Plastic Waste Solutions


Ankit Mishra made a very comprehensive tool available to us all that helps us understand plastic pollution and manage plastic waste.  Click on each of the 35 slides below and get a really quick, easy to understand lesson in plastic that can inform your plastic awareness and how it affects us.


Another amazing plastic resource became available to us recently when Precious Plastic, by Dave Hakkens surfaced.  This really great idea started as his graduation project from the Design Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands, an interdisciplinary educational institute for art, architecture and design with an international reputation brought about by the work of its faculty and alumni.

Dave’s concept has grown since 2013 to include  open sourcing his recycling machines for free.  They are easy to build, using basic tools and universal materials.  Now anyone can download his blueprints, start a business and clean up their environment.  This idea really deserves getting shared.  Click on the url and check out his video!

How You Can Help:

  • Every little bit of plastic properly discarded helps. In NYC, any plastic caps, packaging scraps, and random plastic bits that we see everyday on the sidewalks get washed into the storm drains and flushed out to our oceans when the system’s capacity is overwhelmed by heavy rain.
  • Plastic washed up on the beaches is actually a blessing.  If we pick it up, we get a second chance to make sure it won’t get washed out to sea.
  • Spread the word for Dave Hakkens and Precious Plastic.

Until next week,maxresdefault

Garbage Girl




Google Maps Didn’t Waste an Earth Day Opportunity!


This Earth Day, explore our beautiful planet with Google Maps.   

The main page gives you a selection of extraordinary places to visit.  Click on one and take a virtual vacation that will remind you of the glorious place we call home and how important it is to keep it alive and healthy.

How You Can Help:

  • Make a pledge to do whatever you can to keep our planet bountiful.
  • Take climate change seriously.   Yes, this video will scare you. Gwynne Dyer brings it home.
  • Reduce consumption.  All products use extracted oil or gas to produce them, package them, ship them to the store or directly to you.
  • Do not buy anything plastic.  Especially single use plastic containers, bags and packaging. Have you ever noticed how much plastic is in a drug store?
  • Create a community around waste awareness. It is the obvious tip of the iceberg.  Clean air, land and water is a really good thing!


Do your best.

With love!

Until next week,

Garbage Girl

Poverty, Waste and Women


Photo credit: UN Photo/Patricia Esteve

Over a third of the world’s population has inadequate sanitation facilities.  With no sanitation facilities, people have to urinate and defecate in highly populated, public areas.  With their waste remaining exposed to animals, insects, food, and other people it  leads to the rapid spread of diseases and diarrhea, a digestive system malfunction caused by viruses or bacteria.  One gram of human feces can contain as much as ten million viruses and a hundred parasite eggs.  Diarrhea is the main cause of death in children under four years old.  An estimated 5,000 children die daily from complications related to this ailment.

Communities with no safe water sources women-collecting-wateror latrines live lives dominated by the search for water and blighted by disease.  Women are traditionally the primary water gatherers, sometimes spending up to five hours a day collecting water.  The water can often be dirty and contaminated with diseases.  This makes women further burdened by their own illnesses and the care of others who are sick in their families.

6a00d8341c7ee953ef0167691df70f970b-800wiWomen are more vulnerable without adequate sanitation because they carry the double burden of looking after children with their own sanitation needs and finding work or resources often times with no sanitation facilities or breaks to relieve themselves. When women and girls cannot be together to urinate, defecate or manage their menstrual hygiene, they can find themselves in unsafe situations.

The Beijing Platform for Women began in 1995 by United Nations Women, an entity for gender equality and empowerment of women.  A lot still needs to be accomplished but a lot has been done.
The UN initiated World Toilet DayIMG_2157_2-300x225
and the We Can’t Wait campaign that featured an inflatable toilet on the main lawn of the UN bringing an awareness to the issues women have managing their sanitation problems.
Many humanitarian aid organizations are now putting gender policies in place, making natural resource management and sanitation more comprehensible.  They are finding that sustainable stewardship of the land, water, soil, plants, animals, and food in a community improves when women take a more central role in the decisions.  Effective involvement of women can be facilitated by considering:
The different roles played by men and women.
The differences between men’s and women’s rights to access and control natural resources.
Both men and women need to be involved in decision-making.
Both men and women need to participate in all stages of natural resource management.
Cultural and social barriers need to be made aware of.
Indigenous knowledge is key.
Gender appropriate technologies need to be designed with women in mind.
Work burdens of women can unfairly increase if gender isn’t considered.
The consequences of intervention may affect all members of the community.
How You Can Help:
  • These organizations are worth looking into:

Captive Daughters  Dedicated to ending sex trafficking

CEDAW  The Treaty for the Rights of Women

Madre  Demanding human rights for women and families around the world

UN WomenWatch  UN inter-agency network on women and gender equality

Women’s WORLD  because nowhere on earth are women’s voices given the same respect as men’s

Equality Now  working to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world through the mobilization of public pressure

WomenAid International   a women’s humanitarian aid and development agency which promotes all rights for all people in all countries

Women Without Borders  an advocacy, PR and lobbying organisation for women around the globe

Women for Women’s Human Rights   a widely renowned non-governmental organization around the globe

Womankind Worldwide  enabling women to voice their concerns and claim their rights, and to work globally for policies and practices which promote equality between men and women

Association for Women’s Rights in Development   connects, informs and mobilizes people and organizations committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights

Women’s Human Rights net   provides reliable, comprehensive, and timely information and analyses on women’s human rights in English, Spanish and French

Stop the Violence Against Women Campaign  a part of Amnesty International involved in an international campaign to stop violence against women

Human Rights Watch  a part of The Women’s Rights Division fighting against the dehumanization and marginalization of women

Women’s Forum Against Fundamentalism in Iran   promotes a greater awareness of the challenges women face living under fundamentalist regimes such as that of Iran

Women of Vision   a Christian humanitarian organization that has served the poor since 1950 through emergency relief and long-term development

Until next week,water-nepal-slider

Garbage Girl


Conquest, Spirituality and Waste


“History doesn’t fall from heaven; we make history. ”   Jean Ziegler                                                       Creating a new world governed by an alterna­tive system that is not based on domination, coercion, and control, does not depend on an unrealistic goal of being able to fully describe a utopian society for all at this point in time. From our position of growing up in a patriarchal, colonial, and white supremacist world, we cannot even fully imagine how a world that is not based on structures of oppression might operate. Nevertheless, we can be part of a collective, creative process that can bring us closer to a society that is not based on domination.  This is the final paragraph from Andrea Smith’s book, Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide.  She is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside.                 

“Andrea Smith’s incisive and courageous analysis cuts through many of our accepted truths and reveals a new way of knowing that is rooted in Native women’s histories of struggle. More than a call for action, this book provides sophisticated strategies and practical examples of organizing that simultaneously take on state and interpersonal violence. Conquest is a “must read” for those concerned with violence against women and Native sovereignty. It is also a good resource for antiracist, reproductive rights, environmental justice, antiprison, immigrant rights and antiwar activists.” Julia Sudbury, Canada Research Chair in Social Justice, Equity and Diversity, Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto

This book was brought to my attention by Penelope Duus, a student of archeology and anthropology at Vassar College because I have been known to say, in her presence, that we need to prioritize care for our planet over care for more people.  My thinking is formed by a practical simplicity that without a healthy earth, there will be no people.

The first European immigrants came to America with a way of thinking about the earth that involved dominion over her natural resources.  This thinking is dissected in a chapter titled Rape of the Land, where Andrea Smith shows the correlation between exploiting the land and exploiting the native cultures, particularly native women.

The native cultures were observed to practice holism.  Holism is a lived experience. Everything belongs together and is directly translated into the actualities of daily living; a coherent world where the different aspects of the divine interact.  The individual parts are always considered in the context of which they belong both spiritual and physical.  This thinking was considered weak and unproductive.

The most distinguishing feature of the spiritual context is the pervasive respect for the intricately woven pattern of the universe within which the individual, despite his, her or its relative insignificance is embraced.  Exploitation of separate parts could destroy or affect the whole.  To the settlers, exploitation and the separate importance of resources meant improvement and was considered evolutionarily righteous .

Spirituality connotes a belief that all elements of reality contain a certain amount of life force.  It entails believing and behaving as if nonobservable and nonmaterial life forces govern one’s everyday affairs.  Thus, a continuous sensitivity to core spiritual qualities takes priority in one’s life.  It is vital to one’s personal well being in a collective whole. This went beyond the European immigrants’ one God concept and its church affiliations.  It connotes a belief in the transcendence of physical death and a deep sense of continuity with one’s ancestors and surroundings.

Holism’s orientation is social rather than directed toward the conquest of objects or personal recognition.   An overriding importance is attached to social bonds and balanced social relationships.  One acts in accordance with the notion that duty to one’s social group is more important than individual rights, privileges or needs because that connection makes the whole ecosystem thrive in unison.  Hence, one’s identity is tied to group membership rather than to individual status and possessions.  Sharing is rewarding because it confirms the importance of your interconnectedness.   Self-centeredness and individual greed are frowned upon.   This was most difficult for the first immigrant/explorers to embrace because domination, not participation was their reason for being there.

In conclusion, I am holding to my logical understanding of “no earth/no humans”, as simplistic as it is.  Yet, I am striving to understand how we can act in community to heal our earth and ourselves.  Our Waste Matters is about our waste awareness.  Our waste is a coherent visible symptom of the disease that is hurting us in exponential ways with complexities beyond our current comprehension.   Individuals acting on a collective moral scale is imperative.

How You Can Help:

  • Take note about the resources you use in relation to your actual needs.
  • Create close communities that show you how your actions affect others.
  • Calculate whether your needs benefit or deplete the earth and her resources.
  • Thank Penelope for broadening this important conversation.

Until next week,images

Garbage Girl

Don’t Waste Earth Day This Year


April 22nd is Earth Day.   In connection with Arbor Day,  April is Earth Month.  Events happen all over the globe to support initiatives that will make living on our planet more beneficial for all of us.  A good place to get information about activities is through the Earth Day Network.  Their goal is to build the world’s largest environmental movement.

The mission for Earth Day Network is to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide, mobilize the movement to build a healthy and sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth for future generations.

Many climate change experts would suggest that green initiatives and public policies are moving too slowly in the wrong direction to make any meaningful impact on our current survival challenge.  NPR reporter and author, Wen Stephenson unpacks the issue in his book What We Are Fighting For Now Is Each Other.

He’s calling for a radicalization of the mainstream.  “At this late hour, to be serious about climate is to be radical, because it’s really a radical situation. It requires us to go to the root of the systems that have created this. That’s not going to happen until enough people come to terms with and face up to the radical nature of the situation.”

In 1970, the first Earth Day activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.  Passage of landmark, groundbreaking, environmental laws such as the Clean Air ActClean Water ActEndangered Species Act soon followed and Richard Nixon became known as the Environmental President by setting up the Environmental Protection Agency.

In 1990,  Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage.  Today, more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year.  This is the largest civic observance in the world.

Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 50,000 partners in 196 countries, (the total of all countries in the world) to build environmental democracy working through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns.  They broaden the definition of “environment” to include issues that affect our health and our communities, such as greening deteriorated schools, creating green jobs and investment, registering voters and promoting activism to stop air and water pollution.

With partner organizations, EDN provides civic engagement opportunities at the local, state, national and global levels around the world.  Recognizing that climate change impacts our most vulnerable citizens first and most severely, EDN often works with low income communities to bring their voices and issues into the movement.

When the global population reached four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987, six billion in 1999 and seven billion in October 2011, according to United Nations, we have an enormous challenge ahead of us.  Our population is expected to grow to 10 billion by the end of this century.  Yet the earth’s capacity to provide space, produce food, supply energy and water all remain limited.

How You Can Help:

Until next week,178696_beers-outer-space-earth-relaxing-carlsberg-moon-landing-astronaut-1920x1200-wallpaper_wallpaperbeautiful_41

Garbage Girl