Earth Day 2014

It’s Earth Day again – International Mother Earth Day, if you prefer – a day to generally encourage keen people to get outside and plant trees, pick up other people’s litter and participate in other relatively small, yet important, tasks that so greatly improve our communities and make us feel we’re making a modest difference at some level. More than a billion people take part, apparently, and I’m looking forward to finding out if any of them and the events they have organised receive much, if any, press coverage in between the usual gloomy stories about food banks and job cuts. We shall see.

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t know there was an ‘Earth Day Anthem’, set to Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’:

Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world

Sure, it’s a bit corny, but it fits the ‘Give Earth a Hand’ theme, from Greenpeace a couple of years ago, which I still like.

When the idea for an Earth Day came about in the Sixties, to promote conservation and increase awareness of the environmental damage we cause through our very selfish way of life, I wonder how many advocates envisaged an electric solar-powered bus, like Adelaide’s Tindo. In its first year alone, it saved over 70,000 kilograms of carbon emissions and 14,000 litres of diesel. California’s San Joaquin Valley now has a fleet of all-electric school buses, expected to save over $10,000 a year in fuel and maintenance costs. Isn’t that brilliant?

I wonder how far down the line, in 1970 when the first Earth Day took place, those concerned for our future imagined a major change in the way we build houses, changing our rooftops to better insulate or to cool our homes and offices, to collect rainfall and promote biodiversity (white roofs in Los Angeles, green roofs in Malmö, for example). It’s more than twenty years since the first passive houses, featuring wooden frames and thick walls, designed to keep cold air out and human-generated heat in, were built in Germany. These brand new apartments – in Brooklyn, New York – are built to Passivhaus requirements, and they’re wonderful, but why does everything have to take such a long time to catch on? How much time we have wasted.

We need more of the same and we need it now.

Fellow dreamers, take a look at some of the amazing, yet hardly affordable, eco-houses being built around the world.

As always, I’d genuinely love to hear your suggestions for minimising your carbon footprint, because I’m always looking to minimise my own. We can all give Mother Earth a hand by changing our shopping and eating habits, because, as we all know, she could Take It Back.

Happy Earth Day, if you can feel happy about it, that is.

49 comments

  1. Michèle

    Earth Day 2014 will focus on green cities. The ideal would be that cities have nothing else than net-zero-energy buildings, which remains a dream as we can’t destroy all the beautiful existing architecture filled with history – be it monuments or houses – in our large cities/capitals for example, where air pollution hits maximum level. Probably too expansive too. Sadly, ecology could be seen as a luxury in this time of crisis.

    But – in Paris, as it is what I know best – I quite like these programmes (please click the images for more information) and also the ‘Velib’ (2007) and ‘Autolib’ (2011) programmes. I would like ‘Autolib’ to expand its business to other big cities here. All electric vehicles. Zero noise, zero pollution.

    And Oh, isn’t Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ the anthem of the European Union too? The European Union, what a powerless, impotent and divided organisation (Mali, Syria, Ukraine…) And to think that the EU won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012, what a joke – Beethoven’s ‘Pathetique Sonata’ sure would have been a better choice. 😉

    • FEd

      Certainly unusual, some of them, but I think many of these ‘green’ buildings look great. The Planted Tower of Nantes seems a bit wobbly, though, don’t you think?

    • laterr

      It seems quite stable, but I have some doubts about its shape too… Are there any shape/size standards for building cucumbers in EU? 🙂 Should be Foster’s Cucumber, no?

      And yet I wonder where trees’ roots are supposed to be settled…

      To be honest, I’d love to live in that green tower, but when I see a little girl there on the balcony, one thought come immediately in my mind: “It must be glazed or closed with something else”- so selfish, yes, and then the whole idea loses its sense… unless it is wire netting pulled up over to ceiling… but then the kid could feel herself like being in the zoo or in a jail…

    • Michèle

      FEd and Laterr, you might prefer the Agora Garden in Taiwan by Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut; it doesn’t seem too wobbly and doesn’t look like a cucumber, right? 😉

      Personally, I don’t like it…

      • FEd

        Hmm, I’m not sure I like it. I suppose it could grow on me. (Dreadful pun, I know, but it is Friday.)

        Maybe if it had some ivy…

    • laterr

      Quite the contrary, Michèle, that “DNA” does seem unsteady to me. I would not be happy to live in there upwards of fourth or fifth floor I think. Moreover it reminds me a giant cobra (if seeing from a certain side), and I don’t like snakes.

  2. Groovyjuve

    I have no profound thoughts. What comes to mind is the title of a song off an old Ringo Starr album…Step Lightly.

    • Sourav Mitra

      that’s probably the best ringo album ever.

      album title: Ringo
      with songs contributed by John, Paul and George.
      I forget the John song, but Paul’s was ‘six o’clock’ and George’s was ‘me and the band babe’ if I remember right.

      step lightly,
      oh boy you’re going too fast
      and in the meantime
      you got to get yourself a love that’s gonna last

      that’s all I remember or misremember of that song. last heard in the late seventies or early eighties.

  3. frank

    What gets my goat or rather dog? Is that people don’t pick up after their pet’s litter in public areas during the winter months and lo and behold? Spring is upon us and there’s more Earth Day to deal with. Especially the idiots with huge dogs. There oughta be a law! Poop Patrol maybe?

    No, too Orwellian.

    • FEd

      Sounds good to me, Frank. I’d vote for it. I’m sick of having to avoid stepping in the mess left by other dogs’ inconsiderate owners when I’m responsibly picking up the mess mine have left.

      They threaten to fine people for not bagging and binning it, but where are the people to enforce this and to lecture us, quite reasonably, for the many other things we shouldn’t do, such as using mobile phones while driving (which I still see most days) and littering? Councils are missing out on a small fortune by not being Orwellian enough, I say. Surely the jobs are largely self-funding.

      (I’d also fine ‘responsible’ dog owners for using bread bags to collect their dog’s mess and for clogging up the small bins provided, though. Or at least make them unclog them with their bare hands.)

  4. Suzy Smith

    It does take a long time for things to catch on, as you mentioned FEd as in regards to Earth Day and the innovative and positive changes that have slowly come about. But it seems to always take along time for positive change. Unfortunately, negative change can happen quickly.

    But positive is progressing and it had to start at some frame of time. So we are fortunate it did. People growing up with the earth-friendly options will come to embrace them as the norm. So their children will too. And that is when true positive change takes place.

    I am looking forward to the day when big corporations will put scrubbers on their smoke stacks and take responsibility for what they belch out into the environment. But would not hold my breath on that (pun intended).

    I enjoyed the “I Want Clean Air Video”. It was one that streamed through on my iPhone.

    It would be great if mass transit/public transportation was available in the rural areas of the USA. Even if it only followed the interstate connecting cities. I definitely would use it. I love to drive. But I do feel guilty about the carbon footprint I leave. Also it is expensive. In my life I have always recycled, when available I have ridden the bus to my place of employment/travel. I conserve water and electricity. I do my errands in one swoop so I do not waste fuel. When hiking or camping I have always left the area cleaner than how I found it.

    When I lived at a base of a mountain from 1986 till 1994 (then moved the family to another area in the same mountain range but less expensive). It was the time frame when fast food corporations did not want to get rid of their styro-foam containers. So when my young sons and I went on forest service trails for hikes we took two heavy duty garbage bags; one for regular garbage and one for styro-foam only. The regular garbage would go in my garbage can that I paid to have hauled away. I would mark the styro-foam one with the date and trail # and take it to the fast food place it came from some 40-50 miles away from where we picked it up. I would take it to them on my once a month errand run into town. I would give it to the manager explaining it does end up in the forest.

    I am very passionate about this subject. People often wonder what their purpose on the planet is. It is very simple: to care for one another, the creatures, and the planet it self so that it is here for those yet to arrive.

    That is why I love to say we live on an island in space.

    The time I spent working with children gave me hope. Most of them do understand.

    • FEd

      I love your passion, Suzy. Well done, and thank you, for making such an effort.

      How simple is it for people to take their waste packaging home with them? I know we blame the likes of McDonald’s for the huge volume of waste produced to contain their food, and every now and then they will dutifully send their staff out in full uniform to do an organised litter-pick and get their faces in the local newspaper, but individuals should take responsibility for their own waste and actions. They’re the ones who toss it out of the car window or cram it into a bin that’s already fit to burst knowing that it’s likely to fall out and get blown about long before someone comes along and empties it. They should take it home with them; most of it can be recycled.

      I wonder, don’t parents teach their children these fundamental basics any more? I’m not convinced, judging by the state of our parks and roadsides, that the majority of them even bother, especially after reading this shocking story this morning:

      Five-year-olds in hundreds of schools still wearing nappies

      Teachers in England reporting that pupils as old as 15 (!), with no medical conditions or developmental issues, wear nappies to school because they are unable to use the toilet. I know from friends who teach that far too many children arrive at school with no basic concept of learning. They can’t read or count a little, speak without shouting and swearing, sit at a desk, hold cutlery… But nappies at 15. How alarming and very, very, very depressing.

      Something else too many over-worked and/or over-indulged parents expect teachers to do for them, no doubt.

      Take away the convenience of horrible disposable nappies and see how quickly they’d get on with the toilet training if they only had the reusable, washable variety to work with. So much better for the environment – and everyone else, it seems.

      But I digress.

    • Michèle

      Teachers in England reporting that pupils as old as 15 (!), with no medical conditions or developmental issues, wear nappies to school because they are unable to use the toilet.

      Well, sorry, but I can’t believe this.

      Anyway, if it’s true, it’s pathetic and I blame the English (UK?) school or government. They should make it a rule that children can’t be accepted at school if they are not toilet/potty trained. I don’t mean to sound patronizing, but it’s how it works here and it works fine. And school starts at age of two or three here.

    • ash

      When my children were little, nursery schools refused to take children who were not toilet trained. Further, I remember mothers being competitive about whose child was farthest along the developmental charts. 🙂

      Playgroup is/was a once a week meeting for parents and preschool children from baby up to start of compulsory school and usually run by a teacher (in a church meeting room or community centre or similar).

      There was lots of play/socialisation and learning to share, structured activities requiring sitting down at a table to paint, cut, stick , glitter, eat some chunks of apple. There was a story session where everyone gathered round to listen. The was an outdoor session with ride on toys or a sand pit.
      All the Mums had to stay because this wasn’t child minding. The Mums actually enjoyed it anyway, who doesn’t enjoy sitting sticking and glittering and painting??????

      I think that sort of thing was invaluable for young Mums to learn how to give their children the skills needed for nursery (age three and up but not compulsory) or main (compulsory from age five in UK) school. It was also a support group for Mums.

      With regard to nappies, these mums were almost competitive in describing their child’s progress at potty training. :))

      Some parents don’t seem to have parenting skills and as your article described Fed, their children’s needs can be extremely disruptive.

      I think schools should refuse to take children who are not toilet trained (excepting those with developmental or medical needs). Yes, school is compulsory, but there must surely be a health and safety issue and what about the rights of the other children?

      ash

    • laterr

      You digress so emotionally, FEd, that I don’t dare now to suggest you forget about your car and walk and use underground trains (because I do always walk having no car). 🙂

      But can you really imagine a boy or girl of 15 wearing nappies? Maybe they have no toilet at their school? Or is it so awful a place that they are scared to go there? Maybe that is a cosmonauts’ school? And, if those teachers say the pupils have to miss part of their lesson having to be changed, pardon where they do this then? In the class room?

      ..but I now digress too.

  5. Suzy Smith

    Wow FEd, what you are saying and the article you attached is very depressing. Why are people bringing forth children they do not spend time with and enjoy. I worked on average 60 hours a week when my children were young. But every waking moment (did not get much sleep) I was spending with my children when I was not at work. I would take my vacations days so I could volunteer at school so I was aware of what was going on and with whom they were spending their days with. Also I used the cloth nappies. Generally I thought little ones wanted to progress and get into “big boy/girl under garments”. The little ones I have cared for could not wait to leave that behind.

    In the USA it seems parental drug abuse leading to neglect of children is the negative impact on our society. But people with that issue are anxious to get the child out of “fake nappies” so they can spend the money on their habit.

    Perhaps in the teen years they should offer a class of the care that is required to help a little one learn basic skills to function in society. Fortunately it is not that way here in my area. I know a few families with children and a few teachers; they would be shocked. Most day cares will not take a child in nappies when over two, let alone, the school system. Of course, if they have special needs due to physical/mental problems there are special care facilities as with infant/toddlers yet to have the muscle control to be potty trained. They are very expensive care centers. The public school does have a special program for disabled students. But very few need “changed”. The teachers are not required to provide such services. There are assistants that care for the special need students being “streamlined” into the public school system.

    Children are required to know basics skills to enter kindergarten. Especially how to function: toilet training mastered, to dress one self, follow simple directions and ready to learn.

    To comment on people, young or old, in regards to littering: I did not realize it was so awful elsewhere. In the state I live in most people take pride in keeping it clean. Fortunately the children I have been around are concerned and caring about their environment. When I worked with children there were some that tossed litter. But upon explaining that it is their place to care about because it is their future to inherit the place they live, they would be conscience.

    So after reading your reply (thank you), I am not so optimistic about the future. As usual I live in my little area of the world and it does not represent the big picture. Interesting you mentioned McDonalds because that is where the styro-foam laden garbage bag was delivered to.

    Perhaps more education about the care for the planet and how one person can make a difference. Generally people of all ages do not think what they do or do not do will have an impact. But it does, may it be positive or negative. Children need to know there is hope and they can and do make a difference. Reminds me of a wonderful song from not so long ago in a time of much strife but hope: “Teach Your Children Well” Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young was still part of the group back then. Glad CSN play it to this day…

    • Tim_c

      Suzy,

      If you were typical, the World would be a much better place already … what depresses me is the amount of sheer ignorance, inadequacy (both of which are not necessarily faults) and selfishness (which necessarily is) that you can observe on a daily basis. It’s a trend that I don’t see reversing any time soon and we have to confront the fact that it happens when people are generally better off and have more information available to them than ever before.

    • Pavlov

      Perhaps in the teen years they should offer a class of the care that is required to help a little one learn basic skills to function in society.

      Sadly the High School curriculum is devoid of “Home Economics” classes which were mandatory when I went to school. We learned basic cooking skills, simple electricity, how to clean different types of wood, basic childcare that involved learning how to fold a nappy and place on a baby, childhood diseases/vaccinations, sewing techniques (by hand), knitting, budgeting, general nutrition, a bit of chemistry and a host of other things. We even ventured into “shop” (mostly for the boys) to learn about power tools and rudimentary wood working techniques. And periodically the boys would venture into Home Economics class.

      And as children, we engaged and interacted a lot more with neighbours, family and friends and learned basics from them. Household chores were never that — everyone was expected to participate in the daily routine of keeping house — whether that meant peeling potatoes or changing the little one’s nappy if Mom (aunt or Mrs. Whoever) was busy in the kitchen. And if Dad (uncle or Mrs. Whoever) was washing the car or working in the garden, everyone got involved. It just was … no fanfare.

      Over the decades, we have lost our ‘balance’ and broken up the family core and sense of community, lost basic skills and taken away key subjects from our educational facilities. I think, however, there is a generation coming through the pipeline now that may be our only hope.

  6. Groovyjuve

    It is 1:30 am here in Mississippi, USA and I am in the dark wondering what I will find come daybreak. I was right in the middle of the tornadic storm that ripped across the country.

    When the tornado siren went off, my room mate and I huddled in a closet. There was a deafening explosion as the transformer blew and plunged us into darkness. After a few hours, the all cleared and here we sit, waiting for daylight. I do know that a town just a few miles away was leveled and lives were lost. I am grateful to have come out of this unscathed.

    She tried to take it back this wild night.

    • FEd

      Oh my goodness, that must have been terrifying.

      We should count our blessings more often, that’s for sure.

    • Pavlov

      Hang in there — thoughts and prayers are with you! Some of the storms we’ve seen over the last few days seems to have “come out of nowhere”. Mother Nature puts up with a lot from us and periodically bares her teeth!

  7. Elisabetta Corsi Italy N.E.

    Happy Birthday Polly, wishing you all the best on your special day.

    Warm greetings to you all.

    Cheers
    Elisabetta

  8. Sourav Mitra

    Business is the most devastating weapon of mass destruction that man has unleashed on mother earth. We cannot get rich without directly or indirectly plundering the planet. Every penny we earn leaves a carbon footprint somewhere.

    So our cosmetic environmental initiatives will not make the difference of a burp on the ozone layer if we keep building more cars, houses, phones, computers, whatever, in the quest of getting richer.

    The glory of wealth creation keeps us seeking to make our businesses bigger. That is the secret of our blind hurry toward self-destruction.

    What should we do?

    We must de-glorify wealth and wealth creation.

    Instead of publishing net worth in terms of the value of assets acquired net worth should only be published in terms of the environmental damage caused by what was acquired – the carbon footprint.

    Suppose environmentalists, scientists, mathematicians and accountants come to agree that on an average every dollar earned causes a 20 cent hole in the environment.

    Suppose Bill Gates is worth 100 billion.

    Then the publishing of his net worth as USD100 billion should be banned.

    The only thing that should be allowed to be published is that he caused a 20 billion dollar hole in the environment.

    That way a sense of guilt will evolve out of the glory of wealth-creation and eventually make it seem like a cardinal sin.

    Otherwise we have no hope of saving planet earth.

    • Pavlov

      Otherwise we have no hope of saving planet earth.

      I think it’s a bit foolhardy to think that we could ‘save’ planet earth but that’s the human condition for you — we have such an over-inflated sense of self! The most we can collectively ever hope to accomplish is to be kinder to our environment while it goes through its evolutionary cycle as it has done for millennia. And by being kinder, we should avoid knee-jerk reactions, sort through the all the hysteria and try to adopt comprehensive guidelines for reducing our carbon footprint (alas, electric cars don’t do much despite what we want to believe and the selling of carbon credits to others to ‘offset’ the biggest offenders is a farce; the CFLs that we so hastily had to adapt to have minuscule traces of mercury and there are limited recycling options for them so consequently a single light bulb from a multi-resident dwelling ends up contaminating the water table anyway [‘but I feel good because I used a CFL bulb, except I couldn’t recycle it so threw it in the trash’ ;)] to say nothing of who is getting rich off their manufacture.

      I certainly do not have the answers and am constantly wading through the onslaught of information trying to decipher what’s useful, actually of benefit to the greater good and makes sense financially.

      Then the publishing of his net worth as USD100 billion should be banned.

      The only thing that should be allowed to be published is that he caused a 20 billion dollar hole in the environment.

      I agree in part that too much emphasis is based upon the publishing of someone’s net worth. However, wouldn’t a multi-dimensional approach be interesting for a change of pace — I personally would like to see the net worth alongside the impact on the environment alongside the good that is done with that net worth — a graphic perhaps of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility and a long-term view of accomplishments such as employment statistics, how many people have food on the table and a semblance of a roof over their heads because this particularly wealthy individual exists. Just as wealth, for wealth’s sake is dangerous, wealth can be a very useful tool if applied properly (of course ‘properly’ is purely subjective depending on one’s point of view) … the bigger danger is (wo)man’s greed and appetites – WE are the danger.

    • FEd

      Business is the most devastating weapon of mass destruction that man has unleashed on mother earth.

      I’m reminded of that old (Cree Indian?) proverb:

      Only after the last tree has been cut down,
      Only after the last river has been poisoned,
      Only after the last fish has been caught,
      Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

    • Pavlov

      FEd, you must be psychic! 🙂 — the Cree proverb came to mind as did another from an unknown Native American Indian tribe:

      “Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”

      And this one from the Lakota tribe:

      “When a man moves away from nature his heart becomes hard.”

      The Native American “ten commandments” …

      – Treat the Earth and all that dwell therein with respect

      – Remain close to the Great Spirit

      – Show great respect for your fellow beings

      – Work together for the benefit of all Mankind

      – Give assistance and kindness wherever needed

      – Do what you know to be right

      – Look after the well-being of Mind and Body

      – Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater Good

      – Be truthful and honest at all times

      – Take full responsibility for your actions

      Wish we could all live this simply but we get in our own way, don’t we?

  9. ash

    You know me, usually I’m hot on this sort of topic because, fundamentally, I think we could do a lot to mitigate our impact on the planet and generally I’m all for doing what we as individuals can do.

    I loved the topic you raised one day Fed about re-wilding. I remember thinking this would require re-forestation and enrichment of eroded land. I can imagine a project where many volunteers across the country grow saplings and a good bag of compost to go with each for planting in mass plantings (this has been going on in places).

    New Forests for the New Millennium
    Millennium Forest: St Helena Island
    Millennium Forests
    The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Forests

    These are such good news stories. 🙂

    I’m feeling a bit cynical at present because I went looking for interesting news and articles to talk about and ended up with a terrible deforestation story. Which, I can’t find. However, the gist of it was that agreements were made during the last 10 or 20 years with farmers, people, organisations, governments, more (that I can remember) from many countries, Indonesia, the Amazon, Africa, to name a few.

    The “people” were supposed to be compensated or provided with new ways of making a living. Apparently, that help hasn’t been happening. How then are these people surviving?

    How can biomass power stations get enough biomass? There are fast growing plants and trees, whose yield is increased by certain growing techniques. Great example but I didn’t find out how many kilowatts or for how long, sustainability, etc. Nor which forests were felled to grow this monocrop. It will take someone cleverer than me.

    I read somewhere about shiploads of wood coming from abroad for our biomass power generators, apparently this is the waste “off cuts” (!!!!????) from legitimate logging!! Who believes this?

    I’m sorry I can’t back up my anecdotes with links to the articles I read, I can’t remember where I saw them (I will have a better search and post them if I can find them).

    I fear many, many people believe the rubbish we are told and happily go away content or bury their heads in the sand.

    ash

    • ash

      I found some interesting links:

      This one, I remembered seeing something about bending the sapling and more sugar, therefore fuel, was made on the side facing the sun. I found this article to be quite exciting given what we’d been talking about in reference to rewilding and reforestation. You’ll see that this article has many other links to other biofuel articles. Of course the big attraction of growing biofuels is that they are carbon neutral.

      However. . . I said I felt a bit cynical, I certainly feel wary about monoculture crops and effectively, growing plants for harvest in this way is like coppicing. If you read this Wikipedia entry then read this you will see that some experts have also expressed reservations (only they say it much better than me 🙂 ). Again, there are lots of other links alongside this article.

      Fed, it occurs to me that I didn’t answer your question about what I am doing to reduce my carbon footprint. One of the things I’m doing is planting at least three more trees in my garden this year.

      ash (to be continued 🙂 )

    • ash

      And a bit more. . . .I’ve said this already I think in others of your posts Fed. 🙂

      I like planting trees and would like everyone all over the world to do more of it! I am not convinced yet about biofuel but I suppose if it is one of many green alternatives we employ, I might grow to like the idea.

      I’m reminded of the problems, for example, of clearing forest in Borneo to grow palm oil. Remember, Fed, you alerted us to the products this stuff goes in.

      I compost as much as I can, so my waste is not going to landfill. I’d love for everyone to do this then the refuse collection service won’t have to collect it and petrol for the trucks will be saved. Mind you, we don’t want refuse collectors to lose their livelihoods. I don’t know. I just think it’s the right thing to do. My garden does well out of it anyway.

      I sort other waste for recycling collections. I mention this not to sound like a “do gooder”, but because there are still people who just can’t be bothered. You can tell who they are, they never put out the special collection bins or boxes, they do put out four times as many black bags though! I’d be ashamed to have my neighbours know I can’t be bothered.

      I’m not sure if there is anything else I do, I try to make efficient use of car journeys and my car has a small engine. I’d like to go electric (don’t have me fretting about how we make the electricity!).

      ash (sorry for rambling a bit)

      • FEd

        Please, ramble away. 🙂

        I think it’s time those who can’t be bothered to recycle got fined, don’t you?

    • Tim_c

      The problem with penalizing non-recycling is that the lazy buggers who can’t be bothered will just bag up their rubbish and fly-tip it in some gateway, quiet corner or alley … We have a local recycling centre just a mile from where we live and you wouldn’t believe the amount of rubbish that gets tipped within half a mile of the place.

      • FEd

        Oh, I believe it. Maybe the answer lies in rewarding those who can be bothered, through vouchers or credits or tax breaks or something, instead of penalising those who can’t be bothered. I expect that would also be open to abuse and can just imagine people, in the dead of night, quietly taking other people’s bags of plastic bottles and hedge trimmings to pile them up outside their own houses…

  10. Damian Cunningham

    Hi all.

    I was driving west on the A66 today right through the heart of the Lake District. Wow, never ceases to amaze me how stunning this part of the UK is.

    Is it just me or does anyone else think about all the nuclear bombs detonated around the world and how much of an impact that has on our environment?

    Damian

    • Tim_c

      Damian,

      I think that’s just you Mate. I’m too busy looking for Red Squirrels.

  11. Drew M.

    “I’d like to have a beer-holder on my guitar like they have on boats.”- J.H.

    Take Care,
    – Drew M.

  12. Damian Cunningham

    There is a large school directly at the back of my house and they recently had the whole roof covered in Solar panels. Lots of Wind turbines popping up all over Cumbria. Mind you, our idiots in power have decided to push forward with nuclear and not pushed forward with more renewables. Crazy.

    Damian

  13. Sourav Mitra

    Every business letter head, visiting card, advertisement, logo etc. must carry or be accompanied with a mandatory message like on cigarette packs:

    Statutory warning: Business is injurious to Planet Earth.

  14. Pavlov

    I was hoping to make an ‘educated’, well-informed contribution to the post and had all my ‘ducks in a row’ but somehow lost my way. Our Earth Day was spent in meetings — useful ones I might add — that focused on Corporate Social Responsibility and how we, as employees, could make a little bit off difference in the workplace. We even watched this – a documentary funded by PPR, the largest luxury goods holding company in the world. It was originally released in 2009 (so it’s been around the block a few times) to coincide with Environmental Day which takes place every June 5. Visually, it’s breathtaking and does give one food for thought but, being ever the cynic, I have to always question the motive behind these things — is it to assuage guilt and make amends in the eye of the beholder (and ultimately the end-user of the luxury item that is purchased) [“I feel good about carrying around my Balenciaga handbag and absolutely don’t mind spending a King’s ransom on it because it was sourced responsibly”], does it stem from true passion or is it a very clever, ‘theme currently relevant’ PR stunt?

    • FEd

      “Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live” – and that was five years ago.

      Thanks for sharing; it’s an incredible film. Incredibly depressing, but still incredible.

  15. Paul Collins-Smith

    Fully agree with you, a bit corny but spot on.

    I’m not a tree hugger myself but have two beautiful grandchildren under the age of three and it’s their earth, their future. My time is a lot shorter but not too short to help Mother Earth. Martina and I are always available for Mother Earth.

  16. Paul Collins-Smith

    totally agree what you’re saying – I’m irish and fully understand where you’re coming from because ireland is beautiful and natural and beauty like this needs to be protected, but unfortunately the big businesses that scream environmental projects are mainly in it for themselves and the money they make, that’s why these ideas take so long to develop and become universal.

    Martina.

  17. Michèle

    “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

    He was a great visionary of the modern era, don’t you think?

  18. Damian Cunningham

    Has anyone been watching The Island with Bear Grylls? This island is hundreds of miles from anywhere but the amount of rubbish being washed up on the beach is disturbing.

    Damian

    • FEd

      I haven’t seen it, but after reading this earlier and now that you mentioned it, I’m quite curious about it.

      Tomorrow is the first day of Clean Coasts Week in Wales (I’m not sure if it’s just Wales). The stuff that you find washed up on beaches is, as you say, disturbing.

      Clean Coasts Week is sponsored by McDonald’s, by the way. You can add your own punchline if you want.

      • FEd

        Excellent.

        I blame fishermen for an awful lot. They drop theirs in the sea and it ends up on the land, strangling and decapitating birds.

  19. Suzy Smith

    Tim C: It was nice of you to say such kind words. It is interesting that with all the information that is available some people tend to ignore it.

    Groovyjuve: I am glad that you and your roommate survived the tornado. They are an extremely terrifying experience to endure. I have always wondered how people live in places where they occur. It would be nerve wracking. I suppose one gets accustomed to dealing with such situations, the best they can, when they grow up in an area prone to them. Also being from an area it is not easy to leave loved ones and familiar surroundings behind.

    As Pavlov mentioned “storms out of nowhere”. I experienced one once when I was visiting Indiana. I would rather deal with volcanoes. They give lots of warning before they go off. I did live in an area where I was evacuated due to forest fires three times. It was too intense. Sheriff gives you five minutes to leave. I did pack up the family and move from there. Even though it was close to a river and big ponderosa trees; it was time to go…

    The state I am in, the environmentalists made the state pass a law so the tree cutting industry had to replant after clear cutting. Timber industry did not do it because it would be logical, good business practice, or the right thing to do. But because they had to. Also made into the law was leaving trees by water so the temperature would remain the same, run off protection, road building in forest is being curtailed. All these laws are being challenged by the industry constantly. Wish they would make selective harvest more prominent instead of clear cutting. But it costs more. Also some forest/trees should be off limits: redwoods, and old growth.

    Many towns, cities, and neighborhoods in the USA encourage planting of trees. They have programs to promote planting.

    Bio-mass tends to do more harm than good. It extremely pollutes the air.

    The coal burning electricity producing plants are also another air quality destroyer. They often avoid laws by building the plants on Indian Reservation. The Indians have wised up to this trick but, unfortunately, the leases are very long.

    Since cutting so much of the rain forest in Brazil; they have not had any rain for a year now. Their coffee bean crops may become extinct. Let alone lack of drinking water.

    In Oklahoma there have been more earthquakes than previously experienced there since they started fracking.

    Then there is the over packaging of items found in the store. What a waste. Fortunately there are conscience people like David. When he produced and marketed “On an Island” he showed concern and care with the choices he made to get it into the hands of his fans with the least impact to the planet. That was thoughtful.

    • FEd

      Then there is the over packaging of items found in the store. What a waste.

      One of my many bugbears. Why shrink-wrap a cucumber in plastic? It’s going to be washed and peeled.