How bad has this year been for our environment? Here are 60 things in the last 12 months:
Image: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images
Coffee gets us started every morning. Now it gets your car started too.
With help from Shell Oil Company, bio-bean, a company that has been collecting London’s 220,000 tons of annually spent coffee grounds, put their new biofuel into the gas tanks of London’s famous double decker buses. By partnering with large coffee shops like Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero, a steady stream of grounds will produce enough fuel to power a city bus for a year.
On the American front, Mano Misra’s , Susanta Mohapatra’s, and Narasimharao Kondamudi’s study has been published online in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication. Written by Mark T.Sampson, they report that waste coffee grounds provide a cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel fuel. They found that spent coffee grounds contain between 11 and 20 percent oil by weight, which could add an estimated 340 million gallons of biodiesel to the world’s fuel supply.
In 2016, about 143.22 billion gallons of finished motor gasoline (a complex mixture of relatively volatile hydrocarbons with or without small quantities of additives, blended to form a fuel suitable for use in spark-ignition engines) were consumed in the United States.
The new “B20” coffee-based fuel smells like java and has the major advantage of being more stable than traditional biodiesel; due to coffee’s high antioxidant content. Solids left over from the conversion can be converted to ethanol or used as compost. The biofuel is 20% coffee oil, while the rest of the mix comes from fossil diesel.
Biofuels burn cleaner than fossil fuels, releasing less carbon into the atmosphere, but the production and harvesting of plants destined for fuel (like corn, wheat and sugarcane) can cancel out the benefits. Using waste products—like coffee grounds—to create fuel minimizes damage to the environment on the production end, and reduces overloading of landfill.
Through a partnership with Argent Energy, many households in the UK have begun to use this in their homes. This is a technology I want to hear more about.
Until next time,
“We believe that we cannot survive on this planet if we fail to see that human life cannot exist outside of nature.”
The Bolivian law that defends Mother Earth as a living system grants her a presence in a legal framework. It is an important ideology that should be considered globally.
In highly urbanized areas, the built environment does a remarkable job of masking the resources that allow all forms of life to continue their existence on this planet.
As human populations grow, the majority of human activity will take place in urban areas. Overcrowding brings traffic and exhaust, water quality and quantity issues, food shortages, air pollution, and a variety of natural disasters that destroy infrastructure and disrupt lives. These issues can bring unrest, displacement, homelessness, war and death.
Bolivia’s law reestablishes deeply indigenous concepts concerning Earth within a political and legal framework. It is a model for prioritizing the health of our planet and it should be configured into every nation’s environmental policies and sustainability goals.
The Law of Mother Earth outlines Seven Rights this planet is entitled to:
The Law of Mother Earth will be exacted into policy via five strategies:
Bolivia is dependent on the glaciers in the Andes mountains as a reliable water source. Their disappearance has severe and dangerous consequences forcing people to face the challenges of how and where to access clean water. The New York Times, “a World Bank report concluded last year that climate change would eliminate many glaciers in the Andes within 20 years, threatening the existence of nearly 100 million people.”
In an article from the Huffington Post, Peter Neill writes, “Change must begin somewhere, sometime; perhaps Bolivia is inventing the social model and role of governance that will demonstrate how we can transcend the global divisions and conflicts, beyond the destruction and despair that we feel, toward a harmonious, effective, efficient, and equitable society connected by the true value of nature as sustainer. If so, should we not pay attention?”
Until next time,
Definition of morality: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
Our Earth needs us to behave morally and do the right thing.
The Earth Crisis we have created will not go away by eliminating plastic water bottles one at a time. BUT, that water bottle can get us to think about what is right.
These products are brought to us by the extractive oil industry. They spend billions of PR dollars annually to convince us to pay them to drink water (we can get for free) from their containers that can only be used once.
Their product makes annoying crunchy noises when handled.
Their product is made of a material that mimics hormones; causing bodily changes when ingested.
Their product is ugly compared to every other container you can drink water from again and again.
Their product often contains flouride and other chemicals like Bisphenol A which is linked to obesity, diabetes and cancer. Their product is not required to be tested as frequently or as closely, under Federal and State laws, as Municipal Tap water. Their product is not required by law to list the ingredients found in their water on their labels. Their product is not required to make public the results of all tests done on their product.
Their product has to get to you in boxes, wrapped in single use plastic film. Their product contains 24 bottles in the cardboard case requiring you to buy all 24. Their product is loaded on to trucks or planes using MORE oil for fuel, traveling many miles to get to your market. At its retail destination, their product gets refrigerated — powered by fossil fuel derived energy — in beverage cases that are giant open rooms, with giant glass doors that are optimized for your easy access, not for containing the refrigerated air.
Worse: their company has no obligation to deal with all of this packaging. Once the water has been purchased and consumed, it flows into the waste stream at no cost to the producer/originator of the waste.
If you do not dispose of their product correctly, it contaminates our water ecosystem, killing marine life up and down the food chain. The 1 in 5 bottles of their product that get into a landfill will take 1000 years to break down. Their product essentially never goes away.
This process is being repeated more than 100 million times a day all over the world.
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