How many of you are aware of your carbon footprint?
HERE is a handy-dandy calculator for those of you who don’t know but would like to.
How many of you consciously try to make less of an impact on the amount of things you consume and the subsequent amount of trash you generate?
HERE is an easy sheet to fill out to get a general idea. Of course, it takes a bit of work to sort the things you throw out in one day.
Being aware of it is enough to give anyone pause in this day and age. The amount is staggering. Truly. Unfortunately, there is just no getting away from trash. Every person creates some, and those of us fortunate enough to live in non third-world countries (hell-bent on rampant consumerism) produce more of it than others. A LOT more of it. Recycling is great and I encourage anyone and everyone to do what you can! But it’s not enough; there is SO much more that needs to be done!
Do you know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? How about the North Atlantic Garbage Patch? Well, guess what? These aren’t the only ones. There are FIVE of these “islands” between the U.S. and Japan! These are basically gigantic islands of plastic and man-made debris waste that have collected over the years from both land-based and sea-based human pollution. The one in the Pacific alone is estimated as twice the size of Texas with a mass of roughly 100 million tons. Think about that number for a minute: 100 million TONS. And it gets larger every year.
Captain Moore’s Description of the
North Pacific Garbage Patch:
“It was and is a thin plastic soup, a soup lightly seasoned with plastic flakes, bulked out here and there with ‘dumplings’: buoys, net clumps, floats, crates, and other macro debris.”
– A quote from the book,
Plastic Ocean, by Captain Charles Moore
“Remember, plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it only gets broken down into smaller and smaller bits of plastic, and if you’re in the Pacific it all ends up getting pushed into this massive floating garbage pile. ” – Planetgreen.discovery.com
Are you upset yet? Angry? Are you more aware now?
In June, I will be joining with the Ocean Conservancy to do my best to be “trash free” for 30 days. It won’t be easy and I probably won’t succeed 100%. But I’m going to try. I invite all of you to join with me and take the Trash-Free Challenge. 🙂
Here are some things you can start doing NOW to help keep your trash out of the ocean(s). For those of you already doing your part, THANK YOU!!! 😀 I believe in the power of 1+1 into infinity = anything is possible. Together, we can all make a difference. It’s the only planet we’ve got…there is no “Plan”-et B. It starts with you and me.
What Can Be Done?
- Buy in bulk, and bring your own cloth or recycled grocery gags to the store.
- Keep litter, leaves, and debris out of the street gutters and storm drains.
- Stop drinking plastic bottled water! If you live in an area with safe tap water, drink it! Tap water in the United States is much more strictly regulated than bottled water. If you need bottled water, get a reusable bottle that can be refilled
- Reuse whenever possible.
- Choose products which have been packaged in recycled materials.
- Buy local products whenever possible because this reduces the amount of fuel and plastic packaging used to ship materials to you.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Refuse!
From the Ocean Conservancy site:
|Reduce your carbon “finprint.” Our ocean is on the front lines of climate change — absorbing half the carbon dioxide we’ve pumped into the atmosphere. Use mass transit, carpool, and find other ways to reduce your carbon footprint.|
|Take only pictures. Choose vacation spots working to protect endangered sea animals. When snorkeling or diving, take pictures and tell stories but never stand on coral reefs or touch the marine life.|
|Be a green boater. Protect the boating experience along with the ocean. A little spill makes a big difference; be especially careful with oil, gasoline, solvents, and sewage. Bring your trash back to shore. Join Ocean Conservancy’s green boating program Good Mate.|
|Ask for sustainable seafood. Let chefs, wait-staff, and the folks behind your fish counter know that sustainable seafood is important to you.|
|Sign up for Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. Volunteers remove trash from beaches and shorelines, and data collected by these citizen-scientists help inform solutions that keep trash out of our ocean in the first place.|
|Reduce. Since packaging materials account for much of the trash we generate, they provide a good opportunity for reducing waste. Consider items with less, reusable, or recyclable packaging.|
|Reuse. More than 60 percent of the litter collected during the 2009 International Coastal Cleanup consisted of disposable items. Choose reusable shopping bags, coffee mugs, and food containers.|
|Recycle. If you can’t reuse it, recycle it. Check online with your local government to see what you can and can’t give back, and recycle everything possible.|
|Prevent contaminated runoff. No matter where you live, the ocean is downstream. Don’t use chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn. On the driveway, avoid harmful cleaning products, and take proper care of spilled oil.|
|Vote Blue. Urge your elected representatives to support ocean-friendly policies that protect our ocean. Stay informed through e-alerts from Ocean Conservancy and share your passion at facebook.com/oceanconservancy and twitter.com/OurOcean|