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Prince Charles: It's Time to Solve the 'Human Disaster' of Plastics in the World's Oceans
The Prince of Wales has teamed up with Dame Ellen MacArthur and philanthropist Wendy Schmidt to launch the New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize to encourage the world's brightest minds to come up with ideas to end marine litter—an issue described by Charles as an "escalating ecological and human disaster."
The competition has two categories:
1. The $1 million Circular Design Challenge calls for new designs that avoid the generation of small-format plastic packaging waste, such as plastic wrappers, straws and coffee cup lids that are almost never recycled and end up clogging the environment.
2. The $1 million Circular Materials Challenge seeks ways to make all plastic packaging recyclable. For instance, food packaging can be made different materials fused together, making it hard to recycle. The challenge invites innovators to find alternative materials that could be recycled or industrially composted.
Prince Charles has long been outspoken about environmental issues and has been campaigning to end ocean trash for years.
"I was horrified to learn that, according to recent research, we collectively allow as much as 8 million tonnes of plastic to enter the oceans every year," Charles said at a conference in Washington, DC on Thursday.
"Today, almost half of all marine mammals now have plastic in their gut and I know I am not the only person haunted by the tragic images of seabirds, particularly albatrosses, that have been found dead, washed up on beaches after mistaking a piece of plastic for a meal," he added.
"The fact that a recent study estimates that by 2025 there will be one ton of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the sea is not what I call encouraging!"
He pointed out that plastic pollution is a problem that can actually be solved.
"Unlike so many challenges that now confront us, there is a solution readily to hand and, speaking as a grandfather with a new grandchild due to appear in this world in a month's time, I think we probably owe it to everyone else's grandchildren to grasp that solution," he said.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dan Gray
- Research shows that 16 weeks of a vegan diet can boost the gut microbiome, helping with weight loss and overall health.
- A healthy microbiome is a diverse microbiome. A plant-based diet is the best way to achieve this.
- It isn't necessary to opt for a strictly vegan diet, but it's beneficial to limit meat intake.
New research shows that following a vegan diet for about 4 months can boost your gut microbiome. In turn, that can lead to improvements in body weight and blood sugar management.
By Jeff Turrentine
Nearly 20 years have passed since the journalist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the term tipping point, in his best-selling book of the same name. The phrase denotes the moment that a certain idea, behavior, or practice catches on exponentially and gains widespread currency throughout a culture. Having transcended its roots in sociological theory, the tipping point is now part of our everyday vernacular. We use it in scientific contexts to describe, for instance, the climatological point of no return that we'll hit if we allow average global temperatures to rise more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. But we also use it to describe everything from resistance movements to the disenchantment of hockey fans when their team is on a losing streak.
By Mark Mancini
On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.
By Alex Schwartz
Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.
I’m a Psychotherapist – Here’s What I’ve Learned From Listening to Children Talk About Climate Change
By Caroline Hickman
Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?