fish; it’s the reason why it seems to have taken all day to write this post (not including the hour spent doubting the suitability of my aluminium bottle, which I now know should probably be stainless steel, although I am assured is BPA-free).

Really, every day should be Earth Day; we’ve only got the one.

And doesn’t trying to reduce one’s impact on it make some of us quite neurotic?

60 comments

  1. Pingback: Topsy.com
  2. frank par

    I found your itinerary today very helpful Fed. Thank You!

    I guess Aiya-Fee-Yallah-Yerk-Oal (my English translation) is trying to tell us something from Iceland if we don’t smarten up. 8|

  3. Julie Davies

    Disgracefully, there’s six times as much plastic than there is plankton to be found in the Central Pacific, not to mention a largely non-biodegradable ‘continent’ of discarded waste said to be at least as large as the state of Texas – in the North Pacific. Greenpeace say that about 20 per cent of it came from ships and platforms, the rest from land. UNEP figures reveal that there are over 46,000 pieces of plastic floating on every square mile of ocean today. Some eight million items of marine litter have been estimated to enter the sea every day.

    What the FUCK! Perhaps it is time for man’s extinction so that Mother Nature can repair the damage caused by the planet wreckers and wasters i.e. homo sapiens sapiens.

    Sorry for swearing but, on this occasion, I just had to.

  4. cath

    FEd,

    I’m like you. All this makes me so sad. 🙁

    I agree that every day should be a day for Earth. Our planet is so beautiful!

    I will take the pledge to never buy another bottle of water.

    I found this video and would like other bloggers to see it.

  5. NewYorkDan

    Our stewardship of the Earth has been horrendous. We really need to do much better.

    What really gets me is that there is no reason for it. Our cars could have been run on something other than gasoline decades ago (you choose: solar, electric, hybrid…). Big diesel trucks that spew thick black smoke could have been replaced with any of a number of other technologies. Bottled water is quite the sales scam, really, and has never been a good idea. Big coal-fired electric plants should long since have given way to windmills and solar generation. None of it is needed, or should still be in use.

    Except that some of the richest individuals in history are blocking these things form ever happening. Because they want even GREATER riches, and are being paid handsomely by multinational conglomerates to make sure these things never see the light of day. So that the conglomerates can continue to kill us off, slowly.

    When our planet is bought and sold like that, it dies. Our planet is dying. We are killing it.

    It’s like we’re on life support and are pinching the line that connects us to our machines. Because it costs too much, or is too inconvenient, or improves our daily lives, or whatever. It is stupid and crazy.

    We are killing ourselves.

    • NewYorkDan

      Obviously, I was in a mood when the above was written. Anyone can say these things. But what can one do to bring change?

      Today I taught at my church’s Sunday school program. We teach by telling stories. The story today was about an acorn that grows into a tree that, in turn, makes an acorn. Or was it a tree that makes an acorn that, in turn, grows into a tree? So, which came first: the acorn or the tree?

      The point of the story, and I lingered on this point for a while: everything is interconnected. If we harm one plant or animal, we harm all plants and animals.

      While we were talking about this, I read parts of FEd’s post, above, about how plastic bottles have been found in the blowholes of dead whales. No matter where we place those bottles, they find their way to the ocean where they cause death. Once we had talked about these issues for a while, I asked what we can do to prevent these things from happening. Many of the children said that they had no idea the plastic bottles could kill whales, and as a class we promised not to buy things that come in such bottles.

      I taught these kids that their actions make a difference. That one careless act from us can mean life and death out there. And that we can all be more mindful of the impact we have on our planet. Because when we harm one plant or animal, we harm all plants and animals.

      Thank you, F’Ed, for planting the seed that became this lesson.

    • FEd

      Thank you, Dan, for affecting the thoughts of young people in such a positive way. I hope they’re nagging their parents and grand-parents about changing their own habits right now. :))

  6. lorraine

    I suppose one of the side-effects of having a recycle bin is that it made me notice what was filling it up most. The biggest offending objects in our house were plastic milk cartons and empty shampoo/conditioner bottles (there are five of us). I switched to buying milk in bags and buy solid shampoo (no packaging) and refillable conditioner from Lush. The added bonus being that the empty bottles never contained whales and don’t end up in their blow holes either.

    Using plastic containers more than once would be a start.

    • FEd

      Good ideas, Lorraine.

      I’ve given up shower gel and gone back to soap: made of (Palestinian) olive oil, packaged in cardboard. Lovely stuff.

    • Alessandra

      I agree that refilling the bottles could be actually a good idea.

      A famous chain of cooperative supermarkets, here in Italy, proposed it to the public a couple of years ago, but, even though refilling your own bottles with soap, shampoo or milk was definitely cheaper than buying the new full and sealed ones, the experiment failed within a few of months.

      It seems that people didn’t trust that system, because they thought it was not hygienic and it could cause health problems, which, in my opinion, was a completely exaggerated and unrealistic explanation.

      What I think it’s that the (often illusory) excess of sanitary regulations in which the rich countries are living is not good and it doesn’t actually help our health.

      On the contrary, if excessive, it weakens our immune systems and social relationships, creates a lot of false needs and makes us throw away a lot of money, which only help polluting the world and filling it with rubbish.

    • Siôn

      Shw mae Fed! Good to see you posting about environmental issues.

      I helped a group of students from my university pick up litter for Earth Day. The campus is mostly litter-free but the parks nearby have lots of discarded plastic bottles and pop cans, all of them can be recycled, so it’s a shame that the council will probably pick them up eventually and throw them into a black (plastic) bag with all the other rubbish. I couldn’t say how much we picked up, but it felt good to do something positive and I hope the people that saw what we were doing will feel inspired to do the same. It’s our planet, we all should work on keeping it clean!

      I gave up on bottled water long ago. Now I use an aluminium Sigg bottle which is very groovy. 🙂

      I also ordered a Wrap-n-Mat, as I think you recommended on the last Earth Day. It’s great! No more cling film!

    • FEd

      Fair play to you, Siôn. Happy to hear there’s another Wrap-n-Mat user among us.

      It seems that people didn’t trust that system, because they thought it was not hygienic and it could cause health problems, which, in my opinion, was a completely exaggerated and unrealistic explanation.

      What I think it’s that the (often illusory) excess of sanitary regulations in which the rich countries are living is not good and it doesn’t actually help our health.

      I agree completely, Alessandra. It seems to me that it’s all about creating confected wants through making us paranoid and afraid… and about the manufacturers being fearful of lawsuits and driven by greed.

      The same old thing, then.

  7. snow

    All good information. I feel that my investment in a water filter was money well spent.

    One of the big problems for the planet is,

    “Who can stand in the way, when there’s a dollar to be made?”

  8. Paulo

    Quite a nice post, unfortunately considering the rate and volume of destruction we´ve seen compared with the amount of measures taken to amend it… it´s hard not to think that is a rather unbalanced ratio. But then again, change also resides in hope, and hoping for a better, a more conscious, world is a small but important step.

    Like the Floyd said in 1994:

    “She can take it back, she will take it back some day”

    Maybe it´s time for all of us to stop taking her to the limit to see if she will break.

  9. Mal

    I don’t use polyethylene bags anymore but I still see people using them at the supermarket where they don’t seem to think twice about taking them. I often ask the checkout girls if they think they give out fewer bags these days and they all say no, because the people that don’t bring their own bags just take more free polyethylene bags and double-bag everything.

    Cloth bags are not expensive and are easier to load and carry. They don’t split or break and you can pile them up on top of each other in the boot without them falling all over the place. I don’t know why anyone could begrudge spending a few pounds to buy reusable bags. They are available in lots of places and really not expensive.

    Shops should charge for polyethylene bags. They did this in Ireland in 2001 and it reduced consumption by 90%. Other countries have done the same. China banned plastic bags and Styrofoam packaging in 2008.

    They started charging for polyethylene bags in some European cities in the ’80s, which just goes to show how far behind the USA is.

    The USA should be leading the way. Obama made his promises before elected President and what has he just done? Opened up over 500,000 square miles of coastal waters to offshore drilling because of Americans’ “energy needs”.

    If we all used energy like the USA, we’d need several planets to cope with the demand!

    • FEd

      The USA should be leading the way. Obama made all these promises and what has he just done? Opened up over 500,000 square miles of US coastal waters to offshore drilling because of Americans’ “energy needs”.

      Ah, but he did it “to try to gain support for climate change and energy legislation in Congress.” Whatever. He could start by putting Jimmy Carter’s solar panels back on the White House (removed by Ronald Reagan, now there’s a surprise) and not be photographed in supermarkets with plastic carrier bags when, it would appear, he could have carried whatever he was buying quite easily without any bag.

      I hate how the word ‘needs’ gets misused. We don’t ‘need’ SUVs or air conditioning, we need clean air and drinking water.

  10. Ian Pearson

    Use less plastic, more glass. No jet engines and then no probs with dust. No such thing as a free bus. Everyone pays, question is we choose.

    Every little helps. We should have an electric free day. Impossible of course. Maybe an iPod/computer/Game Boy/TV free day.

    Ian

  11. Michèle

    What a post, written with passion, and a great source of information. I can’t even imagine how much time you spent doing research. Hats off to you!

    I’ll need time to read all the links you provided but I’ll do.

    Not only whales or fish. I have seen disturbing photos of plastic material bulging from a carcass of an albatross, of a turtle been caught in a piece of plastic while young and how she (it?) had grown up, completely deformed, etc… Maybe it would be good if more people saw such awful images, they would act more responsibly. I’ll show them to my pupils.

    I’ve read this article about the dangers of Bisphenol A, for example, don’t use plastic baby bottles, prefer glass baby bottles.

    And this one is interesting and informative, too.

    Speaking of babies, I have to say that I’ve been shocked by the sixth idea of your ‘ Huffington Post ‘. “Don’t have a baby”. What is that? Don’t have a baby to help save the planet? Well, why not all of us commit suicide to save the planet, eh?

    Michèle

    • FEd

      Thank you for the kind words and valuable links.

      Here are some distressing photos of the stomach content of dead Laysan albatross chicks, by Chris Jordan. The poor buggers are mistakenly fed a diet of plastic by their parents.

      If they don’t cause great shame and upset, I don’t know what will.

    • Julie Davies

      Here are some distressing photos of the stomach content of dead Laysan albatross chicks, by Chris Jordan. The poor buggers are mistakenly fed a diet of plastic by their parents.

      FEd, those pictures are very distressing indeed.

      WAKE UP EVERYBODY, LOOK WHAT WE ARE DOING. It is all so wrong. 🙁

  12. D.R.

    Fabulous Summary! Great!!!

    The two “Earth Day” things I’d add is that (one) the planet is beyond its carrying capacity. It can’t survive the expected growth… 6, to 7, 8 and more… billion people on it. We’re undergoing one of the biggest mass extinctions of plant and animal species in geologic history due to human overpopulation, which will be followed by a collapse of our own species when we hit the steep downside of “peak oil.”

    Which brings me to item number two.

    A little noticed report came out in the last month by the U.S. Department of Energy that suggested that global peak oil production (including synthetic fuels, etc.) will probably occur sometime in the next five years (it could be this year). Once we hit the serious downside of “peak oil,” (ten, twelve? years from now) the spaghetti will really hit the fan. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse will be riding dragons on steroids. Some pessimistic futurists think that the global population might collapse back down to one to two billion people, within a couple generations. Which would be very, very, messy and painful, for a lot of people. It’s too horrible to think about.

    (I always feel like a guilty hypocrite when I whine and fret about overpopulation. Instead of having one kid, I had three. And if I’d married younger, I probably would have had five. I like kids.)

  13. D.R.

    P.S. I LOVE Freddie and the Dreamers, “I’mmmm telling you noooow.” Catchy, catchy, innocence. Magical Song. Always good for a smile.

  14. NS

    Love the article on Earth Day! We need to be cleaner and healthy people and that’s what today reminds us. Not eating filthy. Keep away from bad stuff. Good way to celebrate Earth Day.

    This reminds us with LOLz to be healthy. 🙂

  15. Alexander

    This is the first time I look at this blog, it’s cool.

    I have listened to some Floyd material and David of course. I think he is a great musician and deserves a lot of respect.

    Anyway, hello FEd, can you ask this question to mister David Gilmour? “Did you hear the Dark Side of the Moon album cover by Dream Theater?” I would like an answer. 😀

    Thanks a lot, and sorry if there are some mistakes, I don’t speak English.

    • FEd

      Hello. I can add it to my list.

      I’m sure that David has heard it, but wouldn’t imagine that he’d be willing to share his thoughts on it. After all, he said that he had played a Radiohead album once and suddenly was supposed to be their biggest fan. 😉

    • Gabrielle, Washington State

      After all, he said that he had played a Radiohead album once and suddenly was supposed to be their biggest fan. 😉

      We all know that you, FEd, are Radiohead’s biggest fan! :))

  16. Alessandra

    Thank you, FEd, for this great post, for all the links you added and, particularly, for the one about sustainable seafood.

    Some time ago I found something similar on Greenpeace’s website. Here is the link, if someone is interested to have a look.

    Maybe this list could be useful because it’s especially focused on the fish sold by supermarkets.

    So many people buy frozen or ready-to-cook fish products everyday, without realizing they’re buying endangered species.

    And what about all the Atlantic cod which is usually served in schools, hospitals and refectories everywhere?

    There are so many (even cheap) kinds of fish on sale, that it shouldn’t be so hard to avoid a few of them, I think.

    Then, speaking about plastic bottles, here is another link I found.

    I also have an aluminium bottle. Do you think I should doubt its suitability? 😕

    • Hydrea

      Oh, about seafood:

      it’s a very useful link Alessandra.

      Thanks!

      Bye, Hydrea

    • FEd

      Your link to Greenpeace’s Seafood Red List is much better than the one I included, Alessandra – thanks for that.

      I stopped buying prawns a few years ago and tuna (again) last year. I’d stopped eating tuna many years ago because of a love of dolphins, and, like many people I expect, once the Dolphin-Friendly label appeared, I thought it was fine to carry on eating tuna. Yet the commonest Dolphin-Friendly methods of catching tuna – purse-seining, floating FADs, long-lining, drift-netting – isn’t at all friendly to turtles, seabirds, sharks, rays, marlins and a dozen other types of fish. I suppose none of these are as cute as dolphins, so not worthy of such a fuss.

      The thought of tuna fishermen cutting the fins off sharks and throwing them back into the water – alive – really bothers me.

      Shark fin soup, anyone?

    • FEd

      I also have an aluminium bottle. Do you think I should doubt its suitability? 😕

      I don’t know. It’s all about the lining. Aluminium bottles will be lined with plastic because the metal would likely ‘leach’ chemicals into the liquid otherwise, as happens with plastic, and there have been links made between high levels of aluminium and Alzheimer’s disease.

      The cheaper aluminium bottles, specifically those made in China (although that may well be Western propaganda), are likely to still contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), which has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

      Stainless steel bottles need no liner.

      The lids to both stainless steel and aluminium bottles are probably made of plastic, anyway.

      Then there’s always glass… 😉

    • Hydrea

      I stopped buying prawns a few years ago and tuna (again) last year…

      Well, it’s a very important topic, I love Dolphins too, but there’s too much confusion about seafood:

      Which type of fish can we eat and which type it’s better we stop to eat?

      Recently, I heard about healthy bluefish and salmon; it’s right to eat them?

      I hope I explain well my questions.

      Have a nice weekend to everyone.

      Bye, Hydrea

    • Alessandra

      Thanks for the link, FEd and for the explanation about the risks of aluminium.

      To be sincere, I didn’t completely stop eating tuna, but I don’t even buy it so often.

      I completely stopped eating Marlin, instead, not only because it’s endangered, but also because it seems it could contain a particularly high level of mercury, which could be harmful to ingest.

      I don’t know if Marlin should be considered actually more dangerous than other kinds of seafood, but those two reasons were more than enough to convince me that I should have stopped eating it.

      Speaking about food in general, this is something else I ate sometimes in the past, but that I completely banned since the day I discovered the methods used to make the ducks’ liver grow.

      I hardly tolerate that animals were tortured even for medical or scientific aims, but I have zero tolerance when the purpose is just to give the overfed western countries a food or anything else which is good or beautiful, but, in the end, completely useless.

    • FEd

      I hardly tolerate that animals were tortured even for medical or scientific aims, but I have zero tolerance when the purpose is just to give the overfed western countries a food or anything else which is good or beautiful, but, in the end, completely useless.

      Very well said.

      Hats off to Roger Moore for this:

      “Since I have understood the cruelty attached to its production I have never touched it again. I now boycott restaurants where it is served.

      And I refuse to speak to old friends who, even when they know how it is produced, are prepared to overlook the suffering for self-gratification. My wife Christina feels just the same. No creature deserves to be treated as these birds are for our delectation.”

      And apparently, according to the same article, he says there have been links between foie gras and Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

    • Alessandra

      Thank you very much for the link, FEd.

      I searched the web to find the PETA video Roger Moore was talking about, so here it is, if you didn’t watch it, yet.

      “…foie gras can no longer pass the lips of any civilised person.”

      So true.

    • Michèle

      Hats off to Roger Moore? Haha, after Bono, Geldof, McCartney and co… here is another sanctimonious celebrity? Well, information is great, propaganda is not.

      Haha, bad Obama! 😉

      Haha, bad Gordon Ramsay and his numerous foie gras recipes!

      Haha, “In Britain it is illegal to produce foie gras, but not to sell it.”

      It’s hypocrisy.

      Here there’s a law, yes, a LAW (!!!) that states: “Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France.”

      ‘PROTECTED CULTURAL HERITAGE’. 8| It’s also hypocrisy.

      It’s all about making money.

      Bad me! I won’t be hypocritical, eating foie gras, once or twice a year, is one of my ‘guilty pleasures’.

      Hats off to Sir Roger Moore? Haha, then, now, refuse to speak to me, FEd…

      And come on, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes & co, I’m waiting for you to punish me for my occasional guilty pleasure…

      Don’t be hypocritical, anyone, there are plenty of common and constant animal abuse/cruelty all around the world that are far worse than force feeding of ducks and geese. Transport?

      For example, how about this? And you can replace in your browser ‘sheep’ with ‘chicken’, ‘cattle’, ‘horse’, even ‘cat’ or ‘dog’… Have you all stopped eating chicken?

      Well, don’t take a look at the link if you are too sensitive…

    • FEd

      Just my opinion, Michèle. I’m sorry if it upsets you.

      Sanctimonious celebrity or not, he is right: we are prepared to overlook suffering for our own self-gratification. I applaud anyone who, knowing that cruelty is involved, vows never to touch a product again, be it foie gras or any one of a thousand leading household items on sale worldwide and loaded into a hundred shopping trolleys every fraction of each second that I’ve spent typing my reply. I think it’s a shame that we feel we should be able to indulge ourselves with a frankly pompous delicacy even though to do so means that an animal has to spend its life in a cage with a tube shoved down its throat until its liver packs in and it’s time to have its throat cut.

      I’m not claiming to be guiltless by any stretch of the imagination (I drive, I eat meat, I visit supermarkets), but I’d rather go hungry than eat foie gras and am glad that Roger Moore feels the same way.

      Thank you for the link and horrible images which further strengthen my resolve.

    • Julie Davies

      For example, how about this? And you can replace in your browser ’sheep’ with ‘chicken’, ‘cattle’, ‘horse’, even ‘cat’ or ‘dog’… Have you all stopped eating chicken?

      I stop there. To me the link appears to be vegan propaganda. Okay, I don’t believe in battery farming etc, but chickens, lambs, pigs and horse (to the French) are bred for our consumption. We use every part of the pig, we use horse and cattle for dog foods and leather products. As for dogs and cats well that is a delicacy to the Chinese. I think they eat these creatures due to hunger and I am not too sure if cats and dogs are specifically bred for consumption. I’ll look into this further one day.

      I am not opposed to animal testing either as long as it is for scientific research i.e. in order to help cure cancer etc. I know mice, rats and rabbits are specifically bred for research purposes because a person I once knew worked in a place which bred mice for laboratories.

      I don’t care if my opinion on the above upsets anyone as I love my slab of cow and my leather jacket.

      But back to the matter at hand, I care more about the material waste that man just throws away willy nilly without a thought of the consequences to our beautiful planet. Every one is blaming the individual for this. But it is also down to the manufacturers. Perhaps governments should restrict what packaging the manufacturers produce and therefore alleviate the dreaded waste which is hurting the environment.

    • Hydrea

      I applaud anyone who, knowing that cruelty is involved, vows never to touch a product again.

      Very well said FEd.

      I completely agree with you.

    • Alessandra

      I stop there. To me the link appears to be vegan propaganda. Okay, I don’t believe in battery farming etc, but chickens, lambs, pigs and horse (to the French) are bred for our consumption.

      Julie,

      this is exactly the point. I’m not vegan and I like eating meat, so I can’t say I’m against farming.

      I don’t consider it generally wrong to breed and kill the animals to eat their meat, but I just think that just because they’ll have to be killed, we should let them, at least, live a good and peaceful life until that day.

      Then, it’s OK if you have a cow leather jacket, if it’s made (and often it is) with a part of an animal that was killed to be eaten and not only to give us its skin or fur, which are two more rich and useless products as the ones I was talking about in one of my previous comments.

      Yes, sometimes it’s not easy to know what kind of product we’re buying exactly, but it’s not so hard to boycott battery farming or not certified leather, in the end.

    • Alessandra

      Sorry if I’m posting one more comment, but I forgot something important.

      Why should I accept animal testing for scientific aims, when I know there could be alternatives to it?

      Please, have a look at this, if you can.

      The main reason why alternative methods are scarcely developed and applied, is that most of them have still to be officially validated, but the legal process to approve them is so long, restrictive and, above all, expensive, that it’s easier to go on torturing and killing animals.

      That’s what I can’t accept.

    • Julie Davies

      Thanks for the interesting link, Alessandra. It is certainly food for thought.

      🙂

    • Michèle

      Just my opinion, Michèle. I’m sorry if it upsets you.

      Your opinion didn’t upset me. My comment was about hypocrisy. I guess I’ve been unable to make myself understood.

      Haha, another hypocrisy (I’m referring to your recent tweet):

      “The Obama administration argues that the whaling moratorium should be suspended because it has loopholes that are being illegally exploited by Japanese, Norwegian and Icelandic whalers. They believe that after 25 years of conflict within the International Whaling Commission, commercial whaling should be legalized in the hope that, by bringing the killing out into the open through agreed-upon quotas, a consensus eventually will emerge in support of a phase-out of whaling altogether.”

      Haha, poor Earth… She will never win…

    • FEd

      She will never win as long as there are leaders with the warped logic of Barack Obama leading the most powerful nations. What a huge let down he is turning out to be after giving everyone such tremendous hope.

      What next from Obama? After offshore drilling and now this, I dread to think.

      What a good time it could be to tell him where he can stick his Trident.

  17. Michèle

    There is also the oil pollution in oceans due to major tanker or offshore oil rig accidents (the last one a few days ago in Gulf of Mexico), or illegal oil discharges from ships (it’s cheaper for shipowners to pay a fine than to act properly and legally. A shame. Polluters should pay more.)

    This leads me to think about ocean energy resources, I mean clean and re-newable energy sources such as offshore wind energy.

    And I’m wondering if the European plan to build many more offshore wind farms in the future is a good thing (good to reduce carbon emissions and to create new jobs, of course) or not for the wildlife.

    Perhaps this would even increase damage in the ecosystem of the marine environment. I really don’t know.

    Here are some pro and cons.

    As for plastic bottles, let’s not forget that plastic bottles will not be recycled if the cap is left on. In the US I think that Aveda recycles plastic caps. Here, schools and associations collect them, send them to a special recycling plant and the benefits are for disabled people (for example, l’association ‘1 bouchon = 1 sourire’).

    • Hoss

      In Michigan where I live there are many proposals for many Wind Farms in various spots along our coasts. But many are being blocked by the by the handful of owners of Multi-Millon dollar homes on the lakes as when they look out they see the towers. These will be at least 2 miles off shore.

      Pretty sad as they think it spoils the view.

      Hoss

  18. Gabrielle, Washington State

    FEd, you’ve done a fantastic job compiling information to share with us!

    It’s mind boggling to wrap one’s head around the immensity of problem that we humans have brought to our Mother Earth and how ‘on earth’ we can undo the damage!

    The Pacific Gyre, aka The Pacific Garbage Patch, is enough to literally make a person sick, and it’s not the only ocean-based garbage patch. Apparently, there are four or five others around the world. 8| I stumbled on this article about a year ago and this was, surprisingly, ‘mainstream’ media.

    The hope for our Mother’s future is in our hands. Knowledge is hope ~ you’ve helped shed more light on the issue and given us all a good eye-opening whack of the pointy stick to keep us alert/vigilant no matter how daunting the task may seem to be!

    Thanks, FEd!

    Peace ‘n’ love, y’all. 🙂

  19. Fran

    Vegan for Earth Day? Great idea, although I’m vegan every day. 😉

    I’ve taken the pledge to never buy another plastic bottle again. It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of alternatives. If enough people refuse to buy plastic, they would have to take us seriously.

    I remember when milk came in a glass bottle that we put out on the doorstep to be reused.

    The Wrap-n-Mat is a great idea. Thanks for mentioning it FEd! I wish I’d seen it the first time you mentioned it. I’m getting two for my kids’ packed lunches and thought I’d share the link again for others to see and perhaps order. Cling film is nasty stuff and my two hate having to carry extra Tupperware in their school bags just for their sandwiches.

    Another thing I just don’t get is why supermarkets put plastic wrapping around everything! They’re the one using the plastic packaging, then they charge us for it, then they expect us to get rid of it responsibly! I’m going to leave a comment or two, asking them to re-think their use of plastics, in the Suggestions Box when I next go in there.

    We should all try to use less plastic. The pictures of the albatross chicks and the figures above are appalling.

    Fran

    • FEd

      I remember when milk came in a glass bottle that we put out on the doorstep to be reused.

      Don’t forget the Corona Man…

      I’m going to leave a comment or two, asking them to re-think their use of plastics, in the Suggestions Box when I next go in there.

      I’ll do the same, Fran. My question is this:

      I bought a swede and a melon today. Why do you think the swede needed to be entirely shrouded in plastic?

      That sounds more like a joke than a serious question, actually.

    • lorraine

      I bought a swede and a melon today. Why do you think the swede needed to be entirely shrouded in plastic?

      My guess would be because they can’t get a label with a bar code on it to stick to the skin. Most, if not all, packaging is for the benefit of the supermarket, not the customer.

      One of my favourites is the little tub of peeled garlic cloves (about 6 of them) that Waitrose sells for about 90p, it’s part of their ‘Cooks’ range – who the hell is so lazy they can’t peel some garlic!

  20. Bruce

    I admire the way David is bringing attention to this problem. I know David is an Artist and any true Artist would be concerned, but David has brought it into production with the environmentally safe packaging and the Blog as well as other formats. It is a very worth while project and will reap great dividends. I’ll do what I can to assist him.

  21. Fernando

    Hi David!

    Please, come to Chile, we need a benefit concert for the victims of earthquake and tsunami in Dichato, central Chile.

    See these photos.

    Thanks and greetings from Chile.

  22. D.R.

    I really, really, like the synthesizer/guitar music/mix on the website today. Brooding, ominous, solitude. Deeply, moving/gorgeous.

  23. D.R.

    Boy! Some of the music posted today is magnificently desolate. It reminds me of Vincent Van Gough’s “crows.” Or finding onesself “marooned” in orbit. God, I love these mixes. Thankyou Mr. Gilmour for posting them!

    The music is somehow appropriate for the “earth day” blog. This planet is in such deep, deep trouble, and we’ve got about the worst, most ignorant, most ineffectual, inept, immoral and corrupt leaders one could imagine in this time of crisis. And a mainstream press that’s not any better.

    Did you ever see that George Harrison video clip where he talks about feeling OK when he’s in his own garden, but when he goes outside of it he thinks the world has gone insane and finds himself asking, “What the hell am I doing here?”

  24. NewYorkDan

    Today the very first offshore wind farm was approved in the US. It will be located around fifteen miles off the shore of Cape Cod, will consist of 130 turbines over a 25 square-mile area between the islands of Martha’s Vinyard and Nantucket. It is not projected to reduce the cost of electricity, but to produce clean and safe electricity. This project has been ten years in the making, held up because it would be visible from land. Native groups claim it will interfere with their sunrise worship ceremonies, while the extremely wealthy people who live on the shore say it will destroy their pristine view of the ocean.

    I applaud this project, because it is safe clean energy. At a time when an oil spill is threatening to reach shore any day now in the Gulf of Mexico, we need to be focused on alternatives to dirty, damaging oil and coal.

  25. Skipper John

    Just a “Hi” and a heads up that yes, the day has finally come. The last of the buggers has “decided” to quit bugging me 😉 … or anyone else near me… and therefore I’m free (though, I’d also like to be expensive). Chuckle.

    Therefore, I give permission to hang out, starting now. Perhaps sooner than later; perhaps also at a certain ranch in the Sierras. Although their webpage says they’re mostly booked this year. Well, there’s plenty of places. Call me, or something.

    To “command” someone to action? Only to the extent that it is ethical. We’ll see.

    Lots to tell you.

    Love,
    John

  26. Amelia Gray

    The oil spill in Mexico would surely be one of the greatest environmental disasters for this year.

  27. Dan

    Eight million new items of marine litter. Every single day.

    That’s a staggering statistic.

    It always saddens me whenever I visit the seaside to see litter. People are too lazy to use the bins.

    People complain about fast food restaurants being responsible for litter, but I was at a McDonald’s on Saturday and had to park up to wait for my food to be brought out to me. I counted six bins within McDonald’s boundaries.