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)

See “The Cove”… and take part…

My love of dolphins has been lifelong. I don’t remember when it started, but I know it has never ended.

I do remember visiting Sea World and coming home with a dolphin mobile that hung over my bed from the time I was 5 until I headed off to college.  There is something dreamy, graceful and mesmerizing about these animals and their extreme intelligence is without question.

So when I heard about the documentary “The Cove” I was caught between that feeling of “I must see this” and “oh, I don’t want to see this…”  Well, I watched it… and it is absolutely haunting.

Richard O’Barry, Louie Psihoyos and their team uncover the killing of these beautiful and intelligent animals in a closely guarded and shielded cove in Taiji, Japan.  Each day, they are driven into the cove where the most visually-appealing dolphins are selected and sold to marine and aquatic parks, and the others are brutally and inhumanely slaughtered for their meat (meat that is passed off as expensive whale meat and sold for a premium price, and because of dolphins’ place in the food chain, contains extraordinary levels of mercury).  Take a look…

There are so many points of this story that just sicken me.  From the capture of these animals to turn them into “entertainers”, to the inhuman killings, to feeding unknowing consumers and school children(!) toxic food… it’s despicable.

As pointed out by the film, the 70’s had a massive movement to “Save the Whales”… now is the time to “Save the Dolphins”



Please take time to see this documentary.

And if you’re like me and you want to do something, please go to TakePart… and help us make a change and stop the killing…

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: words from its “founder”…

Through all 292 posts from Mom Goes Green my most popular post (by far!) discussed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch… the sickening, swirling area of approximately seven million tons of plastic debris and waste floating in the Pacific Ocean that is roughly twice the size of Texas (and some say, twice the size of the entire U.S.).  Some even believe it is worse than we originally expected.

It troubles me to no end.  Recently Charles Moore, the unfortunate “founder” of this garbage patch, was a guest on David Letterman.  While this isn’t the most scientific forum I can think of, if it gets the message out to millions of viewers, well, that works for me!  Take a look at the interview, including Part II.

He also shares some of his heartbreaking discoveries in this presentationhow can we turn a blind eye to this undeniable destruction?

So what do we do about all of this? We need, I repeat, NEED to decrease our dependence on plastics. While we can’t un-do the damage that has been done, we can help slow the ongoing contribution of this disgusting, harmful garbage that is polluting our oceans, waterways, wildlife, fish and, ultimately… US!

Recently our family also visited a beach on Lake Erie.  While the kids were playing on the beach and I looked for sea glass (okay… in this case, LAKE glass) I was also heartbroken to find more plastics than anything else washed ashore.  Sadly, what I encountered was bottles, bottle caps, lighters, pens, tampon applicators, plastic bags, combs, brushes, and plastic toys… this isn’t a narrative on Cleveland, this is an example of human neglect for our planet… everyday, everywhere.

Please, think about what you are buying. Think about where it goes when it is discarded.  Think about the irreversible damage that is created.  We can do better… a lot better.

Using palm oil = harm and destruction (here’s why…)

palm plnttnUntil recently I had never really heard much about palm oil… but as soon as I did, everything changed.

More and more, palm oil is commonly being used as an ingredient in everyday products including margarine, shortening, baked foods, cookies, candies and even soaps, candles and personal care products. Its main purpose, aside from its “binding properties”, is to replace trans fat that we’re all trying to avoid, however, there is also a great sacrifice being made through the acceptance of palm oil as our alternative to such things as hydrogenated oil…

… The sacrifice is vast amounts of rainforests and the animals that make the rainforest their home. These forests are being cleared at alarming rates to make way for palm plantations and to keep up with the demand for the product. Malaysia and Indonesia account for 83% of the production and 89% of the export of palm oil.  Within these countries the threat is enormous for endangered species including orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinoceroses.  The threat is the greatest for the orangutans, as they live ONLY in these areas that are being cleared to make way for the palm oil plantations.  As you can imagine, the occurrence of hunting and poaching these poor animals has dramatically increased as well, and it is estimated that 50 orangutan are being killed each week.  At this rate, their existence is limited… and I find that absolutely heartbreaking and unnecessary.orang tans

It’s also important to realize that when this deforestation occurs and the rainforests are burned, they release decades of stored carbon back into the atmosphere, contributing to the tragedy of global warming.

Also keep in mind that, though the health effects of palm oil may be a BIT less with palm oil as a substitute, it is NOT a heart-healthy food or adequate hydrogenated oil substitute, like olive, soy or canola oils.  It is only a smoke-screen used by manufacturers because it is a cheap substitute and keeps the words “trans fat” off of the content label.

Sadly, the demand for palm oil is expected to double in the next 10 years… IF we continue to support the products that are using this oil as a “new” substitute.  This is NOT an option.

When you are shopping, DO NOT PURCHASE products containing palm oil.  By NOT buying, and selecting products without palm oil, it speaks loud and clear.  It means you will not support this product and the harm and destruction it is creating!

(* Note: the image above shows a palm oil plantation as it butts up to a rainforest that has been cleared for this crop.)

Green gift guide II: gifts that give back!

christmas globeTick, tick, tick… yes, the countdown clock to Christmas seems to be moving at warp speed!

I’ve given my list of favorite green gifts for when you want to give something tangible.  But there is certainly another way to go…  for gifts that don’t clutter up a home or sit unused in a drawer or closet.  These are the gifts that give to a worthwhile cause:  wildlife, nature or the environment.  They certainly need the “gifts” more than we do!

So, here are some ideas for when you want to give a meaningful gift that really counts:

  • Adopt an Acre of Rainforest and other of earth’s wonders (The Nature Conservancy) – for preservatiglobal warming bearon and restoration of some of the world’s most amazing places
  • Adopt an Endangered Species (WWF) – to protect endangered animals and their habitats
  • Adopt an Animal (National Wildlife Federation) – to protect additional animals and their habitats
  • Rescue the Reef (The Nature Conservancy) – for preserving an undeniably crucial part of our world’s oceans
  • Plant a Billion Trees Campaign (The Nature Conservancy) – for protecting and preserving Earth’s largest and most endangered tropical rainforests in Brazil
  • Give-a-Tree (Arbor Day Foundation)– plants a tree in one of America’s National Forests in honor of a recipient
  • Change the Present – you can contribute and honor someone by helping to restore a fragile ecosystem in Kenya, purchase carbon offsets, plant trees, preserve wildlands, adopt wildlife or any one of about 1600 causes of your choice!

If you want to give a gift that supports a worthwhile cause but still gives to the recipient too, consider:coral_reef

  • A zoo or aquarium membership – there are 218 AZA accredited zoos and aquariums in the US and all are dedicated to excellence in animal care and welfare, conservation, education, and research that collectively inspire respect for animals and nature (but please, no circus tickets!).
  • A botanical garden, arboretum or nature center membership – again, they dedicate themselves to the conservation and preservation of nature and the environment, and help us understand the delicate and important connection between people and nature.

And finally, one of our favorite gifts last year:

  • Kiva – Through their gift certificate program you can “loan” your gifted money to a “working poor” recipient of Kivayour choosing.  (We selected a man in Tajikistan who desperately needed money to buy seeds for farming and help support his family.)  Once they are able to repay the loan, you are given back your donated money to grant to another needy recipient… and this wonderful cycle starts all over again!

These should be the choices for the person on your list who has everything… on second thought, these choices should work for anyone and everyone… it is truly better to give than to receive!