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(Five-minute read) 

It’s no secret that our planet is in a pretty dire condition.

The problem is a massive one.

It’s so big that there are things that you do every day that are helping to bring about the end of the world, and chances are that you might not even know it.

Here are a few.

China produces a whopping 80 billion disposable chopsticks every year. The vast majority are used—and thrown away—That kind of production takes 20 million trees, and not just any trees.

Estrogen, one of the active ingredients in birth control pills and hormone therapy treatments, was introduced into a freshwater lake research facility in Ontario. 

The impact was almost immediate. Male fish first began producing egg proteins and then producing eggs.

Wastewater treatment and its impact on freshwater ecosystems.

Hormones that aren’t absorbed or used end up in the sewer system after they cycle through the human body. In areas where sewer water is dumped into lakes and rivers, the average fish population is about 85 per cent female. The cause has been traced back to the release of improperly treated wastewater that contains hormones from hormone therapy drugs and birth control pills. A stark contrast to the normal 55 per cent. Fish exposed to the hormones not only lose the ability to reproduce, but their accidental hormone treatment impacts eggs at the development stage as well.

Prozac. Might have something to do with the decline in the starling population over the last few decades—to the tune of about 50 million birds. 

Drinking straws. 

The United States alone uses about 500 million drinking straws made from a polypropylene plastic that doesn’t disintegrate or dissolve.

These millions of straws are around forever, making up a huge part of the estimated 12 to 24 tons of plastic that end up ingested by fish and other marine wildlife every year. And that includes about one million seabirds that die after eating plastics. One of the most common items found in autopsies? The drinking straws that come attached to juice boxes.

Eating frogs.

The fungus that’s being spread by the live food trade is different than one that’s being blamed for most of the recent die-offs.

The consequences of the fungus and its ability to hybridize create the potential to unleash an epidemic across the globe.

Antibacterial soaps, washing liquids/tablets use triclocarban and triclosan, chemicals while most of those chemicals are removed from wastewater when they’re run through a treatment plant, they have to go somewhere. When triclocarban degrades, it degrades into two chemicals—both carcinogens.

When triclosan is run through a treatment plant to make drinking water, it doesn’t exactly make safe drinking water. Instead, it makes other chemicals that can include chloroform. And those chemicals travel through the food chain in plants, animals, and ultimately humans.

Farm-raised fish.

Shrimp aquaculture has resulted in the large-scale degradation of coastal areas, the destruction of wetlands, and salinization of freshwater areas and drinking water. Salmon farming relies on the release of fish food and nutrients into the water, which always results in wasted feed and a huge amount of fish droppings in the water

Extra waste products end up sinking to the bottom where they react with the medicines and other nutrients used to keep the fish healthy along with antifoulant agents used to keep nets clean. That means fish farms are a breeding ground for sea lice, which are as disgusting as they sound. More chemicals are used to control the sea lice, which end up killing the other marine life that was supposed to be in the area in the first place.

Not the eco-friendly choice you’d think.

Soybeans 80 per cent of the world’s soy production goes into livestock feed.

1.2 million hectares of soy was planted in Brazil’s rain forest in 2005 alone. 

Global food waste. 

Every year, global food waste amounts to about 1.3 billion tons, and that’s such a big number that it’s impossible to imagine. Meanwhile, about 870 million people are starving.

Inequality: Lack of Healthcare, Nutrition and Education.

We all know that the world’s richest 1 per cent, those with more than $1 million, own 44 per cent of the world’s wealth. In many countries, a decent education or quality healthcare has become a luxury only the rich can afford.

Being poor all too often means more sickness and an earlier grave. 

The story of inequality in many developed countries, including the U.S. and U.K., is more sobering. However, when you are born in a poor place where every tenth child dies, as the well-to-do’s share of the national economic pie surges, a pandemic is a joke.

So what can be done to right this unsettling imbalance and restore a sense of opportunity for the billions of people who are being excluded from the gains of economic development?

The first and most important step may ultimately be recognizing the scope and scale of the problems caused by inequality in the first place and resolving to do something about them.  

Inequality is out of control with the human costs devastating.

Like many other environmental problems, there’s absolutely no easy answer but it is time we opened our eyes.

Ironically, with the coming economic collapse due to the coronavirus, we might finally be recognizing inequality’s great economic costs may be just the motivation that financial interests need to take the issue seriously.

Its not Amazon fortune and power that will grow exponentially.

The growing gap between rich and poor is undermining the fight against poverty, damaging our economies and tearing our societies apart.

If not with climate change added to next pandemic it won’t be the virus that kills you but the influx of refugees. 

All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.