Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Help Save Birds by Reducing Waste

Wildlife societies and bird conservationists continue to blame cats for the declining bird populations, but they rarely discuss the human implications (habitat destruction, development, and pollution) that cause catastrophic effects on bird populations.

Please consider these statistics from “Wrapping Paper Hangover” by Mother Jones Magazine: (http://motherjones.com)

-The global packaging market is worth $429 billion.

-Nearly 1/3 of Americans' waste is packaging. Just 43% is recycled after use.

-In 2007, Americans threw away 78.5 million tons of packaging—520 pounds per person. That's a 71% increase from 1960.

-Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, Americans produce more than 1 million tons of additional garbage per week.

-If every family reused the wrapping from 3 gifts, it would save enough paper to cover 50,000 football fields.

-Holiday waste prompted a British mall to hire a mathematician to devise a formula for using the least gift wrap. The big secret: The wrapping paper should be a little longer than the length of the gift. Its width should be just a little more than the sum of the gift's width and depth.

-A 2008 bill written by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) would have required the EPA to find ways to reduce packaging waste by 30% in a decade. It died with no cosponsors.
According to an article published by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, “experts estimate that each minute, 11 football fields of forest are cleared, a truly frightening figure. With all the environmental and ecological consequences, one must question the motives of not only the Brazilian government [referring to clearing the Amazon for farming and paper products], which has tolerated such a destructive development model, but also its endorsement by the international community which has jeopardized the future of mankind.” Migrating birds depend on these rainforests year after year, and as they decline, so do the birds; not to mention, the growing sprawl of the cityscape in the US and Canada.

So, the next time you buy a product, take into consideration the amount of packaging that is used and the detrimental affects it has on the environment. And save some of these gift wrapping ideas for next year’s holidays (or use them for up-coming birthdays): instead of using single-use wrapping paper, use reusable gift bags, leftover wallpaper, newspaper, paper bags, fabric, or 100% recycled paper printed with soy-based inks. For more green gift wrapping ideas, go to http://life.gaiam.com/gaiam/p/Top-10-Green-Gift-Wrap-Ideas.html.

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