Plastic Fantastic?

Plastic Fantastic?

Micro-plastic, meaning less than 5 mm, is polluting the ocean and rivers in the world, with one source estimating that a minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles—equivalent to 269,000 tons—are floating in the sea. This catastrophe could gravely damage the food chain and habitats of fellow beings living in the sea. Recently, Volvo Open Race participants found tiny particles of micro-plastic at Point Nemo, which is nearly 1,700 miles from the nearest inhabited land. The highest concentrations of micro-plastic have been observed around the Mediterranean and the South China Sea.

How can we reduce microplastic as individuals? It can be as simple as lowering your usage of single-use plastic containers, recycling, joining a beach or river cleanup. Alternatively, some less-known ways like avoiding microbeads by just looking for “polyethylene” and “polypropylene” on the ingredient labels of your cosmetic products.

So, the next time you purchase a product, choose not to waste plastic unsustainably!

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Act In Haste And Remove Your Waste!

Act In Haste And Remove Your Waste!

What are the current anti-plastic policies available at the moment? Can you as a citizen of your country consider and then promote any of these options? What the world is seeing is an inconsistent and intermittent effort made by a few countries in the world (even though the number of states adopting these policies is increasing).

Here are some options that you may consider:

Firstly, ban plastic bags: more than 40 countries have given the green light to either ban, partly ban, or even fine and tax individuals and companies adopting unacceptable uses of disposable plastics, in particular for bags, cutlery, cups, plates and other single-use items to better protect the environment. This legislation includes actions to stop the production, import, sale and distribution of plastic bags. Some countries even go further by including jail sentences in their ban policies (like Kenya, Cameroon, and South Africa).

Secondly, insist on alternatives to plastic bags: offer ones that use biodegradable plastic or cloth and support local companies that comply with the current regulations regarding plastic usage. These actions shouldn’t supercede the so-called ‘bring your own bags’ policy, however. Some developing countries (like China) even ban imports of plastic waste, forcing developed countries to adjust their domestic recycling methods.

Consider digging a little bit deeper into your country’s current status in the fight against polyethene plastic, and become a champion of the changes within your country in the most eco-friendly way possible. As another day of delay is another day of devastation, act in haste and remove your waste!

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Fino, the Feisty Dolphin (Chapter 4 of 4)

Fino, the Feisty Dolphin (Chapter 4 of 4)

Weeks, months, years passed like this at the dolphin theatre. Every day new tourists, new shows, and additional rewards if our dolphins could perform what their overseers demanded of them. If not, they were fearful of not being provided with enough to eat during the day.

Fino was now middle-aged. He had gained many talents over the years; he was one of the most cherished dolphins at the park— loved by his trainers because he always obeyed the rules. He soon learned that he must do whatever his masters instructed him to do. This rule was clear. If there was no show, there was no food! It was the way humans domesticated animals.

Since Fino came here, he has lost two of the friends who were rounded up with him—in front of his eyes—they weren’t strong enough to endure the hardships of living in captivity. Also, as the seasons came and went, Fino’s mind was with his mother, he was missing her and the ocean. Would he ever see the open sea again?

Over time, Fino’s performance was deteriorating. He was performing slower, his unhappiness was apparent. Then, one day, out of the blue, he was caught by his masters. At the time, he recalled the day he was captured in the ocean. But why? What was the reason this time? Caught and put on a truck, the outcome was inevitable: if he could not perform well, there was no need to feed him!

Then from the truck to a boat and the deep and endless ocean. At last, he was free! He was back in his world again, even though he could not understand the reason why. Even so, here was the place to be! He looked around, swam a little bit hoping to see his mother and friends. Would it be possible after so many years in isolation?

He tried to hunt again, even though he had forgotten how to do. Then, he saw a group of dolphins and tried to get to know them. But these were entirely different dolphins, so he was not welcome. He had to take care of himself.

He was smart and powerful enough to survive. He could adapt to the new circumstances that confronted him.

Still, probably he wished he had a superpower to reason with his masters. He would have wanted to ask a few questions:

Why do you meddle with ocean life?

Do you notice how you damage nature?

What right do you have to separate me from my family?

Is it worthwhile doing so for profit?

Do you not feel any remorse for doing so?

And, is there anything more valuable than self-determination?

Drafted by Oguz Yilmazlar


Fino, the Feisty Dolphin (Chapter 3 of 4)

Fino, the Feisty Dolphin (Chapter 3 of 4)

When he opened his eyes again, he found himself in a pool with the other baby dolphins. The pool was big enough, but it couldn’t be compared with the seemingly endless ocean. Here would be a place for them to exist until they withered away.

The dolphins were in shock. No mother, no fishes, no sea stars, nor any rocks, either. Just a cramped cage made of ceramics, with noisy people around them laughing and shouting.

Except for being fed by humans, for a few days, nobody touched them. The baby dolphins attempted to understand what they had done wrong—why were they separated from their families and independent lives? WHY-WHY-WHY! Disheartened, they tried in vain to justify their predicament but had no answer.

A few days later, people started to talk to them to train them to earn their keep. Being directed and shouted at, the dolphins had no idea what to do. Their expressionless faces encouraged humans to punish them. Now, they were being punished and starving. Eventually, the dolphins understood that if they did not act, they would be punished. They would go hungry for the day. At last, they realised what the human “Lords” wanted from them—they had to act, scream, and dance. If there was no show, there was no food! Their sharp minds helped them to learn quickly.

Days were passing slowly for Fino and the others. Missing families was the hardest sentiment to cope with. They were wondering what the others were doing in the endless ocean when they were confined to the cramped pool. Were they happy without them? How was Fino’s mother? These questions would weigh on their hearts during their pool life.

Here was a touristic dolphin park. Some of the dolphins were old enough, some of them were too young. Many dolphins were working here for the show, for humans, for humanity’s benefit.

For one aim!

To be continued…

Drafted by Oguz Yilmazlar


Fino, the Feisty Dolphin (Chapter 2 of 4)

Fino, the Feisty Dolphin (Chapter 2 of 4)

The ocean was big enough for everything they needed but the season was changing and migration time was coming. Fino was excited to see new places where there may be different kinds of fishes, new hunts. But his mother told him about hunters: “These hunters are the most dangerous ones, and they are not in the sea,” she warned. “They intrude from above our world!” she exclaimed.

Time was up for living carefree in their part of the ocean. Around 100 dolphins migrated around the coast to live in better conditions, to return a few months later. In the beginning, everything was fine but a few kilometres beyond, they were confronted with the first group of fishing boats. Fortunately, the anglers were hunting smaller prey. So without any problem, they continued. Nonetheless, over time, their route got more and more crowded with boats—they had to be careful! Even though the beauty and swimming style of the dolphins amazed the hunters, they would be tempted to catch one. Why not? A young dolphin could be used for many things…

Now, because of countless dolphins and boats, there was no place on the surface of the sea to manoeuvre hardly anywhere. Fino and the others could barely find a way forward. Not surprisingly, a few dolphins collided with the boats and got injured. But the leader of the pod was swimming non-stop. Now, not only fishing vessels but also fishing nets were harassing them. Fishing rods were not that much of a hindrance, but nets—definitely not so!

Fino was learning fast, but the journey was full of unknown dangers. Then, from the last line of the school, a sharp scream was heard! This scream belonged to a baby dolphin which was surrounded by a net now. He was desperately fluttering in it. His parents were trying to cut it with their sharp teeth, but it was moving upwards too swiftly. A few seconds later the baby dolphin disappeared from view; he had been dragged out of his world. At that time, from above, a loud laugh was heard by the pod.

It belonged to the hunters. It was the first of many, as four more boats caught four more of them—all adorable baby dolphins. One of them, after hearing bitter screams from his friends lost the control and concentration to follow his mother and panicked suddenly.

It was our lovely Fino!

To be continued…

Drafted by Oguz Yilmazlar


Fino the Fiesty Dolphin (Chapter 1 of 4)

Fino the Fiesty Dolphin (Chapter 1 of 4)

In the deep and clear ocean, happy and free, with friends and family, seemingly blessed with endless food and no danger, our lovely little dolphin “Fino” is swimming with happiness and following his mother. He discerns that whatever he learns from her, will be of significant lifelong advantage to him. He likes to imitate his mother—trapping, hunting, and playing with her. She is his idol. Hunting in a big group is his favourite activity. Getting full and playing with friends is priceless.

During his day, he learns many things about ocean life: different varieties of fishes, stones, marine corals, sea stars, octopuses, whales and beyond. Different appearances, experiences, and stories to communicate about to the world about life in the seemingly boundless ocean. Even if he gets confused sometimes, he cherishes this diversity.

Like everyone’s life, his fate is unknown. He can never know what life will serve to him for sure.


If he is in this endless ocean,

If he surfaces to take a breath every 20 seconds,

If he can hunt with joy and eats his full, and

If he is with his mother,

It seems like there is no problem!

To be continued…

Drafted by Oguz Yilmazlar


What if your water was green?

What if your water was green?

As a neighbour to Philadelphia and a fan of their stuffed pretzels, I appreciate them having $10 Billion back in their bank account, and 1 Billion gallons too! As AIESEC Alumni, we’ve learned to see the world and wondered what it could be. If we can (re)discover stormwater from nature’s epochs of research & development, what else can we change?

Drafted by Chris Gassman

#SDG14 #Water #EcosystemServices #ThursdayThinker


Supplant Plastic with Eco-Friendly Alternatives

Supplant Plastic with Eco-Friendly Alternatives

It takes 200 years for plastics to decompose, which means almost every piece of plastic we have ever made still exists. Moreover, plastic pollution is estimated to treble between 2015 and 2025 without our intervention. Sadly, by in large, most of these used materials tragically end up in the ocean where many animals have been documented eating and becoming entangled in them.

But there is hope.

Biodegradable plastics are being introduced in many parts of the world as an alternative to plastic bags. Like in Indonesia, a company called Avani (established in 2014), “provides eco-friendly inimitable bio-cassava bags made from industrial grade cassava starch and other natural ingredients, complimented with a full range of sustainable food packaging and hospitality products made from renewable resources”.

Public awareness campaigns addressing marine protection should also accompany efforts to spread the message to consumers to change their buying and storing habits. Most importantly—governmental support—including favourable environment-friendly taxes introduced to encourage companies to go forward with producing more ‘good’ plastic bags with the ultimate aim of abolishing the use of indecomposable plastics whatsoever.

So, the next time you go shopping, make sure you know what your bags are made of. One day, we will be proud that we are plastic-free!

Drafted by Colina Tran

Fixed Assumptions

If our understanding of the number of continents can evolve, what other “fixed” assumptions should we be game to revisiting?

In our AIESEC student days, we saw the world changing around us and strove to find ways that we could make a positive impact.

As AIESEC Alumni, we still have these opportunities. The world continues to change—we might even have a new continent in five to ten years! What does a change like this mean for the communities where we live and work?

Drafted by Chris Gassman

Photo by HANDOUT / Reuters

Animals are not just Objects of Entertainment for Humans

“I am not at all interested in having my daughter who is three and a half grow up thinking that it’s okay to have these intelligent, highly evolved animals in concrete pools. I don’t want her to think that’s how we treat the kin that we find ourselves around on this planet.” Spoken by one of the former SeaWorld trainers when being interviewed to record a documentary called “Blackfish.”

“Blackfish,” told the tragedy of Tilikum, the most infamous whale in the world after killing three experienced trainers. Yearning to be free, Tilikum died at the age of 36, thirty-four years after he was captured by humans. He was never, ever able to embrace the boundless sea after being held captive in a small pool where his head and tail could even touch opposing walls at the same time. Just imagine if you were in a bathtub for 25 years, don’t you think you’d get a little irritated, aggravated, maybe even a little psychotic?

However, tragedies similar to Tilikum’s never seem to stop people’s enthusiasm going to zoos or circuses and paying money to watch animals shows. What is more heartbreaking is that the trainers adopt punishments to train and force animals to perform. For example, rationing food when animals fail to accomplish tasks or using electric shock to control their movements.

According to incomplete statistics, there are over 36 countries, including 389 cities that prohibit or restrict animals shows, but responses to date are far from enough. I do believe that parents who take their children to zoos or circuses want to teach their kids to cherish animals, not to show kids how humans abuse them.

Albert Schweitzer, a German philosopher, once said: “Ethics not only relates to people but animals.” Animals feel pain and dread death just like we do. Their existence should never be just to entertain humans; they are not just objects of entertainment for people.

It is time for all animal shows to be condemned, and for us to reflect on our connections with other beings and nature.

Written by Valentina Tu
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