Climate change is not a new theory. For thousands of years civilizations have been affected by the ever changing climate that we as humans have had a role in shifting. Looking back through the history of the world there are countless communities and civilizations that have disappeared, moved or been displaced with little or no explanation. If we look at the details, really look, we will find many similarities and evidence that overpopulation, changes in climate and misuse of resources lead to the demise of most if not all of these populations.
It is with this truth, this history that we should be changing our habits, conserving our resources and buckling down on our child rearing. With record heat and cold, cataclysmic flooding in cities around the world, terrible decade long droughts wiping out food sources, deforestation leading to the spread of new and ever changing diseases, the world is passing the point of no return for much of the human population.
Let us look back at history and remember the civilizations that once lived, let us look at today’s world and see the places changing before our eyes and let us look to the future of those populations in desperate danger of being forever changed. Overpopulation, deforestation, drought, food and water shortages these are the stories of climate change on a global scale.
For many; there isn’t much better than a tantalizing weekend sipping wines, exploring vineyards and indulging in enriching cuisine. As a wine enthusiast it is easy to strictly think about the taste and quality of the grapes that go into our favorite wines. What if you knew that the wines you drank were grown sustainably on organic farms, and the food you ate was sourced from mere footsteps away. More wine growers are making the leap to be sustainable and Sonoma County is leading the way.
If you are unfamiliar with Sonoma County, it is one of the premier wine regions in Northern California. Located next to Napa Valley, Sonoma has almost twice as many vineyards and a plethora of other things to do. As a wine region it is known for its amazing chardonnays, sparkling wines, pinot noir’s and red blends. Sonoma blended seamlessly with nature, runs along the Russian River. Following the Wine road you can start on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, wind your way through Redwood forests, kayak down the Russian River, stay in a solar powered B & B, eat locally farm raised foods and sip on a delectable selection of organic wines.
Sonoma County recently announced their commitment to become the first 100% sustainable wine region in America by 2019. Already 60% of the Sonoma vineyard acres have been certified sustainable as well as 40 wineries themselves.
Join Alice on a Sonoma Coast Organic Wine and Adventure tour.
I have visited some of the cleanest cities in the world as well as some of the most polluted. I have seen some of the worlds worst air pollution in Beijing, rivers in Malaysia that are so over run with litter that a boat hardly moves through. But I have also visited places like Costa Rica working hard to protect species and natural habitat and cities like Vancouver where green roofs, renewable energy and full scale recycling & composting are standard. Tourism can reek havoc on our world but when we take the extra effort to educate ourselves on our surroundings and travel with companies that make our planet a priority, travel can have more benefits than any other industry. Here are some of my tips on how you can be a better responsible tourist.
Plastic can be awesome. But somewhere we went wrong and started making things people think of as disposable when it is far from it. Plastic is substance that takes hundreds of years to even start breaking down and thousands to degrade. It poisons animals, kills fish and makes our landscapes ugly with litter.
A long time ago if you went to the market you brought bags with, or a basket, your own cart or maybe just a tall man with large arms. We used to have our milk delivered in refillable glass jugs and have Tupperware parties to make sure all our leftovers were kept nice and fresh. When and why did we transition into this throw away and wasteful world.
We have become so lazy and absorbed that we can't even be responsible enough to remember a bag for grocery shopping, let alone remember a reusable coffee mug. Because that is definitely too much to ask. So much to ask that when California tried to pass a statewide plastic bag ban earlier this year, it was overturned by the American Progressive Bag Alliance and their ability to get over half a million signatures disapproving of it. In case that didn't sink in, Yes I just said that there is a plastic bag alliance, how ridiculous. The other crazy thing is that 500,000 people have the time to sign a petition but they can't remember to put a bag in their car and then remember to bring it in a grocery store with them.
The Europeans have been charging for bags at the grocery store for as long as I have been alive and they don't seem to be complaining about it. I guess in this country we would rather see images like this than have to pay .10 cents for a bag or bring our own.
According to Treehugger approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic water bottles every. That's right folks they are made of petroleum much like most of our built world.
Nearly 90% of plastic isn't recycled and that's why we have places around the world that look like this....
National Parks in America recently tried to ban selling plastic water bottles and installed water fountains all over the parks. But the International Bottles Water Association fought them and using nasty language had the US Govt overturn these rules. Read More.
Buy a reusable water bottle
If just 10% of us bought reusable water bottles and stopped buying bottles water or soda we would save millions of bottles from reaching landfills or worse the oceans.
For water Klean Kanteen is a great brand that uses recycled aluminum to make its sleek looking bottles.
Need a coffee mug Click here for Treehuggers top 5 recycled and recyclable coffee mugs. BONUS- many coffee shops give a discount if you bring your own cup.
There are also great reusable soda containers if you aren't a water drinker.
Ditch the Plastic Bags
Unless you live in California you probably are not required to use reusable grocery bags, but if you are a good citizen you will.
Ditch all those plastic Ziploc bags too and use reusable Tupperware whenever possible.
Not all plastic can be recycled so make sure you are buying plastics that are recyclable in your communities. Check with your local waste management plan.
If you have items that are not accepted by your local municipality like cell phones, electronics, light bulbs and paint check Earth911 for recycling locations.
If you think you are too cool to be carrying around all these bags and bottles, just take a closer look at the pictures above, if we all do our part in reducing our use we can save some of the most beloved places and creatures on our planet.
Click here to sign the petition to encourage Coca Cola and other soda manufacturers to use recycled plastic in their products.
Recently the new rankings for air quality and particle pollution were published ranking many California cities in the top ten for worst air quality. Read More
It seems crazy to me that California, the epicenter for beaches, surfing and glamor ranks worst. Especially because California is usually at the forefront in America for passing environmental policy. But with glamor and vanity comes a certain mindset of needing to look good and have the best things in life. With a booming population and high amounts of traffic, Los Angeles ranks worst on the overall air quality report. A new Metro line will finally connect downtown with Santa Monica, but the slow speed of the commuter line probably won't convince many people to ditch their cars and head for the train. With the lack of additional lines, for most people even getting to a metro line that will connect to this new train will take them more time then it would to just drive.
So it seems it will be a lot longer before we are breathing clean air in L.A.
The cleanest air quality was on the East coast with Charleston, South Carolina and my once home Savannah Georgia, taking the cake for the best places to breath deep.
Funny how I'm an environmentalist and yet I went from America's best air to its worst. We've got a lot of work to do, I guess its best to start at the bottom.
Hopefully we can all ride our bikes more, consume less energy and buy electric cars that aren't powered at home by coal fired power plants. Change starts with one person, so I guess I will be ditching my car soon and buying a horse.