I have been watching the images of fires burning in the Amazon with horror. Not only are trees that are hundreds of years old burning, and the animals that live in them, but the forest homes of the Indigenous people are burning, too.
Losing parts of the Amazon rainforest affects the whole planet. The Amazon rainforest is one of the most unique, bio-diverse ecosystems on the planet, and it absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, something that helps reduce climate change. So, when we lose parts of the forest we lose something that helps sustain our planet.
The fires burning in the Amazon are not due to climate change. The fires are being started by people who want to clear the forest so they can grow soy and raise cattle. And these people are emboldened by the President of Brazil, who wants the forest to be cleared to increase economic activity. He said he wants to weaken the rights of Indigenous people who live in the forest and he wants to reduce the amount of their land.
The choices we make can make a difference. It’s not enough to be outraged at the loss of the forest and the cruelty to the Indigenous people. But reducing the amount of beef that we consume we will reduce the incentive to burn forest land. And, it turns out, reducing our consumption of beef will also dramatically help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which will make a huge impact on climate change.
By making smart decisions and changing our lifestyles we will be able to look our kids in the eyes and say that we are doing everything we can to help pass on a healthy planet. And we will be supporting Indigenous people who are asking for our help. I am compelled to walk upon this Earth more gently and I hope you will join me, too.
Yet Another Dead Whale Is Grave Reminder Of Our Massive Plastic Problem
Trevor Nace , CONTRIBUTOR Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
WE have a massive plastic problem.We have to get rid of plastic. Look at this……. A sperm whale was found washed ashore dead after swallowing 64 pounds of plastic debris. The male sperm whale was found on the Murcian coast in southern Spain in late February, reminding us how critical plastic waste in the oceans has become.
Experts found the inner walls of the whale’s abdomen to be inflamed due to a bacterial or fungal infection. This is likely a result of the whale unable to expel the plastics from its system, resulting in peritonitis.
WE have to get rid of Plastic!
The male sperm whale, an endangered species protected in the US under the Endangered Species Conservation Act, weighed over 6 tonnes and measured 33 feet long. Sperm whales typically eat squid and live around the same lifespan as humans, averaging 70 years.
As a result of the whale’s death, the Murcia government launched a campaign against dumping plastic waste into the coastal town’s water. The coastal community is working to raise awareness of the ever-growing plastic problem in oceans and the need for beach cleaning.
With an increasing amount of plastic discarded in oceans, whale deaths due to ingestion of plastics are becoming far too common. Just two years ago a pod of 13 sperm whales all washed ashore dead from ingestion of plastic waste.
To cope with this dilemma, many countries around the world are phasing out single-use plastic bags as typically seen in grocery stores. Below is a map of where countries are in their phasing out of low-density polyethylene plastic bags.
Green indicates plastic bags are banned
Yellow indicates a tax on some plastic bags
Orange indicates a voluntary tax agreement
Purple indicates a partial tax or ban at a regional level
The European Union is pushing a transition to have all plastic recyclable or reusable by 2030 with many agencies around the world discussing phasing out non-biodegradable plastics completely.
However, in the meantime efforts to clean up beachesand oceans are underway due to dedicated and novel initiatives.
My grandsons and I picked up trash off the beautiful Coastline along the Alabama Gulf. I was pleased when they asked if we could do this during their summer break.
The most plastic objects we picked up were straws. I believe if each time any of us visit a fast food business we should ask the owners to use paper straws and cups. The plastic drink cups and straws are only used for a moment. Then thrown out.