Although another year has come to an end, there’s never an end to human activity, progress and growth in technology. With a population of nearly 8 billion people, there’s a regular stream of new products in the market. Every single day we have a new cuisine, new diet plan, new emotion, new medicine, new gadget, new fashion trend, new product, new convenience good that is set to become the new need of the future. If we manage to notice carefully enough we can also see the list of new problems piling up – new air problem, new food safety problem, new disease, new health problem, new relationship issues, new unhealthy addictions and so on.. But fortunately with every bad news we come across, there’s an equally inspiring effort being made in the world to curb these issues.
What a year 2018 has been for environmental news!
In this article we intend to start with showing you everything that is going wrong so far but also want you to know the other side of the same stories.
Without further ado, here are some of the highlights of 2018 –
Choked on plastic:
In Indonesia, a dead sperm whale was found washed ashore on with its body filled with 6 kg of plastic ingested. Aquatic animals suffer the most in the face of plastic pollution. The reality of ocean plastics is a growing concern.
Plastics have entered our food stream and majority of our seafood are now said to contain micro plastics.
Turtles confuse floating plastic bags as jellyfish and consume them.
Birds confuse colorful bits of plastic on the ground as food and feed it to their chicks.
Scientists have also discovered plastic in human stool. This means by simply using plastic packaged items in our daily lives, and unwittingly “throwing it away”, it now enters our digestive systems. Scientists are uncertain and nervous about the harmful effects of micro plastic in our bodies, a new phenomenon that has only been discovered now.
Extinct in 2018:
The last male white rhino dies in Kenya, leaving behind only 2 female rhinos. Adding to the long list of extinct species driven by human activity. Extinction of species disrupts the ecosystem in ways we cannot comprehend easily.
It is said we are in the middle of our 6th extinction phase in the history of the world; and this time, its man-made.
But an important question to ponder on will be, if we have brought about this drastic change because of our technology, can we fix it with technology itself?
We are yet to find that out with advancement in genetic engineering still in its nascent stages.
But meanwhile, empathy and social awareness is a skill we all must learn if we are to sail through this smoothly. Ask yourself if you still buy any item that uses animal products? We can be mindful of the demand we drive by being careful with what we buy.
For example, Palm oil demand leads to habitat destruction for orangutans which has led to resistance from customers, who buy products only if they are palm oil free. Simple changes in consumer demands can drive a revolution in the most unlikely manner
Forest fires in California:
One of the longest forest fires in the recent history raged through the forest of California, USA, leaving a devastating impact on the biodiversity, property and human lives.
It was supported by the fact that climate change now gives us longer and drier summer, invigorating the intensity of fires which otherwise could be contained faster in the past. Californians wake up to the reality of global warming, undeniably now, after watching their neighborhood being destroyed right before their eyes.
IPCC report released of 1.5 degree warning:
As predictably obvious as the dire news was, coming from an intergovernmental panel makes the severity of the situation hit us even harder. A 12 year deadline has been given to stop the warming to 1.5 degrees, otherwise we could suffer severe consequences of climate change.
A 2-3 degree rise in warming could mean poverty, civil war, famines, drought and trade wars if drastic changes are not made to change our lifestyles to reduce our carbon footprint with the help of strict policies.
The actions taken so far had been considered too slow for any change.
World leaders are now under a huge pressure to live up to this task and demand change from their economies and citizens, understanding short term economic losses will be for the benefit of long term prosperity.
Now talking about some brave initiatives taken up by many heroes to reverse the damage made to save some resources for our future generations. Below are some of the initiatives that deserve all the praise.
The Ocean Cleanup launches System 001:
The ocean cleanup is one of the most ambitious engineering project by Boyan Slat that aims to clear up the garbage patch in pacific ocean using systems designs to float in the Pacific ocean and catch the plastics. After years of experimentation and hard work, the first system was finally released into the ocean in September 2018. Their projects promise to reduce the size of Pacific Ocean’s infamous plastic garbage patch by 50% in the next 5 years, once fully executed.
“Single use” was word of the year:
With the advent of plastic pollution crisis, awareness to refuse single use plastics has risen drastically.
This urgency has made it a breakthrough year for rise in demand for reusable product alternatives. The success of Blue Planet II documentary by BBC in 2017, inspired thousands of people around the world to go zero waste in 2018. Zero waste lifestyle now continues to gain traction like never before, with role model and founder Bea Johnson advocating the diversity and inclusiveness of the lifestyle with her world tour.
Books, interviews and social media bloggers have played a huge role in spreading the knowledge on inclusive low waste living and creating a trend. People are discovering the alternatives they can switch to while saying goodbye to the plastic in their life. By refusing products from large corporations that continue to use disposable plastic or plastic packaging, you can take away your contribution made towards pollution.
Countries that decided to ban plastic in 2018:
In India, Sikkim became the first state to go plastic free. Maharashtra and Odisha announced bans for certain disposable plastics as well. Karnataka has been collaborating with garbage management firms to find solutions to the problem and has also implemented huge fines for vendors still selling in single use plastic bags. Tamil Nadu made strides in creating public awareness after announcing they will ban disposable plastic in the state, helping people prepare before the ban was established on January 1st 2019.
San Diego, USA aims to become a zero waste city, and are gearing up their infrastructure to handle the city’s waste without creating any landfill.
European countries such as UK, Italy and Germany have taken actions ranging from banning single use plastic completely to taxing customers extra for using one, reducing the plastic production by 90%.
Being aware of the good and bad, when it comes to climate news, helps us ground ourselves to work passionately; with velocity and without losing hope.
Biomimic theory creates products to help you start your low waste journey by taking the first simple steps into your daily lives to live more sustainably. Baby steps can be taken by any of us in reducing our plastic footprint. Our intention is to make it easy to take those baby steps.
2018 has been a year for the first positive steps taken towards tackling environmental issues by governments, masses and a rise in sustainable small businesses. Growing number of people are moving out of climate passiveness into climate positivity. A new age of individual action has risen, where refusing to buy a product creates an effect of wallet activism, pushing companies to go plastic free and cater to the new era of climate action.
Author: MRUDULA JOSHI
A sustainable lifestyle enthusiast who hopes to change the narrative on how we approach the dialogue of climate change in our society. She runs an educational website and lives a zero waste-minimalist life. Strongly prescribes eco-conscious living as the key to a fulfilling life.
CALIFORNIA FIRES: https://www.
LAST MALE RHINO : https://www.bbc.com/news/
Choked with plastic: https://www.
GALLERY OF IMAGES FOR ANIMALS AROUND PLASTIC : https://www.
PLASTIC BANS: https://indianexpress.com/
ZERO WASTE SAN DEIGO: https://www.sandiego.gov/
OCEAN POLLUTION SOLUTIONS: https://www.
THE OCEAN CLEAN UP: https://www.theoceancleanup.