A round-up of this week’s environmental, green and ecofriendly news and updates.
If you read Eco Matters regularly, you’ll know that about 90% of all seabirds have eaten plastic. Small creatures attach themselves to bits of plastic, making them look like food. Fish and marine mammals eat plastic too. It’s toxic and it often kills them (and if it doesn’t kill them, we do (by fishing) – and then we eat those fish!
It’s a huge problem. And a lot of the plastic eaten by wildlife is those rings that hold cans of beer or sodas together. (Like this turtle (right) who got a plastic ring around her when she was young and the rest of her grew). But one company has come up with a great solution!
Saltwater Brewery in Florida has created a six-pack ring that FEEDS animals instead of killing them. They take barley and wheat left-overs from the brewing process and turned them into an edible, compostable, biodegradable product that holds together a six-pack but doesn’t harm birds or sea life if it ends up in the ocean. It’s also strong enough to handle the weight of a six-pack. (You can see a short video here).
So, look out for this great beer and support it. And encourage other breweries to also stop their nasty plastic rings – Saltwater Brewery has shown how easy it is to solve the problem – they deserve our support!
I’ve had several questions from my readers recently about factory farms.
Most people know they’re terrible from a food quality and an animal cruelty point of view.
But how can you avoid eating food from factory farms? (And how would you even know?). Find out here.
My Recommendation of the Week is all about Valentine’s Day.
Sometimes I think the world has gone mad! Valentine’s Day used to be a lovely concept – but now it’s been overtaken by mass commercialism.
I know many people who no longer do anything for Valentine’s. If however, you want to give a gift or do something special for a loved one, here are some green and ecofriendly suggestions:
- Consider experience gifts (e.g. a spa or hotel voucher). These resources are shared by many people so their carbon footprint is lower.
- I don’t know about you, but I find that going out to dinner on Valentine’s is a real waste of money. Overpriced food, restaurants that are full to bursting, waiters who would rather be with their loved ones….. A home-cooked meal with lots of eco candles shows that you care more than paying for an expensive but soul-less dinner.
- Fresh-cut flowers are not normally green and ecofriendly – although this depends on where you live. If you can buy local flowers that are not forced, then that’s great! Instead, consider picking branches of beautiful leaves, perhaps in different shapes and colours. Then put them in containers all over the room where you will eat! They can smell wonderful, and you could add pine cones and interesting seed pods. Some spring flowers may also be blooming, depending upon where you live. To me, picking flowers and leaves yourself says “I care” far more than shop-bought items.
- Chocolates or candy is often over-priced at this time of year. If you want to buy some, make sure it is not over-packaged, and chocolate should be Fair Trade and preferably organic.
- If you want to buy jewellery for Valentines, make sure it’s ethically-sourced (especially diamonds). As a general rule, it’s better to buy one really good piece, than several less-good items, due to the resources involved. At the very least, make sure jewellery is Fair Trade. Or even better, give a gift that is an heirloom – something you inherited. It’s recycled and it’s got history – that makes it very special!
Are you feeling the cold this Winter?
The weather has been pretty rough in many parts of the world.
So, here are some cool ideas for staying warm!
Don’t be cold this winter!
Lots of people smoke, and although most people know about the health issues, there an an aspect of smoking that causing bigger problems than we realize. Apart from the obvious litter issue, cigarette butts often get washed by rain into waterways. It takes just one cigarette to contaminate one gallon of water. So, if you smoke, please dispose of cigarette butts properly, and if you see them as litter, please pick them up.
Global Green News:
Chile now has massive new National Parks which are permanently protected. It’s been a long process for the owners of North Face and Esprit clothing companies. Initially their efforts were viewed with suspicion (it was feared it was an American land grab), but the initiative is very positive for the environment and is providing lots of local jobs.
US Green News:
Do you remember Christa McAuliffe, the American astronaut (First Teacher in Space) who was killed in Challenger when it exploded after take-off in 1896. Now, NASA is planning to give some of her original lessons that she planned to give from space, by current astronauts from the International Space Station. I think that’s a great legacy!
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Please spread the Green word and share this info.
And if you’re on Twitter, get a daily green tip by following me – @EcoExpert1 . See you there!