Sunday, February 20, 2011

Value and Use Renewable Resources- Produce No Waste

It’s clear that humans will be sustainable soon- that or extinct…

I began the New Year doing some freelance work on a sustainable concept web-site. I was asked to research and define green criteria and standards for sustainable products as well as facts on where we are in relation to where we need to be.

Unholy Mega-Piles of SHIT People!!! We humans suck at being sustainable! There are now nearly 7 billion of us treading heavily and toxically upon our evermore fragile planet.

I’d somehow managed not to know that a plastic bag is used for an average of 15 minutes, or that 1 million of them are handed out every minute, and that 500 Billion to 1 Trillion of them end up in landfills or by the side of roads and middle of the Pacific… AND THEY take 500 to 1,000 years to bio-degrade! YIKES!!! Pop into the Dollar Store- 1,000 years, Petco- 1,000 years, the market- 1,000 years X’s 10,…  

One would hope that the picture brightens with recyclables- Shockingly- NOT! Only 2 out of 10 water bottles gets recycled, the rest (approximately 26 billion) end up in land fills or being incinerated. In the US alone we use 1.5 million barrels of oil just to produce water bottles.

In my day-job I work to support sustainable agriculture because the toxic residue of the industrial Ag is not sustainable. Chemical farming is devastating to our ecosystems, our bodies and alters the bio-chemistry of our minds. I felt that I was aware of the environmental threats we are living with.  It was an unhappy surprise to discover that the average American introduces 25 gallons of toxic, hazardous, chemicals into their own homes each year. These are mostly cleaning products and most of these end up in our sewage plants or ground water. At the sewage plant those toxic chemical along with human waste get processed into bio-solids then sold to conventional farmers as affordable fertilizers- (sewage sludge is not allowed in organic farm production.)

I was also asked to research the impact of our conventional clothes, electronics, toys and more. Too many issues to list and no good news… like cotton accounts for 25% of the plants pesticides use.

But there is great news- from energy to electronics and everything in-between corporations and individuals are making huge efforts to clean, green, and recycle, to incorporate renewable and sustainable elements at every step of production. The question will be- Do we reward their efforts with our purchase power? If the money is there, more will follow. And we will be that much closer to our destiny and evolution into sustainable humans.

Meanwhile- Take reusable bags to the market, don’t buy water in bottles, know your cleaning products, recycle, and research lifespan and renewability of purchases.  Oh yes, and buy organic whenever possible. Our collective futures depend on a quantum leap involving many baby steps. It all makes a difference.