A Decade of Eco Victories

As the end of a decade strolls on in, I decided to take a break from all of the negativity. Yes, there are a million and one wrong ways in which we both knowingly and ignorantly harm the environment but I wanted pause for a moment and reflect with all of you some of the progress that has been made in the last decade. Here are my Ten for the 10’s.

Number One: Green Fuel

Accelerating clean energy needs to be a higher priority. The world moves so fast, and now that everyone is used to the way things are, its hard to just take it away. Heliogen is a new clean energy company working on eliminating the need for fossil fuels.

The sun’s power reaches to every corner of the earth, and will soon be available in our gas tanks. Heliogen is harvesting solar energy, heating it to a certain temperature where the matter changes to 100% fossil free gas. As exciting as this discovery is, it’s crucial to convince energy producers to replace their will of old ways for this grand new alternative.  

Two: Food Waste

Food waste contributes to millions of tons of Methane gas leaking into the atmosphere and costing governments trillions of dollars to get rid of. 40% of ALL food produced in the U.S is thrown away each year. In the last decade tons of countries have taken notice and initiated action.

Australia committed action last year to reduce food waste it generates by 50% in the next 10 years. France became the first country in 2016 to ban supermarkets from throwing away outdated/unsold food by instead donating it to food banks, Italy followed in their footsteps, and Seoul in South Korea made households pay recycling costs according to how much food they threw out.

Three: Reviving the Reefs

Marine life survival is essential in stabilizing our ecosystems. Coral takes part in that ecosystem. Coral reefs provide sea habitats, and protect our own coastlines. About 90% of coral reefs are at risk from human activities without progressive climate action taken by 2030! Just one more quick decade away from now. However, one small step in restoring their livelihood is artificial reefs. Artists and scientists combined to create structures that bring back sea life and inspire coral growth. Although these projects began a few years ago, results are flooding in. Made from a marine cement, the revival of life can be seen all throughout the structures as well as allowing natural ones to regenerate and repair. National Geographic posted this video in 2011!! 

Four: Ocean Cleanup

There is a lot of waste to deal with, regardless of who is producing it. There has been tons of initiatives to help the problem 4 Ocean’s battle for cleaner waters took off in 2017. Two Florida surfers came up with this idea in Bali, Indonesia. What began as a beach cleanup, took off to become a widespread organization helping all kinds of life in our seas. Buying their signature bracelet made of recycled materials they find in the ocean, helps clean up 1lb of trash. Their variety of colored bracelets benefit all kinds of marine life ranging from penguins to coral to sea turtles. Aside from bracelets, they offer other kinds of merch as well as host clean-up events! If there is an event near you, you can use this link here from their site to sign up.

Let’s keep our oceans as clean as beautiful as this one: I took this photo in Denmark, in this body of water no gasoline fueled boat is allowed into the water.

Afroz Shah led the largest beach cleanup EVER in 2015 in Mumbai! He is an amazing leader and educator for the environment….Watch the video here to learn about his story. Another awesome recent invention is System 001. Boyan Slat, a Dutch inventor is responsible for creating the Great Pacific Garbage patches cleaning machine. This invention captures and interrupts plastic in it’s tracks without causing harm to marine life.  Watch the Youtube video here.

Five: Re-forestation

Norway committed to banning deforestation in their country this year as well as giving funding to countries like Brazil to stop/halt their deforestation processes. Forests are stunningly beautiful, their part of the lungs for the planet. More than half of the worlds land-based creatures survive in forests. The loss of forests accounts for around 10%

Ant Forest in China has taken a new approach to reducing peoples carbon footprint. The United Nations champions of the Earth award winner for 2019 is turning good deeds into trees. They encourage people to record their carbon footprint through things like transportation, or energy bills which accumulate into points. A certain amount of points gets a tree planted. They have planted over 100 million trees so far!

Six: The Battle Against Plastic Bags

Philadelphia is the 6th most populated city in America, millions of people bustling about. Just a few short days ago lawmakers FINALLY passed a bill preventing retail stores from providing single-use plastic bags! As long overdue as it is, it makes my heart so happy to hear that people are waking up to our plastic problem.

As of 2019, 127 countries now regulate their plastic bag usage by not offering it, or charging a fee for using one. There are an established 195 countries in total, so thats a little over 65% of countries implementing some sort of change. Not to say that more change isn’t needed, it is immediately but steps are being taken. All around the world people are reducing their plastic bag usage by opting for a reusable bag instead of the paper/plastic one offered by retailers in stores.

Bottom line is— BYOB Bring your own bag 

Seven: Saving the Bees

Barry Benson is not done just yet! Bees are crucial to the survival of our planet. They pollinate our crops for food. It’s estimated around 1/3 of crops and 90% of livestock diet, or the food that feeds the food, is bee pollinated. Scientists in Finland have been working on a vaccine that protects these little guys from diseases killing them off.

Eight: Recycling Initiatives

Recycling has taken a new wave of giant support. People are opting to make clothing out of recycled plastic bottles. Starbucks among other corporations chooses post-consumer recycled materials to use for their hot drinking cups. In the U.S eco-cycle is working to implement zero waste policies all across the nation. Their site offers a map view of their recycling, composting, and waste sites and goal plans. Germany implemented a return machine in 2018 for plastic bottles/cans. .25 is given back for every item recycled….

Nine: Vodka for the Planet

Alcohol is a process, it doesn’t just appear. Most alcoholic businesses are grown from the ground up…literally. There are grapes for wine, barley and hops for beer, sugarcane for rum, apples for cider, agave for tequila, potatoes for vodka, etc… Growing them requires tons of energy to fuel the international thirst for a buzz. There is harvesting, processing, transportation involved all to sneak inside of a small martini glass in your local bar. No one thinks about the huge environmental impact that alcohol has until now! Air Co. has created vodka from carbon dioxide polluting the air. They extract the carbon, add water, and modern science to separate it into ethanol and oxygen. After harvesting and processing it from the air, instead of the ground they distill their carbon negative 80 proof vodka, making it the most eco-friendly spirit on earth.

Ten : Protests

Activists gathered all around the world this year to protest climate change. In September students internationally participated in a strike from school called Global Week for the Future. Also called Fridays For Future and backed by the name everyones talking about: Greta Thunberg. With about 4500 locations and 150 countries, over 6 million people participated in the strikes collectively making it the largest climate strike ever. Being revolutionary is not defined by where you are in life, whether thats age, job position, salary, or status of any kind in the world. All it takes is action. Everyone has their different ways of taking that action, some make it to physical protests, others, join the conversation on social media and read about it from #hashtags, or contacting Legislators. I am putting my voice out there to share the facts, and try to encourage people into making sustainable choices. One of the best ways to make it known that you care is by contacting your representatives. This link, Here is used to find your local representative. All you have to do is type in your zip-code and if you are interested in sending a personal message I would be happy to help you in creating one! Just fill out the form in my contact page with your specific topic, messages, or concerns, and I’ll help write something out! (CLICK HERE to reach the form).

Many of the stories in my ten amazing POSITIVE contributions made to the environment in the last decade were started by ordinary people that are now doing extraordinary things. Starting here gets you one helluva step closer closer to making a difference, and I want to thank you for reading my posts up until now! So excited to talk about my New Year’s resolutions in my next post!

Stay tuned, and don’t forget to like/share my post

Sources

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/corals/coral07_importance.html https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-04/documents/epa816f04030.pdf https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/report/legal-limits-single-use-plastics-and-microplastics https://www.wwf.org.uk/learn/effects-of/deforestation

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