New Challenges

Fossil Fuels, Petrochemicals and Plastic

I will reduce my use of plastic. Fact: Every year we add 25 million tons of plastic to the ocean. Scientists estimate that by 2050 there will be 937 million tons of plastic in the ocean – that’s more plastic than fish. Source: 100+ Frightening Plastic in The Ocean Statistics and Facts 2023-2022: Dripfina 

Plastic, plastic, plastic.

“The fossil fuel industry is banking its future on petrochemicals – the toxic precursor to plastics. Learn where petrochemicals come from, how they harm people, places, and the climate, and why the fossil fuel industry wants them as a lifeline.” Listen to this podcast or download the transcript. 43m:22s Petrochemicals and Plastics: a Fossil Fuel Lifeline? — A Matter of Degrees

Green House Gas Emissions:
In 2019, the plastics industry generated 1.8 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These emissions come from the production of and conversion from fossil fuels. Global plastics production doubled between 2000 and 2019.

Impact on Marine Ecosystems:
Plastic pollution threatens ocean health. The most visible impacts of plastic debris are the ingestion, suffocation, and entanglement of hundreds of marine species. Floating plastics help transport invasive marine species, threatening marine biodiversity and the food web.

Is Recycling Part of the Problem:
Did you know that the plastic recycling system was created by the fossil fuel industry to justify continued production of plastic and to lay the responsibility for disposal onto the public? Since then just 9% of all plastic produced has been recycled. In 2019 alone, 22 million tonnes (Mt) of plastic materials entered the environment. For more information on this boondoggle view Plastic Wars | The Passionate Eye  46minutes.


Say No to Peat

I will look for alternatives to peat moss in potting mixes and garden soil supplements. Fact: Peat bogs are crucial carbon sinks. They sequester more carbon than any other ecosystem type—forests included. Covering just 3% of our planet, peat bogs store one-third of soil carbon on Earth. SourceTreehugger 

Mer Bleue Bog, Ontario. Photo by Mary McGee.
Mer Bleue bog, Ontario Hinterland Who’s Who

Wetlands like peat bogs are the most biodiverse ecosystems on our planet. When they are destroyed or degraded, many species of plants and animals are affected. In North America today, peat is predominantly used for gardens. Only 10% of Canada’s peat lands are formally protected.  
Fight the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change by finding substitutes for peat moss.
Source: ON Nature Magazine 

Look for soil additives, compost and potting soils that are labelled “peat free.” Coconut coir is a good substitute, but does have a considerable transportation carbon footprint. Have you noticed any coconuts growing locally? Products labelled “Organic” and “Environmentally Friendly” may still contain peat. In the UK, the sale of peat-based compost will be banned starting in 2024.  
Make Your Own:
You can make a good potting soil/ growing medium using homemade compost, leaf mold, and inorganic soil elements (loam/sand). More suggestions below.

More about peat in Ontario:
What’s at stake in Ontario’s Ring of Fire | Canadian Geographic
“The Hudson Bay Lowlands are the largest contiguous temperate wetland complex in the world. Beyond their natural beauty, they perform vital ecosystem services that benefit even those who will never visit.”

What’s going on with Ontario’s Ring of Fire? | The Narwhal
“Will the value of the minerals there outweigh the costs of getting to them? Is it a good idea to source materials for clean technology by disrupting a natural carbon sink? What kind of future do First Nations in the region, who have lived there since time immemorial, want for their homelands?“

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