Category Archives: Environment issues

An open letter to our governments…

By Angelina Cecchetto on 12th November 2016

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Photo: ©Gabriel Ramirez Photography All Rights Reserved

Dear Governments,

1. We do not need any economical “Hunger Games”,

2. We do not need any more drilling, fracking nor any fossil fuel to be dug up into our atmosphere,

3. We do not need any GMO nor chemical pesticides weakening, sickening and slowly killing animals, humans, the soil and all its micro-organisms we rely on for our livelihood,

4. We do not need megatons of plastic waste killing our ocean,

5. We do not need animals to be tortured to feed us for the sake of “market competitivity” or “mass production”. In fact we do not need “mass production”.

6. We do not need 50% of all species disappearing in 40 years,

7. We do not need trillions to be invested into “National Defence” budgets,

8. We do not need our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, cousins and parents dying in another egotistic war. We do not need a 3d World War to quench the power thirst of a few psychotic leaders,

9. We do not need an atomic conflict over the last drop of fossil fuel,

What we need is the respect and preservation of LIFE in all its forms. 

1. We need to put an immediate stop to the current fossil fuel based economical system which is a death trap for our planet,

2. We need the urgent implementation of water, wind and solar based energy plants worldwide,

3. We need our soils, animals and plants to be healthy and organically grown so we can live healthily again. The agro-chemical industry must be stripped down to bare minimum medical usage. The chemical hegemony has to be phased down to essential minimum, 

4. We need the immediate halt of all non bio-degradable plastics and the worldwide implementation of plastic cleaning and recycling plants,

5. We need to implement strict farming regulations and controlling institutions for animal welfare and severely condemn abusers,

6. We need cleaning up programs to be financed by big oil companies and corporations who made business with natural ressources worldwide,

7. We need the trillions spent on “National Defence” to be allocated with immediate effect to the preservation of Natural Ressources,

8. We need worldwide de-militarisation,

9. We need worldwide denuclearisation and halt to nuclear weapons creation.

Some of you will understand this post and some of you won’t. I am expecting more people not to understand and this is precisely why I am writing it.

Building houses with plastic bottles

By Angelina Cecchetto on 7th October 2016

We all know that plastic and especially plastic bottles are one of the major source of pollution of landfills, rivers and oceans. Since the authorities fail to stop plastic production and ban plastic based products, people have started their own initiatives all around the world to make something constructive out of plastic pollution.

In all continents, people have started building sustainable houses out of recuperated plastic bottles and the results are both surprising and amazing!

This is a double win for the environment and the communities who live of their environment. The twofold positive effect comes from the fact that the bottles used to build these houses are picked up from the beaches, rivers or any surroundings where old plastic bottles can be found. This has a majorly positive impact on the environment as it helps cleaning it from the plastic bottles who take over 400 years to start even disintegrating.

The second positive aspect is that the plastic bottles houses or structures are fairly quick to build and cheap as less “traditional” building materials are used.

The building projects also generally involve quite a few people which strengthens the community bonds and provides great instances of community solidarity.

So all in all these projects are definite win-win for the environment, the people and the community at large who benefit from a cleaner environment.

Here are a few inspiring initiatives all around the world:

In Georgia, a group of students build a greenhouse with plastic bottles:

In Panama, a whole Eco-Village is being build with houses and buildings made with plastic bottles:

In Colombia, Oscar Mendez, Architect is building houses with blocks made of discarded plastics!

In India, the Samarpan Foundation is also building houses with recuperated plastic bottles and shows the building process:

In Mexico, a man build his own island out of plastic bottles!!

All truly inspiring!

 

The Zero Waste Lifestyle: the right way forward!!

By Angelina Cecchetto on 22nd April 2016

IMG_6644 copy.SIG.16.9

On Earth Day, maybe more than any other day, you might be thinking about this beautiful planet Earth we are lucky to live on. You might see some breath taking landscape photographs or timelapse videos showing some wonders of natural beauty. And, for some, things might not go any further. But, for some, the journey into realisation starts today. Realisation that we all need to start acting meaningfully to help save the wealth of natural diversity that makes our planet the natural paradise it is. Paradise is planet Earth!

We all know but too well that the planet is in danger and that we are in danger together with many species that are disappearing one after the other. Our governments have complex political and economical agendas that prevent them from taking the necessary actions to improve this critical situation.

Change is needed but governments can’t implement it. So what?! Are we just going to stay there doing nothing and watch everything around us die? We think that we have no power but we have the power to change things! We are the ones who can implement change! How? There are many different ways but the common idea is that change has to start within each one of us. Changing our consumer habits to clearly send corporations the message that we do not want to destroy the Earth (for our children) so they can max up on profits.

Buying is voting. When you buy products you vote for what you’re buying. Full stop. And this is where our power is!

The Zero Waste philosophy is one of the ways we can start stirring the ship back in the right direction.

The Zero Waste (ZW) philosophy is a responsible lifestyle that enhances health and reduces wastes to a bare minimum. I am a true believer in the ZW lifestyle and well before I came across the ZW documentary a week ago I realised that I was well on my way to a ZW lifestyle. Seeing the documentary confirmed that I was definitely in the right direction. I am extremely glad to see that Bea Johnson and many other ZW defenders have started a whole movement! It makes me hopeful that more and more of us are realising we now need to change our ways and move towards a healthier lifestyle for ourselves, for all the beautiful species around us and for the valuable natural ressources.

Here is Bea Johnson’s presentation of the Zero Waste Philosophy she has adopted with her entire family since 2008. This is a family of 2 adults and 2 children living in California and generating about 1/1.5 liter of waste a year following the ZW lifestyle! Simply inspiring!!

And remember: everyday is Earth day!!

12 steps to get healthier and stronger and to help your environment!

By Angelina Cecchetto on 6th February 2016

Are you, like many of us, wondering: “Can I actually do anything to get healthier and stronger and at the same time be good for my environment?

My reply is: yes you can! And it’s simpler than you think!

Here are 12 easy steps to get started:

  1. Start shopping with recyclable bags or bag packs. This will stop you from using highly detrimental plastic bags!
  2. Stop buying mainstream cosmetics which are full of toxic ingredients such as Aluminium (deodorants), Fluoride (toothpaste), Bisphenol A or BPA (plastic containers), Phthalates, (lotions, perfumes, nail polish, hair spray etc). These toxic ingredients are in about 75% of mainstreams cosmetics.
  3. Start buying organic cosmetics (the most you can) or make your own. You can make your own toothpaste, deodorant, shower gel etc.
  4. Buy (organic) and cook your own food! This will stop you from buying unhealthy frozen ready meals and will reduce the packaging down to zero! This will also provide you with the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy and will be your best protection against cancer provided that you consume primarily organic foods! IMG_7123.SIg.1200
  5. Consider changing all your kitchen plastic containers (and of course recycling them) for glass or wood containers that are natural and will keep you away from BPA and other toxic chemicals linked with plastic containers.
  6. Start buying your food locally this will ensure its freshness and reduce the transportation costs and greenhouse emissions of food imports from other continents.
  7. Think of second-hand shops for clothes, you wouldn’t believe the stuff you can find there and the prices! This also contributes to lowering packaging and eventually reduces production and use of color dies that heavily pollute our waters. IMG_7138.Sig.1200
  8. Opt for natural remedies instead of chemical based ones, this will help your immune system get stronger again and will reduce packaging and costs. Avoid antibiotics and antidepressants at all costs. If you have a headache think of drinking lots of water first, most headaches are due to dehydration.
  9. You don’t need a receipt for everything you get so when asked by your cashpoint or your train ticket machine if you need a receipt, opt for none. This will reduce paper consumption and make you gain time!
  10. When the weather is nice from spring to autumn, try to go to work or to the shops cycling or walking if they are within walking distance or consider starting a car sharing pool with your friends/family/neighbours to go the local grocery shops. This will reduce greenhouse emissions and strengthen your community ties.

IMG_7157.Sig.1200px11. Choose to eat season fruits and vegetables! Do you really need to eat strawberries out of season? What most of us don’t think about is that buying fruits out of season means that these fruits (or veg) are transported by planes across continents and this creates an unnecessary trail of massive pollution via the megatons of fuel spent to transport these tons of (out of season) fruits and vegs.

12. Last but not least, if you stopped eating meat just for a day or two a week this would reduce the greenhouse emissions worldwide by half!

It is very easy for you to think a little about your daily habits and to adapt them slightly. I have done so and I feel great! I haven’t been sick in over 2 years!

Of course you don’t have to stress about implementing any of this, the changes can be done over weeks  so you can enjoy the process!

2014 top 10 cornerstone events worldwide!

By Angelina Cecchetto on 19th December 2014

Copyright ©Angelina Cecchetto

Copyright ©Angelina Cecchetto

In the usual ebb and flow of media waves, some events have certainly caught my attention and not necessarily the most talked about by the mainstream medias!

Here is a quick yearly retrospective of the best 2014 keystone events.

  1. With MacDonald’s closing all its restaurants in Bolivia, the list of countries where MacDo has been banned raises to 10 countries worldwide. The trend is in motion!
  2. India Declares Dolphins “Non-Human Persons” (February 2014). Some may consider this as an image cleansing gesture in a country where women’s rights are far from meeting any consideration standards, however it sends a clear message towards the protection of the cetaceans.
  3. Mexico strengthened Animal rights & welfare throughout the country and clamps down on animal cruelty overall.
  4. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the cessation of the Japanese whaling program called JARPA II in the Southern Ocean, as it deemed the whaling program was not for scientific purposes (March 2014). This is a victory for the Sea Shepherds efforts and valiant campaigns against whaling for the last eight years!
  5. Shark fin soup sales drop (May 2014) after China bans Shark fins soup from official banquets and government receptions in December 2013. Again, some may think of China’s shark fin ban off official menus as a national image cleaning up gesture, but we have
    Copyright ©Angelina Cecchetto

    Copyright ©Angelina Cecchetto

    to admit that it has a positive influence on shark fin sales, which have lowered since. This is good news for sharks and for the ocean ecosystem as a whole!

  6. On June 3d 2014, 19 year-old Aerospace Engineering student Boyan Slat unveils the eagerly awaited results of his Ocean Cleanup project and confirms that the project is feasible! This is most certainly the best news of year 2014.
  7. The European Union reaches an agreement, allowing its member states to restrict or ban GMO crops in their territory (June 2014).
  8. On November 12th 2014 Seaworld reports a 28% income downfall compared to last year’s third quarter. A 30% drop in their shares price followed the day after the announcement. Since Blackfish official Premiere on July 19th 2013, Seaworld’s shares performance have gone down by 51%. This together with the closure of Rimini’s dolphinarium in Italy (May 2014) marks a raise in popular understanding that dolphinariums mean dolphin mistreatments and violent slaughter.
  9. California becomes the 1st US State to ban plastic bags! (September 2014)
  10. Russia officially and completely bans GMO foods! (November 2014)
Copyright ©Angelina Cecchetto

Copyright ©Angelina Cecchetto

 

Overall, 2014 was a pretty good year for landmark events not only showing a raise in consciousness about key life themes but also showing a genuine will from the people to enforce a change in society worldwide.

We, the people, are the motion behind the change.

We are the change, so let’s keep acting!!

The Ocean Cleanup project: the best intention of the century!

By Angelina Cecchetto on 17th April 2013

There are many good and bad news every day when it comes to nature and ocean conservation and one of the best news of the year for me is the newly added species of sharks and manta rays on the CITES list of endangered species but I must say that the “Ocean Cleanup” project is by far the one which gives me the biggest thrill of all of them simply because I am aware of the huge problem we are facing with omnipresent plastic and garbage pollution and should this project materialize it could make a well needed difference to worldwide plastic pollution.

Some of you may or not have heard of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” also called “Pacific Trash Vortex”. It is a gyre of marine debris mainly made of pelagic plastic floating in the seawater; its size is estimated between 700,000 square kilometers (270,000 sq mi) to 15,000,000 square kilometers (5,800,000 sq mi). The source of the debris is mainly land-based but also ocean based (from ships). There are 5 gyres in the world.

The result is dramatic for the marine life, plastic ending up in the digestive system of many birds, turtles (turtles mistake floating plastic bags for jelly fish and end up eating whole plastic bags) and other sea organisms but also on us as floating debris absorb organic pollutants that end up in fish and therefore in our alimentation.

The “Ocean Cleanup” project is led by Boyan Slat an Aerospace Engineering student at the Delft University of Technology who also happens to be a very inspired diver. As the name clearly states, his project is to clean up the ocean garbage patch.  In 2012, The Ocean Cleanup Array has been awarded Best Technical Design at the Delft University of Technology, and came second at the iSea Clash of the Concepts sustainable innovation award by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. The project which is still in study and testing phase is quite promising. The idea is to use huge floating booms like telescopic arms instead of nets to funnel all the plastic debris floating in the ocean. One of the great points of the project is to use the surface currents to help funnel the debris avoiding the by-catches as the booms would divert the debris and not catch them. Beyond the sustainability aspect of the project, from a business perspective what is interesting is that it could potentially be financially profitable.

A very good example of plastic recycling has been made by “Method” a producer of cleaning products who marketed a dish soap whose container is made partly of recycled ocean plastic[1].

According to Boyan Slats calculations the cleanup method he is working on could potentially clean up the garbage patches in 5 years which would be a miracle considering the situation. For the moment, we cannot be sure of the results as Boyan Slats mentions on his website, they are at about 1/4th of completing their feasibility study so the whole study is far from over.

I truly hope that Boyan Slats project will materialize and will successfully help overcome the garbage patches in the ocean however, should the project not materialize yet, I must say that it is great to see that the young generations are aware of the current global situation and are actively involved in finding solutions. Without mentioning the fact that once more, divers help and contribute to valuable ocean conservation projects maybe because diving makes them ever so aware of the underwater invaluable beauty and biodiversity but also of the daunting presence of plastic and garbage in the oceans.

Cleaning the ocean would be a virtually miraculous step forward and would put us back onto the planet’s sustainability path; not just for us humans but for all the others forms of life on this planet, however, this will not tackle the source of the problem. For this we need a deep structural change to our consumption habits and work to implement more biodegradable solutions again. This will require global cooperation going from industrialists to consumers and passing by political and legal authorities. Every one of us is concerned directly or indirectly by nature and ocean pollution, either as a food toxicity issue or as a simple financial or health issue so every one of us has or will have to act or contribute to conservation initiatives.

Last but not least, I will add a petition that pleads to ban non-biodegradable packaging for food, should you want to contribute in a couple of clicks:

http://signon.org/sign/ban-non-biodegradable.fb23?source=c.fb&r_by=1333790

 

Nature is sheer genius and beauty

Actions speak louder than words. In the same way, pictures and videos can speak louder than a million words. This is why I would like to share this sublime video entitled “Celestial Lights” from  Ole C. Salomonsen as it shows in a stunningly powerful manner how amazingly beautiful nature is. Nature is sheer genius and for me pure inspiration, this is why we need to protect it. We come from nature and we are part of it.

Celestial Lights from Ole C. Salomonsen on Vimeo.

If you were ever so slightly touched by what you have seen and care about the protection of nature, please take one minute to sign a petition:

  1. Avaaz petition calls for Commission to curb new incineration capacity:

http://ukwin.org.uk/2013/02/18/avaaz-petition-calls-for-commission-to-curb-new-incineration-capacity/

  1. Ban non-biodegradable packaging for food:

http://signon.org/sign/ban-non-biodegradable.fb23?source=c.fb&r_by=1333790

Thank you.

Conservation : People’s voices are being heard ! Some historic steps forward have been made.

By Angelina Cecchetto on 21st March 2013

Nature together with the existence of many species have never been so much in danger of extinction, there is a lot to do to protect Life. Thankfully some people do care and act about it and thanks to these people’s solidarity and efficient campaigning, some great steps forward have been achieved.

The first great news is surely the decision to finally place five species of highly traded and endangered sharks (oceanic whitetip, porbeagle and three species of hammerheads), both manta rays and one species of sawfish on the protected list at the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) meeting held this month in Bangkok, Thailand. This was one of the first strong engagements to admit the criticality of sharks and rays situation and to finally protect them.

On March 8th 2013 another great step forward was achieved by the California Coastal Commission (CCC)[1] who heard people’s outcry and petitions and voted unanimously to reject the US Navy’s request to maintain military testing, sonar and bomb deployments throughout Southern California, Hawaii, Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast. Many dolphins and whales have been killed already but should the CCC have approved the maintenance of the Navy’s project, millions of cetaceans would have been killed in the next 5 years so this is great news for the life preservation of many cetaceans in these areas so thanks for signing the petition everybody!

The other step forward was also achieved in Thailand when Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced that Thailand is ending the sale of elephant ivory. This is a fantastic step towards elephant conservation there. Once again this was achieved thanks to people’s mobilization and especially WWF actions and campaigns gathering thousands of petition signatures.

In December last year, thanks to a WWF[2] “I Will If You Will” campaign for Earth Hour 2012 which gathered the voices of 120,000 Russians and presented it to the government, the Russian Parliament voted a long-awaited law to protect the country’s seas from oil pollution.

Last but not least, we will mention the fantastic work achieved by the Sea Shepherds team who returned to Melbourne last Monday after “Operation Zero Tolerance” which is their most successful campaign to date. Their courage, solidarity and perseverance saved the lives of hundreds of whales in the Antartic and showed yet again that when people get together to defend the right cause they can have a positive influence on events or history. As many environmentalists, I was also delighted to hear that Germany finally dropped their warrant against Captain Paul Watson.

To conclude, I would say that we can all make a positive difference in this world, there is no right or wrong way to do so. As Zachary Scott rightly said, “As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do” so if you want to do something about what is happening you can.

We have a voice and we can use it! Here are a few petitions to sign should you want to use your voice to make a positive difference:

  1. “Stop Japan Killing Dolphins!”

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/632/220/224/stop-japan-killing-dolphins/

  1. “Don’t Eliminate Protections For At-Risk Marine Species!”

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/275/718/873/

  1. “Mexico: Protect Critically Endangered Sea Turtles”

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/410/105/666/

  1. Ban non-biodegradable packaging for food

http://signon.org/sign/ban-non-biodegradable.fb23?source=c.fb&r_by=1333790

Thank you.

Angelina Cecchetto