Thai grocery store ditches plastic bags for banana leaves, plus Thailand enacts a single-use plastics ban in its parks. GlobalRewilding.org and the global rewilding map!
Thai Grocery Store Ditches Plastics For Banana Leaves, Thailand Enacts Single-Use Plastics Ban in Its Parks, GlobalRewilding.Org’s Rewilding Map
THAILAND GROCERY STORE DITCHES PLASTIC BAGS FOR BANANA LEAVES
According to an Ocean Conservancy 2020 report, Thailand is one of the five Asian countries that are responsible for more than half of the eight million tons of plastic waste that ends up in the oceans every year. Rimping supermarket, located in Chiang Mai city, Thailand decided to take some action to mitigate the plastic packaging waste problem. Their solution: banana leaves.
The food products or other items are simply wrapped in banana leaves and secured with the help of a flexible piece of bamboo. In addition, banana leaves are an excellent alternative to plastic packaging due to the reason that the leaf is quite large in size. Furthermore, the leaves are thick and agile enough to be folded to carry groceries.
This novel idea has also caught the attention of the supermarkets of Vietnam who are greatly inspired. Many places have already opted to discard plastic packaging with banana leaves to wrap loose produce. Why does this change from plastics to banana leaves matter to us? Banana leaves are also completely biodegradable, so there is no need to worry about them taking up space at landfills or destroying the planet as they slowly decompose.
DEEPER DIVE: The Planet Voice, Thailand Now, Heinrich Böll Foundation
THAILAND BANS SINGLE-USE PLASTIC IN ITS NATIONAL PARKS
The government of Thailand recently published new regulations banning styrofoam packaging and single-use plastics from national parks. The Thai Department of National Parks explained that the ban includes “plastic bags which are less than 36 microns, plastic food containers, cups, straws, and cutlery.”
Greenpeace Thailand says plastic waste is a threat to the country’s wildlife including its elephant population. Digesting plastic can block animals’ intestines and disrupt the digestive system. Elephants in Khao Yai National Park — three hours northeast of Bangkok — have reportedly eaten packaging, and plastic bags have been found in their faeces.
The ban is also meant to undo the damage caused by the increase of single-use plastic waste because of the coronavirus pandemic. The effect can be seen not only in the parks but all along Thailand’s coasts, which are choked with pollution. The government is taking this seriously. Offenders can be fined up to $3,000 if caught traveling with single-use items or styrofoam containers.
Why does Thailand’s ban on single-use plastics matter to us? It sets a good example and shows the government cares for the people by caring for the environment.
PLUS, every time another nation announces a plastic ban, an angel gets its wings, or so I’ve heard.
DEEPER DIVE: Bangkok Post, France24, Tat News
A MAP OF GLOBAL REWILDING EFFORTS
The Global Rewilding Alliance created a new map that follows rewilding projects around the world. Officially launched April 11, OpenForests, a social enterprise company based in Germany, is providing the online hosting for the rewilding map project.
Alexander Watson, CEO of OpenForests, explained that “A map is an ideal canvas to combine storytelling with data. It creates the inspiration, but also gives the confidence that something’s really happening there.”
The public can see not only where the rewilding projects are happening but the project details as well. Rewilding projects from more than 70 countries are currently listed on the map. The platform the map uses has layers that show soil carbon and tree cover, which adds more information about the impacts of these projects.
The concept of rewilding, of allowing nature to retake control, dates back to the late 1990s, when a pair of scientists, Michael Soulé and Reed Noss, introduced rewilding as a concept that centered on the restoration of wilderness and the return of large animals, especially carnivores, to the landscape.
In a 2019 paper in the journal Science, Andrea Perino, an ecologist and science policy coordinator at the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research and her colleagues pinpointed three elements of the inner workings of functioning ecosystems. First, the food web is complex.
Second, ecological dynamics depend on sometimes random natural disturbances in the landscape, such as fire, that can shuffle the balance between species. Third, species need the ability to move and expand so that they don’t overcrowd an area and tax its resources too heavily.
Why does rewilding matter to us? Returning these elements is what sets rewilding apart from other types of restoration. The approach rests on the paradigm that, given the opportunity, nature can heal itself.
DEEPER DIVE: Mongabay News, Time Out, ReWildingGlobal.org, Open Forests, Rewilding.org
In the last story, we talked about rewilding initiatives begun by the Global Rewilding Alliance. Well who are they and why do they matter to us? The GRA is a collaboration of a handful of groups coming together to mobilize the disparate rewilding efforts around the globe, thereby maximizing their effectiveness.
Its mission is to accelerate the power of collaboration and coordination to rewild the Earth for the purpose of stabilizing the climate, slowing or halting mass extinction as well as to reducing the risks of new pandemics.
The group adopted the Global Charter for Rewilding the Earth in 2020, during the 11th World Wilderness Congress. That congress is part of the WILD Foundation, the longest-running, public environmental forum to build awareness and support for wilderness, and strengthen wilderness policy from grassroots decision-makers.
The charter is a fascinating document, one at which I strongly suggest all our listeners take a gander. The charter was developed by experts within the community of global conservationists, including the Wilderness Special Group. Why does the Global Rewilding Alliance matter to us? The GRA has a presence on every continent except for Antarctica. Over 70 countries are collaborating through the GRA to rewild about 250 million acres of land and sea. That’s about the size of two and half Californias.
There’s even a youth arm of the Global Rewilding Alliance because they believe youth “are the generation that understands its role in the planet.” #GenerationRestoration.
DEEPER DIVE: Rewild Global, Rewilding Charter, GRAYouth