2-19-2020: Five Reasons to Be Hopeful This Wednesday
February 19, 2020
We are getting there. I am at 153 bags of ocean bound plastic collected, 590 items salvaged. I have written 133 blog posts and 134 Instagram posts, and have passed 450 Instagram “followers.” The Instagram is more for fun and motivation and I am not seeking more Instagram friends, but somehow everyday there are more. About 200-300 people click onto the blog every day, so some folks are seeing the less-plastic-please help ocean plastic-pick message.
But what gives me hope are the tangibles, the changes that I know are happening in the real world. I know I picked up a lot of plastic, and I know that we are close to getting our organization to agree to bring in Eco-America training to our HMO. I see more and more reusable coffee mugs and water bottles at work. We actually cancelled all the single-use water bottles for all the MD meetings, and will just send a reminder out for everyone to bring their own water. We also changed our lunch order to half vegetarian, and for everything to be in large trays and not individual plastic clam-shell containers anymore. That way there is less food waste and less plastic waste in general. And a father in clinic told me his daughter’s school has asked all parents to avoid single use plastic items and moving toward zero-waste lunches.
So here are Five Reasons to Be Hopeful this Wednesday, 2-19-2020.
- Western Forests Show Signs of Recovery From the Massive Beetle Outbreaks: “From 2005 to 2017, a severe outbreak of spruce bark beetles killed more than 90 percent of the Engelmann spruce trees across 800,000 acres in the southern Rocky Mountains. During the same period, an outbreak of western balsam bark beetles decimated subalpine fir across 116,000 of those acres.” But the Yale Environment 360 Digest reports, ” Just a few years after simultaneous bark beetle outbreaks decimated trees in the Rocky Mountains, scientists have found that large portions of these high-elevation forests are already showing signs of recovery, according to a new study of 14,000 trees published in the journal Ecology.” And the key to their recovery was the genetic biodiversity they had beforehand. https://e360.yale.edu/digest/after-massive-beetle-outbreaks-some-western-forests-show-signs-of-recovery
- Jeff Bezos (Amazon) Pledges $10 Billion to Help Fight Climate Change: I have blogged in the past about Amazon’s part in driving out small businesses, and our family’s efforts to buy local and not from Amazon. https://drplasticpicker.com/how-did-our-greener-christmas-go-10-ways-we-changed/ But we were all spewing carbon into the air, drplasticpicker included before we curbed our traveling. Jeff Bezos announced on his Instagram account, “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devasting impact of climate change.” Dr. Plastic Picker suggests that he give the money to the Rainforest Trust, or at least a good chunk. But then, who listens to a crazy pediatrician avatar that exists in my imagination.
- Walmart’s Project Gigaton: Walmart is working with it’s suppliers to cut emissions through Project Gigaton “which aims to slash one billion metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from the company’s value chain over the next decade.” Dr. Plastic Picker had noticed plenty of products with recycled content at Walmart including toilet paper and paper towels. We are shopping less, but I do stop by Walmart maybe once every 3 months.
- New York City Bans Fossil Fuels: New York City Major Bill de Blasio announced NYC will stop “all new fossil fuel projects within and serving the city.” I saw this on my Bright Vibes feed, which is fantastic by the way. “This is the largest municipal ban announcement of its kind globally, building on the mounting global movement for a just transition off fossil fuels to a renewable-energy economy.”
- Bristol Airport Expansion Stopped: The Guardian reported that “A scheme to expand Bristol airport has been rejected following protests that it would exacerbate the climate emergency, damage the health of local people, and harm flora and fauna . . . Following a four-and-a-half -hour meeting in Weston-super-Mare, councillors rejected the expansion plans by 18 votes to seven. Activists called the decision historic and said it would inspire others to reject airport expansion plans.” https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/11/plan-to-expand-bristol-airport-rejected-after-climate-protests I know this sounds dramatic, but we cannot continue business as usual. Everyone flying all around the world is unsustainable. I don’t know what the answer is, but I know our family definitely has the resources to fly but have chosen to curttail our flights. We are doing more driving vacations and traveling locally. It’s hard, but so is having your entire island-country submerged by the Pacific Ocean like the Marshall Islands. Think of the millions of climate refugees that will be coming from Bangladesh. Climatic disruptions will have ripple effects throughout the world.
Thank you for coming along on this journey with us. I will be announcing the next collection project soon and next beach cleaning. So stay tuned for an upcoming post, and I will put it in the Events Section. And I am working with a good friend who is a photographer. We have an intriquing and thought-provoking project for our teenagers likely this spring and summer. Stay tuned! And then we have to save the Monarch Butterflies as well! Please consider signing the Monarch Butterfly Pledge if you have not already. They are at 9,089 out of the needed 10,000 signatures https://support.nwfactionfund.org/page/15908/donate/1?en_chan=fb&locale=en-US&ea.tracking.id=FBK_NWFAF&en_ref=31542314&fbclid=IwAR1439hxtZeN97rxY62IdIb5mtL1qPW3XwKSUdwtrs6SRC0VbnwqNANgDz8