An’eth’ara, na lethall’en!
This is the first ecological report for Refugia. The way I’ve decided to format these going forward is to release a report in the first week of each month focusing on the previous month’s progress, as well as providing suggestions and occasional challenges for the coming month. This way, we are constantly acknowledging past achievements, while also keeping an eye on what’s coming up. We’ll always start out with the report itself, which contains the numbers, then move onto real-life suggestions about things that each of us can do to help raise our standards, then end with some articles and discussion about environmental goings-on.
At the beginning of this month, we agreed unanimously to get our regional average score for environmental beauty up to 1500, and our regional average score for eco-friendliness up to 5000 by the end of 2019. With approximately 85 days left, how are we shaping up?
As of 01/09/2019, our regional Environmental Beauty score was 1120.70, 379.30 points away from our stated goal. We progressed admirably during the month, reaching a regional score of 1222.71 on 01/10/2019, 277.29 away from our goal. At the rate of progress we’ve enjoyed thus far, we’ll end the year at approximately 1630.75, beating our goal. Keep up the good work, everyone!
We had a lot more growth on Eco-Friendliness during the month, starting at 3615.25 on 01/09/2019, 1384.75 away from our goal. But we ended the month at 4139.32 on 01/10/2019, a progression of 524.07 in 30 days! At this rate, we’ll reach our goal before December even starts, and finish the year at 5711.53.
So our numbers are looking very good. But we’re entering the autumn months, and winter is just around the corner. When we’re exposed to extreme temperatures, some of our resolve to keep up the good habits we established during more comfortable months can slip. We all must resolve to not become complacent in our progress, and keep pushing to make things better.
There are a few easy changes we can all implement into our daily lives to help fight against climate change. These are small efforts that will speak loudly due to our combined efforts. The big one I want to talk about this month is cutting out as much single-use plastic as possible. This has been getting politicised in western news sources lately, and I’ve certainly gotten tired of hearing all of the backlash from some of the less environmentally-concerned people where I live. This is one of the easiest changes to make, and I challenge all of us to work to be a bit better about it.
The easiest change to make for me has been to stop using disposable bottles, cups, and straws. A one-time purchase of a reusable coffee mug can seem like an investment, but it also pays for itself in the long run, with most coffee shops giving a discount for providing your own. These also tend to come with their own reusable straws, replacing single-use plastic straws which, while only make up 0.0025 per cent of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean, can still harm the wildlife that lives there and even kill them. According to the Earth Day fact sheet on the matter, humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute, and only about 23% of those are recycled. Five hundred thousand disposable straws are used daily around the world, as well as approximately 1.3 billion disposable cups. Some of those cups are made of styrofoam, which can’t be entirely recycled and doesn’t degrade naturally.
If everyone made an effort to stop using just disposable bottles, straws, and cups, we could put a huge dent in our plastic use. But that’s not all we can be doing. Reusable shopping bags and produce bags (here are a list of options: link. I have the first option on the list). These can help us cut down on plastic packaging in grocery stores, which make up a majority of the plastics that end up in the ocean. This also directs us toward the produce and bulk sections of the store, which helps with our nutritional health as well! Win-win!
Now for some positive environmental news!
The first story I have today is The Ocean Cleanup Project finally getting off the ground and begining to clean up some plastic in the ocean. The company has reported that they’ve even been able to scoop up some tiny microplastics, something they hadn’t expected to be able to do and were pleasantly surprised about.
The goal of the Ocean Cleanup Project is to remove 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch within the next five years, and 90% of the plastic in the ocean by 2040, which would take even less time if other organisations began working on the project as well. But this is a fantastic piece of environmental progress to clean up some of the mess we’ve made of the planet.
The second story is a story about the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK, and young Brits pushing back against a business partnership. Since 2013, theatre-goers between the ages of 16 and 25 have been able to buy a ticket for 5 pounds, subsidised by petroleum giant BP.
The good news about the story comes due to the pushback from a lot of these prospective theatre-goers, who didn’t want to be associated with BP and got the company to break away from them entirely. BP isn’t happy about this, but the more pressure we can put on oil companies to change their ways, the better the world will be in the long run.
If any of you have any suggestions for improvements or new environmentally-conscious practises to include in future reports, please send me a telegram or post it in the regional RMB! I always love seeing more interaction with the community.