Even if you only have 5 minutes today, it’s not to late to join the 7347 events in 188 countries participating in the 350.org initiated 10-10-10 Global Work Party. I organized a party to pick up plastic (most of which will be water bottles and food containers, tossed from cars) along a watershed route. NextNowCollab partner Green World Campaign is, as usual, planting trees.
(The connection between trees and climate is well known; less when known is the connection between trash (including single-use disposable plastic) and climate. An Institute for Local Self-Reliance report I found a few years ago when looking to establish a connection is called “Stop Trashing The Climate” and presents evidence that, like planting trees, a zero waste approach is one of the fastest, cheapest and most effective strategies to protect the climate.)
If you don’t have time to pitch in today, consider a contribution that only takes moments, and be part of the 10-10-10 Global Work Party.
Here are two NNC collaborations to consider:
Five years ago, Marc Ian Barasch started the Green World Campaign (GWC) at his kitchen table with the seed of an idea: “green compassion” (www.compassionatelife.com ). Planting more trees, it seemed to him, was the most tangible and enduring way to help both people and planet.
Today, that kitchen table’s gone global. The GWC plants trees on three continents, restoring the ecology and economy of some of the world’s poorest places. In each of those places, they seek to apply the most holistic solutions–and the most innovative ones.
They’ve supported agro-forestry projects in Ethiopia to protect the ancient Menegasha Forest. In Mexico, they’ve helped Tlahuica villagers replant their ancestral oyamel forests. A project in India combines treeplanting with village sanitation. Reforestation in a Philippines conflict zone includes an income-generating cocoa crop. A new “complementary currency,” the Green World Credit, pays youths in Kenya to plant saplings. They’re collaborating with a leading satellite imaging company to develop new ways to monitor trees. Leading artists are devising interactive media to engage global citizens in the healing of our planet.
Marc’s recent appointment to a U.N. committee for the Year of Forests 2011 gives the GWC a larger forum.
What started as a seed has grown into a nascent global movement. It’s no exaggeration to say that trees can heal the world: Trees renew biodiversity; restore barren soil and improve crops; provide food and fuel; create moist microclimates and recharge watersheds. And every tree absorbs a ton of CO2 in its lifetime. 10-10-10 has been declared a day of climate change action. And planting trees, says Prof. John Holdren, chief White House science advisor, is “the best means currently known for removing CO2 from the atmosphere.”
Today the world is losing its trees at an unprecedented rate. The GWC is working tirelessly to reverse that trend. Even a small donation can make a tremendous difference in the lives of villagers subsisting on degraded land, or indigenous people protecting their forests, or youth groups eager to plant their future (and ours). You will help smallholder farmers provide food and shelter; make barren land fertile again; turn CO2 into O2; foster community and biodiversity.
This is sacred work: helping people to live in harmony with one another, and in ecological balance with Mother Earth. If you can’t plant trees today, you can still contribute to the 10-10-10 Global Work Party by clicking on Plant Trees Now.
Stop Trashing the Climate provides compelling evidence that preventing waste and expanding reuse is an effective strategy for combating climate change. The 2008 report documents the link between climate change and unsustainable patterns of consumption and waste. A useful report, but someone at NNC partner Plastic Pollution Coalition needs to talk to them about the negative realities of recycling, which they promote. And climate change isn’t all that would benefit from eliminating single-use plastic. From the PPC website:
Plastic is forever
Plastic is a material that the Earth cannot digest. Every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, except the small amount that has been incinerated, and has become toxic air and particulate pollution.
Plastic is poisoning our food chain
In the environment, plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller particles that attract toxic chemicals. These particles are ingested by wildlife on land and in the ocean, and contaminate our food chain.
Plastic affects human health
Harmful chemicals leached by plastics are already present in the bloodstream and tissues of almost every one of us, including newborns.
Single Use plastics and Disposable plastics are the main source of plastic pollution
Consumption of single use and disposable plastics has spiraled out of control. They are used for seconds, hours, or days, but their remains will last hundreds of years.
Recycling is not a sustainable solution
Unlike glass and metal, recycling plastic is costly and does not stem the production of virgin plastic product. Most of our plastic waste is landfilled, downcycled or exported to other countries.
The oceanic gyres
Patches of plastic pollution cover millions of square miles of ocean in the North Pacific and in the North Atlantic. Scientists expect to find similar accumulation areas in the remaining oceanic gyres. There is no known way to clean up the plastic pollution in the oceans: the plastic particles are very small and circulate throughout the entire water column. The amount of plastic pollution in the oceans is expanding at a catastrophic rate.
If you can’t pick up trash today, you can still contribute to the 10-10-10 Global Work Party by making a contribution.