Archive for Environmental Justice

Working for a Better Environment

Pollution is the main cause for the negative impacts in the environment and this affects many people living in California.

Fortunately, there are organizations that help to reduce and prevent pollution issues especially in areas where pollution is concentrated the most. Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) is an organization, which focuses on many kinds of environmental issues that affect color and working class communities in California.

CBE was initially formed in Chicago during the Environmental Movements of the 1970s. The time period of the Envionmental Movement was a very significant time period in the United States history. At the time, millions of Americans decided to participate in the first Earth Day week of April 16th  through the 22nd  in 1970, because they were concerned about the environmental problems that was affecting their health.

If you would like to become involve in project having to do with helping out the environment, you can visit : CBE

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Reduce Food Waste

– Cindy Medrano

Many of us unconsciously throw away food we do not finish. Whether we served too much food on our plates from a home cooked meal or the food from a restaurant, we simply don’t pay attention to the amount we throw away. Regardless of the situation, food is going to waste.

People are unaware that it takes so much to produce the food we buy from supermarkets or local farmer markets. Food is being shipped half way around the world; land is cleared to grow crops and various fertilizers are used to produce those crops.

When food is thrown away, it rots which produces chemicals such as methane. Methane is a fuel gas. It is a colorless, odorless flammable gas that is the main contributor of natural gases. Methane is a green house gas that remains on earth for approximately 9-15 years!

The 7 most practical ways to help reduce food waste are as follows:

  1. Cook from first principles
  2. Avoid “Ready” foods whenever possible.
  3. Learn to preserve food
  4. Grow your own food
  5. Pay attention to “best before” dates on labels
  6. Build a compost heap
  7. Get involved in a local food sharing initiative

By reducing the amount of food we waste, we are not only helping the environment but our personal pocket as well.

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Reduce Junk Mail

– Cindy Medrano

As Americans, we are all accustomed in receiving junk mail on a daily basis. Every time we check our mail we see junk mail at least once or twice a week. However, did you know that is you saved up all the unwanted junk for one year, it is equivalent to one and a half trees, which adds up to 100 million trees every year in just the United States! Just receiving junk in a single day alone can produce enough energy to heat a quarter of a million homes.

Fact: 44 percent of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only half that much junk mail (22 percent) is recycled.

If you think receiving junk mail is a nuisance, there are many ways you can limit the amount of junk mail you receive.

One of the many options to reduce junk mail is by writing to different marketing associations, depending on where you reside, to be removed from the lists and stop unwanted mail. By doing so, junk mail intake decreases by 75%. There are various sites in which an individual can “opt-out” of receiving unwanted mail. All they have to do is type up an email s or write a letter stating to be removed from the mailing list. Websites such as:  OptOutPreScreen.com, stopthejunkmail.com or unsubscribe.com , can all be used to reduce unwanted mail and other intrusions, like spam in your email to telemarketing calls.

Most importantly, it is common sense that one should not forget to recycle junk mail! There are about 5.6 million tons of types of catalogs and direct mail advertisements that end up in the U. S landfills, NOT recycled!

It is a matter of everyone doing their part and recycling to reduce the tons of waste the builds up on landfills.

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Breathing Dirty In California

Do you live in California? Did you know that residents in California cities breath in the worst air? The Golden State currently has the most cities with the worst air pollution.

According to a report by HealthDay News, CA topped the list of U.S. cities with the worst air pollution. A study on air quality was conducted by American Lung Association.

They also found that 48% of Americans live where smog is too high, 20% live where there are short-term spikes of pollution, and 6% live where there is harmful, year-round soot.

But wait. There’s more. The article reports that about 17 million Americans affected by three types of hazardous pollution. Exposure to pollution can lead to low birth weights, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. (Those were just some on the list).

How do you think Californians can help decrease air pollution?
To learn more, visit the California Environmental Protection Agency website.

Air pollution in Los Angeles. A layer of smog hovers over the city.

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Deforestation Encouraged By Demand For Gold, Other Materials

In Peru, the demand for gold has resulted in illegal and destructive mining that in turn, has increased deforestation in the Madre de Dios region.

According to Mongabay.com, an environmental science and conservation news site, the loss of forests in Peru is only the beginning. Mining has detrimental effects such as an increase of mercury which contaminates the air and soil.

In addition, according to the article, social problems like drug trafficking, indentured labor, and child prostitution, have arisen from the illegal gold trade.

But Peru is not the only country facing this issue. Three years ago, officials in Tibet planned to ban gold mining to protect the environment.

According to an article by the Associated Press, many parts of China are polluted and water supplies are contaminated because of illegal mining. In parts of Tibet, water is used as a source for China.

What will the push for gold and other precious materials eventually cost us?
Deforestation in Peru. Photo by Mongabay.com

To learn 5 ways you can help stop deforestation, read the article by Mother Nature Network.

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Earth Day 2011

This year, Earth Day landed on April 22nd and provided people opportunities to take action and participate in helping to preserve the planet.

Earth Day Network gave people the opportunity to register and pledge an act of green for their “A Billion Acts of Green” campaign on their website. EDN is trying to prove that real change can occur if millions of people commit to their actions. So far, a little over a million people have made a pledge.

“Our family will use less water, plant a tree and grow a food garden,” “I pledge to use less styrofoam, as well as recycle all paper and plastic products…,” and “I will bring my own reusable shopping bags to the store,” are all examples of pledges people have proposed.

Pledges range by topic from advocacy, energy, transportation, and water. EDN’s reasoning behind this campaign helps raise awareness on the way we treat our planet. It is true, also, that if millions commit to their actions, then maybe a big difference can be made. What do you pledge?

Earth Day photo from space. Photo from National Geographic.

To learn more about Earth Day or how to make a contribution, visit Earth Day Network.

To view more photos of Earth Day, visit National Geographic.

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Plight of The Honey Bees

Without honey bees, many of the fruits and vegetables we consume would not be pollinated. If they aren’t pollinated, we simply can’t enjoy them and we would lose the majority of our food supply that feeds the world’s growing population.

But honey bees are disappearing. What in the environment is causing this to happen? Could it be pesticides? Global Warming?

According to an article by Associated Press, scientists believe that pesticides, disappearing habitats, wet weather, and a particular parasite are to blame.

In addition, United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, has estimated that 70 species of bees pollinate 100 crop species that provides 90 percent of the world’s food.

UNEP also warns that if honey bees aren’t protected, their decline will continue to rise.

There remains hope however, that honey bee populations can be conserved and restored. For example, farmers and landowners are being provided incentives to help restore them.

In addition, popular ice cream makers, Haagen Daz has created a site where people can learn more information on helping save the honey bee population. On their interactive website, www.helpthehoneybees.com, Haagen Daz provides information on the honey bee crisis, what they are doing to help, and how you can help.

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