Newsflash! It’s not all doom and gloom
How’s your week been? I’m a bit disturbed. Famous scientist Stephen Hawking says the Earth will be a ball of fire in 100 years and we won’t be able to live on it any more. Is that true?
(The) Plastic (Disaster): Positive 8, negative 0, neutral 0
The media’s full of it. Twitter’s full of it. Facebook is full of it. Everyone knows by now we’re drowning in plastic.
Yet I managed to find eight positive news stories about plastic this past week, and no totally negative ones. In my part of the world (which is Brighton, England, Europe and parts of the Internet) just about everyone has heard about the plastic issue. Well Earth, after about 100 years of producing materials that don’t decompose in any sane sense of the word, we’ve suddenly discovered you are bursting at the seams with the stuff and the even the fish are starting to eat it. Who’d have thought it?
On the plus side lots of people are suddenly banning various types of plastic.
Like Auntie Beeb:
<<By the end of this year, both plastic cutlery and cups will have been scrapped across all of the BBC’s offices. Two million plastic cups are currently being used by visitors and staff each year on BBC sites.>> (link: Huffington Post)
and all of Taiwan:
<<Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency, in cooperation with a number of environmental organizations, proposed an ambitious 12-year timeline Tuesday to eliminate four types of single-use plastics—takeaway beverage cups, drinking straws, shopping bags and disposable tableware—by 2030 to tackle plastic pollution.>> (link: ecowatch)
The Church of England:
<<The Church of England is urging Christians give up single-use plastics for Lent in order to “help care for God’s creation”>> (link: Businessgreen)
and giant supermarket Asda:
<<Asda has joined a wave of other supermarkets in committing to cut plastic waste. The pledge follows a “series of measures”, including plans to scrap 5p carrier bags in all stores. The supermarket will also ditch the use of plastic straws in its cafes. >> (link: Good Shopping Guide)
and even HM The Queen of England, Planet. Is anyone NOT banning plastic?
This has to be good news.
<<Plastic straws to be banned at Royal residences, with internal caterers soon only allowed to use China plates, glasses, recyclable paper cups and compostable or biodegradable packaging>> (link: Businessgreen)
I’m giving these people 9 out of 10 for trying. I know we were crazy to put the plastic there in the first place and it’s taken about 100 years to do anything about it. Now some of your biggest rivers are looking more like garbage dumps.
But at least we’re doing something about it now.
Two more interesting plastic stories:
Progress on Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup Project:
<<The Ocean Cleanup Project seeks to dismantle the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, guided by an ambitious design concept and the development of new technology to tackle the pollution threat. First conceived in 2013 by aerospace engineering student Boyan Slat, the Ocean Cleanup Project has recently announced the location of its home base, a former naval station in San Francisco Bay. From here, the Ocean Cleanup Project will manufacture, then launch, the first of its giant trash-collecting booms. With any luck, the inaugural trash-busting voyage will set sail in mid-2018.>> (link: Inhabitat)
Water: Positive 1, negative 1, neutral 0
It’s not such great news with your waterways, Earth. But I still managed to find one very hopeful story among the more alarming ones about severe water shortages in various places:
A filter to made Sydney Harbour drinkable (good):
<<Imagine if you could create clean water from any source – no matter how dirty – in just one step. Australian scientists have managed to do just that with a new filter made from soybean-based graphene film. It’s so effective that it can make even the filthiest water drinkable – and it’s simpler, cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than other methods out there.>> (link: Inhabitat)
Water crisis in South Africa (bad):
<<Cape Town, South Africa is rapidly approaching what has been called “Day Zero,” the moment when the diverse metropolitan area of nearly 4 million people runs out of clean drinking water. While Cape Town has taken drastic measures to conserve water, it is simply not enough to avoid the imminent crisis. >> (link: Inhabitat)
Trees: Positive 1, negative 0, neutral 0
Well, anyway. Here’s a really positive story about China getting soldiers to plant a massive forest – I mean MASSIVE!
<<Earlier this year, the Chinese government announced plans for a major reforestation project—growing 6.66 million hectares of new forests this year, an area roughly the size of Ireland.
To achieve this goal, China has reassigned more than 60,000 soldiers to plant the trees. >> (link: ecowatch)
Hope these are real soldiers, not those terracotta ones.
More good news (1)
Just to finish off, one good news story. A shopping mall that deals in repaired and recycled goods:
<<Residents of the small Swedish town of Eskilstuna don’t have to go far to get their shopping fix – or to help save the planet. Whether they’re looking for a TV, furniture, fashion, sports equipment or houseplants, they will find them all at ReTuna, Sweden’s – and probably the world’s – first shopping centre dedicated to refurbished and recycled goods. Everything sold has either been recycled or reused, or organically or sustainably produced.>> (link: Positive News)