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In Environment

The battle of good and evil in rainforests

I was inspired to look into the violence that has been happening in rainforests around the world such as in the Amazon in Brazil after I read the story of Sister Dorothy Stang, an American nun who was gunned down by a rancher in 1984 and was left to die in the mud in the middle of the Amazon. Sister Dorothy was a rainforest activist who had dedicated her life to the protection of this majestic forest from deforestation in the name of profit for mining industries, the clearing of trees by ranchers and loggers, to logging companies and for electrical companies generating cheap electricity to a majority of Brazil’s industries subsidized by the government.  The battle between good and evil in these rainforests is a nightmare that began well over 50 years ago and their paradise on earth has been depleted to nearly half of their original existence. Sadly little of these forests will be left by the end of the century.

The Amazon, commonly referred to as “the lungs of the planet” is being destroyed one day at a time.  Every minute close to 50 acres of rainforests around the earth are being ravaged.  Why is this so important?  Because the Amazon’s trees, as well as the ones in other rainforests, help regulate the planet’s whole atmosphere by turning the Carbon Dioxide we humans propel into the air with our planes, trains, cars, buses etc.. and turns it into Oxygen.   Therefore its understandable that these rainforests  have a huge impact on temperature regulation. Governments around the world are spending millions into building facilities to do what nature provides us in the first place and these trees do it for free!

Of course this can be argued in many ways but when you really look at the facts they are quite bewildering. For example, the Brazilian government borrowed lots of money in order to build dams so as to sell cheaper electricity to its industries. Only it has done so in unneeded proportions to the point that these damns have flooded massive parts of the Amazon where tree tops are sticking out of the water rotting away,  leaving foul smells and diseases that did not exist in those regions before. This war between big industries and the indigenous people living on these lands for generations is understandable since these people are not only fighting for what was theirs but also for their inherited way of life. Ever since rich white men have started building roads through the Amazon the situation for the forest and its inhabitants, humans and animals alike,  has degenerated into a critical situation. Villages are being destroyed,  waterways are being polluted and the wildlife is losing its habitat at an alarming rate. Millions of trees are burnt and thousands of different species are killed every year to give room for one single animal:  the cow. Unfortunately the truth is that the meat industry is a very lucrative business the demand for beef rising every year. Wether you are worried about the animals, the birds or the rainforests future, you should be evenly worried for it’s activists that are being gunned down because they are standing up for what is right.

 

Satan surely has his pitch fork planted in these forests! In 2015 there were 185 killings across 186 countries Brazil topping the list with 50 murders followed the Philippines with 33.  Out of these assassinations only 1% make it to court and someone brought to justice. These rainforest activists are victims that didn’t deserve to die in the name of “progress.” Not only are they non-violent, they protest in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King by surrounding themselves around trees in order to raise awareness for their dire situation. Referred to as the Angels of the Rainforests they should  be protected certainly not ignored nor slaughtered . Their entire history and customs should be respected not disintegrated into nothingness. I always thought that standing up for what you believe in a pacific way sign of wisdom?

What can YOU do to help is the main purpose here.  I believe that to make a difference you have to put your money where it matters.  I myself do not support the cattle industry partly because of this situation but also for animal rights. Whatever your reason I find it very difficult to turn my head the other way knowing these facts concerning the violence against environmentalists in rainforests across the world. This situation is extremely complex and hard to fix but there is always hope. There are  organizations that you can help by making a donation such as the Rainforest Alliance which was established in 1986 and has never given up the fight. Great people die for their convictions while others prefer to ignore the truth. Don’t be a wuss. The Rainforests and their inhabitants are in dire need of your love. Let’s not support the destruction of the planet’s lungs… instead we can support industries that emit a lower carbon footprint and we can surely eat a lot less meat!

In Environment

Why we need more people like Buddy Boyd

I am more than honoured to have had the opportunity to interview Buddy Boyd. I wanted to share with you the complete story of this man whom I see as a visionary. Through his life, Buddy never lost hope in his mission to protect the environment. As we face a time in our history where our deepest values and our sense of kindness towards ourselves, each other, the animals, and the environment is challenged, we need to share inspiring stories such as Buddy’s. Together we can stand up to the ones who will not see the truth about the reality of our world today: the destruction of our values, our sense of community, and of the protection of our environment. We have a mission which is to spread the message of kindness so that we can leave a cleaner planet, live in a loving and kinder way, and have a stronger sense of community for the generations to come.

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In Environment

Trump’s stance on the environment?

In the light of the Presidential campaign finally coming to an end I thought it was important to understand Donald Trump’s environmental policies. There was not much coverage by the press on this issue, but his stance is so alarming that I decided to write about it. Here are a few key points of his environmental thinking:

Climate Change

Despite all scientific evidence Trump stated: “I’m not a big believer in manmade climate change.”  Even though the U.S. military which Trump would command acknowledges this threat and 2016 has been the warmest year ever recorded he stated: “Nobody knows for sure.” According to the Sierra Club if Donald Trump gets elected he would be the first climate denying head of state in the world. Trump also tweeted this about climate change: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” Maybe he thinks Chinese are not people?

Funding climate change

Trump has stated that he would eradicate the Paris climate agreement.  This agreement was put in place in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and includes 55 other nations. He also promised to stop funding United Nations global warming programs.

Scrap the EPA and the Clean Power Plan

Trump says he will eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency calling it a ‘disgrace.’ Also,  coal was on its way out but under Trump there will be more coal jobs therefore more pollution into the air.

The Border Wall

Trump has repeatedly said that he would build a very high and strong wall on the U.S. Mexico border. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife web site, Outside, this wall would have an impact on 111 endangered species, 108 species of migratory birds, four wildlife refuges,  and an unknown number of protected wetlands. Some of these species include tortoise, road runners and black bears for example.

The wall would require 3 times the amount of concrete that was used to build the Hoover Dam. The production of concrete is responsible for about 10% of global carbon emission.

Other Views

. Trump believes that we should just ‘clean up’ oil spills and that the push towards the development of other types of energy is “just an expensive way of making treehuggers feel good about themselves.”

. Trump promised to bring back coal jobs in West Virginia when the market is leaning towards natural gas and renewable energy.

. Trump’s golf course in Scotland run roughshod over protected dunes and attacked an offshore wind energy project because it ‘ruined’ his view.

Need I say more?

Oh yes I almost forgot! The U.S.A should bomb the shit out Iraq’s oil fields which would be one of the worst environmental disasters ever.

 

1 In Environment

Who the hell is Buddy Boyd?

When I hung up the phone with Buddy Boyd of Zero Waste Canada I was holding my head in both amazement and despair. Amazement because this man had profoundly changed my perception of recycling and waste in just over an hour, and despair because I didn’t know what the hell I was going to do with this new information!  To top it all off he finished our conversation by asking me to make this blog FUN!!! How was I going to make trash sound like fun? I was sweltered to say the least.

Buddy who has been on this odyssey since the 70’s has a way of explaining what is a very complex problem: the amount of waste that we individuals produce, and giving you solutions that are easily applicable to everyday life. barb-with-staff-car-seat-recycling-360x215Much like my journey into veganism my path to producing the least waste possible was basically based on the same question: how much was I willing to be inconvenienced? Buddy explained how industries and the government had influenced my thinking into believing that by recycling, buying eco-friendly trash bags and using the city’s composting system, for example, I was being a good “green” citizen.  They had sold me “convenient environmentalism”. He explained that waste and recycling management were a money funnel in which bureaucrats that didn’t give a rat’s ass about the environment were making big salaries, and that the campaigns governments put on were just a way for them to throw sand in our faces. I kept listening as my heart sank because, as with climate change and animal rights,  the responsibility fell right on my lap. Funny? I didn’t think so!

What made me even more puzzled was that Buddy didn’t even sound slightly upset. He was happily chatting away about what was one of humanity’s most horrific problems: “Humans are the only species on the planet that does not manage its own waste,”  he said. “What matters is where you put your money and who you support.  Will you buy your vegetables from a  producer far away that are delivered by plane or will you do some research and find a locally grown organic product?”  I knew Buddy was right.  After our talk I decided to go for a  walk with my dog for some much needed fresh air and there they were, right in front of me – the recycling bins.  Tonight out of all the days was the garbage, recycling, and compost pick-up night!  As I looked at the bins I knew I was now aware of the waste scam and that there was no turning back. I had to make changes in my life.

I decided I would stick to Buddy’s suggestions as I did with other vegan’s when I transformed myself from a carnivore into a plant-eating person. I would follow his advice which was to keep it simple and start by changing one thing at a time. Keep It Simple Stupid as they say!  Maybe that’s why he told me he was from the KISS generation?

I made the decision to become more responsible about my buying habits by:

. Preferring products with smarter packaging,

. Supporting locally grown fruit and vegetables,

. Buying in bulk,

. Reusing more containers,

. Buying bio-degradable bags made out of hemp,

. Do some home composting which sounded really far out for a city dweller like me, but turns out to be quite simple.

buddy-barb-ev-768 I can proudly say that I have already found a local greenhouse grower and am doing research into buying products that use more eco-friendly packaging.  I promised him I would go to the food store and return the plastic containers right there on the spot so yes Mr. Buddy Boyd,  I am willing to be inconvenienced.  Reducing my amount of waste might cost me more and change how I am used to living, however it is not only possible but essential if I want to be a genuine environmentalist. Common sense is just common sense;  and well, what the heck, I could use a new challenge in my life!

Buddy and his wife Barb have dedicated most of their lives to waste reduction. They own a local company in, Gibson BC called the Gibson Recycling Depot where they accept recyclable materials such as styrofoam and glass and items like furniture and household products from individuals.  The components are either transformed into other products that are sold to companies and the items are sold on their own site shop for reuse. Thanks Buddy and Barb you are truly a great inspiration!

1 In Environment

Why we need to ditch plastic

 

We all know that plastic has become a growing concern towards humans, animals,  and the environment. Although I knew plastic had become a problem I was utterly shocked when I uncovered  that plastic fragments are contaminating most of the Earth’s surface and harmful chemicals such as Phthalates and BPA (Bisphenol-A) can be found in the bloodstream and tissues of almost everyone.

In Canada only we use 10 billion plastic bags a year which takes about 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce. Most of the plastic we use does not get recycled and ends up in landfills as well as in our oceans.  Much of this non-biodegradable plastic composes 90% of floating ocean trash and in the Pacific has accumulated into The Great Pacific garbage patch: a polluted region in the gyre of the North Pacific Subtropical Convergence Zone that is roughly the size of Texas. The plastic items found in our oceans decompose themselves into small particles which in turn are mistakenly confused and ingested as food by marine animals and birds. These sea creatures can also suffocate on plastic items such as bags and six-can pack holders. Fishing lines made of plastic often entangle sea creatures causing them to have trouble eating, breathing, and moving which can all lead to fatality. Plastic pollution affects more than 267 species worldwide, such as 86% of sea turtle species, 44% of sea birds and 43% of marine mammal species.

It is easy to understand that, as civilians of this world, we need to start ditching plastic in our daily lives. Considering that recycling is pretty inefficient,  since only about 8% of the containers are actually recycled, I’ve included some tips on how you can reduce your consumption of plastic:

. Replace single-use plastic bags by a reusable tote.

. Use bio-degradable trash bags and dog poopie bags.

. Try to stop using disposable plastics such as plastic wrap, disposable cutlery, straws and coffee-cup lids. You can buy a reusable coffee cup container for example.

. Buy your products in bulk as opposed to single-serving containers.

. Don’t buy products that contain microbeads which are mainly found in toothpaste, body soaps and facial scrubs.

. Support companies that use recycled plastic. I found a few of them such as Matt & Nat accessories, Method household products, Dakine Men’s Surf Pack and Green Toys.

. Stop buying water in plastic bottles and start carrying a reusable bottle instead.

. Support your local plastic ban.

. Put pressure on corporations by writing a letter or a tweet insisting that they get smarter with their packaging.

. Get involved in a clean-up program by donating to charities such as Sailors in the Sea and Plastic Oceans.

. SPREAD THE WORD!

Every voice counts so let’s hope that together we can make a difference in the modern-day plastic problem we face today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This problem which is caused solely by humans is entirely preventable.

In Environment

Why should we eat less meat and dairy?

 

 

The reality of what is happening to our planet, to our animals, and to the survival of humankind is staggering. Eating less meat and dairy or better yet eating absolutely no meat and dairy has a profound impact on the earth we live on.

Human interests in exploiting animals has caused such devastation to our planet and to ourselves. By 2048 the overfishing of our oceans will have killed most of our fisheries. The amount of water being used for the meat and dairy industries has caused our main water arteries to be sucked dry by the farming of these animals. There are presently 4 billion people on the planet facing water scarcity. The forest depletion in order to have this livestock graze is not only depleting the planet of its very lungs but this industry is costing three times as much as the global financial crisis. If we continue with this model no child under the age of 5 will ever reach retirement because, to put it simply, there will be no more planet for us to live on.

According to Philip Wollen, a philanthropist and animal rights advocate, if any other organism had done what we are doing to the planet biologists would of called it a killer virus. One billion people are suffering from hunger and 20 million people will die this year from malnutrition. Cutting meat consumption by only 10% can feed 100 million people. But not eating meat at all will end human suffering forever.

If everyone ate animals we would need 2 planets to feed us, but we only have ONE and she is DYING. As Philip Wollen so eloquently said: “In the end only three things matter: how deeply you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things that were never meant for you.”

If you are considering being part of this new renaissance and want to become vegan read the next article where I will give you some tips on how to make your transition easier!