The Plastic Free Edible Water Bottle or the best invention of the decade

Certainly the greatest invention of the decade: “Ooho”, the zero plastic edible water bottle. 

“Ooho” is a biodegradable seaweed and calcium chloride-based membrane that is safe for human consumption and comes across as the perfect alternative for single use plastic bottles. 

As we speak, in the United States only, over 50 billion single-use plastic water bottles made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) are produced and discarded each year. 

Plastic production is constantly growing. Europe which ranks 2nd in the global plastic material production, produced 57 Megatons of plastic in 2013. 

The global worldwide plastic material production for that year was 299 Megatons. 299 Megatons of plastic material produced in one year alone. I let you take a minute to visualise the amount that represents.  

Packaging needs raise to 40% of the whole plastics production. Building and construction is the second largest application sector with 20.3%. 

About 40% of the plastics consumed end up in landfills, 26% is recycled and the rest ends up in nature, streams, rivers and ultimately in the ocean. 

Plastic has a devastating impact on all animals and ecosystems. It has now entered most fish digestive tracks and we end up eating microplastics which also has a devastating impact on the human body and the endocrine (hormonal) system. 

Finding solutions for controlling plastic pollution is vital and a 100% biodegradable and edible water container shines through as a genial life saving solution! 

Ooho is engineered by Skipping Rocks Lab, an innovative sustainable packaging start-up based in London whose aim is to create waste-free plastic bottles and the likes. Skipping Rocks Lab is part of the Climate KIC start-up acceleration program founded by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology. Truly revolutionary!

And for those of you who want to take a couple of minutes to act for the right causes, here are a few petitions to sign below. 

Ban plastic bags, click here. Ban plastic bottles, click here. Ban non biodegradable plastics, click here. Ban plastic straws, click here.  

There are many more petitions to sign, so look for your local ones too!

By Angelina Cecchetto on 11th April 2017

Open letter to our governments

 

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Photo: ©Gabriel Ramirez Photography All Rights Reserved

Dear Governments,

We do not need any economical “Hunger Games”.

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

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.

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

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”.

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

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

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.

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. 

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

We need worldwide de-militarisation.

We need worldwide denuclearisation and halt to nuclear weapons creation.

Planet Earth will survive atomic warfare and utter destruction, it will built itself again but humanity won’t necessarily. 

For those of you who want to act for the right causes, here are a few petitions to sign below. 

To ban plastic bags, click here.

To ban plastic bottles, click here.

To stop nuclear plant power in the UK, click here.

To stop nuclear testing, click here.

To ban pesticides killing bees and many other live supporting organisms, click here.

There are myriads of local petitions to be found in Google. Because many of us care about Life. 

By Angelina Cecchetto on 12th November 2016

Building houses with plastic bottles

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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F4I5Biksok

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:

All truly inspiring!

By Angelina Cecchetto on 7th October 2016

The Zero Waste Lifestyle: the right way forward!

 

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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!!

By Angelina Cecchetto on 22nd April 2016

12 steps to get healthier and help your environment

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!

By Angelina Cecchetto on 6th February 2016

Do we really know what we are eating?

 

Photography: ©2013 Angelina Cecchetto. All Rights Reserved.

Photography: ©2013 Angelina Cecchetto.
All Rights Reserved.

Do you think you know what you are eating? If you think you do, then think again!

For the last few weeks the media in Europe have been delighting themselves with a “horse meat” and a “fecal matter” scandal whereby horse meat was found in ready-made supposed to be “beef” lasagna and fecal matter was found in Ikea’s chocolate almond cakes. The whole of Europe got the hiccup about it. One of the issues here is the lack of transparency on the food labeling which should trace the origin of meat for instance but doesn’t.

Another recurring food industry related scandal revolves around Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and this is a big one! Do you know whether the corn you eat for breakfast in your cereals is GM or natural? Do you know if your milk you drink is rBST-free (recombinant bovine growth hormone) or not? Do you know if your soya milk is from GM beans?

If you don’t know it may be time to start asking yourself a few questions like I did! Interestingly, I found out that GMOs are present in over 80% of all processed foods! So, if you didn’t grow yourself the corn you eat for breakfast or the soybeans in your soya milk, then it is most probably genetically modified corn and soya you are eating or drinking!

Well, most of us don’t know and there is a reason for this. The people at the top of the agribusiness do not want people to know so they can sell more GMOs and increase their revenues. It sounds simplistic but that is what it comes down to. The top organization in the agribusiness is called Monsanto. It’s an American based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation which is the main producer in Genetically Engineered (GE) seeds and glyphosate herbicides (Roundup). Monsanto is extremely rich and powerful, so much so that it influences regulations on production and distribution of GE products with hefty strategically political contributions and lobbying, all of which are detailed in the very comprehensive Wikipedia article on Monsanto. A few interesting facts about the scandals attached to Monsanto:

In 1984 a group of people sued the corporation for “dioxin poisoning” after a train containing dioxin derailed. Although no direct harm was declared to occur, Monsanto got charged for not warning the public about dioxin’s harmfulness and toxicity. Dioxin is used in wood preservatives.

In 2002 documentation provided in a lawsuit showed that in Alabama the local Monsanto factory knowingly discharged both mercury and PCB-laden waste into local creeks for over 40 years.[1]

In 2003 Monsanto paid a $300 million settlement to the people in Alabama affected by the manufacturing and dumping of the toxic chemical polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)[2]

In 2004 Swiss Syngenta which is one of the largest agrichemical corporations sued Monsanto for coercive tactics to monopolize markets. [3]

In 2005, the US Department of Justice prosecuted Monsanto for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (15 U.S.C. § 78dd-1) and making false entries into its books and records. Monsanto admitted to it and to bribing Indonesian officials.

In 2006 the Correctional Tribunal of Carcassonne in France fined Monsanto for their knowledge of the presence of unauthorized GMOs in bags of seeds imported by Asgrow on 13 April 2000.

In England a government report showed that 67 chemicals, including Agent Orange derivatives, dioxins and PCBs exclusively made by Monsanto, were leaking from the Brofiscin quarry, near Groesfaen in Wales, the result of which was groundwater pollution there since the 1970s.[4]

There seems to be many more stories, cases and scandals involving Monsanto, going from Child Labor, Farmers Suicides, Industrial bio test laboratory tests falsification, scientific misconduct, fraud, corruption, unfair business practices, bio-piracy, false advertising, political contributions and lobbying in the US, the UK and Continental Europe. This being said, it would be logical to ask how do they keep going? I would be inclined to say precisely because they make money circulate. They pollute, people sue them, they pay. They bribe people, small and big and craftily win markets over.

Now these are the scandals behind the corporation but what about the products? Genetically Modified Organisms? Do you know the consequences of consuming GMOs? You don’t? How strange that we don’t know anything about a product which is in the food business since the 1970’s, i.e. over 40 years! Well in his article titled “GMO Scandal: The Long Term Effects of Genetically Modified Food on Humans” F. William Engdahl clearly states the reason why most of us don’t know the effects of GMOs consumption: “The GMO agribusiness companies like Monsanto, BASF, Pioneer, Syngenta and others prohibit independent research.”

In his book “Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation” F. William Engdahl explains how Washington and four agribusiness giants target world domination by controlling food production globally from crops to animals.

In his article “Unsafe Genetically Modified Food” Stephen Lendman highlights many GM food issues. In “Seeds of Deception” Jeffrey Smith highlights the dangers of untested and unregulated GM foods exposing consumers to potential health risks. Studies on rats fed GM potatoes showed they ended up with smaller livers, hearts, testicles, brains, damaged immune systems, and showed structural changes in their white blood cells making them more susceptible to infection and disease than other rats fed non-GM potatoes. They also had thymus and spleen damage, enlarged tissues, including the pancreas and intestines, liver atrophy, and other serious problems.

As Stephen Lendman rightly states, this could affect people too: “Humans may be harmed the same way because GMOs saturate our diet. Over 80% of all processed foods contain them as well as rice, corn, soybeans, soy products, vegetable oils, soft drinks, salad dressings, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat, and other animal products plus an array of hidden additives and ingredients in products like tomato sauce, ice cream and peanut butter.”

The situation is pretty serious I would say. People at the top of what I call the “agri-corporates” chain seem to be ready to put the world population in potential danger to quench their thirst for market domination.

Thankfully, people are now starting to become aware and initiatives are starting to find the right way forward but some deep structural changes need to happen to protect the consumers worldwide and protect the farmers and producers.

What can we do at our modest level? One of the things we need is adequate product labeling. Spread the word about food related issues and sign petitions for a clearer product labeling and more transparency in the food traceability in the food industry globally.

Here is a list of petitions that can make a difference:

To ban glyphosate: https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/eci-glyphosate-int 

FDA petition to label GMOs nears one million signature: http://www.naturalnews.com/035223_GMO_labeling_petition.html

Global petition against commercialization of GMO Maize in Mexico: http://www.etcgroup.org/content/sign-global-petition-against-commercialization-gmo-maize-mexico

For GMO Free Hawaii and GMO labeling:

http://www.causes.com/actions/1726703-petition-for-gmo-free-hawaii-and-gmo-labeling

For GMO food labeling in Argentina – Para una Ley de etiquetado de OGM o TRANGENICOS http://www.avaaz.org/es/petition/Exigimos_una_Ley_de_etiquetado_de_OGM_o_TRANSGENICOS_QUEREMOS_SABER_QUE_COMEMOS/?tmlGfeb

Dare to care and contribute to a positive change!

By Angelina Cecchetto on 31st May 2013

 

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

 

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

By Angelina Cecchetto on 17th April 2013 

Petitions: do they really work and how?

 

Photography: ©2013 Angelina Cecchetto. All Rights Reserved.

Photography: ©2013 Angelina Cecchetto. All Rights Reserved.

The straight answer to this question is yes, petitions do work!

Successful petitions put pressure on corporations, governments and other local authorities.

How? By helping information circulate in an unbiased way, petitions keep people informed of what is going on and help spread the word on particular aspects of information that may not be covered by the mainstream medias. The great thing about petitions and particularly about online petitioning or e-petitioning is that it makes it very easy for people to do something about a cause they may have at heart to defend and to force groups or institutions who may not want to hear to actually listen to people’s opinion.

How does the petition process work exactly? To create an e-petition it’s very simple; you can go on different online petition websites such as www.avaaz.org , www.care2.com , www.change.org  and many others. Should you want to find a petition site in your country, you just need to search for the petition in your own language in Google and you find many in your own language or related to your country. Before creating a petition, make sure that there is not one already existing which defends the same cause.

Some people think that signing e-petitions will not make any difference in the great scheme of things, well, they are simply wrong and I am going to give you some examples showing that in a couple of clicks and less than a minute people can make a positive difference in society. Of course, I am not talking about “all heroic happy-ending” unrealistic scenarios like “petitions-will-save-the-world” type of scenarios, I am saying that thanks to e-petitions, people can easily gather as a powerful group of individuals whose voices and opinions cannot be ignored by institutions.

In the UK for instance, when an e-petition reaches 100 000 signatures, the House of Commons Backbench Business Committee receives a notification from the Leader of the House of Commons (Parliament) about the petition which is then taken into consideration and discussed during the weekly hearing of MPs representations. MP’s have to make the case for the e-petition consideration.

Here are a few examples of successful outcomes thanks to e-petitions:

In December last year, thanks to a WWF[1] “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.

On March 8th 2013 the California Coastal Commission (CCC)[2] who heard people’s outcry and petitions 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 a prime example of how efficient petitioning helped towards life preservation of numerable cetaceans.

In his very comprehensive article “Slacktivism: Why Snopes got it Wrong About Internet Petitions”[3] Randy Paynter gives a few good examples of how petitions can make a positive difference like the striking story of independent journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee who were imprisoned in North Korea, charged with grave crimes against the state, and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor. As Randy Paynter relates, “Their friends and family created petitions on “Care2” to raise awareness and call on North Korea to free the women. Close to 90,000 people signed these petitions, helping to keep the story in the national spotlight for months and eventually former President Bill Clinton traveled to North Korea and negotiated Laura and Euna’s release”.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/slacktivism-why-snopes-got-it-wrong-about-internet-petitions.html#ixzz2PagpvGwg

I personally sign about 2 to 3 petitions a day on average because this is a great way to help causes and raise awareness about things that are happening in the world and that people may not know about, because people don’t necessarily have the time to get informed or simply because some issues receive very low mainstream media coverage. So, if like me, you care about justice and want to get involved, then, think about petitioning as a first easy step to make a positive difference!

To conclude, I will cite Margaret Mead’s famous words:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

To finish, here is a petition working towards Nature and Ocean Conservation which mainly pleads to ban non-biodegradable packaging for food which would help reducing the dramatic impact of plastic on nature and a whole array of animals and especially aquatic life. To sign it, please click here

 

Thank you for your contribution!

By Angelina Cecchetto on 7th April 2013

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

 

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) 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 “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:

To stop dolphins slaughtering in Japan, please click here

To nan non-biodegradable packaging for food, please click here

Thank you for caring about Life!

 By Angelina Cecchetto on 21st March 2013