Evergreen Issues: March for Our Lives, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and a Smartphone Device to Measure Water Quality

Every Tuesday we bring you issues that impact you as an outdoor loving woman. Whether it has to do with climate change or female empowerment, we scour the internet, including government bills, social media and local and national news, and deliver it to you – so you know.

1. March For Our Lives Rally

March for our lives, Rally, Evergreen Girls

Somewhere between 1.2 and 2 million people came out for the March For Our Lives Rally, a peaceful protest in support of tighter gun control laws. The March was spurred by students from Parkland High School in Florida, the location of the latest mass school shooting. 17 students and teachers died at the school when a former student entered the campus armed with an AR-15. 14 more students and teachers were injured.

March for our lives Rally, Gun Control, Evergreen GirlsSince the Sandy Hook Tragedy in 2012, where 20 children and teachers died, there have been 290 school shootings in the United States. TIME broke down those shootings and did an in-depth investigation into how many of those alleged shootings resulted in deaths, discounting suicides and drive by shootings, etc. TIME found 63 instances since Sandy Hook where around 60 people lost their lives.

This past week – teens and adults alike said, enough is enough. Here’s what protesters want to happen:

  • Create universal background checks on gun sales
  • Raise the federal age of gun ownership to 21
  • Close the gun show loophole
  • Restore the 1994 Federal assault weapons ban
  • Ban high-capacity magazine sales in the U.S.

Many young women reminded the nation that their uteruses are more restricted than guns in the United States. Outside of school shootings, here’s how gun violence affects women:

  • Of the 760 people killed annually in gun violence by intimate partners, 80 percent are women
  • A woman is fatally shot by an intimate partner in the U.S. every 16 hours
  • American women are 11 times more likely to be killed with a firearm than any other developed country

2. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Great Ocean Cleanup, Water Pollution, Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Photo provided by The Great Ocean Cleanup Foundation

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is now three times the size of France. That’s about 618 thousand square miles in between California and Hawaii. The Pacific Ocean is about 62 million square miles.

The Washington post reports the “garbage patch” is made up of everything from small pieces of trash to large fishing nets and that in fact, 46 percent of the garbage found is discarded nets. The patch grows in density toward the middle.

Photo provided by the Great Ocean Cleanup Foundation

Scientists report the patch is growing exponentially. Reports say humans are putting 8 million tons of garbage into the oceans annually. The Ocean Cleanup Project says there are 5 garbage patches in the world’s oceans, with the Great Pacific Patch being the largest. Ocean Clean Up says there are currently 5 trillion pounds of trash in our waters right now.

So what can you do?

  • Stop using single use plastic, like grocery bags, straws, water bottles, etc.
  • Recycle
  • Plan a beach cleanup
  • Stop using microbeads
  • VOTE

3. A Tool for your Smartphone that Measures Water Quality

Speaking of garbage in our oceans, did you know there’s a new smartphone add-on that can measure the quality of your water? The International Science Project called, MONOCLE, is developing the device. The idea is that the user can attach the small device to their phone, point it at their surface water or drinking water and receive a full read out of contaminants. Can you imagine if the people of Flint, Michigan, where 100,000 people were potentially exposed to lead in their water, had access to a device like this? How about a hiker out in the wilderness? Or a fisherman who wants to understand the quality of his latest catch?

The device is only available in a few countries, but developers are working to create an all smartphone ready device.