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The Plastic Predicament September 22, 2013

Plastic is a menace to all ecosystems it comes in contact with. Non-biodegradable, toxic, petroleum-based, and easily mistaken for an ocean animal’s prey, it’s ruining our seas and filling up our landfills. The approximated amount of plastic recycled, out of the total plastic produced is almost certainly less than 10%. And do you know what happens to the rest of it? It sits around in a dump for thousands of

English: Ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer (EVA...

years, or is taken to the ocean to become yet another drifting patch of garbage. Plastic is not a biodegradable substance. It will break down over many years, but it will never fully go away. The molecules will simply divide and become smaller and more spaced out, until they are spread to other parts of the ocean and the Earth to become more pollution. It takes so many years for even a slight breakdown to occur that there is no difference made, and the plastic continues to pile up. Worse yet, even if the plastic does start to ‘decompose’- though I shouldn’t be calling it that, because it will never fully break down- the particles are then microscopic and harder to locate, especially harder to remove. They go into the water that many sea animals live in and breathe.

Sending the plastic to be destroyed isn’t a much better choice. The incineration of trash releases toxins and chemicals into the air, which create pollution in the air. So no matter where the plastic goes, it’s always a problem. Did you know that breathing the air in Mumbai for just one day is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes? That’s how polluted it is. Plastic and other petroleum-based substances are not only ruining the Earth, but also the creatures living in it. Turtles in the ocean often think that plastic bags are jellyfish and consume the bags, which clogs the airways in their throat and eventually kills them.

Recent developments are being made to create plant based plastics, rather than petroleum based ones. While this will certainly help to stop creating trouble for the ocean, it won’t decrease what’s already there. Thankfully, inventions are being made, and it’s believed that they can help. Take Dutch teenager Boyan Slat’s robotic ocean cleaning invention: it gleans its energy from ocean currents, so it’s sustainable, and it directs plastic particles to collection platforms. The plastic particles will then be recycled in a way that people can profit from it.Dutch Ocean Clean Up Device

Will this fix every plastic problem our oceans face? No. In fact, it’s estimated that only a third will be collected, but it’s a revolutionary solution that’s still going to change a lot for ocean wildlife. However, the robot cleaning devices are just an experiment, say the team of engineers working on them, though they also say that it looks promising. It’s not clear when these cleaning platforms will be put into use, or even if they will be put into use. So what can we do to help?

Ways to Help:

  • Bring a reusable grocery bag to the store with you, and make sure the rest of your family does as well.
  • Recycle as much of your plastic as you can- preferably all of it.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle everywhere. Stop buying plastic ones! If you’re in desperate need of water, and plastic is the only option, recycle that bottle, or reuse it for another day.
  • Talk to your local grocery store about stopping the usage of plastic bags altogether. Be sure to remind them that it will boost their profit because they can also sell reusable cloth bags.
  • If you have a lot of plastic grocery bags already, use them to line small bathroom trashcans. You can also iron a couple of bags together to create a reusable grocery bag.

If we could outlaw the dumping of plastic into our oceans and landfills, companies might be able to sell it to other organizations, such as Terracycle, and they could turn it into recycled products. What do you think? Got any ideas to help?

Ceej

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How To Help the Environment Without a Drivers Liscense July 9, 2013

The title is basically a clever way of me telling you that even if you are not an adult and can not give out personal information, drive cars, travel, or handle the electricity bill, you can still help to save the environment and have an impact on our small, small world. (That is actually quite large but small in the grand scheme of things.) The following may seem like small things, but they do great things. (This is kind of similar to the lazy environmentalist post from about a month ago, but many of our followers are teens/tweens and there are other things they can do.)

  1. Donate money to an organization that helps a cause you care about. Not everyone has the time to start organizations about important things, but even if you go on earning your usual amount of money doing chores, babysitting, or, if you’re old enough, doing a job, but setting aside some of your money to give to foundations like The Humane Society or the rainforest or adopting a dolphin or gorilla (not literally; there are programs where you send money that will help a gorilla or dolphin or what have you survive).
  2. Consider doing the simple things that your parents always nag you about. Whether it’s turning the lights off when you leave the room, not littering, using less water, taking shorter showers, or even playing outside (since you aren’t using electricity outside, you are helping the environment), it helps a great deal. You may think that just you doing these things will do nothing at all, but that isn’t true. If everyone who sees this does this little bit, it will help lots of things — fewer electricity will be used, less coal will be burned, fresh water will be saved, animals lives will last a little bit longer. You can do a lot in a little bit of time.
  3. Start getting crafty! By this I mean to start reusing things rather than throwing them away quickly, before all their use is gone. This may seem old-fashioned and annoying, and it kind of is. I myself have a grandmother who never throws anything away, even meat juice. Seriously. Sometimes when she stays with us for a weekend or whatever, I open the fridge and find a container of meat juice. But when you reuse things, it doesn’t have to have anything to do with meat juice, I assure you. Whether it’s using scraps of fabric, plastic, and used bottle caps in crafts or decorations, using bread-bags to carry things instead of just throwing them away, or even reusing your plastic water bottles by refilling them with water because hey! They can still hold water. You can even use candy wrappers as decorations if you’re working on a big project — that’s what my friends and I did when we were building a house out of foam and furnishing it without buying anything for school.
  4. Give your parents a break. No, you don’t have to stop bugging them about making you do useless chores by making your bead, but you can give them a break in the “driving you everywhere” category. Instead of making them drive you to the park, bike or walk. Instead of making them drive you to school, bike or walk if it’s close enough or carpool with people if it’s too far away. I think we all know about how oil and fumes and such from cars hurt the environment, and it’s also really expensive. Walking or biking or carpooling will give your parents breaks in more ways than one and will also help the earth.

These are only four ways you can help the environment without having a driver’s license, but there are so many more things you can do! Google it, ask people, or get creative and make it up yourself. Our world won’t last forever, and it won’t just heal itself. We have to do everything we can do to help it, and anything will help. So get out there and do your part. The world — and all of its inhabitants — will certainly appreciate it!

~Mary, Author at Bonsai

 

Are You Lazy? You Can Still Be an Environmentalist! June 17, 2013

Filed under: Going Green,Recycling — Mary @ 8:50 am
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In other words, how to be a lazy environmentalist. Being lazy isn’t really a huge problem, according to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B958zcq43ZI (this YouTube video) (apparently those little blue link things don’t really work today or on this YouTube video or something, but . . . anyway . . . too good a reference to go to waste). Anyway, everyone wants to save the environment, but not everybody thinks that they are especially up to it. They go like, “Yeah, I’m waaaaaaay too lazy to do all this stuffs that you’re asking me to do because it’s like waaaaaay too hard…”

The thing is, saving the environment — or at least helping it — isn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be. In fact, you may only have to alter a bit of your daily life, or take a little bit of time to make a big difference.

  1. Recycle! Recycling isn’t that hard — all you do is sort through your plastic, cardboard, aluminum, and paper and see what is recyclable and what isn’t. After you put all the stuff in the bag that’s recyclable, usually all you have to do is put it in a recycling bin outside your door and people will come up and get it for you. This will only take about ten minutes out of your day if you do it all at once, and if you just look to see whether you can recycle something right when you use it, it will take even less time!
  2. Buy used, not new. We have a decaying environment not because we don’t think about helping it, but because we buy so much stuff. Stuff, stuff, stuff. We “need” it. We go and buy more clothes, more food, more shoes, more video games. More, more, more. There’s nothing wrong with having lots of clothes, or with having lots of shoes — but getting new shoes and new clothes every day? Every week? Can’t you just live with what you have? And we do like to indulge ourselves, even I do it. But when we do need things, sometimes it isn’t the smartest to buy things new — we can, but it’s considerably cheaper and more eco-friendly if you buy a perfectly fine thing used instead of new.
  3.  3. Get rid of bottled water! Is it really so hard to just drink from a tap, or a water fountain, or bring your own reusable water bottle? Not only is it cheaper, but it saves the environment from those icky plastic bottles — do you really know how bad those are? They aren’t recyclable, they swirl around the ocean, they kill animals and sea life. It would help the environment and the money in your bank account if you would take a minute and use a reusable water bottle or get a glass out from the cabinet.

There are lots of other ways to go green while you’re being lazy, but I’m way too lazy to write about them. Just kidding . . . maybe . . . ANYWAY, you’ll have to come up with them yourself. The world would be a better place because of you. Actually, the world has been made a better place because of lazy people, as explained in the YouTube video above. I can also say it like this: Lazy people invent ways that make it easier to do important things, so then other lazy people can take time out of their “packed” schedules to do those things. More people will be helping the environment, and then the environment will get better, all because a lazy person decided to help the environment and say something about it. Don’t worry, fellow lazy people! You ARE valued! 🙂

So, I hope you start going green! The world really will be a better place. ♥

~Mary, Author at Bonsai

 

Romilda the Recycling Robot June 13, 2013

Filed under: Funny Stuff,Stories — Mary @ 8:51 am
Tags: ,

(Please do not judge me because of this awful writing. It isn’t my fault, I swear! It was written last year at like 6 am and I really wanted to write something about a robot who recycled and so I did but I was doing it as fast as possible. Obviously, working on things as fast as possible do not result in the absolute best product. Let this be a lesson to you: never try to write something at 6 am in the morning after a night of very little sleep in a hurry. Well, since I’m actually posting it somewhere where it will be publicly viewable on the internet, I can be that ashamed of it, right? WRONG! But I’m doing it anyway, just so you can laugh at my awful writing from one year ago. *sigh* So anyway, just don’t judge me, ‘kay?)

Once there was a Robot named Romilda. That in itself wasn’t very unusual, because Romilda was a very common name among the robots. Why would you write a story about an unusual robot with an unusual name, let alone start off the story with that sentence? My answer: NO REASON. Because, you know, Romilda wasn’t a very usual robot.

When you think of a robot, you think of something without a mind, without a heart. Something that follows orders, something made of scrap metal. But there was something different about Romilda. Romilda had a heart. And with her heart, Romilda chose to love the earth.

BUT WAIT!! You say, “IF A ROBOT HAD A HEART, IT WOULD BE HUMAN, NOT ROBOTIC!!” Nuh-uh. Untrue. Robots are always things made of metal. Humans are made of cells, genes, and flesh. Some mad scientist just so happened to insert a heart of steel that actually WORKED (don’t ask me how he got it to work – he died ages ago), and so there: Romilda had a heart.

So Romilda loved recycling, right? She would recycle EVERYTHING, and anything that couldn’t be recycled, she would discover how she could recycle it. She found the melting point of candy wrappers, the way to biodegrate cotton, and loads of other stuff. Didn’t you think that everyone adored recycling? Don’t you think that should have made Romilda famous?

Stupid, really, the way humans think these things. Because humans only like their handiwork, not their handiwork’s handiwork, they totally flushed Romilda’s ideas down the toilet. Like, literally, they flushed them down the toilet. That made Romilda really, really, really angry.

So Romilda decided to take revenge on the entire human race. It wasn’t easy, but she broke free from her creator, using toilet paper and kiwis, and decided to throw empty poison bottles at non-recycling people.

Unfortunately, the bottles became run-off and went into the ocean.

“What have I done?” gasped the robotic Romilda.

“You have killed the ocean,” the mayor of recycling said gravely. “I’m sorry we didn’t believe you, Romilda. We really should have listened.”

Romilda cried and fell to her knees.

“Everyone!” I called. “There is a lesson in this!!”

“What is it?” inquired the mayor.

I looked at him gravely and told him.

Moral of the Story: Never ever don’t believe a recycling robot. Or never ever throw poison bottles at someone. Or at least, never do it close to the ocean. Or, to make it simple, never try to get revenge on the human race. Look where it got the do-dos.

THE END

 

Instruments Made From Trash May 28, 2013

Filed under: Keep the Ground Clean,Make Your Own,Recycling — rolemodelsforme @ 12:13 pm
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Reusing is a great thing to do. It saves a lot of garbage and can be used for really fun purposes. Reusing items is a great thing to do and I have an example.

At my school, the first graders do an annual event where they create instruments using only garbage. I think this is a really great idea, for fun and for eco-friendliness. The event is done in first grade, but that didn’t stop me from using this idea to create instruments from garbage at home. I really enjoy doing it. Some of these instruments can be simple, others can be really sophisticated. No matter how you make your instrument, it is really fun to make it and play on it. I’m now going to show off some really cool instruments from Google images!

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Images: Copyright © Google Images

Thanks!!

-Hallie

Bonsai Contributor

 

Earth Day Crafts and Activities April 22, 2013

Filed under: Going Green,Holidays,Make Your Own — mochi @ 1:25 am
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The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...

I searched around until I found a couple gigantic lists of things to do for Earth Day! At my school, we’re planting some things to take home and making recycled bracelets. If any of you fabulous followers are parents, I’m sure your kids would love these fun activities that can teach them the importance of recycling.

 

http://www.creatingreallyawesomefreethings.com/earth-day-linky-party/

 

http://3boysandadog.com/deals/2013/earth-day-activities-for-kids/

 

There are many activities you can do. I hope you enjoy 

Happy Earth Day, you all!

Ceej

 

Saving Energy February 21, 2013

Hi all! You know how I’m in southern California? Well, the hotel that I’m staying at is like a bunch of other hotels making an effort to go greener.
  ~ The hotel gives you an option of changing the sheets every day, but they usually only change sheets every 3 days.
  ~ They give you an option of reusing your towels. However, if you want new towels, all you have to do is place the dirty ones on the floor.

Let’s all try to stay at hotels that are making an effort to go green!

Nik, Author at Bonsai

 

 
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