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Archive for the ‘news from around the world’ Category

This is one of the most visually powerful images of the destruction caused by plastic that I have seen to date. Shared via Instagram @balloonsblow and @kayak4kuwait

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-42982959#

I recently read this very disconcerting and worrying article. Please read it and share. Along with other major cities in the world, London will run out of water in the not too distant future. Water is probably the MOST precious commodity next to air, and yet people waste it like its an unending supply. Only 3% of the water on the planet is drinkable and yet its poured away without thought. Of the 7 billion people on the planet, 2.7 billion have no proper access to fresh drinking water.

Just a few ways in which we waste water every day:

Boiling a full kettle for one cup = wasting water.

Gushing taps =wasting water.

Standing in the shower for ages =wasted water.

Filling a swimming pool =horrendous waste of water.

Washing a car with a hose pipe =horrendous waste of water.

Not planting a water retaining garden =waste of water.

Using sprinklers on the lawn during the day =waste of water.

Not retaining rainwater in a drum =waste of water.

Producing the hundreds of single use PLASTIC bottles of water =obscene waste of water.

Recycling that plastic = unnecessary waste of water.

Ice bucket challenge =waste of water….yes they raised money for charity, but millions of liters of water went to waste.

The list of how water is wasted is endless. Please do consider that #waterisprecious and think about how you can #savewater and #stopwaste

A good place to start would be #nomoreplastic #nosingleuseplastic #noplasticbottles

#conservewaterdontwasteit

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The article I’ve shared here is a long read. It may be worth your time to read it through. I left Facebook earlier this year, (although I haven’t yet deleted my profile), because it was making me feel uncomfortable and I noticed that I was being manipulated by what I was seeing. My daughter sent me this article and having read it, I see now that my thoughts and feelings of unease were correct. I realise that some will of course say they already ‘knew’ all of this. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether to read it or not, but in case you don’t, everyone on social media is being mass manipulated and Facebook is one of the worst perpetrators. : “They have created billions of individual channels, each of which can be pushed further into negativity and extremism without the risk of alienating other audience members. To the contrary: the platforms help people self-segregate into like-minded filter bubbles, reducing the risk of exposure to challenging ideas.” https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/january-february-march-2018/how-to-fix-facebook-before-it-fixes-us/

I’ve kept my profile open simply so that I can pop in from time to time to contact friends whose phone numbers I don’t have, particularly those who live on different continents, and because I have never downloaded the Facebook messenger app since I didn’t and still don’t trust them or the app. I don’t see messages or tags anymore because I literally go onto my profile for a few minutes and off again. I won’t ever again be an active user.
I’ll still use instagram because I enjoy sharing my images and love seeing all the wonderful images of places around the world. It’s also useful to compile lists of where I want to go. WhatsApp has unfortunately become a necessity.. for now, but that will change in time. And Google is Google, a useful tool for research. Fortunately I’m not a very good consumer, so that’s their bad luck.

Anyway, I’d suggest you take the time to read this article, so that you can be aware of how we’re all being manipulated. Knowledge, as they say, is power.

https://www.wired.com/story/inside-facebook-mark-zuckerberg-2-years-of-hell/amp?__twitter_impression=true

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31 Days of Gratitude – this has been an interesting exercise so far. When I started this theme I thought for sure I’d be focusing on the material rather than the intangible….but it seems my mind had other ideas.

I started off with my creature comforts; then to my job, from there I swung over to another creature comfort, and then I hit the material stuff…and from there it’s gone in the direction of love, experiences and the intangible. So far I’ve been grateful for indoor heating, my job, being able to cook, my laptop, learning how to invest, parental love, walking the Camino, experiencing snow, the love of pets, experiencing enchantment, having opportunities, being able to read….

Today I find myself leaning towards being grateful for awareness. It’s a scary old world with all the new technology we are exposed to; mobile phones, the internet, AI developments, gestural interfaces and now crypto-currencies. Although the latter is not new, in comparison to the others it’s still wet behind the ears, as am I. Since joining up and buying Bitcon my mind (and nerves) have gone through a range of emotions the like of which I’ve never experienced before. This is the only time in my life that a graph has held such a fascination. I need one of those screens like they had in that film with Tom Cruise; the Minority report. LOL

Besides being aware of all the new technology, we have to be aware of the ‘dark web’ so to speak; the scams, and hacks, and viruses that abound along with all that’s marvellous about all these new aspects of life. Daily we read about a new bank scam, or a major hacking attack, or fraudsters making off with millions of dollars. The sheer number of scams that abound today are bewildering and frightening. You have to be super aware. In order to protect your internet browsing you have to pay out large sums of money to keep your equipment safe. You can no longer be polite to someone on the phone who calls purporting to be from your bank (or receiving an email). Someone I’m close to was recently scammed by a very slick operator who managed to deceive her into thinking she was actually dealing with her bank. He had all the right protocols, the right questions and details that only the bank should have known about…..and she was scammed out of £13k+. Thankfully due to a total cock-up by the relevant bank they had to reimburse her all the money, but a great number of other people were scammed in the same way and they haven’t been refunded.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/08/scam-victims-fail-take-reasonable-care-will-not-get-penny-ofcompensation/

Being aware and keeping abreast of news for anything to do with the internet or the latest scam is vital if we are to be safe in our adventures on the web.

Which brings me to a current bug-bear of mine…..plastic. I’ve become very much aware of the devastating effect plastic is having on our lives. Having access to the internet is brilliant at being able to keep up to date with what is happening with raising awareness of this pernicious product. I joined the Plastic Pollution Coalition facebook page last year and have kept myself aware of the latest news; both good and bad. If you watched Blue Planet 2 a couple of nights ago you cannot fail to see how devastating an effect our lifestyle is having on the world’s oceans and our future.

We, as humans, are already eating plastic in our fish. Those microscopic bits of plastic are going to be our undoing.

Although programmes like Blue Planet 2 and organisations like the Plastic Pollution Coalition are doing a terrific job in raising awareness, it is not enough. We have to educate ourselves. We have to become more aware of why so much plastic is ending up in the oceans and what we can do about it.

Disposable plastics are made to last forever. A plastic water bottle takes 450 years to break down. Where does it break down to?Boomerange Alliance - Plastic Doesn't Go Away resizedScreen Shot 2017-06-20 at 1 It goes into the oceans. It’s killing the sea-life that the health of our oceans depend upon…..and finally it is going to kill us.

plastic pollution. raising awareness, blue planet 2, plastic pollution, no straw november, raising awareness

Shared via @nomoresingleplastic #nomoreplastic #breakfreefromplastic #plasticpollutes #marinelitter It’s frightening the amount of single use plastic that we humans use that ends up in the ocean and rivers. What are your thoughts on single use plastic? And what do you do to avoid it? It’s incredibly difficult to find foodstuffs that don’t come in plastic.

plastic pollution. raising awareness, blue planet 2, plastic pollution, no straw november, raising awareness

I’m grateful for these types of organisations and programmes that are bringing the plastic pollution battle to the forefront of our awareness and especially to those companies/organisations that are actually doing something about it.

plastic pollution. raising awareness, blue planet 2, plastic pollution, no straw november, raising awareness

Edible Six Pack Rings

If only our Governments weren’t so fixated on making money, then they would do something rather more drastic about firstly raising awareness of the huge problem we face and secondly, actually doing something about it.

The most important thing to do now, is to ban the use of disposable plastics unconditionally. By doing this, the huge disposable market will disappear. But Governments are slow to act…..this has been a problem for well over 2 decades now and still they are acting sluggishly about actually doing something drastic to curb the growing problem. Organisations are hugely responsible for the production of single-use plastic; bottled water, fizzy drinks (no huge brand names are mentioned here….think!!), plastic straws (Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States), plastic cups, plastic cutlery, plastic plates, plastic wrapping, plastic toothpicks, plastic ties, balloons, plastic toys (usually cheap rubbish from China that breaks within a day or so anyway), bubble wrap, plastic bags, plastic carrier bags, plastic milk bottles etc etc etc.

Once I became aware of the huge problem, I started looking at where I could cut plastic out of my ‘diet’. The first thing to go were bottles of water. Then I signed a pledge to never use straws again (last year), I joined the #nostrawNovember campaign,

I stopped buying take-away coffees, and take-away food that comes in polystyrene containers.  It is essential to me that I keep myself aware of these issues and hopefully share my findings with others in order to raise their awareness. The internet is brilliant for research and for raising awareness of the issues we face. Platforms like google, twitter, facebook, instagram and pinterest are excellent sources of information and for raising our awareness of the issues and some of the solutions.

Today I am grateful for awareness. I’m grateful for the technology that allows us to raise our own awareness of the issues that we face in the world today, and the awareness of others.

I’m also grateful to people like this wee lass who at the age of 9 is super aware of the problems that plastic products impose and is not only raising awareness of the issues but actually doing something about it http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/nine-year-old-wants-to-end-plastic-pollution/

Be aware http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/42309891/six-simple-ways-to-cut-back-on-plastic

#nomoresingleplastic #nomoreplastic #breakfreefromplastic #plasticpollutes #marinelitter

31 Days of Gratitude – Day 12

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I recently came across this amazing adventure from an article shared on Facebook.

Hiking the longest trail in the world!!! Wow. What an extraordinary adventure

Here’s Mel’s website if you’d like to read more about this amazing adventure as she faces 2 Canadian winters and hikes through some of the most incredible scenery, from one side of Canada to the other.

http://www.betweensunsets.com/cross-canada-hike/

You can find her on instagram https://www.instagram.com/betweensunsets/

Now that is an adventure to inspire the inveterate explorer. 🙂

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We all know by now the damage being done to the planet with our perpetual use of plastic, seen the horror of a defenceless turtle with the plastic straw stuck up it’s nose, watched with shudders of horror as the blood poured while the rescuers tried to remove it, seen dead seabirds of all species lying on the rocky shores their guts filled with our plastic non-decomposing bits of waste while their chicks are starving to death, seen the whales and dolphins washed up on the beaches gasping their last breath as they lie there waiting to die from starvation caused by swallowing our plastic waste, and knowing that straws perforate the stomachs of penguins. Massive islands of plastic trash floating in the oceans, rivers and streams dead spaces clogged with plastic trash; our plastic trash.

We have to stop it somehow, but it seems insurmountable. Everything is either made with plastic in the process, contains plastic in the fabric or is simply a plastic container. Packaging manufacturers are slow to develop alternative materials that can genuinely compete with traditional plastics because there’s no real market for it. And there’s no market for it because there is not enough demand from consumers.

The supermarkets and production corporations don’t help with their perpetual insistence on using reams of plastic; vegetable wrapped in plastic, fish and meat wrapped in plastic. All because we are a throw-away species with only convenience on our minds.

Slowly but surely though, the message seems to be seeping into our brains and our consciousness; PLASTIC KILLS. And it’s not only killing off the planets wildlife and sea-life but it’s now in our food chain and in the fullness of time, we too will die of plastic related illness and cancers. Or starvation.

no straw november, ocean guardians, single use plasticBut there is so much we can do…..and #nostrawnovember is a very tiny action but it will save a massive amount of plastic from ending up in the oceans, rivers, streams and ultimately killing off the planet. And commit to avoiding single-use plastic water bottles

FYI: Just Americans ALONE use 500 million drinking straws EVERY DAY. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That’s 46,400 school buses every year! Americans use these disposable utensils at an average rate of 1.6 straws per person per day.

After watching that awful video with the turtle I decided to not use plastic straws anymore. I saw a website where you sign a pledge to never use plastic straws ever again and signed immediately. My daughter bought me a packet of paper straws for Xmas.

So what you do to help reduce the number of plastic straws ending up killing off our wildlife and sea-life? #bestrawfree – join the campaign, be a super hero – and besides saving the planet, save yourself  https://www.ecocycle.org/bestrawfree Join the #nostrawnovember campaign and make it for life.

“In the UK alone, on average 3.5 million McDonalds customers per day buy a drink with a straw. That means 3.5 million straws a day are discarded” #strawwars

Of course it’s not just straws, it’s plastic bags, single use plastic bottles, cling-wrap, plastic ear-buds etc etc etc. The list just goes on. But, if we collectively just stop using those 5 items (amongst others), it will massively reduce the amount of plastic destroying the planet. We are meant to be the Guardians of Planet Earth, but sadly, on the contrary, we are the harbingers of it’s destruction. Our 20 minutes of convenience have major hidden consequences.

Other items you can stop using include: plastic cutlery, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic coffee pods.

Landfill is not the answer, Recycling is not the absolute answer (you just make it someone else’s problem with that route). Most plastic packaging items are used only once before being discarded, and globally only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling.

Instead we must stop using plastic wherever we can and urge our supermarkets and politicians to help us clean up our Earth.

Leaders in this field:

Wetherspoon to ban single-use plastic ones from its 900 pubs across Britain and Ireland in war on waste.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4919604/Wetherspoon-ban-single-use-plastic-straws.html#ixzz4yW7sJtqS
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Do you realise:

PLASTICS:

Number of years to decompose
PLASTICS:
-plastic bag: 10-500 years
-plastic straw: up to 200 years
-plastic water bottle: 450 years
-plastic beverage container: 500+ years
-plastic 6 pack holder: 450 years

Support Brita’s #SwapForGood campaign, commit to avoiding single-use plastic water bottles and carrying around a reusable bottle instead. It really is that easy. If you can carry a single-use plastic bottle; you can surely carry a reusable plastic bottle.

OTHER THROW-AWAY PRODUCTS WE USE ON A DAILY BASIS:

FOAMS/ECT.:
-styrofoam cup – will never decompose – NEVER!!!! Made from styrene; a known animal and probably human carcinogen. That is horrendous. Go #foamfree

foamfree, styrofoam, single use plastic, no straw november, no single use plastic
-wax milk carton- up to 50 years
-tinfoil- will never decompose – NEVER!!!! That is horrendous.
-cardboard- 2 months

Other articles to read:

https://www.plasticoceans.org/

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/30/retailers-manufacturers-reduce-plastic-use-waste-lily-cole-ellen-macarthur

https://www.cottonbudproject.org.uk/

We read so many articles about practising ‘mindfulness’ and yet we are the throw-away generation…..of all ages.

Make the straw you last used the last plastic straw you use  https://thelastplasticstraw.org/resources-2/

 

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One of the more unfortunate aspects of walking as a solo woman on the Camino is the perception that you’re easy game. I’ve read recently on the Facebook forums that I follow of women being harassed by men; naked men who chase after these women whilst masturbating, men waiting under secluded bridges till a woman comes along then yanks his pants down to expose himself. Men follow along behind the pilgrims and make lewd comments, or just hang around making a general pest of themselves.

Many of the women quite understandably get quite frightened, or as in one case was so badly upset by the whole thing that she packed up and went home. It’s a real issue and seems to be escalating somewhat. There are often discussions about how to deal with these incidents with some folks suggesting pepper spray which is banned in Spain, or whistles, and various other suggestions, none of which are really acceptable and could lead to further problems.

I recently read an interesting article about the escalating harassment of women in the Middle East regions, that although not specifically about the Camino, does talk about the harassment of women in middle east countries. Interesting, although unfortunately they don’t mention the biggest factor in these countries; women are viewed as 2nd class citizens…ergo men can do what they like coz they’re superior. Perhaps they should look at the cultural issues from the cradle up….men treat their wives in an appalling fashion, often abusive. Boys witness this and think its okay to be abusive towards women. Its pretty much the same in every patriarchal society. It won’t change till parents teach their kids about respect.  Reading this article I get the distinct impression that the author/researcher is making excuses for why boys harass girls. These young men “have high aspirations for themselves and aren’t able to meet them,” he says. “So they [harass women] to put them in their place. They feel like the world owes them.”

Harassing women is not a new phenomena in the Western world; its as bad and has been for decades in our society where morals are loose and again, men are disrespectful towards their wives. Frankly those men’s magazines and light pornographic magazines, sexually explicit films, advertisements with half naked women spread across cars et al, all play a part in the sexual harassment of women. I remember with clarity, as a young girl developing breasts and having to start wearing a bra, the boys, would come up behind me or my school mates and snap our bra-straps or try to undo the hooks – behaviour they STILL indulge in 50 years later. We were always, without fail told to ‘just ignore it’. In fact I recall very clearly telling my daughter much the same thing 25 years later….either that or wallop the boy in question….which of course would then lead to her being punished for ‘assaulting’ the little shit.

However, there has been as is a shift being made in this area. I recently read where a Mother was called into the Headmaster’s office because her daughter had punched the boy who snapped her bra-strap. The Headmaster and the parents of the boy tried to make an issue of it, but the Mother neatly turned the tables by reminding them that what he had done is actually sexual harassment and that she would be happy to call the Police and lay a charge. Problem solved. Frankly I wish I had done that for my daughter, how much more empowering it would have been.

But, and here’s the thing…..it is sexual harassment, and the problem begins at home. Until all of society begins to see women as equals and deserving of respect, until parents unanimously teach their sons about the boundaries and how to treat a woman with respect, women will continue to be harassed on the streets….no matter which country we live in. I, however, am not holding my breath.

And if any man, young or otherwise even attempts to give me grief while I’m walking the Camino, he will live to regret it.

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