Monday, October 29, 2007

The Environment/The Congo

Anderson was asked a lot last week what one person could do to help the environment. He didn't really have an answer but I believe that each person can play a role in helping. If everyone on this earth made one small change it would make a HUGE difference. But, unfortunately, most people either don't care or don't understand what is really at stake. Most people probably agree that we humans are causing a lot of environmental issues for the planet whether that be global warming, animal endangerment or numerous other issues. Some do not believe there is problem. Whether global warming is due to humans or due to the natural cycles of the earth it's still a problem. And even if everyone of the scientist is wrong then helping to improve our world is still a good thing. Maybe it will be hundreds of years from now but we will run out natural resources and the more we do now to help the longer they will last. Conserving energy and water and recycling can't hurt the environment or make it worse so it seems worth the trouble whether it helps us today or our grandchildren 100 years from now.

With Planet in Peril wrapping up last week I wanted to give a couple of environmental facts for everyone to ponder. And maybe each one of us in a small way can help. A few months ago I switched out all of our light bulbs to the new energy saving ones. These bulbs (I got a 4 pack for $7.99 at Lowes) are supposed to last up to SEVEN years! That's amazing. And to top it off they use only 20% of the energy the old light bulbs used. Imagine the impact if every household in the U.S. changed their bulbs?

*Paper products use up at least 35 percent of the world's annual commercial wood harvest.

*Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.

*The average house uses one acre of trees to build.

*The United States is the number one trash producing company in the world at 1,609 pounds per person, per year.

*If everyone on earth consumed as many resources as Americans do, we would need four planet earths to provide enough resources. In other words, 5% of the world's population (the United States), consumes 25% of the world's resources.

*Paper products make up the largest part of our trash (approx. 40%).

*If all of our newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year!

*Americans throw away enough aluminum every three months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.

*Plastic bags and other plastic thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.


Here are a couple interesting questions....

Which countries use the most oil and gas?

The top oil user is the USA (17 million barrels per day) and top gas user is the former Soviet Union (23,000 billion cubic feet per year)

How much oil enters the ocean?

The amount of petroleum products ending up in the ocean is estimated at 0.25% of world oil production: about 6 million tons per year.

What are the most polluted ocean areas detected from space?

Widespread man made pollution of the sea that can be detected by current spaceborne systems is concentrated in the Middle East, particularly in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

What cities in the U.S. have the most air pollution (Smog)?

1.Los Angeles
2.Bakersfield, California
3.Visalia-Porterville, California
4.Fresno, California
5.Houston, Tx

**Besides our reviews of the Planet in Peril I was pointed to an article that Annie Kate wrote regarding the documentary. It's a great read. Find it at her blog about the environment. **


We heard from several people that saw Anderson last week at his Q & A appearances that he was headed to the Congo this week to do a story for "60 Minutes". There are a lot of things going on in the Congo, including flooding and fighting that has threatened the Mountain Gorillas. Here's a link to several important stories going on. It'll be interesting to see which story shows up.

-Rebels in DR Congo re-seized the Gorilla Sector Sunday in Virunga National Park after heavy clashes with the army, leaving the Mountain Gorillas totally unprotected

-Congo Rebels Seize Gorillas Habitat

-President Bush Praises, Offers Help to Embattled Congo Leader (President Joseph Kabila visited the White House last Friday)
-Dozens Killed in DR Congo Floods

The Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund has reached out to help the Gorilla's in The Congo and Anderson visited them last year on his trip to the Congo. Go to the Diane Fossey site to see a video of Anderson talking about the Gorilla's. Here's some pictures from last year :)

This week during the afternoons we're going to have a Planet in Peril Photo Vote Off! Each day we'll let you guys vote for the best picture, with each day's winners going up against each other next Sunday night for the final winner!

And I'll leave you tonight with a new picture of Anderson. Photo: courtesy of Justin Larose/CNN Enjoy! Have a great week.


copperfish said...

I think the problem lies in the fact that although we may be aware of what is happening in our environment sadly not all of us have the concern to help make a change. I think it is two different things. Being concerned involves some or small actions at least. If we humans who were aware have some small amount of determination to do a little help even in our everyday life then for sure we may create an impact.

ACAnderFan said...

I agree that if each person made a small change there could be a big difference. I was a little dissapointed that PIP realy didn't focus on any ways to help the environment.

I am looking forward to Andy's piece on the Congo, whenever it will air. It should be good :)

Aww...that pics of him with the mountain gorillas are so cute :)

Is it just me or does it seem weird that PIP is done and over with??? We have been talking about it for so long and now it has come and gone.

Em said...

The photo contest sounds fun and yet, I'm not certain my heart can handle the final photo vote-off! Those HD pictures have been incredible. Thank you so much for posting them.

One of my biggest pet peeves is that my county has NO recycling centers and it is 3 hour(roundtrip) drive to get to the nearest recycling center. So if you try to recycle, then you have to burn gas to get there...a catch 22. The most ironic part, our county is home to one of the largest radioactive materials recycling companies in the U.S. and, before they began burning them, was the home of most of the chemical weapons for the U.S. Military. See what I mean, ironic. I can't get my paper, plastic, and aluminum recycled but if you have any chemical or nuclear waste, send it our way! Guess that's enough or an enviromental rant from me today.

Hope you all had a great weekend...looking forward to what you come up with to help us with the Anderson withdrawals this week!

Sapphire said...

wow great post PT....loads of useful information. The thing about the aluminum pop can and the TV's really is crazy. I do recycle but sometimes I will throw a can in the garbage. I won't be doing that any more.

Thanks for posting the pics of Anderson with the gorillas...I love those.

Oh a Anderson pic vote off....whoa, that is intense....can't wait to see the pretty as Ms. Sheryn would say :P

Sheryn said...

Americans do not conserve nature's resources very well. I find that Europeans are very good at this. I've never been to Asia so I can't speak to their conservation practices.

It might not even be thousands of years from now that we run out of natural resources. Atlanta is facing a water crisis right now.

I agree with Copperfish. Most are aware of the growing problem but do not take an interest. Stephen Colbert was joking when he said, "What can I do that won't directly impact me?" Sadly a lot of people cannot be bothered to take the small steps to help the environment.

And then even if we all ban together and do our part, it is really the government that has to step up it's efforts to place strict regulations on big business.

I think the biggest thing we Americans can do for our environment is vote the proper people into office. That is going to make the biggest impact of all!

After The Love said...

great new photo of AC...

bluediamond (Jennifer) said...

@Purple Tie. I enjoy reading your post. Alot of information and facts about our environment. I already recycle bottles and cans which that's a good thing to do recycle much as possible. And thanks for posting the picture of Anderson that's a good picture of him

I can't wait to see Anderson story on 60 minutes whenever it airs.

Phebe said...

Lots of very important information PT, thank you.
@Em....if the recycling situation in your area wasn't so sad it could almost be funny. Unbelievable.
Here we have curbside pick up every week for glass, plastic, paper, aluminum, just about everything. There is one community in Phoenix that even takes cloth and wood in their recycling.

Em said...

@Phebe, when I lived in the city, we did not have curbside recycling but the centers were pretty close. They now have curbside in some of the more urban areas. Every time I visit my parents in Oregon, I am frustrated when I come home. They have great recycling there and give you deposits back on plastic bottles and cans. The first thing I noticed when I went to visit them was that their trash cans are half the size of ours. Amazing how much you adjust your habits based on the size of the trash can but we did. Recently, our county sent us a notice saying we can ask for a can for grass, leaves, etc. Doesn't do me too much good cause we garden organically and already have a mulcher and composite pit. If we can't get our politicians concerned over the amount of toxic waste we are storing, then I guess I shouldn't be surprised they have no interest in recycling. The companies recently petitioned to increase the level of radioactive materials they are allowed to store and recycle. Our County Commission was all for it. It took the Governor stepping in to put a stop to it. It's a wonder we aren't all glowing. I find this amazing in a state that has witnessed first hand the plight of the down-winders. The small town where Mr Em grew up had to have all the soil removed due to contamination and our brilliant county government then replaced the soil with other more toxic soil. Can you believe it? So, this year they dug the town up again! You are probably all wondering why I live here! Well, that's another long story! I was able to get a telecommuting agreement several years ago that reduced my gas consumption from 2 tanks per week to 2-3 tanks per month. If we had public transit I would take that on the other days but that isn't here either. We recycle as much as we can, have changed the bulbs, put a brick in the toilet tank, garden organically etc. I guess the only way for me to make more of an impact at this point is at the voting booth. Not many, "green" candidates here either but maybe we can have some impact nationally in the next election. I am actually looking forward to the primaries so that we can narrow the field and start forcing a little more focus on the issues!

Judy/Brooklyn MI said...

Sheryn, You are so right! The best thing we can do now is check on the environmnetal views or record of those seeking election to state, local, and federal offices and vote accordingly.