Archive for Environmental Damage

Killing The Wilderness Will Kill Us All

Posted in America, Brazil, Britain, Conservation, Environment, Forests, Nature, News, Oceans, Plastic Rubbish with tags , , , , on 10/09/2016 by floroy1942
Deforestation

Deforestation

No! This is not some made up story, but in years to come it will come true. The areas of wilderness on Earth, i.e. areas of land like the Amazon in South America and Central Africa among others, are the lifeblood of our planet and yet we are destroying them at an ever-increasing rate.

The Amazon

The Amazon

Before 1970 the Amazon forest covered 4,100,000 sq.kms, but by 2015 it had shrunk to just 3,331,065 sq.kms. This means that mankind has destroyed 768,935  sq.kms (almost the size of Turkey) in just 39 years, reducing its size by 18.8%. Despite all the warnings about what this was doing to our ecological status, the destruction still goes on.

In 1950 the Indonesian forest cover was estimated to be 145 million ha of primary forest and another 14 million ha of secondary and tidal forest.  Between 1990 and 2000 20% of the forest area in Indonesia had been lost (24 million ha) and by 2010, only 52% of the total land area was forested (94 million ha).

According to the World Resources Institute, more than 80 percent of the Earth’s natural forests have already been destroyed world-wide. Up to 90 percent of West Africa’s coastal rain forests have disappeared since 1900. Brazil and Indonesia, which contain the world’s two largest surviving regions of rain forest, are being stripped at an alarming rate by logging, fires, and land-clearing for agriculture and cattle-grazing. And so the destruction of our live-giving forests goes on unabated, and no-one is doing anything to stop it.

Rain Forest Destruction

Rain Forest Destruction

What most people do not realize is that trees are the lifeblood of this planet, and without them we will all die very quickly because they are the number one provider of our most important essential – oxygen. But what the hell, profit is more important that life, right!

We all know that the pollution levels on our planet are steadily rising, what with CO2 pollution world-wide and the ever increasing contamination of the world seas and the ground but no-one seems to care.

Plastic Pollution

Plastic Pollution

Our oceans are steadily being heavily polluted with plastic among other things which is causing untold problems. We have huge areas of every ocean on the planet where plastic is collecting on the surface called plastic gyers.

For more information you might perhaps  want to read:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/welcome-to-plastic-island/

Ocean Life Destruction

Ocean Life Destruction

Another problem with the oceans is over-fishing. Where forty years ago a fishing boat would capture maybe a ton of fish, now the giant fishing trawlers are capturing 100 tons of fish in a single catch, and it doesn’t end there.

Not only are we destroying the seas, but also the land on which we grow the crops that feed us. For the last forty years we have increased farming production to the extent where the ground does not have the ability to recover. For this reason we are using chemicals to help make the crops grow, and this is polluting the earth. Not only that, but it gets into our streams and flows into rivers where it ends up in the sea.

Years ago when I was young a farmer would always leave one field without crops for an entire year so that it could recover the minerals that help our crops grow. Now that is all out the window as everyone wants to make more and more profit.

The seas and the ground are important to us, but we are also fouling the air that we breath. From the turn of the century, when there were probably no more than a few hundred thousand vehicles on our roads it has risen to over a billion, and each one is pumping out poisonous gasses that are contaminating our atmosphere. It is well known that the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere are causing problems world-wide. The loss of forests and woods across the world means that nature has totally lost control, and can no longer rectify this problem.

Smog In The Far East

Smog In The Far East

In some Far Eastern cities people have to walk around with a mask to prevent the minute particles from vehicle exhausts getting into their lungs. Western nations have also had their share. The effect this has had on the human population is evident in the increased number of cancer deaths.

Most people will have heard about the disastrous droughts in places like California, parts of Africa and even Europe where there has been no rainfall for many months. This has had a catastrophic effect for farmers, many of whom have gone bankrupt. And yet, more areas are suffering hurricanes in places where this is unheard of in the past, like Britain for example. Our uncaring attitude to the world is causing disasters in places where such things are unheard of. If we continue as we are you can guarantee this will only get worse.

Centuries ago life on this planet was balanced because of the low levels of contamination we pumped into the seas, ground and air. But now with scientific progress all that has changed and we are slowly destroying our planet, and ourselves. If nothing changes within the next few decades mankind will be no more.

Roy.

Is Sir David Attenborough Right? – Are Humans A Plague?

Posted in America, Britain, Children, Environment, Forests, Modern World, Oceans, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 25/01/2013 by floroy1942

I read with some interest the words of Sir David Attenborough, the world famous naturalist who is quoted as saying: “Humans are a plague on the Earth”.  I thought about it and I have to say I agree with him. We are!

Sir David Attenborough - A Much-Loved Naturalist

Sir David Attenborough – A Much-Loved Naturalist

No other species on the planet is so hell-bent on destroying it than us humans. He predicts that humanity’s ravenous appetite will come home to roost in around fifty years, and to be honest, I can find no fault with that. Regular readers of my blog will know my sentiments when it comes to saving the planet and what we are doing wrong.

Spiralling Oil Production

Spiralling Oil Production

It doesn’t take an idiot to realize that we are using up resources at an unsustainable rate, and a rampant population explosion is pushing our world far beyond the limits of it’s capacity to sustain us. Anyone who thinks our world can go on like this is living in ‘cloud cuckoo’ land.

A Starving Child- A Shocking Image

A Starving Child – A Shocking Image

If people think world population growth can be maintained without cost, they are wrong. People who think we can go on pumping oil, and even water, from the ground without the wells eventually running dry is a fool. Anyone who believes we can continue to poison the land and sea with our rubbish without paying a price is crazy. Anyone who thinks we can continue to destroy other species without consequences is an idiot.

Just A Tiny Fraction Of The World's Endangered Species

Just A Tiny Fraction Of The World’s Endangered Species

We humans have become so convinced of our dominance that we think we can do as we please, but the fact is, we are destroying the planet we call home at an ever increasing rate. Faster and faster it goes, and if we ignore it it will end in our own destruction.

It’s sad though that if you say this to the man on the street they laugh and think you are mad. The warnings are all around us, and yet we choose to be blind because it may affect our profits or our life-style! If you say to someone: “Take the bus because there are too many cars on the road and they are poisoning the planet’s atmosphere”, the answer you get may well consist of  two words, one of four letters and the second of three!

Three-car Family

Three-car Family

Scientists the world over have been warning us for a decade or more of what we are doing to our home, and yet no-one wants to listen because they really need the three cars on the driveway, and having multi-bulb lights on in the living room is so much cozier than one or two. We think nothing of tossing away a plastic bag and watching as the wind carries it away; someone, somewhere will pick it up. More often than not they don’t, and it ends up as another piece of garbage contaminating our countryside or oceans.

Just too many cars on the road:

Population Rise By Year

Population Rise By Year

According to the experts, and David Attenborough, our biggest challenge comes from the world population explosion. Naturally this problem is not being exacerbated everywhere, but in countries like India, Africa and many others the population is so huge there is not enough food for all of them. The experts predict this will begin to happen in more countries as they become more developed.

Large Families Will Be The Death Of Us All

As a race we cannot expect to all have five, six or ten children per family, because if everyone believed that it would be ‘standing room only’ for the entire human race. While birthrates have dropped considerably for most western nations, in many developing and third world countries they have gone through the roof and are still climbing day by day. To put it in ‘a nutshell’ our population is growing faster than the world’s capacity to feed us.

On the same theme, global warming is beginning to cost us huge areas that we need to grow food, so we can see that as the population increases, the amount of necessary arable land is decreasing. Oops!

Drought Killed Many Crops In The Mid-West

Drought Killed Many Crops In The Mid-West

The huge changes we have seen in the weather across the globe in 2012 is in my opinion just a taste of what is to come. Huge tracts of land in many countries used to grow crops suffered massive drought, while others had devastating floods that wiped out crops. Temperature changes across the world during the past year, and even now, have been devastating not only for people, but livestock and crops. The only comment I have on these occurrences is: Get used to it!

Within the next twenty to twenty-five years mankind will be faced with the greatest challenge since we first emerged from the swamps, but it will be a monumental task to alter the mindset of people today, for we have become so used to the ‘easy life’ we would hate to see it disappear.

Ocean Oil Rig

Ocean Oil Rig

I can well imagine that a world-wide panic will break out when the oil starts to run out. Already some oil fields across the world have been sucked dry, and it has been necessary to start drilling in the oceans and the Arctic to keep up with the ever-increasing demand. But what happens when they start to run dry? Will we then be forced to look even further afield, like the bottom of the Marianas Trench? We have to face it that at some time in the future it will run out, and as it starts to get scarce many nations will go to war over what is left.

But what of a simple thing like water? Many poor countries in  Africa and further afield rely on water pumped from the ground to keep their people alive, and in some cases, grow crops. This water, trapped underground for perhaps thousands of years is not inexhaustible. Some day the well will run dry, and what then?

African Rain Forest Destruction

African Rain Forest Destruction

Another  bone of contention these days is the ever-increasing destruction of our environment. Rain forests like the Amazon, African Congo, Borneo and Sumatra are being cut down without a thought that they are the lungs of the planet. Much of the climate change we have seen over the past year  can be attributed to the rain forest destruction, and I kid you not!

When Will The Well Run Dry?

When Will The Well Run Dry?

There has to come a point in our future when we are given the final wake-up call. When that happens people’s lives will change drastically. No more two or three cars per family, limits on electricity use, the disappearance of all those electrical gadgets around the home, limits on the number of children you may have, and international travel restrictions. Food and water may well be severely rationed, and to cap it all, your foreign summer holiday may be a thing of the past.

Many people will consider this post nothing more than moaning and complaining, but I believe it is a serious look at the problems mankind is facing, and the more people that bring this subject forward to world attention so much the better. We are without doubt living in the ‘golden age of man’ when you compare it to life in the past. We can travel the world in a few short hours, we have computers and electrical gadgets, personal wealth and unheard of health care, so it will be hard for people to give part of this up.

You Should Worry About Her Future

You Should Worry About Her Future

Most parents worry about their children’s future, but they must realize that it is closely intertwined with the reckless way we live today, and the effect we are having on the Earth. Most parents will recoil in shock if asked the straight question:  ‘Would you like your children to suffer oil wars, starvation and a polluted atmosphere?’ We all want a bright future for our children but we have to realize that we need to change our way of life for that to happen.

At our age it is certain that neither Sir David Attenborough or I will suffer like the generations to come, but I fear for our children and we have no-one to blame but ourselves. In short, unless action is taken and people’s attitude towards Planet Earth is changed drastically, humanity’s  greed will be the death of us – all of us!

Whichever way you look at it, things are going to get a lot worse before they get better unless every man woman and child decides to ‘bite the bullet’ and make the necessary changes to their life-style before it is too late. Good luck with that!

Roy.

A Lesson For Young Smart Asses About ‘Going Green’

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, Europe, Insanity, Modern World, Parenting, Senior Citizen, Teens with tags , , , on 23/11/2012 by floroy1942

Some young people today seem to think they know it all when it comes to saving the planet. Many blame the old folks for not taking greater care of our environment, but just to set them straight here is something I received through the e-mail that should open their eyes, so show it to your kids or send it on to any smart-asses you know.

Being Green

Checking out at the  store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring  her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized  and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk  responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to  save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our  generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned  milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them  back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use  the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the  green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged  our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most  memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as  book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the  books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings.  Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t  do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs,  because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We  walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine  every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We  didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed  the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes  on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and  solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got  hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new  clothing.

But that young lady is  right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one  TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small  screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of  the state of Montana or Province of Ontario . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because  we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.. When we packaged a  fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion  it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an  engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran  on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health  club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we  didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a  fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every  time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of  buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of  throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the  green thing back then.

Back then, people took  the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead  of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical  outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from  satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger  joint.

But isn’t it sad the  current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we  didn’t have the green thing back then?

Roy.

Massive Storms, Flooding, Soaring Temperatures And The Rio Conference

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, Forests, Government, Modern World, United Nations, USA with tags , , , on 02/07/2012 by floroy1942

Over the past few weeks we have seen and heard of huge storms, flooding, landslides, and raging forest fires running out of control across countries from the USA to Great Britain, and India to China, but still the world’s politicians could not agree on concrete action to solve the climate problems at the Rio+20 conference. Doesn’t it make you angry!!!

Homes in Danger

The last five years have seen dramatic shifts in world weather patterns that are causing havoc in many countries across the world, and you would think this will be the spur that politicians need to start talking seriously about changing the way we do things on Earth.

At the moment the human race is living in a house where massive cracks are appearing in all the supporting walls, but no-one considers this important enough to do anything about. At the moment we are trying to save the house by covering the cracks with a fresh coat of paint, but ‘that ain’t gonna do it folks’!

A Drop In The Ocean Compared To What’s Coming!

The Rio conference was the 20th golden opportunity for the world’s leaders to decide on proper measures to at least shore up ‘the house’ until such time as proper maintenance can be carried out. It seems we ask too much!

Considering the amount of times the American people have suffered at the hands of the weather in the last few years, massive tornado’s, hurricanes, drought in the middle west, and the current raging forest fires in Colorado and heat wave on the eastern seaboard, you would imagine the American politicians at least would be scrambling to help solve the worlds weather problems, but no, like most other countries, the USA has been dragging its heels instead of taking a leading role.

Ignoring Global Warming Won’t Make It Go Away

Not one nation has laid out concrete proposals to tackle the catastrophe that is rapidly heading our way, why, because some of the measures necessary will upset the voters, and it costs money. As for the voters, well, they are content with the status quo: “Let the politicians handle it,” or, “none of this is affecting me”.  As ordinary people we sympathize with ‘those poor people’ who have had their homes turned to ashes, or died of hunger caused by drought etc, but let’s face it, we still have a job, a nice home and plenty of money! What we have to ask ourselves is, will it all be here in twenty or fifty years time?

Parents do all they can to protect their children from harm, but do not realize they are leaving them a world that may no longer be able to support them. It is time to start looking further forward in time and recognize that we are dooming our children and their children to a fate that defies description. What a shame no-one has a time machine that can go forward to 2050 or 3000 and see what the world will be like then.

 

Unsustainable!

Talk about ‘looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses’ we just seem unable to comprehend what we are doing with our 21st century living styles. World population is running rampant, we are guzzling the world’s resources at an ever-increasing rate and poisoning our atmosphere to the extent where, perhaps within a few decades, we will all have to wear gas masks just to breathe, but what the hell, “who cares” – “I’ll be dead before that happens”, well I will be, but most of you won’t!

It is time to start limiting the number of children per family and passing laws to enforce one car per family as a start. In fifty or so years that will help the over-population figures and make dramatic cuts in greenhouse gases. Just these two measures will ensure that in the next century there will enough food for all, and maybe, we can get our ozone layer back in shape.

Wastage Just From Traffic Jams

An oft repeated warning I give on this blog is the destruction of the world’s rainforests. All deforestation should end, and instead we should be planting trees in their trillions to stabilize world weather patterns. Not enough people realize that the rain forests are the living lungs of our planet, and the more we chop them down, the greater the effects on the weather until life becomes unsustainable! So what’s to stop us?

In a word – Money! The oil companies do not want to see one car per family because that will mean a massive drop in profits. Industry will never incorporate measures to reduce carbon emissions because that too costs money and will hit their profits. Governments will never enact the one child per family policy because they would never be elected again. It was easy when China did it in 1978 because it is an autocratic communist country, but in the democratic West it would be political suicide.

Money – The Root of World Destruction?

In typical human fashion we will wait until the house is coming down around our ears before we stop and think that maybe, it’s more important than profit and the almighty god – money! As individuals, we are drowning in self-importance and greed! Most will not like to be told that, and some may even be offended, but we must return to the time when people were satisfied with what they had. We, and the world were far better off in those long forgotten days.

Roy.

What’s The Point Of The Rio+20 Environment Conference?

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, Forests, Oceans, Pacific, Plastic Rubbish, UN, United Nations with tags , , , , on 22/06/2012 by floroy1942

Why are so many world leaders gathering in Rio de Janeiro if they knew beforehand that it will accomplish nothing? The run-up to the conference has been splashed across the news for the past week, and any fool who imagined something useful would come out of it will be disappointed. I, like most other people, thought it a waste of time and that nothing would be achieved. We are not wrong!

Jaw Flapping and Empty Promises

When leaders get together in this fashion to discuss something as important as the future of mankind on this planet of ours, all we get is jaw flapping and empty promises.  The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNep) has a team of very gifted scientists who warned prior to the conference that humanity may be heading for a ‘tipping point’ which will become ‘irreversible’. That is to say, we are currently doing so much damage to our environment and the planet’s biodiversity, that we will soon reach a point where the damage cannot be undone.

Despite all the empty promises made by governments during the last twenty years of the conference, improvements have been made on only four issues like green house gases and the ozone layer, while the rest, which include the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, preservation measures for the world’s oceans and seas, safeguarding the world-wide fresh water supplies and over-population are still awaiting any concrete proposals after twenty years.

Brazilian President

It is without doubt ironic that this years conference is being held in Rio, situated in a country that is doing more than any other to contribute to the devastating storms, floods and drought being experienced in the western hemisphere by decimating the Brazilian rain forest.  

The Amazon, the largest rain forest on the planet, is steadily being burnt and hacked away, and at the current rate will be a shadow of its former self in just a decade or two. The world’s oceans are rapidly becoming a cesspool of discarded plastic and rubbish, and the fish stocks are being decimated without being given time to recover. Fairly soon water shortages in many countries will become so acute, as to cause mass migration to areas more capable of sustaining human life. This in itself will cause major upheaval across the world.

Another problem such conferences fail to discuss is the steadily climbing over-population in the world. China is the only country that has imposed limits on how many children a married couple may have in order to stem the booming population growth, and that was enacted in 1978.

Population Growth

India is another nation with an unsustainable population growth, but is doing nothing to address the problem. Within a couple of decades we will surely see many other countries enforcing a similar rule to that of China, for population growth is expanding like a runaway train, and pretty soon the Earth will simply not be able to sustain that level of life.

Biodiversity is also being hit hard, and soon we will begin to see the effects of our carelessness as more and more species of plants, insects and animals disappear for ever. 

But can we expect governments to address these problems comprehensively, not on your life! As an example let me use the oil producing countries and the oil industry. They refuse to even hear about removing the subsidies on fossil fuels – why? Because the former will sell less oil and the latter will make less profit!

The World’s Plastic Islands

Knowing full well about the country-sized gyres that have become floating islands of discarded plastic in all our oceans, does any government look to ban a simple thing like the plastic bag – No? Why? – Because it is being blocked by the plastic industry.

The Brazilian government has the power to stop illegal loggers and farmers devastating the forest with their activities, but do they do it – no! Why? – Because there’s money in it.

Biodiversity Loss

Why don’t the fishing nations crack down on illegal fishing and declare far more areas of our oceans protected in order to allow the fish stocks to recover? Why are the Japanese still allowed to ignore the ban on hunting whales with the laughable excuse that ‘its for research’?

We all need to put some serious thought into these problems and force governments to take positive action to save the planet, for if the scientists are correct, we have a very small window of opportunity to act before its too late.

Roy. 

Giant Balloon to Combat Climate Change?

Posted in Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Germany, Health, Modern World, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , on 15/09/2011 by floroy1942

I was amazed to read a report on a project called, the “Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering” or SPICE for short, that has scientists going ga ga at the moment (No! I do not mean the attention seeking pop singer).

How It Would Be Done

It would seem their plan is to introduce a helium-filled balloon into the atmosphere, and release particles that would reflect sunlight away from Earth, and thereby reduce global warming. The current feasibility test involves releasing a balloon that will reach a height of 1km with a hose attached. Through this hose, water will be pumped at a rate of 100 litres an hour to test the possibility of doing this at an altitude of 20km, though how they expect to vertically pump anything 20kms remains a mystery. I just hope the team members remember to bring umbrellas with them.

Mount Pinatubo 1991

The test is based on data gathered during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Phillipines in 1991. As a result of this event, five cubic kilometres of volcanic ash and gas were released into the atmosphere which passed around the globe. The particles in the ash cloud reflected sunlight away from Earth causing a drop of some 0.5C degrees in global temperature for a short while. It is this phenomenon that the scientists wish to recreate.

The project is years away from fruition, if it ever gets off the ground, but some people are already worried by this experiment.

Our Precious Atmosphere

I have always believed that we ‘reap what we sow’, and to mess with nature to this extent could be disastrous. For many years, really since the dawn of the industrial age, we have meddled with our world, pumping ever increasing amounts of deadly cocktails into the atmosphere, caring little for the consequences. Part of the result that we are seeing now is the disastrous changes in world weather patterns. Such events as Hurricane Katrina, the tsunami in Japan, drought in Africa, and the major flooding in Pakistan along with vast areas of the Far East, will most probably become a regular event. All of which are a direct result of our uncaring attitude towards the planet we call home.

There have been many hair-brained schemes cooked up to combat the change in global temperatures, and I think this is one of them. Our only real chance of ‘getting things back to normal’, is to sort out ourselves, and more particularly our ‘life goals’ on this planet. Do we wish for all life on our world to be extinguished at some future date? Do we, the current generation even care? Do we really wish to pass on to our children a battle they cannot possibly win, or are we as a race, prepared to make the necessary sacrifices in our lifetime, to save our world for future generations. 

Oh Dear! That does sound dramatic, but let me put just one scenario to you.

A Lot Less Cars?

What if every family in the world were to reduce the number cars they had to just one, as it used to be? How many families in your street have two or more cars? As a ‘guesstimate’ on my part, maybe it could cut the number of vehicles on the world’s roads by half, if not more!!!  This one sacrifice would cut global warming by one helluva lot! The amount of Co2 being pumped into the atmosphere could be cut by trillions of tons!!!

Of course, it would mean major sacrifice for many people, and the car manufacturer’s would not be happy. In 2006 manufacturers produced 49,886,549 passenger cars. In 2009, even considering the economic slowdown, a total of 51,971,328 were produced in the US, Western Europe and Japan. When you add to that all the vehicles that already clog our roads, it adds up to a massive amount of Co2 being pumped into the atmosphere.

Industrial Emissions

Coupled with the savings in Co2, would come increased health, because we would not be poisoning the air we breathe in towns and cities across the world. Sure, there are other ways of  reducing carbon emissions, like industry, power generation and aircraft, and these areas must also not be forgotten. 

All these things combined could save our planet without having to mess with Mother Nature. For we can be sure, no matter what we do, like seeding the atmosphere, she will have the last word

Roy. 

Death Knell For Plastic Bags?

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Government, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Pacific, Parliament, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Spain, Toxic Waste, UK, UN, United Nations, USA with tags , , , on 31/12/2010 by floroy1942

Ever since the common plastic shopping bag was first introduced en masse by high street stores and supermarkets in the mid-1970’s, it has taken a firm grip on our lives and environment.

The 'Essential' Plastic Shopping Bag

Now, the Italian government has announced an outright ban on these everyday items from tomorrow, January 1st, and although it is the first European country to do so, it is not the first world-wide. Eritrea, Rwanda and Somalia banned them as far back as 2005, followed by Tanzania a year later. Strange that it should be African nations that first took positive action against this danger to our environment!

Bag Production - A Major Industry

It is not until you get into numbers that the impact of these shopping aids becomes apparent. The Italian people for example use a staggering 20 billion bags a year, which is about 300 per person. Across Europe the estimate is 100 billion! In 2008, when China introduced a levy for plastic bags, they were using 3 billion a day!

While many countries have over the years introduced a surcharge on plastic shopping bags in an effort to cut consumption, it has been of little use in curbing our habits. There seems little doubt that only an outright ban such as in Italy will work, and it is up to other countries to follow suit. Italian shoppers will now have to use bio-degradable, cloth or paper bags.

Plastic In The City Of Naples

Some of the more developed nations have introduced recycling as the answer to the plastic menace, and although some relief has been seen in the number of plastic bags in city dumps, it has had minimal effect overall. When you consider it, we even add to the mountain by putting all our rubbish in plastic sacks anyway!

There is little doubt that even the very disposal of plastic bags costs a huge amount of energy. According to the Italian environmental organization Legambiente, the ban on bags will reduce the CO2 emissions for Italy by 180,000 tonnes a year.

The Plastic Raw Material

Plastic, as we all know is a by-product of oil, and in 2007 it was estimated that from the world’s oil production of around 84,5 million barrels a year, some 4% goes into the production of all types of plastic. While this may seem an insignificant amount, it should not be forgotten that another 4% is used in the energy required to produce the final product.

Oil, like many other sources of power, will run out eventually as the planets reserves are used up. At the current state of man’s development, life as we know it would cease entirely without oil and its by-products.

As you read this, take just a second and think about all the devices in your home that have plastic parts and would cease to function without it. Once having established that, spread your mind wider and look outside your immediate environment at all the things in your town or city that cannot work without plastic.

 

Also The Cost Of Plastic Production

We as a race, would be thrown back to the time of the horse and our own two feet, to say nothing of candles for light and open fire for heat. It’s scary to say the least

 

A Plastic Bags Best Friend - The Supermarket

When shopping, my wife and I always end up with at least five or six bags from the local supermarket, even though we always ask the cashier to pack the items into as few bags as possible. Like many supermarkets, they are on special hooks that allow the cashier to operate as quickly as possible, and it is very common for them to exit the system containing only one or two items.

 

Maybe Not Quite As Strong - But Otherwise.....

Prior to the introduction of the plastic shopping bag, people used paper carrier bags which by their very nature were biodegradable. Now, we poison the earth and oceans with an item that does not degrade, and becomes toxic. Discarded plastic will be with us for centuries, and there is not much we can do about it.

Today we seem incapable of living without this lowly item, but as the discovery of the Pacific Plastic Island clearly shows, we must change our habits. The size of a large country, it is reservedly estimated to contain 100 million tons of floating plastic. I refer you to one of my previous blogs on the subject.

(You will need to cut and paste the link into your browser)

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/

welcome-to-plastic-island/

 

When We And Our Children Are Dead, It Will Still Be Here!

While doing research for this article I came across an interesting video that describes the life of a plastic shopping bag. It was made by Ramin Bahrami and although somewhat romanticised, gives some insight into the life of a shopping bag made of plastic.

http://futurestates.tv/episodes/plastic-bag

With the exception of a few countries where a proportion is recycled, they all end up in rubbish tips, and sadly, in the oceans of the world. Perhaps it is time for this environmental problem to be handled by the United Nations, who could if they can agree, do something positive for our planet by introducing a world-wide ban on these items.

 

Guaranteed Not Part Of A Six-Pack

Before I finish let me highlight the tragic effects of our plastic rubbish is having on the animal population of our planet.

 

Nice Scarf? Not Really. Just Another Creature Suffering.

There is evidence enough of the cruel way in which many birds and animals die trapped in our plastic garbage. If we saw it with our own eyes we would call it sadistic, but never think about what can happen each time we throw away a plastic bag or six pack holder. So far as the latter is concerned, I always snip open each circle with the scissors before discarding it.

The cost to the environment is incalculable, but future generations will have to deal with our excesses of today.

Roy.

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