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15 January 2007 @ 12:48 pm

Originally published at BlueGreenBlog. You can comment here or there.

Andi McDaniel has a piece entitled Can We Create a World Without Waste? at Alternet. I think it’s an important piece to read as the earth grows smaller… the places on this planet which we use as dumping grounds are getting closer and closer to people as developed areas and populations expand.

One of the ways to curb the trash we throw out is to be smarter about buying - avoiding whatever we do not need, and perhaps avoiding what is covered in too much packaging. But some manufacturers and sellers still insist upon using the paperboard, styrofoam trays, and the cling wrap (I’m looking at you, Trader Joe’s!) and a growing movement of people are pressing companies to take more responsibility of their products - not just their quality, but also their packaging, and the products themselves (in the case of electronics) after the product’s life cycle with the consumer.

The article gives a great introduction to the “Zero Waste” movement and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). The one thing I would have added is a mention of Cradle to Cradle, William McDonough does a fine job arguing that producers need to plan for materials reuse as early as the product design stages.

29 December 2006 @ 12:36 pm

Originally published at BlueGreenBlog. You can comment here or there.

This isn’t an entry about linking the three (although you can) but to highlight 3 news stories worthy of attention:

Ice Mass Snaps Free From Canada’s Arctic
Scientists are pointing at climate change and are alarmed at its unexpected speed.

Making Carbon Trading a Fair Trade
How does carbon trading/offsetting work, and is it really sustainable? It’s a piece discussing monoculture tree plantations (and it sounds like they’re using species which are genetically modified and/or non-native to the area).

More Dangerous than Smoking? Death by Soda
OK, ignore the over-scary title, although the article has some surprising facts (I had had no idea that half of US woman between the ages of 20-39 were overweight or obese). It’s been said before that a can of soda contains sweeteners the equivalent of at least 10 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup. (If you make your own coffee in the mornings, think of putting that in your cup everyday!) Running to artificial sweeteners isn’t the answer either, as those bring another area of health concern.

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27 December 2006 @ 03:10 pm

Originally published at BlueGreenBlog. You can comment here or there.

Received an electronic gadget for Christmas? This sobering ABC story on electronic waste will make your toes curl:

315 million to 600 million desktop and laptop computers in the U.S. will become obsolete over the next 18 months. That’s the equivalent of a 22-story pile of e-waste covering the entire city of Los Angeles.

Read more: One Man’s Trash Doesn’t Necessarily Become Another Man’s Treasure

09 December 2006 @ 03:14 pm

Originally published at BlueGreenBlog. You can comment here or there.

They are not at all at odds - but it requires some learning and serious thinking to realize that one’s health is directly related to the health of the environment. Alternet currently has a brilliant article: Six Ways That Changing Your Life Can Change Global Warming.
What prevents people from doing more and paying attention to environmental topics? Peter Michaelson thinks it boils down to fear: Fear of insignificance, powerlessness and hopelessness, fear of rejection and mockery of the things we care about. Blasé is in; passionate is out. Trivia and consumerism rules our lives, and the culture of the US has been anti-intellectual and anti-education for a long time.

Francis Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet lamented that in the US, people are put down as naive for thinking they can change the world. In Argentina, she pointed out, people tell their children that they are naive if they think they cannot.


Originally published at BlueGreenBlog. You can comment here or there.

We’re speaking, of course, of the stuff called Triclosan. It’s present in most soaps and toothpastes and possibly other personal care products, even soaps that aren’t loudly proclaiming their antibacterial properties.

Funny thing is, the marketing of antibacterial soap, dish soap, hand-sanitizers would have people believe that soap alone is no longer enough - and this is a convenient but definite lie, preying upon people’s fears of sickness and the desire to keep their families healthy. It also exploits the ignorance that most people have of how prevalent use of Triclosan will actually speed the ability of microbes to develop resistance.

The main property of any kind of soap is to give water the power to pick up grease and dirt. The slipperiness of soapy water allows us to wash microbes off our hands and bodies and down the drain, where we can stop worrying about them. Killing microbes is only necessary if you’re a surgeon.

(Ongoing research on allergies even hints it is healthy to be occasionally exposed to some relatively-harmless bacteria, training our body to react to those instead of developing more inconvenient allergic reactions to pollen, dust mites and dander.)

More reasons to give “anti-bacterial” products a miss:

Producing Triclosan on the large scale we do now not only takes resources but produces pollution that includes dioxin-like compounds being released into the environment - chlorinated Triclosan falls under this category. Dioxins are nasty business, and all living organisms suffer from exposure to these cancer-causing substances.

In addition: You can now file Triclosan as an endocrine-disruptor (another one to add to the list we’re exposed to everyday in perfumes, cosmetics, pesticides, certain plastics and so on). Kind of important if you happen to be an animal whose body is regulated by hormones! Germ fighter works as endocrine disrupter

WIKIpedia: Triclosan, Soap, Endocrine_disruptor, Dioxins

Worldwatch Institute: Soap

24 October 2006 @ 10:32 pm

Originally published at BlueGreenBlog. You can comment here or there.

BlueGreenPlanet’s Links are slowly but surely being expanded all the time. I want to highlight Climate Crisis Coalition’s blog whose News category is a wonderful archive of climate related stories - I wish I could find the RSS feed!

Link: Climate Crisis Coalition News

And here’s another link to a sobering story actually on CNN (sustainability - no longer a subject confined to treehugging websites!): Report: Humans stripping away earth’s resources

Humans are stripping nature at an unprecedented rate and will need two planets’ worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends, the WWF conservation group said on Tuesday.

It would be wonderful if environmentalists, politicians, economists and urban planners could talk with one another more - but unfortunately it doesn’t seem so in most parts of the world. The affluence and conspicuous consumption of the First World, alas, is held as the ideal that the rest of the world must try to achieve - and no one is thinking of the large-scale consequences and the sustainability of this pursuit. By no means should anyone advocate that the Third World should continue suffering squalid conditions and exploitation by the more affluent countries - but it is within the power of the more fortunate to question the exploitative system in which they are complicit.

21 September 2006 @ 10:09 am

Originally published at BlueGreenBlog. You can comment here or there.

… is still being being produced and shipped to places too poor to refuse it. Electronic goods are again part of the problem:

Toxic shock: How Western rubbish is destroying Africa

14 September 2006 @ 12:30 pm

Originally published at BlueGreenBlog. You can comment here or there.

Apple received flak recently when news stories revealed that some its iPods were being produced in sweatshops in China.

Alternet.org today introduces us the exploitation of workers mining for the materials that make cell phones and computers: War, Murder, Rape… All for Your Cell Phone

(Forgive the sensational title, but it does suit the story. Mining also causes considerable environmental destruction.)

The following link lists 36 chemicals/components that can be found in your typical desktop. (I was surprised to see cadmium!) Chemicals in a desktop computer

It’s also interesting to note that 70% of the heavy metals in landfills come from discarded computer parts. Hmmm…

12 August 2006 @ 01:27 pm

Originally published at BlueGreenBlog. You can comment here or there.

Dozens of new links are being added to the Green Links section at BlueGreenPlanet, partcularly under the Sustainability section. Reducing carbon emissions, and education about carbon neutrality is becoming a more urgent issue under the threat of climate change, that this topic may get its own category very soon. In any case, I did want to highlight that these new links are being in such huge batches currently than they aren’t highlighted for very long on the main page.

Many thanks to light_of_summer on LiveJournal for providing these new links.