Plastic bags + animals = heartbreak

Some of the first things everyone says to do in a “mission to go green” is to switch to CFLs, or eat organic, or switch all of your products to eco-friendly formulas, or buy a reusable water bottle. To these things I say: yes, yes, yes and yes.

But I STILL cannot get over how many of us haven’t switched to reusable bagsI… hate… plastic… bags. And when it’s obvious that you can buy a reusable bag just about anywhere (for 99 cents, I might add), I wonder why so many of us hesitate to use them.

I ran across some images that, although they show only a portion of the problem, to me this problem is heartbreaking.

Some you may have seen before, some may be new. But I think they speak for themselves…

plastic bag & sea turtle

plastic bag & bird

plastic & sea turtle

ottr w bag

(Sea otter mother & baby photo by photographer, Terry McCormac)

dolph w bg

(The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, Brazil is considered a wildlife sanctuary but today, even in this isolated archipelago, dolphins are victims of the bad habits of consumption. Photo and caption by João Vianna)

If you don’t already use them (and after seeing these images), would you please consider buying (and using) some reusable bags instead?

Global warming: why “one degree” matters…

Global WarmingThere are so many naysayers when it comes to global warming.  I happen NOT to be one of them, obviously (although I did get quite a laugh when my local news weather forecaster made this little snafu!).

In all reality though, it’s sometimes hard to imagine how one simple degree matters.  Can it really change our world?  Can it really change the composition of something and create a calculable alteration? Can it really make a difference?

The next time you wonder, consider this:

At 32° F a popsicle stays solid enough to take a bite; at 33° degrees it melts and falls off the stick.grn pops

This is the perfect example to share with our children.  It certainly put it into perspective for me and the example left me wide-eyed and wondering.

Besides all of the most familiar effects of global warming (melting polar ice caps, weather extremes, changes in species and geography, and even our health) someone also compiled a rather extraordinary list of 600 ways global warming is changing our planet.

But the next time someone you know questions global warming, invite them over for a popsicle… serve it at 33 degrees and tell them you didn’t think it would matter.

My thoughts on the Gulf oil spill… (heartbreak and fury)…

oil slckOver the past 39 days I’ve been asked (countless times) my thoughts about the Deepwater/Gulf Oil disaster… I find the situation both infuriating and heartbreaking.  This has become a full-scale environmental disaster and sadly, it is all man-made.

It is now believed that 12,000 barrels of oil are streaming into the Gulf on a daily basis.  There are 100 miles of beaches, marshes, wetlands and barrier islands now being destroyed along the Louisiana coastline and what took nature thousands of years to create is taking no time for man to destroy.  The harm created to the environment and wildlife is staggering and sadly, no amount of clean-up will allow nature to repair itself in our lifetime, or potentially even within our children’s. This is what I find heart-breaking.

What I find infuriating is that in the hour before the explosion, there were three indicators that a failure could actually occur.  All warnings were ignored and resulted in the loss of eleven lives and now the environmental devastation we are hearing about daily.oil brd

Even if the oil were stopped today, let’s remember that it took a month for the oil to reach the shore so there is now at least another month’s worth of oil still on its way to make landfall….the destruction will continue to spread.

I could get extremely political with who’s at fault and who should be fixing the problem but it seems to me… umm, BP?… you BUILT it, you KNOW how it works… fix it, stop it… NOW! A private corporation created it, not our government, and only they would have the intense understanding and technology of deep sea drilling.  Am I crazy to believe this?  And now I understand that after creating such a disaster, BP may only be liable for a cap of 75 million dollars of the cost to repair the damage and clean up this mess.  But the damage will never truly be repaired. Sickening.

Gulf Oil SpillI, for one, will never patronize a BP for any reason. I understand that all U.S. BPs are franchised and some may say that this will only hurt the business owner but, regardless, they are still supported by BP and I will not give them my money.  There are too many other choices and I will allow myself to run out of gas and walk before I stop at one of their gas stations or stores (my husband already boycotted them recently for charging $1 for air!).

But no matter how large a boycott would become it would be matter of principal alone, because BP is too large and powerful and cannot be destroyed… I only wish I could say the same for our environment.

(*View The Washington Post’s presentation of photos of the environmental disaster and destruction of wildlife)