This blog was started, and is intended to illustrate that environmentalism happens through small acts, is not difficult, and that it does not always have to be some big life changing event that forces you to live in the tree tops with no electricity. All that being said, one of my small acts was to start this blog to gain some friends to help me save the world.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

No really these are honest questions

So I would like to start this post off with yet another disclaimer.  Here it is: this post is nothing but sincere and honest questions that I am struggling to find answers to, any and all help appreciated.  I would also like to add that I am not a conspiracy theorist (or am I???), and I am not trying to get out of doing the dirty work (or am I???), and I am not crazy (or am I???) (please do not answer the last one, I think we all know the answer).
Here goes, (again remember I am truly being honest and sincere) how can it be more environmentally friendly (which is the claim) to pick up dog poop (especially with plastic bags) and create more waste for the landfills?????
Sure I understand the social factors around this issue.  Your neighbors dog who always goes in your yard can be annoying.  And seriously no one wants to step in a pile of pooh.  But I struggle to understand the environmental and health reasons around why we have to pick it, especially since to me it seems to be increasing the use of single use plastics.  I mean lets face it, pooh is one of the few naturally organic things that humans (and all animals) make so why do we have to wrap it up in plastic and send it to the dump (no pun intended). Let the doo do what it is supposed to do.

Lets go ahead and bullets some points and counter points out to discuss.

  • It is said that pet waste (can't do it have to call it pooh) when decomposes adds toxic bacteria to the ground.
  • Counter point: don't all animals poop, including those pesky wild animals?, and who is picking that up.  Isn't it just as toxic and decomposing into the ground???  And what is the sun doing, doesn't it have a natural bleaching affect?  And if we send a bag of poop to the landfill don't the toxic chemicals from the bag filled with poop add more toxic chemicals to the cocktail of human pollution?
  • Once in the ground it is said that pooh then has the potential to pollute humans freshwater supply.
  • Counter point: similar to above, everything poops right?  Fish poop, birds, lizards, etc.  And they all have the potential for being sick and carrying diseases as well, so are the all destroying our water, is that why we are destroying their natural habitats?   Interesting resource (Diseases Transmitted by Animals).  
  • I also saw it mentioned that pet waste is the third largest cause in water pollution.
  • Counter point:  This one seems to easy, since humans have to be number one and two for biggest polluters, just saying.  I think some of the recent oil spills might highlight my point here.
  • Now concentrations of poop, say from farms with larger animals, that are directly sourced into water, that is a no brainer, don't do that. But how does that compare to not picking up dog poop?
  • But a small counter point to consider, isn't a lot of poop, like cow, horse, and elephant a good natural fertilizer.   I know I have seen zoo poo for sale with the sales pitch being that it will make your roses at home grow and grow.  And I know there is work out there to try and capture the methane release from large farms.
  • Discussing the concentration issue leads me to a size issue.  Now no one wants to stand in a mastiff sized pile or in  a chihuahua sized pile, but it needs to be considered, especially when more plastic is entering our landfills due to tiny bits of caca.
  • Counter point: why are we wasting plastic bags on small amounts of poop.  Seems like the plastic has a more long term detrimental effects than the actual poop (regardless of size), which does decompose.
These are just some of the many questions that have crossed my mind at some point or another when considering picking up pet poop.  I am struggling to find answers that really address any of these concerns, and it bugs me.  If it is just a social thing to pick up dog poop at least I understand that.  May not agree, but get it.  I just hate to think of additional human waste (and cost) being added into the copious amounts of trash we already produce.  No we do not want streets line with poop anywhere in there world.  But remember it was the poop that was here before those streets, and for the most part that poop is gone and the roads are still here, which one seems to be the issue?  If anyone out there can answer any of these questions I look forward to hearing from you.  In the meantime if you do have some pooh to pick up do it as environmentally friendly as possible.  Reusable pooper scoopers, news paper, or paper bags.  Just remember it is still going to the massive man made piles of trash called landfills.  And not sure but think that trash may be contributing to some of the worlds pollution and environmental health related issues just a tad more than dog doo.  Some thing to think about at least.

Very interesting

I do not usually post a lot of other articles, but I really thought this was quite interesting and worth sharing.  Enjoy!

 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/07/100716-energy-landfill-biogas-powers-truck-fleet/

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Three Hour Tour

Just sit right back and your here the tale, OK I am kidding, but I really was on a 3 hour boat tour the other day and I could not get that song out of my head.  Yeah that is just how my brain works.  Anyway the 3 hour tour is the reason I write today.  It was a whale watching tour, and it was awesome (for the most part).  We actually got to witness some very active eastern Pacific grey whales, and that really did make my week.  And even though these particular whales are doing better than most, with numbers in the low 20 thousands, it was still very revealing to think how much humans have affected their populations.  There are many types of whales whose numbers are in the low 100's, and to me that just does not make sense.  But I do not write to depress you with those numbers, different post different day (get excited).  I wanted to depress you with some other numbers now that I learned during the tour (I know I am a giver like that).  On this particular tour, our boat collected 4 Mylar balloons from the ocean.  Now I am no mathematician, but that is slightly over 1 balloon per hour.  This was the not so fun part of the trip for me.
Now I openly admit that on most things I am a slow learner.  But I have seen enough images of dolphins or sharks, or insert any other marine wildlife here, to know that human trash, no matter what it is, in the ocean (or other places it is not supposed to be) is bad.  But when you see first hand what the researchers, and the scientists, and the people who actually know what they are talking about,  have been warning us about floating (less than 5 miles from shore) in the ocean, it can be a sober reminder of how destructive seemingly small actions can be.
And so on the flip side of that there are small actions that can be very positive.  So lets work on those actions.  Lets make sure we put all of our stuff in the right place.  I was able to start only a day or so after the tour.  We were walking the dogs in the park and we found 2 inflated and 2 deflated latex balloons entangled in a bush.  Easy peasy, I was able to take them home and throw them away.  I made sure to cut up all the string and the balloons and then put them in the trash.  Now just because I am boring with how I do stuff, don't let that stop you from being creative.  I am sure that there are other ways to reuse or recycle balloons if you put your mind to it.  The main goal is just don't let them get into the wrong places.  The amount of pleasure that the people on the tour got from viewing the whales was unbelievable, all the ooohing and aweing was proof.  I know they would be sad if all that came to an end because of something like trash.  I know there are so many people who really do care.  So trust me when I say I will not be offended if the number of balloons in the ocean decreases, but I will be if the number of whales, dolphins, sea turtles (insert any other animal name here) does.  So keep that in mind :) because I know no one wants to offend me (wait, what it is not all about me, oh loud sobbing noises start now, wahwahwah).  Please don't let my crying stop, go out and save the world!

I know you mean well

For the sake of everyone involved I am going to keep this post short.  But there is something that has been bugging me for a while now and I witnessed it first hand the other day, and that was the straw for this camel.  Please please please stop bagging your recyclables.  I have noticed a few people doing it recently, and I even noticed someone borrowing our recycling bin, which I do not mind at all, except all the recyclables were in plastic bags.  No, please stop.  Now I will not speak in definitive terms here, but most municipal recycling programs do not accept plastic bags.  The other part of this is that most of the recycling is still sorted by hand at some part of the process.  And bagging your recyclables runs the risk of them either not being sorted and thrown out or just making more work for someone.  We can avoid all that.  Make sure you read up on your local recycling program.  Most of them say what they accept and what is not accepted and most will tell you to keep the items out of bags.  There that was not so bad was it.  Please make sure you are doing everything you can to help.  
Thanks bunches.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Nothing outside of you

Can I say something for a moment, this post may be a bit of a stretch, but in my crazy head it makes perfect sense, so lets just go with that for a second.  Yes nodding and smiling is acceptable, just no pointing and laughing :).  I think I may have said this before, I was reading the other day :) something totally unrelated to what is normally discussed on this blog.  But it struck a chord and just seemed to make so much sense to me, and in my mind was very easily able to be applied to the environment.  Basically it said "there is nothing outside of ourselves"(Momma Zen Miller).  The way that this spoke and the way that is made sense to this blog was that there is nothing outside of ourselves, we don't need anything to help us save the world, because we already have all the tools me need right now, us and our warm bodies.  Which sucks for me because I had a brand new list of excuses ready to go (kidding of course, but they were good ones ;) ).  So let me skip to the point that I TRYING to make here.
Save the world, sure not with magic powers (I am saving those for a really big surprise) but with all those small actions that you are able to do everyday right now.  It can be an overwhelming thought, a good one nonetheless, but overwhelming to think about wanting to save the world.  And I do, I want to save the world for the planet, for the people and animals on it, I want to help and I want to do so much.  Most of that is way out of the scope of my influence and probably not likely any time soon, but it can stall me a bit when I get overwhelmed.  But stop, take a step back and think about what you can do, right now, and remember you have exactly what you need, you DO NOT need anything else to get started except you.  Keep recycling, taking your own container for your leftovers when you eat out, organize or participate in a trash clean up in your area, anything, I mean the list is infinite.  And it all starts with you, no one else, it all comes from your efforts from within your world.  There is nothing outside of us, we already have what we need to make stuff happen.  So do those small actions, because the more that I think about it, it is all those small actions, that might seem insignificant, that will one day save the world.  We cannot expect huge results right away, but don't let the big picture overwhelm, look at what you accomplish when you motivate you and take it one step at a time.  Here we come planet, there are millions and millions of awesome fans working for you every day.  We have everything we need right now to start making a difference.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I did not fall off the face

Even though this is my first post of the year (pretty sad seeing that it is already February) I wanted to assure all my loyal fan base (I told you the voices in my head do count as my fan base) that I did not fall off the face of the earth and disappear into oblivion.  Nothing that exciting, really the reason for my hiatus was a boring old move.  And other than the normal hiccups involved with any move there is nothing terribly fun to report.  But that does not mean that I did not learn a valuable life (and environmental) lesson from this move.
I have written about it in the past, but now I can speak from very recent and very really experience, living more minimally.  That sounds really terrible when I say it like that, like oh I live in a boring bland room with nothing in it but a chair, at least that is what comes to my mind.  But it is nothing like that.  What I have discovered is that stuff (insert any sort of stuff name here) is a big pain in the bum when you move.  And when you move from one space that has a lot of closets for you to hide and hoard all your goodies, to a space that does not, reality can leave a brutal slap mark as it hits you on the face.  But really once the redness subsides, you realize that really downsizing is not that bad.  It is just a matter of how you look at it.
I will do you the favor of sparing all the minute whiny details of how I arrived at my own astonishing lesson. But here it is, you do not have to give everything away to be a minimalist or to show you care for the environment.  You just need to be practical.  There is nothing wrong keeping the things that bring me pleasure (this is how I make this work for me).  All my mementos from various trips, or things that people have given me, they are ok to hold onto and it does not make me a hoarder.  But if it is no longer makes me happy and if it is no longer practical to hold onto then go ahead and clear it out.
And the best part is most of your items that no longer serve you in some way can surely work for someone else.  So while you are getting rid of things, make sure you do not toss out, but rather have a yard sale or donate items to a local charity.
I still have all my pictures, all my souvenirs that I have managed to keep, but guess what that broken mug or that walk man that was made before fire was discovered is gone and has allowed me to better organize what I do have.  And items that had been sitting in closets are either gone or being used.  Really it was very simple and I still have stuff, just not as much.  

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Please don't be a taker

Recently it occurred to me I am not fond of takers.  Two things set me off.  First off I saw an inspirational quote online, you know the ones that remind you that you really do love puppies, and kitties, and rainbows.  Basically it said give, not because you have a lot, but because you know what it is like to have nothing.  Yes,  yes, yes so very true.  The second thing that got me to thinking about this idea of taking was sprinklers.  Now to some this might be a stretch, but in my brain the idea fit perfectly.  Anyway it was raining one day last week and I noticed that a big neighborhood behind us was watering their grass during the rain.  What the heck, please can you hear me stupid neighborhood sprinklers, don't be a taker.  There is water being provided to you courtesy of science and nature, and yet you still feel it necessary to take more.  Really??  Just shocking.
There is a point when stuff, like clean water, could run out so lets not take, maybe we conserve and maybe we share.  Maybe if someone enters you home you offer them a class of water, not because it is nice manners, but it shows that you care about them, whether you know them or not.  I think we can forget some times how small gestures can make a big difference.  Because really, get ready for a huge cliche,  it is better to give than to receive (I tried to warn you).
 Everything on this planet needs water to survive so lets not take more than we need, stupid during the rain sprinklers.  All life on this planet is entitled to essentials for survival, and when I see blatant greed or stupidity,  knowing that there are those out there who are suffering while there are those out there with so much who feel entitled to more, it just makes me sad.  So please be a giver.  Let's not exhaust all of the planets resources to find out that we cannot eat money (another good inspirational quote).  Offer, even if you do not have much, and for Pete's sakes do not water your grass when it is raining.