The following is written by Jim Ries, father of One More Generation (OMG) founders Carter and Olivia Ries. Visit OMG online >
Ever since we were down in the Gulf during the BP oil spill where we first learned about Plastic Pollution, OMG founders Olivia and Carter have been doing everything they can to share their knowledge on the issue of plastic pollution while trying to encourage others to get involved. The first thing they did was to form a coalition of like-minded organizations who are equally as passionate about seeking a solution. Our Plastic Awareness Coalition currently boasts over 70 local, national and even international members and the list keeps growing.
The next thing the kids did was to seek-out educators who could help them create a curriculum program that could be brought into elementary schools across the country. We successfully launched our Plastic and Recycling Awareness Week program last year and as the word gets out, we continually get schools from across the country that are interested in implementing the program for their students.
Beyond finding ways to reach out to help deliver educational programs to communities, OMG founders also realize the need for each and every one of us to get involved and that needs to start on a local level. OMG regularly participates in local community clean-up events. We realize that the first step to affecting change is by doing and Carter and Olivia are not shy about it. They love to get out into the community and join with others who also care about cleaning up our environment.
There is so much plastic trash in our landfills, waterways and oceans that it can never be removed. Plastic does not biodegrade so it is going to be here for hundreds of years. The only way any of us is ever going to make a difference for future generations is to get out there and start cleaning up the mess we created.Everyone needs to realize that not all plastic types are considered recyclable by most community recycling programs so we can make a concerted effort to avoid even bringing such items as Styrofoam into our homes. That is the first step towards change. The next thing we all need to do is to reduce our plastic output.
Simple things like no longer buying or using plastic water bottles or single use shopping bags will have an immediate positive impact on our community. The third step is to commit your self to trying to recycle 100% of all the trash we generate. Recycling is a great way to cut the amount of plastic trash that ends up in the environment. And finally, we all need to make an effort to educate others on the issue and to help everyone realize that we created the problem and only we can fix it. No one is exempt from this simple responsibility and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will see change.We hope that you agree with some if not all of our comments and that you too will soon join us during the next community event. Together, we can fix this problem but it is going to take all of us to do it together.
Thanks for caring from all of us at OMG
On Sunday October 6th, people awoke to an unpleasant surprise in some parts of California. Gas prices hit $5 overnight. Some gas stations were forced to shut down because of fuel shortages. Refined petroleum supplies are very low around the West Coast. Although people have been assured that gas prices will fall again in a few weeks, will they? Gasoline prices are dependent on the price of crude oil, and gas prices have become a political issue.
Gas prices have a huge effect on people’s daily lives, especially in automobile dependent cities where other transportation options are low. The most immediate thing people can do is reduce their use of gas by driving less. But this would only be a temporary solution. We need to find long term solutions, such as using alternative fuel vehicles, better public transportation and new urbanism. Of course, the switch would not happen overnight. It would take a lot of time and effort on peoples’ part. Cars have become such a part of daily life, that people might find it impossible to live without a car. That’s one reason why a gas boycott would be extremely difficult to carry out. A gas boycott would also serve to increase gas prices rather than decreasing them. One way to lower gas prices would be to reduce the demand for oil. That might even lead to reduce the demand for oil to zero.
Although they’ve hit an all time high in California, high gas prices or rationing is not such a new thing. During WWII, gas was rationed, and people only had so much. In Copenhagen, Denmark, the response to this, cycling became the most dominant form of transportation. Copenhagen is one of many examples of how cities can indeed be more environmentally friendly without affecting the economy in a negative way.
The car has become a status symbol and the use of the car is deeply ingraned in many cultures. Reversing this will take time and it will require a sustained information and awareness campaign to open people’s hearts and minds to the possibility of change’-a quote from advocates for the In Town Without My Car! celebration which culminates European Mobility Week. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about Doing the Right Mix in North America as well as Europe.
“When your bottle of Cheer has done its last cheering, no need to fear – I’ll make you some earrings!“
Hey Planeteers! When I was offered the opportunity to contribute to this blog, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty stoked. I’m quite sure I spent much of my childhood chasing other kids around with my Ring Pop yelling “WATER” and “WIND” in their faces… So, who am I? Well, I’m the owner of FanPlastic Girl Gear; a little business I started a couple years ago on a mission to provide planet friendly alternatives to wearable accessories.
I make jewelry out of all the plastic disposables that you would normally put outside on the curb on garbage day. Why? Well, anything plastic is here…basically forever. And, I believe that if everyone took responsibility for just ONE piece; that would make about seven billion less pieces of plastic floating in our oceans! So, instead of carrying it, or storing it, why not wear it?
How? First, I soap up! I wash all my recyclables very well before doing anything else. I have a basement full of donated plastic containers and beach combed items….and who knows where they have been! So, to the tub with them!
Next, I cut the plastics into large chunks and dry them thoroughly. And, yes I have cut myself many times, let me tell you – tin snips cut more than tin. So, DO NOT try this at home. I have serious safety equipment and years of practice, and am still a hazard to myself!
I used to hope that Edward Scissorhands would show up at my door and help me out with the total destruction of my pieces, but I got some equipment instead. (For the record, Johnnie Depp, if you’re reading this… You’re still more than welcome on my doorstep.)
After that, I process; Depending on the style I’m fabricating, I am either left with smooth perfect shapes, OR very rough cuts that I have to polish out and heat seal later – where I will undoubtedly burn myself several times, jumping up and down and whining in the process.
Once I’ve finished the polishing, I grab some shiny hardware and assemble the collection: CD Earrings, Peanut Butter Jar Lid Head Pieces, Laundry Bottle Necklaces… Every item gets its own “tree-free” paper display card that is made from scraps from cotton mills and dead plant fibers. When I see the final products like this, I smile. What is it they say? “Blood, sweat, and tears”‘ check, check, and yep, check. Let me tell you, Captain Planet is blue for a reason!
I’ve recently teamed up with an amazingly talented artist by the name of David Ayala, to create a comic strip called Ocean’s Entourage. Based on the teensy bit over exaggerated tales of FanPlastic Girl and her mean, green eco-friends, Raina The Halifax Mermaid and Sola. All based on real people and our real work (ok…we can’t REALLY fly, or lift tons of weight… but I think you will get it)! This strip will be available monthly starting in the end of October.
And, know this, you don’t have to change EVERYTHING to make a difference. Doing just ONE thing helps. After all, it all happens by your powers combined….
The following article was submitted by Melissa Maranto. Melissa studied English at UCLA. She is now a magazine editor who still loves the beach as much as she did as an undergrad.
It’s estimated that up to 50 tons of electronic waste, or e-waste, is generated worldwide each year. E-waste consists of electronic devices such as computers, circuit boards and broken office supplies — anything that’s electronic that has been discarded. And while e-waste might not seem like that big of an issue going to the dump and landfill along with all of the other garbage, think again — it is a big issue and can have extreme health and environmental effects.
Many municipalities have begun to organize electronic waste recycling days where residents are invited to bring any unwanted devices for proper discarding to help reduce the amount of e-waste that hits the landfills. But e-waste still remains a worldwide problem that needs fixing and fast.
Just why does e-waste need fixing? Consider the following reasons why it can potentially be so harmful and why you should properly recycle it:
You know those old box TV sets we had before plasma, LCD and LED took over the television landscape? They contain lead, so much so that it’s estimated that it could potentially be as much as eight pounds per unit. That’s a lot of lead getting thrown out when you upgrade to better, more modernized sets. And chances are, these sets are going out on the curb with commercial waste, leading to a lot of lead in landfills. While waste industries are doing their best to dispose of dangerous items, this has the potential to become a serious health threat to humans, animals and the environment. Lead is just one example of many highly toxic chemicals that are found in e-waste, many of which can lead to reproductive disorders and cancer.
Despite some of the hazardous chemicals found in e-waste, there are also beneficial metals such as aluminum and copper which can be salvaged and sold. But then you’re opening yourself up to even further injury by risking abrasions and cuts when roaming through the dump to find materials that could be salvaged. Not to mention that it’s never a good idea to roam around a landfill with harmful chemicals and waste that could get you seriously ill. This type of scavenging leads to increased criminal activity and increased attendance at landfills. Good things don’t typically occur when you mix people and landfills.
A common way to manage trash in landfills is by burning it. Ideally, this strategy helps eliminate the waste through combustion. But it has the potential to cause great harm to the environment when e-waste is being torched. That’s because harmful chemicals often found in e-waste are even more hazardous if they enter the atmosphere and can cause more than just pollution, but a significant decline in air quality. And e-waste pollution is likely not only to affect the air, but the water quality as well.
For instance, any e-waste that sits for periods of time eroding in landfills can seep toxic chemicals into the soil. This can eventually find its way to the lakes and ponds, which then eventually trickles into the water supply. Studies have shown that residents have a higher presence of toxic metals in their blood in countries that report high e-waste numbers.
Why should you recycle e-waste? Well if all of the reasons we’ve listed off above aren’t enough, why not do it because it’s available. As we previously mentioned, many municipalities are holding electronic waste recycling days where residents can drop off old items so they can be handled properly. Many recycling centers now offer e-waste recycling as well — all it takes is a quick trip.
When we think of endangered species, we generally think of animals. However, most people are usually unaware that plant species are endangered as well. There is actually a species of tree that is so rare that there are only two remaining in the entire world. In Japan there are even two ginkgos in Hiroshima that were there when the atomic bomb was dropped, and although they were partially burned, they are still standing today.
Many of the causes for endangered plants are similar to those of animals, such as habitat loss, changes in climate, other species disappearing, etc. They are also affected by changes such as soil chemistry and drops in pollinator population. Many plants are endangered because of the drop in the pollinator population, as some plants are pollinated only by certain birds/insects/bats. Gymnosperms are the most endangered plant group – gymnosperm meaning that their seeds are exposed; like a Ginkgo or conifer tree. Plants play a very important part in every ecosystem, they are the basis of the food chain. Many herbivores eat only certain plants or certain parts of the plant. Other animals also depend on the fruit and flowers of plants for making nests. While they are unable to move, plants are constantly busy making seeds, absorbing nutrients and water from the soil, and soaking up sunlight for photosynthesis.
About 1 in 5 plant species are endangered. There are about 9,322 endangered plant species, and that is probably a low number. There are most likely many species which have not yet been discovered, but are already endangered. Plants are most threatened in South and Central America, Africa, Australia and parts of Asia. This is probably because of the deforestation of tropical rainforests in these areas, and in places such as Australia and the Galapagos there is also the threat of invasive species. The Plant Kingdom is equally threatened as mammals and even more threatened than birds.
To name a few, examples of endangered plants include the Amazon lily, blushing bride, gingko, baobob tree, bois dentelle (of which only two remain), Venus flytrap, tatan arum, black bat flower, and green jade flower.
What are some ways we can protect plants around the world?
Today is World Car-Free Day. In celebration, let’s talk about something that plagues most of the world: Automobile Dependency.
Automobile dependency is a term used to describe the predicament in most cities in the US, Canada, and to a lesser extent, the larger cities in the European Union. Automobile dependency in a city implies that automobiles are the dominant source of transportation, denying residents freedom of choice about the way they live and move around the city. This may sound a little harsh and extreme, but in many cities it’s actually very true. It’s nearly impossible to live without a car in some cities.
One can sit for hours in traffic on freeways. This produces a demand for more and bigger roads and the removal of impediments to traffic flow, including pedestrians, cyclists, traffic lights, and street based public transportation, such as streetcars and buses. After all, no one likes to be stuck behind the bus, especially at a bus stop. The removal of these impediments then makes driving a car more advantageous, leading to an even bigger increase in automobile use.
Automobile dependency also has an effect on urban design. Space is needed for parking lots and bigger roads causing there to be an even longer walking distance from one building to another. It’s much easier and convenient to drive across the parking lot rather than walk all the way across it and back. These kinds of environments make it not only more convenient for automobiles, but less convenient to walk, leading to increased automobile use which leads to more traffic congestion, increased road usage and parking space, continuing the cycle. Roads and parking lots get bigger, consuming space which could have been used as farmland, for housing, parks, or other buildings. Public transportation becomes less available, and can even be socially stigmatized. No one likes to be riding the bus when everybody else can drive. It might make people think you can’t afford a car. People’s choices and mobility without a car are greatly limited. It’s very hard to live in an automobile dependent city without a car. Cars are not a luxury only certain people can afford in such cities, but a necessity.
Automobile dependency has a vast effect on the environment. Not only do cars emit greenhouse gases, but also consume large amounts of fuel. Today it seems more fashionable and appropriate to drive an SUV, which being bigger requires more fuel and emits more greenhouse gases, instead of a small car. Small cars seem to have become for the most part a thing of the past. And even in automobile dependent cities, people don’t really take care of their cars the way they should. Few people take their car to the shop to be checked often, replace parts as often as they should, and check the tires. Usually, people wait until a problem happens before taking their car to the shop.
There are a number of plans and designs approaching the issue of automobile dependency, many focusing on urban design and investment in good public transportation. In some automobile dependent cities, it is not only socially stigmatized to ride the bus, but also inconvenient in that there are few bus stops, the bus stops at a particular spot only a couple of times a day, and sometimes, that the buses breakdown often. It’s not exactly surprising to see a bus that broke down. There is also research into the future of the automobile industry in designing smaller cars and more sustainable fuel resources. Another way to address the issue of automobile dependency would also be giving people more transportation options by making public transportation better and more accessible, adding bicycle paths and walkways.
So, Planeteers, how would your life be different without your car? How can you change your habits to use your car less?
September 15th, 1990.
That’s the day children around the world were introduced to the world’s first “eco” superhero. The first show to attempt to teach us about our surroundings, and how we could make a difference in them – even as children. The show that motivated us, inspired us, and told us “the power is yours.”
It’s hard to believe it’s been 22 years – after all, it doesn’t feel like that long ago I would play “Planeteers” with the other kids on the playground. You know, I don’t remember anyone ever being Cap; we wanted to be Planeteers. I was always fire.
Even more amazing to me is that today marks the second anniversary of the launch of the Planeteer Movement. A little over two years ago, I had begun working with Captain Planet co-creator Barbara Pyle on various projects when she began unveiling an idea that had been forming between her and a group of young people she had brought together.
A little back-story: Barbara, in her various travels, had both sought out and been sought out by young people who felt the show made a significant impact on their lives. They professed their “Planeteerdom” to her, that they believed the show was much more than a cult 90′s phenomenon, and had actually reached our generation deep down and changed the way we look at the world. She showed me a book she had put together, “The Moral Imperative to Bring Back Captain Planet,” dozens of pages long filled with quotes, emails, and testimonials from fans. This was not a one-or-two person thing. The idea that Captain Planet changed the way our generation perceives the environment literally extends across the globe.
A core team began to form, driven by the idea that if we could reach out to fans of the show who believed in the power of Captain Planet’s message, that message could live on through us. The Planeteer Movement, we decided to call it. Once we launched the webpage (the one you’re on right now) and began interacting with the fanbase, we saw it grow; and grow; and it continues to grow exponentially. I will never forget the incredible moment when Captain Planet hit 500,000 fans back in February – wow! In reality, there are many, many more fans out there – it’s been estimated that the show potentially reached a billion people in its original run. They may not have all added Cap on Facebook yet, but it’s been proven time and time again that our generation operates with an enhanced knowledge of environmental and social issues - because of the questions the show forced us to ask ourselves as children.
So here we are, at the 22nd anniversary of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and the 2nd anniversary of the Planeteer Movement’s launch, on Captain Planet Day! If you believe that the show made you a stronger person, let’s continue to share Cap’s message. Show the series to your kids. Watch it with your friends. Look back, laugh, and enjoy what once was a staple of our childhoods and continues to live on inside us. Because we’re the Planeteers, and you can be one too.
Join series Co-Creator Barbara Pyle and Exec. Producer Nick Boxer today on Reddit for a fan Q&A where YOU ask the questions TODAY (Sept. 15th) at 3PM Eastern! Here’s the link: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/zxr0j/we_are_barbara_pyle_and_nick_boxer_cocreators_and/
Tomorrow, Sept. 15th is Captain Planet Day – the 22nd anniversary of the series premiere of “Captain Planet and the Planeteers!” Join series Co-Creator and Exec. Producer Barbara Pyle and Exec. Producer Nick Boxer for an AMA (“Ask me Anything”) on Reddit at 3PM Eastern, where YOU ask the questions directly to them!
Here’s the link! http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/zxr0j/we_are_barbara_pyle_and_nick_boxer_cocreators_and/
European Mobility Week will be held the week of September 16-22 2012, September 22 being World Car-Free Day. European Mobility Week is a campaign for sustainable mobility. It runs each year from September 16 to September 22. The aim is to encourage Europeans and European local authorities to promote sustainable transportation and encourage their citizens to use alternatives cars, including bikes, walking, and using public transportation. The week culminates in a celebration, ‘In Town Without My Car!’ in which cities set aside several areas solely for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation for the entire day.
European Mobility Week was first introduced in 2002, and has been growing since, expanding into Asia as well as Europe. The impact of European Mobility Week has also increased each year. In 2010, the number of cities participating was 2,268, representing about 227 million citizens. So far, the total number of participating cities for European Mobility Week 2012 is 579, Spain having the most with 261 cities signed up. But there’s still time for your city to sign up, so find out if your city is signed up. If not, it’s not too late. Each year has its own theme, that of 2012 being ‘Moving in the Right Direction’.
The winning city is chosen by an independent panel of transport experts. The award ceremony for European Mobility Week 2012 will be held in Brussels in March 2013. The winning city is awarded a promotional video highlighting its achievements. The winning cities will also get to see their name on the European Mobility Week Hall of Fame.
The event has encouraged cities to go beyond only Mobility Week, and start encouraging cycling, walking, and public transportation by building bike paths and improving access to public transportation. It’s also a unique chance for city administrations to measure how well they are doing in programs for more sustainable travel.
Looking for ways to get involved? Here are a few opportunities that have come down the line for all tiers of Planeteers!
Captain Planet Foundation Grant – Deadline, Sept. 30
Have you got a great project that needs a little extra push? The CPF was founded by the Exec. Producers of Captain Planet to fund programs and projects that enable children and youth to better understand our world through hands-on learning activities that improve the environment around them. So if you’ve got a great project underway that needs a little financial help, go for it – but don’t delay, the grant application cycle ends September 30th! Apply here >>
A group of youth activists from around the world are converging in Qatar this November to bring some real-world perspective to the climate change negotiations. This group aims to turn traditional reporting around by covering the negotiations from three angles: journalism, multimedia, and comedy. They’re open invite, so if you’ve got the funds to go, check out the application form on their page. Also check out their Twitter and Facebook pages. More info>>
Energy Globe Award - Deadline October 12, 2012
Have you invented the next great energy-saving device, or do you have a project in the works that could change the way we interact with our environment? Timothy of the Ghana Planeteers tipped us off to this event that brings together the brightest minds and their visions for the future – and provides the winners with critical funding to make their projects go global. Check out the award, and sign up on the ‘Participation‘ page.
“Freedom Rust” Kickstarter – Ends Oct. 4, 2012
T. Mitchell Bell is a singer/songwriter Planeteer who reached out to us through Cap’s Facebook Page to see if Planeteers would be interested in helping with his latest project, an album dedicated to spreading environmental and social messages with the goal to unite people who hear it. It seems like Mitch is a great example of how an unconventional career-path could be used for positive change! Of course, getting a project like this out to the masses can be quite an ordeal, so he asks that you please check out his Kickstarter page.
Thanks for checking out this month’s opportunities to help out in so many various and exciting ways!
The Power Is Yours!