Fake Plastic Fish

Green Blog : Fake Plastic Fish
Blogger : Beth Terry

This time around, my post is dedicated to a Co-Green blog called Fake Plastic Fish…not that this wonderful blog needs any more publicity.  This post is to show my admiration for a co-green-bloggers who is committed to the cause and has made a significant difference around her.

Her posts are very informative and it was a deja-vu when I saw someone who did things I was doing in my daily life….and was definitely striving to do more….Such wonderful people and their lifestyles are real eye openers and examples for people who argue that it is tough to live green anymore, in this part of the planet in particular (read in the USA).

Here is a link to one of her very inspiring posts. – HERE

New way to eat fruit??!!!! REALLY

I was forced to take a hiatus from the blogarena, I was busy making my doctors richer! :). I am back with my take on the processed food industry (not again!!). The number of products on the super market shelves and the never ending series of new product launches will keep green crusaders busy for a long time. This post is going to be all about fruits in a plastic container.

The product: Fruit (with or with out a syrup base) packaged in plastic containers.  (I restricted the scope of my product choice to explain the associated issues better).

It may seem very normal and innocuous on the surface. All the talk about  pre-cut, packaged fruit being a matter of convenience and a time saving option tempts normal mortals into buying them. Exemplary advertising techniques make these products look oh-so-appealing. An average city bred consumer would not bother about amount of processing and packaging which translates into this “convenience” for them. It is really painful to see the number of people missing out on the energy and resources being drained out on an industry which need not exist. Producing some thing for the sake of creating jobs may seem like a stroke of economic genius, but long term costs on the environment weigh too much compared to the short term economic growth.

Corporates focus on production, new product lines, sales figures and “creating wealth for the share holders” …REALLY?!!!..It is short term gains and losses which matters most to them. The management and business development teams love to speak numbers and sales graphs and their sense of corporate responsibility ends there. They are too happy incorporating “Environmental Accounting” in their Financial Accounting/System and ERPs. But why do they and we as consumers miss out on considering the bigger picture?

Corporate responsibility
All these product processing ,manufacturing ans retailing companies have considerable clout in the market, and can influence consumer behavior. If they think beyond filling their coffers, they can surely make a difference.

Each day, millions of these plastic containers are bought, used and trashed. Every single cup ends up in the landfill or chokes drains and water sources (especially in India). This is because either they are not recyclable in the municipality or people don’t care about their trash.

A long term solution (s)…
There should be a compulsory Trash Lifecycle Management should be made a mandatory subject in Schools and Colleges. A heavy penalty must be imposed on those who do not apply the fundamentals learnt in this class. I don’t see any other workable rational approach to the whole issue.

We as consumers can make a difference, we can follow Gandhiji’s Satya Graha principles and silently stick to natural fruit (locally available and seasonal) and ban pre-cut packaged fruit/food out of our lives. This shift will force these companies to rethink their business strategy and make eco-friendly choices in their supply chain management. They will at least start by diverting resources to business ideas which translate into growth in real terms and not the “apparent” growth they are used to as of now. I have been strong with my  argument that over production and excessive consumption does not mean growth. And if some one says so, then they need a crash course on sustainability management and economics as a whole. People who talk about “systems approach” at work have no clue that it extends to their regular living too!

Apart from damage caused by the non-biodegradability of these styorfoam and plastic material, BPA in the plastic packaging leaches toxins (mainly dioxins) into the pre-cut food and makes them hazardous. This happens because fruits and vegetables release juices which are acidic and BisphenolA (BPA) can turn an innocent fruit or a vegetable into a pure Carcinogenic bomb!

How does that happen?
Dioxins, for example, cause a long list of health problems. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, exposure to Dioxins leads to reproductive and developmental problems.

Lets help ourselves…
In the kind of environment we live in today, exposure to hazardous substances is unavoidable. The least we could do is to work our way through small changes to make a big difference. We could minimize occurrence of cancer, fertility issues and other lethal and chronic ailments in our kith and kin. All we have to do is to make very simple and wise choices and there by will spare the planet of all the unnecessary trouble it is going through. The N number of preservatives, additives and colour management ingredients which go into extending shelf life of these packaged goods are no good either…adding sugar and syrups to fruits is like insulting God’s creation – Naturally sweet and yummy fruits!

Another simple way to go about making a difference is to buy local and eat only seasonal vegetables to avoid all the energy and resources spent on a product/vegetable/fruit being shipped all the way across the globe. We dont live in a perfect world…Agreed! Look at the issue in terms of statistics…Let us take the case of United States as this country represents the maximum number of consumers seeking convenience per se. Time and again it has been reported that this country alone generates over 28% of waste generated on the planet. (Phew!)

Researchers have found that the rise in various cancers in humans in the United States can be linked to the Industry’s use of plastic to package food since the 1960s. TV dinners, microwaveable food packets, pastas in a plastic container, and the list is endless.We could take care of ourselves and the planet (in turn ourselves) by making very simple choices such as 
  • Not drinking hot and cold fluids out of plastic/wax paper/styrofoam cups
  • Not using plastic containers to cook or reheat food
Please wake up, people! Plastics are killing us and destroying the environment! We do not have the time and resources to hide behind the shield of “CONVENIENCE”…it is nothing but ignorance at work. As much as i would like to stop and make these people see sense, I am still looking for ways and means to make a constructive difference.

Stop buying in bulks, do not buy fresh fruit being suffocated like this either. Fruits release Ethylene and when placed in plastic, can ripen and rot faster too…its nothing but money down the drain!! (this arguments works for people who cannot think beyond money and do not care a damn about their impact on the environment)

Lets see sense and make our lives on the planet better!

Images courtesy: Internet and company websites

Global cooling?!!

Are we heading towards another ice age?…
A few reports, white papers and research presentations have been floating around for over a decade now. They all speak about the imminent Ice age. I am in the process of reading more on this topic.. as of now cant say anything right away. It is another aspect of global climate change phenomenon, basically a shift from the normal. It may have been inevitable, but is surely a matter of concern. We humans have contributed towards speeding up of the climate change process. Agreed that the planet has seen cyclic warm and icy eras, however, the issue in focus has to be the fact that human interference has contributed to speeding up the process.

I wanted to equip myself with considerable information on this topic before I wrote something about it….In the mean while thought I’d share some food for thought…A video found on youtube…Let me know what you think about this phenomenon.