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- Environment & Green Issues
Going Green, Responsibly.
The rain forrests on our planet are still being depleted at an alarming rate.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations, say that deforestation has dropped over the last decade. The drop has been from 16 million hectares per year in the 1990's , to 13 million hectares in the 2000's.
Even after factoring in new forests, the loss is a drop from 8.3 to 5.2 million hectares, [an area approx. to Costa Rica], per year.
Although some countries have increased their % of deforestation, Indonesia and Peru being the biggest culprits. This has been offset by reductions by other countries, mainly Brazil.
We cannot put the blame squarely at the feet of the logging companies. Although we may not like the way they do their business, they are still in business because, we, the consumers have a need for their product.
We should not however, just say we will switch to plastics, as plastics themselves produce their own enviromental problems.
Hazards of Plastic.
Yes, many plastics, like bottles, can be re-used or re-cycled but a lot are not. If these are burned, they release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere or they are put into landfills. It is estimated that approx. 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are produced each year. The production of these bags takes 60 - 100 million barrels of oil each year. Plastic bags are thought to be responsible for about 100,000 deaths of marine creatures each year.
It is estimated that it takes 400 - 1000 years for a plastic bag to biodegrade. This means, that as yet, not one plastic bag has been broken down by nature.
So, what are we supposed to do. We must try to reduce the amount of lumber we use, yet avoid replacing it with plastic.
An Indian company http://www.bajajecotec.com/ produces a different material for use in making flooring, kitchen and office furniture. This is made by using sugarcane bagasse. This is the residue left over from crushing sugarcane.
A German company, see
is working on making "liquid wood". This is made from a byproduct of the paper making industry.
I cannot vouch for the quality of the above products. I merely use them as an example of what fields of technology we should be, or must be promoting if we are serious about our enviroment.
Some countries have now banned the use of plastic bags. All countries should follow this example. It, along with re-cycling, are small steps in re-juvenating our planet. Unfortunely we have left it too long and our population is growing too fast, for these steps alone to surfice. It will now take many small steps to accomplish any lasting progress. We know the problems and we have the technology. It means that we will all have to suffer a little discomfort now OR teach our grandchildren, how to tell their grandchildren that their real suffering, is because we were not prepared to face a little discomfort today.
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