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Mindful Living: Clean up your Mess for Earth Day (and Every Day)

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If animals could only speak, they would most likely say to us, “Your trash is killing me!”




Why would they say such a thing? The problems caused by plastic and toxic garbage accumulation in our planet started way back in the 1950s (or even earlier) when consumer products and the use of plastic became an essential part of our lives. Unfortunately, not a lot of people realise that garbage accumulation on a daily basis does have a decade-long destructive effect on the ecosystem of this planet.


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A walk in the beach is not fun for this seabird.


Earth Day is celebrated yearly on the 22nd of April. This is not one of those hippy propaganda of hugging trees or going natural. It is more than that. Earth Day’s objective is an urgent call for all of us to take seriously the issues that destroy the environment. If we don’t care enough to stop living like slobs, our trash will first kill the little animals, and then the big animals will die. Further on, children will get sick or die…and then adults are next. It is sad that the little ones are those who suffer the most when we are irresponsible with our daily actions with regards to how we manage our trash. This sounds exaggerated but this is the reality of how fragile the ecosystem is in this planet. Our lives are dependent on this ecosystem.


Something To Remember

Back in June 2008, it was reported that there was a giant pile of trash that was floating on the ocean and travelling around the world. This floating pile of trash was as big as Texas and it travelled from California to Japan. Imagine 7 billion pounds of plastic garbage that is floating on the ocean and travelling around the world! That is a serious environmental problem. Through the years, some environmentalists made an effort to clean up this mess.


The problem with this travelling menace is that it murders the animals on its trail. How? Sea animals like the sea turtle or seabirds in the beach might eat these colourful plastics because they look like food or floating algae. These are toxic, artificial substances, thus they cause the death of animals once eaten. Other animals experience nasty accidents or injuries because of the trail of trash. Sea animals do not have headlights when swimming at night.


5 sea entanglement

Although the news about the giant pile of trash in the ocean was reported way back in 2008, the problem is still ongoing or it could repeat if we are careless. Regardless of which country contributes the most pollution in the planet, we are all responsible for polluting the environment each time we throw trash in an irresponsible manner. Here are some pictures that reveal the true story on how the sea animals suffer due to our trash. We have no time to waste in saving the planet. This photo compilation aims to encourage all to take action now…before it’s too late.


1 sea turtle_b

Floating plastics mistaken for food by two sea turtles.


4 dead bird_b

Have you ever wondered where your trash goes? Here is a dead sea bird with an abdomen examined. Cause of death: Ingestion of many plastics, like bottle caps and used lighter.


6 plastic rings

Plastic rings – This seemingly harmless-looking binder for 6-pack drinks is actually a killer in the ocean. Horror happens when an animal is swimming at night and encounters this nasty little death trap.



(Left) Great blue heron with plastic rings around its neck. They don’t have hands to help them remove this annoying plastic from their neck. (Right) A poor seal injured from trash in the ocean


8 parma deer in jar

Do you think this photo is funny? This poor Parma deer got its head stuck in a plastic jar. He could choke to death or get traumatised with this little accident in the trash dump. Animals have feelings too, like us.


dont kill seabirds


How we can save the world:

1. Although the use of oxo-biodegradable plastic bags (degradation is through oxidative and cell-mediated process) in groceries and shopping malls are implemented, always bring your own shopping bags to avoid further use of plastics. Oxo-biodegradable plastic bags are capable of decomposing but it’s still plastic.



This nylon net bag is a durable and light-weight bag for shopping.


2. Before leaving the house, always bring your own drinks in spill-proof, eco-friendly, reusable water bottles. This prevents the tendency to buy drinks in plastic bottles or non-biodegradable juice boxes. (Note: The foil lining inside most drinks in boxes are non-biodegradable.)


3. Pack your own lunch. Avoid take-out meals because this requires packaging that adds to the accumulation of paper or plastic trash. Try packing your own meals and store them in reusable, eco-friendly food containers and bags. Reduce or minimise the use of straw and plastic spoon and fork.


Avoid using plastic bags or disposable plastic containers for your packed food. Packing your snacks or lunch to school or work will help you save money and assures that you and your kids will eat only healthy and clean food.



You can be eco-friendly and fashionable at the same time with these attractive lunch kits and re-useable sports bottles.


4. For coffee lovers, bring your own spill-proof coffee mugs or coffee tumblers in the office. This reduces the use of paper cups with plastic lids which are additional sources of paper and plastic trash.


5. Segregate your trash. In the Philippines, many people make a living by collecting recyclable items like paper, PET bottles, glass bottles, styrofoam, plastics and scrap metal. Let us make life easy for these hardworking people who sell and recycle our trash. If possible, please wash PET bottles, yogurt or ice cream cups and other disposable food/drink containers before tossing in the trash bin. School children in Japan are trained to do this. I think it is a good habit to incorporate too in our routine.




We are all connected here on Earth. For example, if the oceans are polluted or if the forests are destroyed, it is always the little animals who suffer or die first…then little babies and children … and eventually, we’re next.


So, let’s do our best everyday to save Mother Earth, because our life depends on it. It starts with small actions of mindful living.



Happy Earth Day!

Why is biodiversity so important? – Kim Preshoff
A great number of rare and exotic animals exist only in the Philippines. The country’s surrounding waters reportedly have the highest level of biodiversity in the world. What is biodiversity and why is this vital for our survival in this planet?


Ecosystem, species and genetic diversity together form the complex tangled weed called biodiversity that is vital for the survival of organisms on earth. We humans are woven in this biodiversity too. When just a few strands are lost, our own well-being is threatened. Cut too many links and we risk unravelling it all. What the future brings is unpredictable, but biodiversity can give us an insurance policy — earth’s own safety net to safeguard our survival.



“Can wildlife adapt to climate change?” – Erin Eastwood
With rising temperatures and seas, massive droughts, and changing landscapes, successfully adapting to climate change is increasingly important. For humans, this can mean using technology to find solutions. But for some plants and animals, adapting to these changes involves the most ancient solution of all: evolution. Erin Eastwood explains how animals are adapting to climate change.




Author: Marcelle Villegas 

Photo source:

Earth Day date with fern and butterfly –

Other photos –

About the Philippines and ecosystem – https:/ /

Video reference:
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