Luv My Planet


Some Good News for a Change

Posted in News by luvmyplanet on 14/01/2011

A huge victory in the fight against mountaintop removal mining (MTR) occurred yesterday, when the EPA vetoed what would have been a picture of destruction unlike anything West Virginia has experienced to date. The following is from an email that I received today from Friends of the Earth, one of the most progressive voices in environmental justice. As the excerpt correctly points out, this was the result of activism on the part of concerned citizens. It just goes to show that we should never stop lobbying to protect our planet.

The largest mountaintop removal project proposed to date in West Virginia, the Spruce No. 1 mine, was vetoed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This bold, science-based decision will save 2,278 acres of forest from destruction, prevent the burying of 7.5 miles of streams, and protect the health of Appalachian residents.

We wanted to make sure you heard about this victory because you helped make it possible.

Back in September, you sent messages urging President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to veto the Spruce mine — and end mountaintop removal altogether — in solidarity with citizens from across Appalachia and the nation who gathered in Washington, D.C. for Appalachia Rising, the largest ever mobilization to end mountaintop removal.

The EPA’s decision demonstrates what we can achieve when we work together.

Fun with Plarn

Posted in Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by luvmyplanet on 01/01/2011

As you may know by now, I never throw something in the regular trash if it can be repurposed or recycled. Therefore, for longer than I care to admit, I have been adrift in a sea of plastic bags from loaves of bread, packaging, etc. A few months ago, I discovered the phenomenon of plarn – that is, yarn made out of strands cut from plastic bags. (For a tutorial, visit MyRecycledBags.com.)

For a while, I was using plarn as a kind of thread to stitch together the chains I had made from granola bar wrappers to make purses, place mats, and tablecloths. Then, I came across a back issue of an old knitting magazine that included step-by-step instructions for the novice knitter. Before I knew it, I had mastered casting on, basic knitting, and purling – all with plarn. (Still mustering the courage to attempt binding off.)

I have no idea what my creation-in-progress is going to be. Because my plarn is a mix of old bread bags, produce bags, Christmas candy bags, and plastic pillows randomly linked together, the end result is going to lack any of the five design principles we learn about in art class. However, on a positive note, its media will not be breaking down in a landfill or waterway, poisoning wildlife and ground water.

An Important Reminder from TreeHugger.com

Posted in News by luvmyplanet on 27/12/2010

This Week’s Eco-News Roundup

Posted in News by luvmyplanet on 25/12/2010

Even those of us who follow healthy lifestyles fall ill every now and then, and this was my week of reckoning. This is what happened while was laid up on a diet of oranges and green tea:

Chromium-6 is Widespread in U.S Tap Water (via Environmental Working Group)

Related: EWG Finds Toxic Hex-Chrome in 31 Cities (via Environmental Working Group)

EPA Sets Timetable For Refineries, Power Plants to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions (via TruthOut)

WikiLeaks: US Ambassador Planned “Retaliation” Against France Over Ban on Monsanto Corn (via TruthOut)

Congress Bans Shark Finning (via Huffington Post)

Wilderness Rules: Obama Plans To Reverse Bush-Era Policy (via Huffington Post)

However, the news is not all good in the wilderness…
No Break for Polar Bears on Christmas: Habitat Sacrificed by New Offshore Oil Plan (via Tree Hugger)

…and the big weather stories of the week. Although the corporate media is too afraid to tie this to climate disruption, we know better. May our friends in California and Europe be safe!

State of Emergency Declared in Los Angeles (via Huffington Post)

Snow Paralyses Transport in Parts of Western Europe (via the BBC)

Latest Environmental Cables from WikiLeaks

Posted in News by luvmyplanet on 17/12/2010

While this one did not come as a surprise…

Guardian article:
“WikiLeaks Cables: BP Suffered Blowout on Azerbaijan Gas Platform”

Direct links to WikiLeaks documents:

this one did. When the Dalai Lama argues that Tibetan politics must take a backseat to the environment, you know the planet is in trouble.

What Bill McKibben Said!

Posted in News by luvmyplanet on 17/12/2010

First of all, my apologies. Yesterday’s post may have implied that there would be no more posts about COP16 on this blog, and I actually thought it would be for a while, at least. However, my daily digest from TruthOut links to a must-read by Bill McKibben. Here is an excerpt from his article (via Tom Dispatch):

As of January 2008, our best climatologists gave us a number for how much carbon in the atmosphere is too much. At concentrations above 350 parts per million (ppm), a NASA team insisted, we can’t have a planet “similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.” We’re already past that; we’re at 390 ppm. Which is why 2010 will be the warmest year on record, almost a degree Celsius above the planet’s natural average, according to federal researchers. Which is why the Arctic melted again this summer, and Russia caught fire, and Pakistan drowned.

So here’s the thing: Just as in Copenhagen, Obama’s delegation in Cancún has been arguing for an agreement that would limit atmospheric concentrations of CO2 to 450 parts per million, and the cuts they’ve been proposing might actually produce a world of about 550 parts per million.

Entire article

COP16: The Final Installment

Posted in News by luvmyplanet on 16/12/2010

On Monday, “Democracy Now!” broadcast a wrap-up of the COP16 convention in Cancún. I must say that I applaud Bolivian ambassador Pablo Solón for his being the sole representative to reject the deeply flawed accord. Of course, many in the “establishment” are claiming the 190-country agreement to be an “good start,” as argued by Andrew Light on Monday’s broadcast. However, there are plenty of reasons to smell a rat here.

First of all, nearly two weeks ago, WikiLeaks released two very telling documents regarding events at the Copenhagen convention last year. One details plans for developed countries to essentially bribe developing nations with aid to adapt to the effects of the climate crisis in exchange for signing on to an agreement with no binding language and terribly weak targets. Another notes the “need to neutralize, co-opt or marginalize” nations such as Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, whose leaders were being “unhelpful” in implementing an agreement. Are we to believe that no such underhandedness occurred in Cancún? Are we to believe that COP17 in Durbin, South Africa will be free of such dirty deals? Call me cynical, but…

Secondly, scientists are telling us that, if we have not already crossed the point of no return on runaway climate disruption, we are frighteningly close. In other words, perhaps a “good start” would have been acceptable 22 years ago. However, it is now too late. We need binding agreements, drastic cuts in greenhouse gases (based on 1990 levels), and real effort put forth by everyone — NOW.

“Democracy Now!” in Cancún

Posted in News,TV and Film by luvmyplanet on 13/12/2010

As promised in Tuesday’s post, here is the remainder of the coverage by “Democracy Now!” from Cancún:

Wednesday, December 8

Thursday, December 9

Friday, December 10

Green TV

Posted in TV and Film by luvmyplanet on 13/12/2010

With another winter storm bearing down on my neck of the woods, I am filling some of my downtime by watching reruns of several Canadian programs on IonLife. One thing that jumped out at me was the number of programs with some degree of a green theme. I have already mentioned “She’s Crafty,” which originally aired on HGTV Canada. A few minutes on the episode guide alone will inspire anyone who hates sending things to the landfill.

Another rather inspiring program focused on repurposing is the reality show “Junk Raiders.” In this series, a diverse team is given a budget of $5,000 (about $4,950 USD) to remodel a worn-down warehouse space into an upscale loft and office area. Two of the team members are seasoned “freecyclers,” who turn trash into treasure. Some of the ideas they come up with are enough to make anyone give a second thought to that old couch, car, or even shopping cart. In short, it’s one of the few reality programs that get a “thumbs-up” from me! If you don’t have access to IonLife, you can watch episodes at the link in this paragraph.

Also in the very small category of worthwhile reality TV is “The 100-Mile Challenge.” (I discovered this show before they took the “green” out of Planet Green.) It’s based on the book The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon. In the series, the authors recruit volunteers in a town in British Columbia to follow a diet sourced from a 100-mile radius for roughly three months. At first, the participants — and the viewer — have their eyes opened to just how challenging such a plan can be. Where, for instance, would a Canadian coffee drinker get his or her morning java? It’s really enlightening to see how the participants think their way out of such predicaments. One coffee drinker learns how to make a coffee-like beverage from a local patch of chicory. A teenage girl with an addiction to sugar develops a love for locally produced honey. To see the rest, you will have to watch the videos at the above link by clicking on “Episode Guide.” (One word of warning to my fellow vegans: there is a scene in which a sheep is butchered for sausage. This is a good opportunity to forward the video ahead about a minute or two.)

For those looking for easy ways to green up their homes, look no further than “My Green House.” In each episode, the “Green Team” visits a different home, focusing on issues like sustainable gardening, insulation, energy-efficient appliances, toxins, and the like.

For news bits on the green front around the world, there is “Green Matters.” From efforts to halt deforestation to wildlife rescue to innovations in green technology, this half-hour show is bound to cover it.

One token show from the United States that I enjoy might come as a surprise, considering that I am neither a teenager nor the mother of one. It is the syndicated program “Eco Company.” For someone who tends to be a pessimist when I read about environmental matters in the news, the work of the young people featured on this show is enough to allow that ray of hope to shine through. I hope it is enough to inspire teens to take an active role in mitigating the climate crisis and its potentially devastating effects.

While the above sampling provides good examples of green programming, the very fact that their descriptions numbers less than 600 words in this post is very telling. If you are a regular listener of “On the Green Front,” you regularly hear host Betsy Rosenberg note the dismally small number of television and radio programs (at least in the United States) dedicated to environmental issues. She couldn’t be more on the mark.

Perhaps this calls for a little activism on our parts. Even if you are fortunate enough to live in an area where you can enjoy local programming with an environmental bent, take a few minutes out of your day to drop an email, a phone call, or an old-fashioned letter to various television and radio networks at the national level and demand programming that examines environmental issues — from the problems to their potential solutions and everything in between. Perhaps more media exposure will force the proverbial ostriches to dig their heads out of the sand. Perhaps…

Bubble Wrap Window Insulation

Posted in Reduce, Reuse, Recycle by luvmyplanet on 12/12/2010

Those who know me know that, if I can’t compost it, take it to the recycling bin, or give it to charity, I usually stash it somewhere and wait until I learn about a new purpose for it or have that Eureka moment.

This particular instance was not a Eureka moment, so I must give credit where credit is due. After seeing eco-designer Danny Seo on a couple episodes of “She’s Crafty,” I looked up his website for crafting and general repurposing ideas. Lo and behold, as I was reading his blog, there it was — a post on repurposing plastic bubble wrap. While his example involves the large-bubble variety, all I had on hand was the smaller variety. However, I still followed the directions he lays out and, four hours later, the plastic is still in place, and the draft has diminished. So, Danny, if you should stumble on to my little corner of the Internet, I am forever grateful for this little gem. Thank you!

Side note: If you live Stateside, you can watch “She’s Crafty” on IonLife two to three times a day. Wendy Russell, the host, is another brain when it comes to repurposing. Check it out!

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