Posts filed under ‘This Day in History’
Mercury can be a grave environmental and health problem. On May 1, 1956, Minamata disease was discovered in Japan. This neurological disease is caused by severe mercury poisoning.
To reduce mercury’s impact on our environment:
- Reduce. Replace mercury thermometers & thermostats with non-mercury items.
- Recycle. When you do have an item with Mercury it is considered Hazardous Waste; recycle it responsibly. CFLs can be taken to many area hardware stores for recycling. Other items can be brought to a Waukesha County Household Hazardous Waste facility.
- Reduce Your Energy Use. One way that methylmercury gets into our environment is through burning coal for energy. By saving energy (turning off your lights, weatherizing your home, and recycling), you reduce the amount of coal burned.
mk. With all the hulabaloo about some other famous birthdays this week, I figured I would take a moment to honor Thomas Malthus. Basically, he theorized that population could grow faster than our ability to produce enough food to support said growing population. Awesome. He influenced such people as Charles Darwin and John Maynard Keynes. Have I mentioned that (sans mascot costume) I am taking an Environmental Economics class this semester? I am assuming we will get to the Malthusian Catastrophe at some point. Basically, this guys huge theory that gets him all famous is that he thinks eventually we will run out of stuff to fulfill the needs of people. This is oversimplified, of course.
Takeaway point? Because, yes, I indeed have one.
Don’t use up more resources than you need to. Why speed up this guy’s theory?
Reduce. For every trash can of garbage (or bin of recyclables) you put on your curb, around 70 other trash cans were filled just to make the stuff in your 1 garbage can! Easy ways to do this? Buy in bulk if you will use all of a product. Use a lunch box and reusable food storage containers. Get reusable bags for shopping. Get a reusable mug for coffee or a canteen for water.
Reuse. If you do end up with a plastic bag from a store, why not use it as a trash can liner rather than buying the little liners from the store? After all, Americans spend more on trash can liners than 90 other countries spend on everything. Donate items you no longer have a use for. Feeling really froggy? My favorite reuse strategies to get your garden going for spring include making seedling pots from toilet paper roll tubes and then making a little greenhouse to help the seeds grow.
Recycle. Don’t send valuable resources to the landfill where they will never again see the light of day. We landfill enough aluminum in this country to rebuild every single commercial airplane every three months! Americans throw, on average, 2,502,500 water bottles in the garbage every hour! This statistic doesn’t even count soda bottles. When people throw away these materials they are throwing away natural resources (in this case bauxite, oil, and water), energy, and the economic benefits that recycling provides (because no matter how you slice it in Waukesha, recycling makes money and trash costs money).
Three little words could help slow Malthus’ Catastrophe quite a bit.
On December 11th, 1987, the Brundtland Commission defined sustainability. The report, Our Common Future, defines sustainable development as:development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: