Category: Environment (page 1 of 3)

Clean Water Plans for New Zealand?

Last week the Minister for the Environment put forward the Clean Water Plans for New Zealand.

What a joke that was!

The plan is to have 90% of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040.  That’s gone up by 10 years.  From my understanding it was going to be cleaning them up by 2030, but now, again, the goal posts have been shifted.
Well, Massey University freshwater ecologist Mike Joy says the Government is “trying to pull a swifty” with its new swimmable waterways plan.

You see it’s all about how much E-coli (and other stuff) is in the water.  This is how I understand it:

540 E.coli/100mls of water gives the swimmer a 1 in 20 chance of getting sick.  However,  the Ministry of Health recommendation is 260 E.coli/100mls of water and that’s what it used to be.  That would equate to 1 in 1000 chance of getting sick.

Big damn difference – again, shifting the goal posts.

read: Unswimmable Lagoon Now Swimmable

The problem is that the Government wants to intensify the dairy industry, meaning, more cows per herd and more dairy farms.  Although I have no idea why – with the downturn of dairy and the rise of plant milks, dairy is definitely on the way out (albeit slowly).

cows in river

The only good thing they announced was that all farmed waterways were to be fenced …. however, yes, there’s a ‘BUT’ to this. – doesn’t have to be done till 2040!!!!  How much damage can be done till then????
Besides with cows in paddocks, they’re still weeing and poohing and that eventually gets into the water table.

And one last thing he said?  Don’t go swimming if there’s been a decent amount of rain.  Instead of cleaning the water…..

“a big rainfall event that brings all the crap in.” – Nick Smith

If you want to find out more, head over to Stuff News “The New Swimmable Fresh Water Target”

If you’re interested to hear the Podcast interview with Dr Michael Joy (in two parts):
Episode One
Episode Two

What’s the water like in your neck of the woods?

Ciao
Fee



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Cameras In Slaughterhouses – Well Done France!

I heard today that France has passed a bill that there are to be cameras in all their slaughterhouses.

Which got me remembering all the other things that France has done.  So I have made a list (as I do).

  1. They have introduced incentives to embed sustainability into French urban planning.
  2. They are encouraging  alternatives to conventional means of transportation such as self-service bike rental stations and car sharing.  They are also encouraging the use and maintenance of hybrid and electric vehicles as well as the necessary infrastructure to power them.
  3. France became the 1st country to totally ban Neonicotinoids – the bee-killing component in pesticides.  This measure goes above and beyond the E.U. ban put in place in 2013.  The German company Bayer is not happy and, in fact, has a lawsuit pending against the E.U. Learn more  It’s almost like France has put up its middle finger to Bayer.
  4. France is the first country to ban plastic cups and plates and utensils –  French law will require all disposable tableware to be made from 50% biologically-sourced materials. read more.   And on the subject of plastic, they have also banned the common plastic bag – that’s the smaller and thinner type used in supermarkets.  They will still have plastic bags, but they must be reusable ones which should cut down the numbers.
    You know those little plastic bags you put the veggies/fruit in? well they’ve been phased out as of the start of this year (2017) The law also currently plans to have domestically compostable bags which should replace plastic fruit and vegetable bags too.  Did you know:  An average plastic bag takes one second to make, is used for roughly 20 minutes and takes up to 400 years to degrade naturally.
  5. Food – The have become the world’s first country to ban supermarket waste and compel large retailers to donate unsold food.  Let’s face it – there’s heaps of places that will take donated food, not just the homeless shelters – what about schools, orphanages, old folk homes .
  6. All the new buildings in commercial zones must now comply and have green roofs – that is to say the rooftops must be partially covered in plants or solar panels by law.
  7. And now – the cameras in slaughterhouses.  Although France’s history of animal welfare is lacking compare to other countries, at least this is a real start.  It did come about by the release of hidden video as well as a fair amount of protesting.  Read more  To top this off a coalition of 26 French animal protection associations have combined to make sure that animal welfare is on the political agenda for the next presidential and legislative elections.

Our animals and our planet need us to get behind countries that are actually doing something.  Yes we need the “something” to be way more than what’s being done, and way faster, but, being the realist I am, I’m grateful for small wins.

Speaking about the environment – The EU, those pesky bureaucrats in Brussels who care for the environment, are putting all countries under pressure to reduce the consumption of plastic bags.  Wish the same could be said for here Down Under!!!

Love food, be kind to animals (including humans)
and, remember, for every $ you spend you shape our world.

Ciao
Fee

 

The Wins Of 2016

Looking back on 2016 … it wasn’t too bad a year and we did have some wins.

There were some wonderful moments for the animals such as a group of little ducklings were saved by awesome firemen after they fell down a grate.  Mumma duck was sooooo thrilled to have her babies back.  And, firemen rescued swans from freezing on ice, not just once, but three times.

However, I want to look back on some of the “wins” that didn’t necessarily make the “headlines” but will make life a little easier on those animals who are constantly abused – that is: animals used for human purposes.  So here’s my top 12:

Let’s begin with a statistic I think shows why many people are turning to a plant based way of eating.

  1. 94% of Americans believe it’s important that animals used for food aren’t abused.  The way the industry is with factory farming, this is a good sign that people are starting to become aware.
  2. In New Zealand battery cages are to be phased out by 2022, a great “win”.  Unfortunately the egg industry managed to still have the cages by convincing the government to legalize the colony cage … still a cage, will be able to put more birds in – the campaign continues.
  3. Around the world many groceries, restaurants and even fast food outlets no longer support caged eggs.  In New Zealand, McDonalds announced its switch to only free range eggs in all outlets in 2017.  Many others committed to a particular date.
  4. In Australia the Woolworths supermarket chain went cage free and in N.Z. a campaign was launched for Countdown to do the same … Countdown is a subsidery of the above mentioned Woolworths.
  5. In North America the “Right to Farm” is a law that was brought in to deny nuisance lawsuits against farmers who use accepted and standard farming practices.  Well, the U.S. Humane Society along with other organizations set out to expose this law for what it really is : allowing farmers to use reprehensible measures like extreme confinement, mutilation with painkillers etc.  They were able to stop this Right to Farm measures from being introduced into some State legislatures.  Still a lot of work to be done.
  6. The Blackfish Bill was passed banning SeaWorld and other corporations from imprisioning Orcas for profit.  SeaWorld also announced that it would no longer have the Orca breeding program.  I believe that the movie “Blackfish” has had a huge role in getting both these “wins”.
  7. France became the 1st country to totally ban Neonicotinoids – the bee-killing component in pesticides.  This measure goes above and beyond the E.U. ban put in place in 2013.  The German company Bayer is not happy and, in fact, has a lawsuit pending against the E.U. Learn more  It’s almost like France has put up its middle finger to Bayer.
  8. And on the subject of bees, Canada is also trying to put in place a ban however, again Bayer has their lobbying hat on tight and the pressure is on.  You can help by signing the petition: Save The Bees
  9. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ended their elephant performances and took the elephants off the road in response to growing public concern over how the animals are treated.
  10. The number of  Tigers, Pandas and Manatees all increased quite substantially which, if this keeps going, these animals will be able to come off the endangered list
  11. On another note – the environment … 40,000 New Zealanders, who opposed the secret giveaway of community water resources, celebrated when The Ashburton District Council backed out of negotiations with NZ Pure Blue – a deal that would have allowed the corporation to extract billions of litres of waters from the aquifers beneath the town.  The message was loud and clear – the last thing the community needs is a bottled-water company sucking the town dry for profit, especially in a drought-prone region.  Mind you, this applies everywhere – as is being witnessed currently in U.S.A. with the town of Flint as well as the Dakota Pipe Line.
  12. This was a story that absolutely delighted me.
    The Australian mining company, OceanaGold, had a contract to build a massive gold mine in Cabanas, a country in El Salvador.
    Now this would have used the last remaining water source, so the country of Cabanas refused to issue permits.
    OceanaGold filed a lawsuit against El Salavdor.  However, because of worldwide people power, the lawsuit was dismissed.  But wait, there’s a bit of icing on this cake – OceanaGold had to pay El Salvador compensation and cover their court costs.

So I’ll end this post on that absolutely corker win … showing that the little guy can take on the giant.

You’ll be able to find lots of other stories on the internet, but these ones were either close to my heart, or a little different to the usual.

All my heartfelt thanks for supporting me with my journey this year.  May your 2017 be blessed for you and your family and may we have many more “wins” so we can ease the suffering of the many animals who endure so much for us.

Have wonderful wholefoods and enjoy life.

Ciao
Fee



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Stop With The Big Corp Bullying! Save The Bees

We really do have to save the bees.  And I’m over the big corp bullying.

It came to my attention yesterday that the chemical corporation, Bayer (Bayer is the German version of Monsanto … more about this corp below), is suing Europe!  The European Commision to be exact. – Because –

Back in 2013 scientific studies concluded that the pesticides with Neonicotinoids in them definitely killed bees.  So the E.U. banned three pesticides.  Now, Bayer want to be overturn that decision so they can start selling this stuff again.

I do find it rather ironic that this is coming now when Bayer is about to acquire Monsanto, the other big chemical giant.  If this happens, then Bayer will have world dominance over the seed production.

Stick with me here ……

Bayer produces seeds which have Neonicotinoids over them.  Now that means, once they are planted this chemical spreads throughout the plant and kills any insect that happens to come along to have a wee snack …. including bees which are there for the pollen.

big corp bullying

The plants are also unable to re-generate meaning that the farmer must get new seeds each planting time (my understanding is that is under the GMO part of seed raising) – I am actually going somewhere here.

  1. So Bayer takes over Monsanto.
  2. Bayer produces seeds that kills bees.
  3. Bayer produces GMO plants that can’t re-generate.

My little brain equates that to ….

Bayer wants total world domination of the food supply.

Do you agree?  Would love to see your views in the comments below.

Either way, it would be excellent if you would take a minute to sign the petition just click:

SAVE THE BEES

save the bees

Thanks

Ciao
Fee




Is It A Human’s Right To Have Water?

Do you believe that every human being has a right to have water … for free?

Back in 2013 Peter Brabeck the Chairman of the Board of Nestlé upset the world when he began pushing for the privatization and control of water across the world.  He created such a furor that he back-tracked his initial statement and gave his reasons.

Before I go in to what those reasons were, let me say that Nestlé wanted to take control to the extent that in 2000 at the World Water Forum they successfully lobbied to

stop water being declared the universal right of every person. 

Since then they have been pushing for control.

Already water is being pumped out by the millions of gallons, put into plastic bottles which is then sold to a gullible public to the point that it has become almost a status symbol of the wealthy.

Will it end up that just the wealthy will be able to afford clean water?

Peter Brabeck’s argument is that if the water is owned, then it is the responsibility of the owner to make sure that it is clean.  He believes that as water remains “free”  it is “wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed” it is abused and polluted making it undrinkable in its natural state.  And, if we’re not careful, the water will become so polluted that the citizens will not be able to use it in any way at all.

You have to admit that he has a point – take the town of Flint in USA as a classic example of water being polluted so badly it can’t be used.

Geez, even N.Z. is well on the way to having a drinking water problem as over 70% of all waterways are so badly polluted they are deemed to be toxic. Also, according to NZ ecologist Russell Death, “We have the highest level of many of these waterborne gastrointestinal diseases in the OECD.” – that’s just insane for a country that tells the world we are clean and green.

However, I certainly am NOT in favour of privatizing water …. not one little bit.  In fact I’d like to see companies who bottle water for the supermarket shelves to either stop doing it or replace the plastic with recyclable glass!!!!

Because there’s the other problem to “private water” ….

Plastic is the bane of the modern world and it is time we face up to the fact that we just have to STOP using it.

All of this has been prompted by a petition to:

Tell Nestlé that human’s have a right to water.
Stop locking up our resources!

You can sign the petition here ….. Tell Nestlé

I’d be very interested to read what you think about this … please feel free to scroll down and use the comments section below.

Ciao
Fee

Stop The Food Waste!

France has done it again, this time the supermarkets have been told to stop food waste.

It is now illegal for French supermarkets to throw out good food in a bid to stop the huge food waste that goes on.

It’s not the first time France has come up with environmental and social laws.

Last year the French govt came out with a law that all new buildings in commercial zones must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels. How amazing is that?

The beauty of green roofs is that they have an isolating effect, help to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat the building in winter and cool it off in the summer.  Not only the good stuff like that but it also gives birds a place to nest!

Now the French Government have made a new law.  Supermarkets are not longer allowed to throw away good food.  The supermarkets must now donate their unsold food to charities.

See, grassroots campaigns can win, because that’s how this all started. French shoppers, anti-poverty campaigners and those opposed to food waste all came together to get this bill passed in their parliament.

Why doesn’t that happen here?  Are we too apathetic?  Do we just not care?  or is it a case of the majority of us are simply trying to get through each day making enough to pay the bills, buy food and trying to better our lives?

Of course, for France, the campaigners want to take this idea even further, past the supermarkets and into the restaurants, bakeries and even school and company canteens.

Poor little NZ – we’re way behind the 8 ball, gosh we can’t even ban the plastic bag and just get deeper into the mire and muck and further away from the clean and green.

Will anything change for us?  I certainly hope so, and quickly!

Ciao
Fee




Recycling At it’s Best

Well done Sweden! It looks like this country is going to step up and make a difference when it comes to how it deals with the old and worn out.

I read the other day that Sweden is going to set up incentives in the way of reduces taxes to those who go into business and re-purpose or fix anything that is broken.  This could be ANYTHING – from washing machines to torn jeans, Bikes to shoes.  If you set up a business that fixes and recycles an item and then sell it, you will get a tax cut.

Not only is this going to help the matter of “what to do with…” it will also create jobs.  I’m thinking what an awesome idea this is and one that N.Z. should adopt. (fall off chair laughing) – seriously, this would really help to stimulate the economy here in N.Z. (am now coughing I’m laughing so hard)

Can you really see any Government in N.Z. – even in Australia or USA doing something like this?  Geez, we can’t even clean up our used tyre industry.
(tyre = tire for my USA friends)

Tyres are allowed to be dumped all over the place, even set on fire polluting the air with toxic fumes.  Did you know there is over 7 litres (2 gallons), of petroleum and oil in one tyre alone not to mention the numerous chemicals including chlorine, styrene, butadiene and more than 20 different heavy metals.

Now let me quickly say, that burning tyres is illegal in N.Z. not that it stops some.

There are literally thousands of ways to recycle tyres from creating chairs to using them in the building industry.  They can be used for courts or shoes and in some countries some are actually burned for their fuel value.

But, getting back to Sweden and how we could be doing the exact same thing.  However, it’s really not likely to happen – why should we “fix” broken things when we can easily buy cheaper stuff from China to appease our consumeristic habits.

Ciao
Fee

Source: The Guardian

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Take a Stand Against Plastic.

Yes I know, you just love those supermarket plastic bags ‘cause then you can use them to line your rubbish bins can’t you.

Of course you also have a black bin liner in the big bin too and you go ahead and put in the smaller, rubbish filled supermarket plastic bags into the larger black bin liner so they can all go to the land fill.

I’m not picking at you, hell no, I’ve been known to line the household rubbish bin with the plastic bag, and when looking after a dog – yup, picking up the doggy-do with one as well.
But I do try to limit the amount of plastic I do use – or recycle as much as I can.  Even been known to re-purpose and give the plastic a new meaning in life.

I do use canvas bags at the supermarket … I find them easier to carry anyway, and the ones I have are a decent size.  Inside one of them I have plastic bags e.g. bread bags or nut bags that I have previously used.  I soon learned that the bar code needs to be removed, so there’s a sticker over them.  Otherwise you get charged for a loaf of bread instead of a head of broccoli or a couple of onions.  Hopefully the last sentence tells you that I use these bags for for veggies/fruit (buying loose where-ever possible).  As for the nuts – well, I’m not that organized to be able to put the right nuts into the right bags therefore the bags have a few product numbers crossed out and the new one put on.

Having a stainless steel water bottle instead of a plastic one means I can put it through the dishwasher on occasions to get it sterilized …. I’m waiting for the day the supermarkets provide water stations where you put in 50c and you can fill your bottle with filtered water.  Will I be waiting a while for that to happen????  Going to the States too often shows me what can be done.

Don’t use any facial product that has microbeads and use a bar of soap instead of bottled free-flow.

Would like to say that I make my own products as in cleaners, toothpaste, shampoos etc, but sadly, no.  However, I seldom buy frozen foods, go more with cans and when I do freeze it’s in plastic storage boxes that I’ve got at the op shop, thoroughly washed and giving it another life.  Use glass where I can and cover food in the fridge with those little doilies that you can also get at the op-shop for next to nothing.

My mother did without plastic.  I remember she had a basket and a string bag to go shopping with.  Everything came in paper bags even the meat was wrapped in paper.  She bottled (or canned for my American readers), all the excess fruit and veggies.  We had everything from pickled onions to preserved eggs, spaghetti to salted meats, not to mention the bottles of peaches, apples, feijoas, plums etc and the cakes and biscuits.  We were lucky to have a walk through pantry – yup I said “walk through”.  That pantry was “heaven”!

It’s quite sad that we are all in such a hurry.  “Convenience” has taken over, meaning that we’d rather grab a new plastic bag for the head of broccoli than wash out a used bread (e.g.) bag and put it back into our canvas shopping bag.

Let’s be real, the politicians are not going to ban the plastic bag because it would upset too many people (probably including their own families).  I will give kudos to those companies that charge for the plastic bags, but perhaps they could go one step further and offer a small discount if you bring your own recycled ones.

And, yes, I know there are countries who have actually banned the plastic bag … I just wish more would follow suit it would make a huge difference to our planet.

Do you do something different that helps the environment?
Your comments will be appreciated.

Ciao
Fee

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Health of the Oceans.

under the oceanI sincerely hope you read this. This is positive and gives me hope for the future.

I happen to see a heading on the Internet the other day –  “5 reasons it might be OK to be optimistic about our oceans” and, because I usually end up shaking my head and swearing at the ninnies who continue to pollute and destroy our planet, this title made me click through and read the article.

Now it’s early days, but it looks like the oceans just may come back from the brink of destruction where they were heading.  Of course, we really do have to do something about the plastic.  Which segues nicely into what I’d like to say about plastic

There was no plastic when I was growing up.  Of course plastic had already been invented.  The original in 1907 being Bakelite made from combining formaldehyde and phenol.  But plastic as we know it today wasn’t around in such mass – e.g. plastic bags, plastic wrap, bottles, storage and all the disposables e.g. cups, utensils etc that are such common place.

Now I’m really not THAT old – didn’t you know that the 60s are the new 40s – (yes I’ve taken 20 years off instead of 10 … sue me!)

The Great Pacific Garbage PatchSo the pollution of the plastics in the ocean started in the 1970’s and still continues today.  You only need to look at The Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is a soupy collection of marine debris – yup, mostly plastics.  These garbage patches (which are elsewhere besides the Pacific) are almost like floating islands.  So if we could only clean these up, which, I might add, there are some amazing inventions out there that need to get the funding and get put in place and all will be good.

But, getting back to the article.  Countries have actually taken the ocean’s health on board and are doing something about it.  It appears that 13% of oceans saw a decrease in human impact between 2008 and 2013 …. and … Ocean health improved 1% in the last year.  Apparently there was an International Agreement in 2010 that challenged countries to protect 10% or their land and 10% of their oceans.

Just look at what Obama did – In 2014 he created 490,000 square miles of protected ocean around US islands in the Pacific then in 2015 David Cameron ( the British PM back then) created the largest contiguous ocean reserve around the UK’s Pitcairn Islands in the southern Pacific — 322,000 square miles of ocean safe from seafloor mining and commercial fishing.

Then, go figure, N.Z. created a sanctuary around the Kermadec Islands spanning 620,000 sq km.  Obviously Simon Bridges had nothing to do with it seeing as how he allowed mining in the dolphin sanctuary!

But, all this leads me to think, maybe there’s a world “I can do better” going on – even Mozambique has gone up a 8 points in the Ocean Health Index – a point scoring system.

If you want to read the full article the truck on over to:  Ideas.ted.com

It certainly brightened my day.

Ciao
Fee




What Do You Put Your Energy Into?

vegetarian foodI know I say that I am “vegan”, but in actual fact I’m more vegetarian than vegan.

But if I say that then the assumption is that I eat dairy and eggs.  By definition a vegetarian only eats plant foods, no animal products at all.  Think about it – the word itself should give you a clue – vege-tarian …. vege as in vegetables – I don’t see “dairy” or “egg” anywhere in that word at all.

The problem is that the food industry have cosy-ied up to the corporations and have indoctrinated the public into believing that a vegetarian is someone who eats plant foods, dairy products and eggs, hence the animal food industry still is able to make money from this ever growing portion of the public.

Even the medical fraternity is on board with this, by declaring that one must have dairy in order to get the right supply of calcium – Doctors, who have never had a decent lesson in nutrition at all.

The word “vegan” is taken from the first three and last two letters of the word vegetarian.  Being vegan is a lifestyle. One that is totally devoid of animal products.  For example not wearing leather.

So even though I say I am vegan, my reason for eating a plant based diet is first and foremost, the environment.  Yes I abhor animal exploitation in any form and I do choose products I know have no animal content nor have they been tested on animals.

But, because my number one reason is the environment, I do recycle.  Which means I do visit op-shops (thrift stores for my American friends), and I do purchase leather items.  The reason is that leather is one of the hardest things to break down, and then, when it does, it is so full of chemicals that it contaminates the ground.

This is where I come into odds with Vegans.  Vegans don’t wear leather at all as their argument is, (and I have to concede they have a point), it doesn’t matter if you have recycled it, wearing it still says to the world that you condone the use of leather.

EnvironmentWhat a quandary.  But in a round-about way this brings me to the title of this post.  If you try and take on too much … it just messes with your head!  Well, it does with mine.  So out of all the BIG issues – environment, animal welfare, poverty, world hunger, world peace etc etc etc
I have chosen Environment.  My reason? Simple logic – if we don’t have an environment, we don’t have anything else.

I’ve just spent 5 weeks in the home at Papamoa and in that time I only needed to put the rubbish out once which was on the last day…and even then the bag was not full.  The home I was in had a compost (in fact had both normal and worm farm types), had the recycle buckets for glass, plastic, paper and cans and the rest went into the council bag to be put out on the curb.

I’m also very realistic.  I am fully aware that here in N.Z. our recycling efforts (paper, plastic, glass etc), are just a token gesture, most of the stuff goes to landfill or gets shipped offshore.  We actually have a poor record of encouraging the recycling industry.  But that is something I really don’t have control over.  What I do have control of is what I can personally do for the environment.

Like:

  • I use plastic bags (like bread bags) as often as I can … these odd plastic bags come with me to the supermarket and I put the fruit/veggies into them rather than get a new one.
  • The bags for nuts I’ve recycled so many times it’s hard to find the space to write the number on as there are so many numbers now crossed out.
  • Naturally I have the canvas/jute re-usuable bags.  Lucky for me I bought several of them in America, they’re big and sturdy and go through the wash like a pro.
  • I compost where I can, use a garbage disposal unit (the one in a sink) or boil up my peelings which I freeze to use as stock/soup.

I don’t like to label myself an Environmentalist, nor a “Greenie” – I think those titles are reserved for the more wealthy who are able to go the whole hog, and the only reason I say I’m a vegan is so my food choice is understood in this warped society.  I just live the best way I know how and try to “do my bit” for the environment that I am currently living in.

What do you put your energy into?

Ciao
Fee



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