My podcast guest this week, Nate Liebenberg, from South Africa reminded me how important our recycling efforts can be. They make an impact on so many lifeforms especially those in the ocean where the effects of our use of throwaway plastics are not so readily visible. So I am reposting the efforts two University of Connecticut students contributed to creating zero plastic waste on a college campus.
Students at the University of Connecticut are making a difference one issue at a time. Over this past year, the PIRG chapter volunteers got plastic bags banned from dining services. It’s all part of UConn PIRG’s zero waste campaign. Can we make a difference by decreasing plastic bag usage? These students, 2 of whom are my podcast guests this week and next, said yes. They researched the issue, offered education, got students and faculty to sign petitions, and basically got the job done. I’m proud of them for their efforts, their enthusiasm, and their willingness to create change, one that promotes sustainability and takes care of the earth for the future.
However, I wondered about the facts around our use of plastic bags today? So, I decided to look into the issue more deeply. It’s simply astounding. And I feel saddened to think we have waited so long to take action over a serious problem that has shown us the error of our ways so graphically. Why are we taking so long to make a difference for us and all species?
Let’s look at the UK: Anna Schavorion who writes in Forbes magazine:
England’s single-plastic bag use before 2015
“The use of plastic bags in England’s supermarkets was out of control in 2014. More than 7.6 billion carrier bags were handed out to customers that year and that figure had been on the rise for the previous four years.
England was the last country in the U.K. to introduce a charge for single-use plastic bags. Wales was the first to do so, in 2011, followed by Northern Ireland in 2013 and Scotland in 2014. All saw plastic bag use decreased by 70-80% year-on-year.”
That translates into a huge decrease in personal usage of plastic bags which means a huge decrease in production. Let’s look at more facts:
- Ireland alone reduced plastic bag consumption by 1 Billion bags between 2001 and 2011 by imposing a bag tax of $.37
- We use 1 trillion plastic bags worldwide, a product that consumes resources, contributions to species deaths, adds to pollution.
- The European Union is beginning to get behind promoting a decrease in plastic bags due to the great harm seen in our oceans and other waterways.
- Plastic bags contribute to malaria in Kenya.
- Camels and other animals such as cows and sheep die from plastic bag ingestion.
- “100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and these are the ones found. Approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic. A plastic bag can kill numerous animals because they take so long to disintegrate.”
- “There are 5 ocean gyres in the world where plastic gathers due to the current circulation. These gyres contain millions of pieces of plastic and our wildlife feed in these grounds.”
- According to National Geographic: 18 billion pounds of plastic waste flows into the ocean every year from coastal regions. That’s the equivalent of five grocery bags of plastic trash sitting on every foot of coastline around the world. And 40% of plastic produced is packaging, used just once and then discarded.
- How does the US rate in recycling plastics? We recycle 9% compared to Europe at 30%. Here in the Us, we throw away 100 billion plastic bags annually. That’s about 307 bags per person.
- If a ton of plastic bottles is recycled, the energy that is saved is the same as the amount of energy used yearly by a two-person household.
What can we do? A lot. Simply stop using plastic bags, straws and be mindful of packaging. Got your bags in the car and forgot to bring them in? I do that too. But, one student reminded me to reverse bag: put all items into your cart, take to your car and bag them there. When I only have one or two items I tell the cashier that “zero waste is coming. No thanks, I don’t need a bag.”
Got any great ideas for zero waste? Let me know. Thanks. Judith
Description: Oceans are mysterious and deep. So many species color these waters that we scarcely see unless one takes to scuba diving. Then the panorama of life unfolds and it’s breathtaking.
I am a certified scuba diver. When one plunges into the depths of any ocean especially near reefs, colors and textures explode. Undulating waters speak of tides and cycles, of mysteries and treasures. However, our oceans are precious. They are taking a beating from dumping our garbage within her waters without thought to the long term consequences. My guest this week, Nate Liebenberg, co-founder of idiveblue.com, is passionate about bringing awareness to the problems we have created with throwaway plastics. They harm so many ocean species. They pollute these precious waters. And ultimately they harm us.
Join us for a deep blue discussion about our oceans and what we can do to be part of the solutions.
Contact information: www.idiveblue.com
email: [email protected]
About My Guest: Nate is an ocean fanatic, who co-founded iDiveblue.com along with his brother Bill in2018. Nate previously worked in financial modeling for a medical group and at a genetics and bioscience company, before deciding to pursue his dream of running his marine
conservation and watersport business full-time in 2019. Although his business is centered around our beautiful oceans, Nate has a postgraduate degree in financial analysis and portfolio management from the University of Cape Town and is in the process of completing his Chartered Financial Analyst Certification. As the Brothers of iDiveblue.com, Nate and Bill are a couple of South Africans who have scuba dived, swum, snorkeled, sailed, skied, surfed, supped, freediving, fished, kayaked, canoed, jet skied, kite surfed, body surfed and boated all around the world. They all hold several marine certifications across these activities including skipper licenses, PADI certifications, and more. They consider themselves waterborne and as such, they’ve made it their mission to help preserve our oceans and waterways. They take this on zealously. As such, iDiveblue.com provides community, work, and resources to t
Transcript: Nate Liebenberg
Description: Ayana Young is deeply concerned about environmental issues, including social justice, ecology, and land-based restoration. She has been the force behind a native species nursery and research center, including the establishment of the 1 Million Redwoods Project, and the film when When Old Growth Ends. Ayana is a podcast host on “For the Wild,” a weekly show featuring thought-leaders at the forefront of an environmental, artistic, scientific, political, and cultural shift.
Join us for discussions about her projects and how nature is teaching her and her team to have patience, slow down, and immerse within the community of plants.
About My Guest: Ayana Young is a podcast and radio personality specializing in intersectional environmental and social justice, deep ecology, and land-based restoration. With an academic background at the intersections of ecology, culture, and spirituality, Young was studying at Columbia when the Occupy Wall Street movement began and amid the burgeoning resistance in Zuccotti Park, she co-created the Environmental Working Group. Since then Ayana has been the force behind a native species nursery and research center, including the establishment of the 1 Million Redwoods Project, which was acclaimed as the most-backed farm project in Kickstarter history, the film When Old Growth Ends, an ode to the complex interweaving of the irreplaceable Tongass National Forest during its last stand as a distinctly wild place in Southeast Alaska and the For The Wild podcast a weekly show featuring thought-leaders at the forefront of an environmental, artistic, scientific, political and cultural shift.
Transcript: Ayana Young
Seeds of Abundance:
Spring is a time of planting, of sowing seeds. As a noun, which is defined as an entity or a concept, for example, we can hold a seed in our hands and marvel at how something so tiny contains the entire structure of its future form and its essence. Whether a species in all its complexity or a food with all its nourishing properties, we marvel at the creative source contained within the seed.
Lao Tzu says: “To see things in the seed that is genius.”
As a verb, we use the word to describe something that causes or stimulates growth or development. We “can seed clouds with solid particles to convert water droplets into ice crystals in an attempt to produce precipitation.” Some plants will seed late in the fall.
Earth Day started as the seed of an idea back in 1970. It was planted at the right time, the soil of our collective need. The watery nature of emotions, whether civil rights, women’s rights, the Vietnam war, environmental pollution, all helped this seed take root and grow. The winds of change were perfect too. Not too strong to uproot it but just right to foster growth.
Together the climate of those early years and a deep need to create awareness that our Earth is valuable was renewed, was born into our consciousness. Earth Day has blossomed so strongly like the “tree of peace” into our national awareness.
It’s the seed though, that inspires me today. Seeds, precious containers of a life force, some tinier than the head of a pin and some like sunflower seeds easy to hold, will be planted in our gardens soon.
“At the ecological level, we know that in a small seed lies the potential for producing thousands and millions of seed. And in each of those seeds lies the potential for thousand and million more such seeds. This is abundance.”
Vandana Shiva is my earth day heroine. She has started seed banks in her country and continues to inspire the world on the value of our seeds. She says her farmers when planting a seed pray: “May this seed be exhaustless.”
A single seed reminds me that the Earth, this place we call home, is abundant. And in sowing a single seed we plant immeasurable possibility and unlimited potential.
( I gave this speech at the UUFSB fellowship, Stony Brook, NY on April 13, 2014)
May you feel the bounty and abundance of our earth not just today but every day. In gratitude, Judith
This article is copyrighted, but you have my permission to share it through any medium as long as it is offered for FREE, it is not altered, and the proper credit line is included. Please contact me if you choose to use this: [email protected]
© 2014 Judith Dreyer. All Rights Reserved.
Description: Gardening for Life: “Chances are, you have never thought of our garden – indeed, of all the space on your property, as a wildlife preserve that represents the last chance we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S. But that is exactly the role our suburban landscapes are now playing and will play even more in the near future.”
Meet Doug Tallamy, who shares his research and extensive knowledge concerning the rapid decline of invaluable species due to our development practices. Can we do something today? Yes. He gives us practical tips for practical sustaining action. Join us for a timely and meaningful discussion.
About My Guest: Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 89 research publications and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect Ecology, and other courses for 36 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug is also a regular columnist for Garden Design magazine. Doug is a Lifetime Honorary Director of Wild Ones and has won the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation, the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, and the 2018 AHS 2018 B.Y. Morrison Communication Award.
Podcast Transcript: Transcript Tallamy.
Description: What is phytoremediation? It’s plant-based solutions to healing toxic spills on our land. Katrina, ‘Kat’ VanDuesen explains how our invaluable plants clean up toxic waste and contamination whether metals, radiation, oils, and other contaminants. Serious health issues, as well as health issues within our soil, water, and air, are well documented from some of these very toxic spills. Ecological environmental applications work. Kat tells us how nature has solutions.
About My Guest: Katrina. VanDeusen is an Environmental Scientist with over 20 years of broad-based professional experience in environmental applications developing multi-media remediation strategies for both public and private sector clients in the New York City metropolitan area. Her technical experience includes Phase I, Phase II Site Investigations, Preliminary Assessments, Ecological Evaluations, Remedial Investigation, Remedial Alternatives Analysis, Environmental Site Assessments, design of bioremediation systems, due diligence, legal support, wetland delineation, hydrology assessments, sensitive habitat multimedia sampling, community and habitat surveys, ecological engineering/restoration for both hazardous and non-hazardous sites. Ms. VanDeusen’s technical writing skills include Preliminary Assessment reports, Remedial Action Workplans and reports, Site Investigation and Remedial Investigation reports, NEPA reports, Phase I and Phase II technical reports, environmental liability assessments, Vapor Intrusion Reports, wetland delineation, and ecological restoration reports.
Transcript: #27 Kat VanDuesen