Former Vice President Al Gore’s book, Earth in Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit, quotes an inspirational speech from Chief Seattle of the Squamish tribe. In 1854, Chief Seattle delivered his now famous speech to Isaac Williams, then Governor of Washington, while negotiating the sale of land that would some day become the city of Seattle, later named in the chief’s honor. Chief Seattle’s speech is revered by many for its heartfelt message and focus on respect and preservation of the environment.
Last week, you may have tuned in to Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week which kicked off with a two-hour documentary titled, “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives”. The megalodon, a prehistoric shark from the Miocene era, could grow more than 50 feet long and dwarf even the largest great white shark swimming in today’s ocean. Unfortunately, Discovery Channel’s megalodon documentary was more of a mockumentary in the sense that its scientist were really actors and the 67 foot long megalodon they were chasing (nicknamed Submarine) was not really terrorizing folks off the coast of South Africa because megalodons haven’t existed for millions of years.
Leonardo da Vinci is best known for painting the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper”. But he was more than a gifted artist, he was also an engineer and a scientist. Much of his scientific studies were dedicated to understanding the movement and characteristics of water which culminated in his published work, Water Theory: On the origin and fate of water. Ahead of his time, in his water theory da Vinci came close to defining the hydrological cycle, pointing out that water passes through major river systems multiple times, equaling sums much greater than the volumes contained in the world’s oceans.
In true artistic fashion, da Vinci was able to sum up the importance of water with his famous quote, “Water is the driving force of all nature.”
Between Denver and The Rocky Mountains of Colorado sits the quaint city of Golden, home of MillerCoors, the largest brewery in America. Back in 1873, Adolph Coors chose the site to brew his famous beer because of the high quality Rocky Mountain spring water available in the area. And now, MillerCoors has entered into sustainability history books as the first brewery of its size to become landfill-free.
Summer is in full swing, and the longer days and warm temps make now the perfect time to throw an outdoor soiree, whether a small patio gathering or an all-out block party. As you can probably guess, though, these kinds of events often produce a lot of waste — each year Americans toss out enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times, says the Clean Air Council.
All but 4% of the trash produced in Sweden bypasses the landfill and is either recycled or used as fuel in their waste-to-energy programs. Sweden is able to generate 20% of the energy they need to heat the country and also provide electricity for 250,000 homes. They’re so successful in their recycling and waste-to-energy programs, they’re actually running out of trash.
Sweden has begun to import tons of trash from neighboring countries in order to gather burnable waste so they can incinerate it and create energy. Countries like Norway are paying them to take their waste, since it’s more expensive for the Norwegians to burn the trash in their own country and they lack recycling programs.
Waste-to-energy initiatives have been introduced in Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, and Lithuania. In the USA, 67% of our waste ends up in landfills. Hopefully someday, we can follow in the eco-friendly footsteps of our European friends.
The U.N. recently released a report extolling the virtues of edible insects as an environmentally responsible alternative to meat as a source of protein and other nutrients. With their high fat, protein, fiber, and mineral contents, edible insects certainly pack a healthy punch! What’s even better is that the cost to our environment to raise insects for consumption is far less than the impact of raising large livestock for meat.
Honey bees are super pollinators and have an enormous impact on the environment. Since the mid 2000’s their numbers have been declining rapidly. Scientist are unable to explain their disappearance but one thing is for certain, the absence of bees would leave much of the world’s food supply in question. Without pollinating insect life, fruits, vegetables, and field crops would be obsolete causing extreme hardship for the farm and food industry and leaving their future, and our survival, in question.