The problem There is a significant amount of evidence detailing that the way we are treating our planet today is not sustainable, and should we continue, the risk is that the Earth and human race, will not exist in generations to come. The most recent studies tell us that if our behaviours continue, over one million animal and plant species will be extinct within just 50 years. Yup. 50 years. These behaviours relate largely to land pollution and air pollution as well as the destruction of natural habitat. There is evidence that these factors, thanks to human activity, have resulted in the Earth’s climate warming, due to the emission of greenhouse gases. Alarmingly, 7 million people die, every year, as a result of air pollution.
Waste is a huge culprit here – plastic and organic waste are significant players in the decline of our planet, as is recyclable waste that doesn’t actually get recycled.
Here’s some information about plastic that should make you gasp: - Plastic use has been increasing year on year since the 1950’s, with the amount produced roughly doubling every 15 years; from 2.3 million tonnes in 1950, it grew to 448 million tonnes by 2015 (Read the full article here) - Over 75% of plastic produced has become waste (Read the full article here) - Consistently, studies show that less than 10% of plastic made, gets recycled - Due to minimal recycling, most of the plastic waste will, at some point, end up in our oceans.
In relation to organicwaste, in Australia, OzHarvest tells us that it is estimated over 5 million tonnes of food ends up as landfill every year. Food waste, when in landfill, produces methane, a gas which is contributing to air pollution, and the existing global warming problem.
Another giant culprit of environmental destruction is agriculture. Facts: - The livestock industry is responsible for more global warming than all planes, trains and automobiles in the world combined (Read more here) - Australia alone, produces over 2 million tonnes of beef and veal, annually which is the equivalent, in greenhouse gas emissions, as driving in a large family vehicle from the sun to Pluto, and back, almost 30 times! - 75% of fresh water use is in the agricultural industry: to produce just 1kg of beef, requires between 5,000-20,000 litres of water.
Reduce waste in general: decide if you really need it, before you buy it.
Recycle where possible: find out about recycling opportunities in your area.
Reuse: buy second hand or reuse items creatively.
Minimise the consumption of animal food products: aim to eat at least one plant based meal a day.