And About Planet Earth …

Since there is no news, other than the coronavirus and watching the administration run around in circles like rabbits on drugs trying to cover the constant faux pas of the person in the Oval Office, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at some of the things … both positive and negative … being done in area of the environment.  First the good …

👍Thumbs up to Aldi …

The supermarket chain Aldi has put suppliers on notice that all products sold to Aldi must be packaged in 100% sustainable material by the year 2025.  Previously, back in 2018, Aldi committed to all Aldi-branded products being packaged in 100% sustainable material by 2022, and this move takes the initiative a step further. AldiAldi is further committing time and resources to tackling the unsustainability of grocery store packaging by preparing to join the ranks of grocery chains that offer a reuse and refill scheme that will allow customers to return to Aldi with containers previously purchased and refill them from dispensers.

Another area of Aldi operations that is getting a makeover is the plastic bag situation. Aldi already eliminated single-use plastic bags, with reusable produce bags offered in 250 stores, but they are now preparing to make the switch to this model across all 870 locations worldwide.  Kroger … Giant … Food Lion … Safeway?  You guys listening?

👍Thumbs up to Lithuania …

Who would have thought that Lithuania, a nation of just under 3 million people, would be the ones to come up with an innovative solution to one of the world’s biggest problems … plastic water bottles?

In two years, they already have a recycling rate for plastic packaging of 74%—the highest of any European country, and 44% higher than the EU average.  They also reached a milestone of 91.9% for all bottles and cans after the introduction of a deposit-refund scheme for plastic, aluminum, and glass food and beverage containers.

recycling-lithuaniaWhen the consumer buys a product packaged in a returnable recyclable container, they pay a €0.10 tax which is held in trust until the consumer returns the packaging to a special reverse-vending machine, whereupon the ten cents is repaid.

Any store that chooses to sell grocery items in designated recyclable containers are provided with reverse vending machines to place either inside the store or outdoors. Consumers are paid in vouchers that can be redeemed in store as cash or credit toward their shopping bill, which brings additional foot traffic into stores.recycling-machineOther countries, it turns out, have the recycling machines, such as Tesco in the UK, but Lithuania seems to have the highest success rate so far.  Not surprisingly, I have never seen such a machine here in the U.S. and find no evidence that they are in use here.  Get with the program, United States!

👍Thumbs up to renewable energy …

Check out our friend Keith’s post from ten days ago … he brings us the good news that the use of fossil fuels is declining significantly (despite Donald Trump’s best efforts) and renewable energy sources are on the rise!  Fossil Fuel Energy May Have Seen a Global Turning Point

And the not-so-good …

👎Thumbs down to Donald Trump & Co …

This nation’s biggest anti-environmental force is our own federal government.  The latest is that Trump has ordered the opening of Alaska’s 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest, the planet’s largest intact temperate rainforest — to logging and other corporate development projects, such as energy and mining ventures. TongassThe plan was first announced last summer, a time when the Amazon Rainforest was burning, and Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro was supporting extreme deforestation measures.  Trees are, quite frankly, the life of the planet, and without them most living things on Planet Earth will cease to exist.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled that the plan violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) because the agency did not take all of its potential impacts into account. Tongass-2Unfortunately, Trump & Co are likely to appeal this decision until it lands on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court, where we know the likely outcome.  I have heard Trump supporters say that “god put everything on earth for the pleasure of mankind” … well, I’ve got news for those who believe that:  trees are here to provide oxygen for all life on earth, to provide shelter, protection and food for certain wildlife.  They were definitely NOT put here so people can have new furniture every five years!

Well, that’s the latest in environmental news for now.  Some good things are happening, despite the best efforts of Trump and his gang to stop them.  Let’s hope we soon have a president who takes life on earth seriously.

37 thoughts on “And About Planet Earth …

    • As one friend told me a few months ago, god will replenish whatever man needs, so she’s not worried about clean air or potable water, for her god will make sure her needs are met. I wish I were going to be around to see the looks on their faces when they realize the truth about that.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. March 15, 2019 was the day that school children around the World held Climate Change strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg. This led to the students from 185 countries staging the World’s largest-ever protest on Climate Change when Greta was in New York on September 20, 2019. Covid-19 may slow the physically present protests down, but these young people are resilient and will persist by using other methods as Greta is already advocating. As you noted above, in this Age of Trump, the planet is in peril and is needing of protectors…the Supreme Court will most likely NOT be among them! A standing ovation to Lithuania and their recycling machines. In the USA recycling is floundering in many states and is in danger of being abandoned in many areas as the costs of doing so are rising. We need those machines everywhere…yesterday! Aldi deserves applause too. Plastic bags are and will continue to be banned in more places, as they should, and recyclable containers are a must. Thank-you!

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    • I didn’t realize it had been a year already! Let us hope they do find other ways to make their voices heard … the problem of climate change and the devastation of Planet Earth will not go away on its own … we need these young people today more than ever. I hope that within the next few years we see a worldwide, total ban on single use plastics of all sorts. Surely, with all the things scientists have invented, they can come up with a reasonable, affordable, sustainable alternative.

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  2. Thank you for sharing!.. Ii grew up on a farm in the 1940’s, 50’s and early 60’s and Dad would not use fertilizer, etc… he said” if I take care of the land, the land will take care of me”… irregardless of what anyone else does and though the effort may seem small, I make every attempt to help the environment and climate… I believe that if every one would do a little, a few would not have to do a lot… 🙂

    “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson

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    • Your dad was a very wise man! I share your thoughts on taking care of the planet. I was distressed last summer that very few birds or bees visited our tiny little flower garden, and I doubt this year will be any better. Nonetheless, we will plant bee-friendly flowers next month in hopes of doing a bit of good. Excellent quote!

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  3. Jill, thanks for including my post on the energy turning point. With less travel due to the coronavirus, the fossil fuel demise will hasten in comparison.

    I love the Aldi and Lithuania stories. We should celebrate and copy success. Yet, let me speak clearly to the religious comment that God put stuff on the earth to use. Two comments – that is an arrogant comment in and of itself. Humans are just one of many beings on the planet.

    The other is I have seen two separate panels of religious leaders from multiple faiths – Baptist, Catholic, Jewish, Islam, Hindu – one at the Sierra Club and one at a multifaith group called Mecklenburg Ministries. All religious leaders cited religious text to emphasize that God has told us to be good stewards of the earth. So, the next time any of us hear exploitive language, please remind them of this point.

    Thanks, Keith

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    • My pleasure, Keith! I had meant to re-blog that piece, but got sidetracked. The law of supply and demand has kicked in and the price of gas at the pump today is about half of what it was two weeks ago!

      Thanks for your take on the religious comment … I am always astounded by such comments, and sadly they often come from people I once thought of as friends. Your comeback is a good one.

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  4. Hello Jill. We use to recycle here. However we stopped after we noticed this year they are just taking the stuff we separated and dumping it in the same trash pick up container. The park has taken out the separate recyclable bins that use to be out in one area for people to do recycling themselves. Seems they don’t want to bother with recyclables. After China quit taken our used plastic there was no revenue to off set the costs, so most places simply stopped collecting them. Ron and I use reusable bags when ever possible. Hugs

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    • We used to have separate recyclable bins here in our apartment complex, but a couple of years ago they took them out. Too much trouble, I suppose. I’m thinking about getting up a petition to get them back, but I don’t know if enough people care to even be bothered. We can, of course, take them to recycling centers ourselves, but I don’t have adequate transportation to do so. Still … I may have to try.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Jill. I have thought of doing the same. There are issues with that as you say. However the real truth is anything we do as individuals and communities will not accomplish much. Yes a little, but it is the big polluters that are doing the harm. corporations and governments that can make or break this cycle. Yes for people it is a mind set that we need to get into and it helps, but it is the need to have corporations and governments to also have the mindset to help and improve the planet. Hugs

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        • ‘Tis true that our minor contributions are just that … minor, in the grand scheme of things. But, we have to start somewhere, and as one of my old bosses used to say, “Peanuts make elephants” (He was a nerdy accountant, what do you expect?) We do what we can, whether it’s write letters to members of Congress, or start a petition trying to get our neighbors enthused. Sigh. Hugs!

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      • Sigh. My friend, I do not drive my old van with nearly 300,000 miles on it any further than the 3-4 miles I could walk if it broke down and I had to walk home, for the transmission is on its last legs. I know, I am a lazy ol’ biddie, but … and I’m sorry. 😥

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        • I’m sure there are many recycling centres within a 4 mile radius of your home, but that is not my accusation, or my point. Keeping reusables out of the garbage piles/oceans is a necessity for the future of life on earth. Make it a community venture if necessary, find a good place to take your recyclables, and put them all together and get those who can to transport them. Work together, not individually. We have filled the world with our garbage for millennia, and only recently found the need and ability to stop adding to the shitpile. If we give up on recycling already, life is going to run out of places to live.
          I’m talking to everyone in the world here, including myself. We have to do better. Or we can commit genocide. OUR CHOICE!

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      • Hello Rawgod. Sorry hit send before I finished my thought. The problem I have is in many places even when they pretend to separate and pick up recyclables, they dump them in landfills any way so nothing is accomplished. I have to look into what they do with bottles, cans, and plastics here in Florida. For me to do what you do it has to be worth it environmentally. If they are simply going to dump them back in the regular trash which is what is happening here in our park, then what good is it. They have added one dumpster in the other side of the park labeled recyclables yet there is no separation of items, every thing is just thrown in together. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m sorry to hear that Scottie, surely not all recycling centres are like that.
          For starters, someone should be suing your park over such gross actions. Or at least you and your neighbors should be protesting.
          Good luck.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Hello Rawgod. I do not know how wide spread it is in the US but I know it was wide enough major news papers carried the stories. As for our park, Ron and I are a minority in wanting to do something about protecting the environment. There are some here I know but most could care. Our park is mostly older people from red states who retired here to Florida. In the last five years a lot of Canadians moved in and I think they are more proactive than the others that live here. I know they have gotten some real changes in the park for activities they want to do. A lot of them are from Quebec and I am not sure how they feel about recycling. Some are decent people who speak and say hello and others will just ignore you. Ron and I are no longer involved in much going on the park. Time will tell. Hugs

            Liked by 1 person

    • Please forgive my intrusion, but as a non-blogger I am unable to give your comment a “like” and it most certainly is deserving of one! As a dignified lady of a certain age, one might be surprised to learn that I know the word you used to describe Trump. I had only ever heard the word used once before and that was by my Son during a conversation about some atrocity perpetrated by Trump. I had to ask him what it meant and blushed at his response. Thank-you!

      Liked by 3 people

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