Plastic Waste, A Global Concern
Plastic Waste, A Global Concern
What is Plastic?
Plastic is a synthetic organic polymer made from petroleum. Plastic is ideally suited for a wide variety of applications. Packaging, building and construction, household and sports equipment, vehicles, electronics, and agriculture; the uses are endless. It is cheap, lightweight, strong and malleable. Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year. Half of plastic products are designed for single-use; such as shopping bags, cups, and straws. While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become addicted to single-use or disposable plastic — with severe environmental consequences.
Oil, Natural Gas and Coal
More than 99% of plastics are produced from chemicals derived from oil, natural gas, and coal — all of which are dirty, non-renewable resources. If current trends continue, by 2050 the plastic industry could account for 20% of the world’s total oil consumption.
We produce about 300 million tonnes (metric tons) of plastic waste each year. That’s nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. We’re seeing worrying trends. Since the 1950s, the rate of plastic production has grown faster than that of any other material. We’ve also seen a shift away from the production of durable plastic, and towards plastics that are meant to be thrown away after a single use. These single-use plastic products are everywhere. For many of us, they’ve become integral to our daily lives.
To create a backyard sanctuary you might want to start by hanging a bird feeder.
Create A Backyard Sanctuary
By D. S. Mitchell
Start With Bird Feeders
No matter how small your yard there are things that you can do that will turn your property into a wildlife sanctuary. With COVID-19 having many of us confined to our homes, it might be just the right time to get out in the yard and make a difference for a bevy of creatures. Biologists say habitat loss is the biggest threat to wildlife. Take some of your extra time and pent-up energy to build half a dozen bird feeders. If you are not good with hammer and nail, just order them on-line. One of the easiest things you can do is hang up bird feeders. Remember to place the feeders at different height levels, in different areas of the yard. Offer a variety of seeds in separate feeders. Don’t offer suet in warm weather.
Use Poisons Cautiously
Often people reach for rodenticides at the first signs of mouse activity, without thinking of the potential danger to wildlife. A California study found rat poison in 90% of mountain lions and 88% of bobcats, and 25 other animal species, including the endangered northern spotted owl and the San Joaquin kit fox. For wildlife friendly alternatives visit www.saferodentcontrol.org. Consider installing nesting boxes for barn owls. A family of barn owls can eat as many as 3,000 rodents a year. For information on the owl boxes please visit www.hungryowl.org.
Say No To Weedkillers
Stop using dangerous pesticides. Some stay in the soil for a decade. Weeds can be beautiful.
People need to expand their world vision. Amazingly, people take extreme measures to eat organic, yet go full-bore on weed killers. It is clearly time to say no to weed killers. Before buying young starter plants, seed packets and saplings, read the fine print, making sure you do not buy chemically pre-treated products. Make sure there are no neonicotinoids on labels. Half of the plants sold in the U.S. and Canada are treated with neonicotinoids before shipment to stores.
A Great Blue Heron just hanging out.
I have a friend who lives in a houseboat moored at Sauvie’s Island. Fortunate one. Sauvie’s Island is a beautiful rural island in a channel of the Columbia River. The rapidly gentrifying little farming enclave is just a few miles outside of Portland, Oregon. Blue Heron’s and other waterfowl can be seen just hanging out enjoying the day.