Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Environmentality 31st October 2012

Dear Environmentality Listeners,

Following on from last week Smokey and Sarah are discussing top ten environmental successes based from a list has compiled by Joe Laur from Greenopolis.

This week we will start from Number 1….

1.     Cleaner Water

As they say, water is the essence of life.  Without water, especially clean water, all life on earth cannot exist.  The necessity of having clean water and waterways has been the element of change for working towards a cleaner and greener earth, it has been one of the largest worldwide challenges to overcome and it also links in with social justice and human rights issues.  Policies implemented in many countries across the globe have helped with the clean up of our water sources and waterways enabling us to have access to clean water and ultimately befitting our environment.  Technologies such as being able to treat wastewater have helped to assist the world to become a cleaner and greener place.

2.     Pollution Prevention

Pollution prevention is a way to describe actions that decrease the amount of pollution produced by a process; this could be consumer consumption, industrial production or even driving a car.  Over recent years pollution prevention strategies we have seen are lead removed from petrol, household recycling bins, green chemistry, renewable energy generation and cradle to cradle design to name a few.  This has allowed high numbers of pollutants taken away and have saved not only lives but our environment as well.

3.     Cleaner Air

I am sure most of us remember growing up the issue of the hole in the ozone layer, and the monumental international agreement of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.  Without international co-operation the ozone layer would not have had a chance to recover (it is expected to recover by 2050).  The protocol has been reviewed several times to ensure that our air is cleaner and we have fewer pollutants entering our lungs or the atmosphere. 

4.     Renewable Energy

We all know what renewable energy is now days, right?...We now drive along our streets to see solar panels on houses and see the ‘green energy’ options on our power bills.  Renewable energy can come from many natural resources including sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal.  Increased climate change concerns and high prices of oil, coal and energy production have lad to governments and communities taking action increasing and supporting the push for renewable energy supply and consumption. 

5.     Removing Toxins

The removal of toxins in items we use everyday such as in insect spray and fertilizers have not only saved lives it has also saved the environment and animal species.  Toxins are still found in items we use everyday like BPA in plastics and there has been a large community push to remove these toxins so we can lead healthier lives.  Toxins are also released into the environment as items such as plastics break down, it is said that the mix of plastics and seawater release toxins into sea creatures and ultimately affecting the food web.

6.     International Co-operation

As mentioned above international co-operation is necessary for us to be able to combat issues such as climate change.  The world is all connected and does not recognize borders; pollutants don’t check in with customs!  In recent years international organisations such as the United Nations have been working towards international treaties to combat climate change.  Some say that the conventions have not meant anything or lead to substantial change.  International dialogue increases governments to cooperate and work together to take action towards combating climate change and environmental issues.

7.     The Rise of Grassroots

Grassroots organisations and movements are often formed at a local level to address concerns of an issue affecting the community.  A lot of the issues grassroots organisations and movements are working towards get higher exposure than before with the help of technologies such as the internet, this results in a higher number of movement moving from a local concern to a global issue.  This means that a concern facing a small community on the other side of the world can now have a larger backing and audience from the other side of the world.  This phenomena has assisted greater partnerships between grassroots organisations and non-government organisations, governments to international organisations such as the UN.  We are becoming a global community.

8.     Putting Pollution on the Balance Sheet

By placing pollution on the balance sheet this has allowed business to reduce the levels of pollutants, what business wants to look like they are polluters?  This incentive trades pollutants and places a price on them it can cost $1600 per ton to emit Sulfur Dioxide, that’s a lot of money going up in the air.

9.     Reporting and Transparency

Joe Laur from Greenopolis highlights Back in the ‘80s, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said that if we required industries to report their release of toxins publically, the problem would begin to correct itself.  U.S. industries have reduced TRI emissions on the Toxics Release inventory (TRI) by 50–75% since 1988. No CEO wants to be Number 1 on a toxic release list.  The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are working towards making environmental and social reporting as common as financial reporting. 

Last but defiantly not least…

10. You Woke up and Gave a Damn!

This is where we as environmentality listeners come into play; you and your fellow community members are responsible for social change, without you the drive for a more sustainable future would be lost.  For generations we have been working towards a cleaner and greener future and keep up the good work!

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