Monday, February 4, 2013

Books & Movies

Opportunities to learn more about our environment are everywhere.  Numerous internet and social media avenues abound.  Sometimes I like the more traditional ways of learning  - reading books, asking questions, keeping track of my behaviors, attending talks or network events, and attending video documentary showings.

I just finished the book Garbage Land: The Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte.
  Front Cover
In the book, she monitors her own trash production and follow where trash and recyclables end up.  It's great to see some of the forward steps of places in terms of recycling and responsible disposal helping to keep waterways more clean than in the past.  Meanwhile, efforts continue to handle the continual flow and quantity of unwanted materials from food waste to e-waste and plastics. 
Speaking of plastics, last week in Duluth the movie Bag It was shown.  The showing was organized by UMD stores which is experimenting with a day a week or a whole month being bag-free.  Reusable bags are inexpensive and readily available and the store does have some used plastic bags that customers can use.   Plastic is relatively cheap but the quantity that is heading to landfills after only a single and very short-term use, such as water bottles and shopping bags, is huge.  The movie presented how some cities are stepping forward and banning plastic bags or putting a small fee on using bags.  No one wants to see plastic bags in a river or suspended from a tree after the wind has moved it from the trash but that is what often happens.  
In Duluth, a Green Drinks group meets monthly on the 3rd Thursday of the month.  The place varies.  I haven't made it yet to this newer reformation of the group.  Chatting about possible solutions to issues can lead to positive change.  Small steps can lead to bigger steps.   Being informed can help us make better decisions.
I'll end with a short exercise that's actually from the kid's section of the Environmental Protection Agency.  What is wrong with the picture?  It is showing some preventable problems associated with stormwater run-off/pollution and water use.

Written by Wendy Grethen

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