save our blue planet

Let's save our blue planet by saving the ocean. Every little step counts.

6 amazing plastic bans from around the world – and Germany? — 11. August 2016

6 amazing plastic bans from around the world – and Germany?

Good news! Plastics bans across the world have been hitting the headlines lately.From the US to India and Morocco, governing bodies are taking control of the plastic pollution problem, bringing in either complete bans on plastic, or bans on specific forms like polystyrene.

Source: 6 amazing plastic bans from around the world

In Europe, we try to reduce the plastic waste, too, to protect the ocean from waste pollution. Especially the colorful plastic shopping bags the cashier throws at you for free. Every European uses 200 of them each year, most of them only once. But since the EU leaves it to their members how to do it, Germany uses its standard methods: personal commitment of the firms (freiwillige Selbstverpflichtung, that means they make a non-binding promise of their own to prevent a law) and money. Instead of banning these bags, the customer can use them further but in some markets he has to buy them first. Many markets offer canvas shopping bags, too, but they are more expensive. Guess what will happen?

I’m afraid it will end like with plastic bottles: instead of banning single-serving water bottles Germany put a deposit on them, just like on reusable PET bottles. And what happened? The quota of reusable water bottles decreased, of course. Many customers don’t differentiate between the two and use the lightweight single-serving bottle rather that the heavier reusable bottle, since it is all the same anyway.

Take the pledge and use no plastic shopping bags anymore – with time it becomes second nature to take your own bag with you (even if you have to interrupt the cashier in its routine to prevent getting another bag). And be proud about yourself for every disposible bag you don’t have used.

Every step counts.

Greenpeace about microbeads | Greenpeace über Mikroperlen — 23. July 2016

Greenpeace about microbeads | Greenpeace über Mikroperlen

Did you know that microbeads are used in cosmetics not only to exfoliate (which I can comprehend, even if they should use other, natural particles), but also simply for color and texture? Manufacturers seem to think that customers like their liquid soap, shower gel or shampoo smooth and thick (viscid), even if it has got no cleaning benefit and only environmental drawbacks. We use a special, ph-neutral liquid soap together with a reusable foam soap dispenser and it works fabulously. Sadly, my daughter likes glitter in her pink shower gel (girls 😉 ), I don’t know how to make that myself.

Greenpeace addresses the problem of microplastic in cosmetics here more detailed than I did and also describes the loopholes manufacturers use to deceive us. Unfortunately, the mentioned guide to avoid cosmetics in question seems to work only in UK and Australia.


Wusstest Du, dass Mikroperlen in Kosmetik nicht nur zum Peelen benutzt werden (was ich nachvollziehen kann, auch wenn sie andere, natürliche Partikel benutzen sollten), sondern auch einfach für die Farbgebung und Textur? Die Hersteller scheinen zu denken, dass der Kunde seine Flüssigseife, Duschgel oder Shampoo glatt und zähflüssig mag, auch wenn das keinerlei Reinigungs-Nutzen sondern nur Umwelt-Nachteile hat. Wir nutzen eine spezielle, ph-neutrale Flüssigseife zusammen mit einem nachfüllbaren Schaum-Seifenspender und es geht wunderbar. Leider mag meine Tochter Glitter in ihrem pinken Duschgel (Mädchen 😉 ), Ich weiß nicht, wie ich das selbst machen kann.

Greenpeace spricht das Problem von Mikroplastik in Kosmetikprodukten hier detaillierter an als ich es getan habe, und beschreibt auch die Hintertürchen, die die Hersteller nutzen um uns zu täuschen. Hier auch etwas dazu auf Deutsch. Bedauerlicherweise scheint der erwähnte Leitfaden zum Vermeiden von fragwürdiger Kosmetik nur in Großbritannien und Australien zu gelten.

Sources of Ocean’s Plastic Waste | Quellen der Meeres-Vermüllung — 18. December 2015

Sources of Ocean’s Plastic Waste | Quellen der Meeres-Vermüllung

Over half of the material leaked into the ocean comes from China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand (Source). But that doesn’t mean that we others can slack off in our efforts to prevent plastic waste in the oceans – every step counts.


China, Indonesien, Vietnam, Thailand und die Philippinen sind die Quelle von mehr als der Hälfte des Plastikmülls in den Weltmeeren (Quelle). Das heißt jedoch nicht, dass wir anderen in unsere Anstrengungen, Kunststoff-Müll in den Meeren zu vermeiden, nachlässig werden dürfen – jeder Schritt zählt.

 

How Ocean Pollution Affects Humans | Wie die Verschmutzung der Meere den Menschen schadet — 17. December 2015
How Boyan Slat tests automatic ocean-plastic-cleanup | So testet Boyan Slat die vollautomatische Plastikbefreiung der Weltmeere — 16. December 2015
The fish farm of the future – interactive | Die Fischfarm der Zukunft – Interaktiv | The Guardian — 5. November 2015
Organic Farming Can Feed The World — 6. October 2015

Organic Farming Can Feed The World

It is common knowledge that conventional farming contributes a lot to climate change. Lesser pollution due to fertilizers, significantly decreased emission of greenhouse gases and reduced transportation of ingredients, packaging and food, indicate that localised sustainable food systems should be the farming of the future instead of exporting our mistakes to developing countries in Latin America or Africa, too.
But it was often claimed that organic farming cannot yield as much food as conventional farming, thus it is no feasible alternative if we want to feed the world.

But that’s not true: researchers from the University of Michigan found that it is possible to yield by organic farming almost as much food as conventional farming in developed countries and up to three times as much food as conventional farming in developing countries can.

via Organic Farming Can Feed The World, Says Study.

How Concord Became The First U.S. City To Ban The Plastic Water Bottle | Stadt Concord (USA) verbietet Plaste-Wasserflaschen — 1. October 2015

How Concord Became The First U.S. City To Ban The Plastic Water Bottle | Stadt Concord (USA) verbietet Plaste-Wasserflaschen

So it is possible, at least in Concord, Mass.:

It shall be unlawful to sell non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in single-serving polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of 1 liter (34 ounces) or less on or after January 1, 2013.


Also ist es möglich, zumindest in Concord, Mass.:

Es verstößt ab dem 1. Januar 2013 gegen das Gesetz, stilles, geschmackloses Trinkwasser in Einweg-PET-Flaschen von 1 Liter oder kleiner zu verkaufen.

via How Concord Became The First U.S. City To Ban The Plastic Water Bottle.

Livestock and agricultural emission of the Greenhouse gas — 26. September 2015

Livestock and agricultural emission of the Greenhouse gas

As I mentioned before, cattle belches are a source of GHG emissions and therefore global warming, but there are other culprits for methane, nitrous oxide and Co. associated with our food. Translated in CO2 eq (methane has 25 times and nitrous oxide 298 times more global-warming potential than carbon dioxide), this source provides some interesting numbers:

In 2011, the GHG emissions of agriculture on the whole amounted to 5.3 Gt CO2 eq, of which are for instance

  • enteric fermentation (belching of mostly beef cattle and dairy cows) 2,071 Mt CO2 eq,
  • manure left on pasture (nitrous oxide and methane due to decomposition of the manure left by grazing animals) 824 Mt CO2 eq,
  • synthetic fertilizers (nitrous oxide) 725 Mt CO2 eq,
  • rice cultivation (methane, emitted by anaerobic decomposition) 522 Mt CO2 eq and
  • manure applied to soils (nitrous oxide and methane due to slurry from cattle and swine as organic fertilizer) 185 Mt CO2 eq.

In comparison, in 2010 the deforestation (mainly rain forest converted to cropland in South America or to palm farms in Indonesia) is to blame for 3.7 Gt CO2 eq, and the energy use in agriculture (mainly carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuel burning for agricultural machinery, power irrigation and fishing vessels) amounted to 785 Mt CO2 eq.

But this does not include the transport of feed, agricultural products or ingredients (as illustrated for a bottle of ketchup here), so I add that in 2012 all fossil fuel burning contributed to 31.6 GtCO2 eq (how much of which is due to shipping, driving or flying livestock feed like soybeans and corn from South America or meat, fruit and aquaculture fish from Asia or ingredients for processed food across the planet I can only guess).

What does our diet have to do with the oceans? — 13. September 2015

What does our diet have to do with the oceans?

After posting several links about food (especially meat) one could ask what those are doing in my blog about the oceans – besides the obvious: eating fish, seaweed, clam, algae or other seafood (either from the wild or from aquaculture). This portion of our diet can be supplied by responsible fishers or aquaculturists intenting to protect the oceans, or by destroying the oceanic ecosystems, polluting the waters and depleting seafood stocks.

But there is more.

In a nutshell, production, transportation and packing of our food is responsible for polluting our oceans with waste and poisoning them with fertilizers and pesticides (leading to oceanic dead zones), produce a huge amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) and therefore leads to overheating and ocean acidification. That means, the well-informed customer choosing the right food makes a difference.

In the course of the next months I will write many posts elaborating on these matters.