Penpalling & Letters

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Penpalling and taking care of the environment

A few weeks ago, The Ecological Storyteller started a section in her Blog: "The Letter Writers Circle", which I highly recommend. The whole Blog is an interesting reading but if you are curious to hear about the thoughts, experiences, ideas, opinions... of other penpallers keep an eye over there!
The point is that one of the topics to develop in the interviews is "to relate ecology and penpalling in the same thought". Due to my background I can only think about "Ecology" as the science which studies the distribution, abundance of organisms and how they interact between them and with the environment. But obviously this topic refers to "Environmentalism", a social movement concerned about the preservation and protection of the environment.

How would you connect both penpalling and environmentalism? I was thinking about that since I first read this statement in The Ecological Storyteller and now I surely know there is a connection between them.
It is summer and it is the time to go to the beach. Lucky me I come from a coastal town and have lived all my life next to the sea! I cannot imagine myself living far away from my dear seawater! So, here you can see a view of the beach I went to this week: blue skies, sunny and warm weather, wonderful views, crystalline water, soft sands, rounded rocks, lots of little animals here and there (different types of fish, crabs, hermit crabs, winkles, sea anemones, starfishes, limpets, mussels...), colourful seaweeds... In one word: paradise for me!

Since I like walking much more than being still on the beach towel I had a look all over the place. I was quite disappointed to discover how disgusting are some human beings. Here it is the result:

As you can see they are mainly plastics (especially plastic bags and yogur containers), tins and rests of different fishing gears (included plastic gloves which fishermen throw to the sea, bags looking like nets where mollusks are stored before being sent to fresh food markets and ropes).

It is very disappointing that human beings are so dirty. It is clear that the most part of people don't care about the environment. Is it so difficult to bring your plastics back home and put them in the yellow bin? It seems very difficult for most part of people!!! It is a shame we are treating The Earth so badly and with so much careless! She doesn't deserve it! A plastic bag needs around 200 years to disappear, tin around 500 years, a polystyrene yogur container around 1000 years... Be fair and put them in the bin instead throwing them in the natural environment.

Besides, those abandoned nets in the sea cause that many marine animals get trapped and suffocated to death. That usually happens to sea lions, seals, marine turtles, whales, dolphins, porpoises, manatees, marine birds...
Also, marine mammals, birds, turtles and fish are in danger when they mistake food for plastics floating in the water column and ingest them. Their digestive tract gets blocked and they end up dying.
Can you imagine dying like that?

So, coming back to the topic which opened this entry, I can state that both penpalling and environmentalism are related when us, penpallers, care about the environment and do our best to keep it save and clean. Even if our contribution isn't big, we still have done our little bit! I already recycle and take care of the environment, but if next time I go to the beach find plastics again, I will work on disposing of that waste and will be proud of it as I know I helped my little bit!


  1. I love pen paling and I do my best to be Earth friendly. I agree with you: people are so dirty. Is it really so difficult to pick up after ourselves? Just ourselves?
    I've been in a dilema: is letter writing environmentally friendly? We use paper, the letters get transported to the other side of the planet... when we could just e-mail our letters to each other? I do use recycled paper but it still bothers the environmentalist in me. Any thoughts?

  2. That is such a lovely report and so true. In Bradford we have grey bins for recycling tins, paper/card/envelopes and glass but I'd really love them to create one for plastic because that is now so hugely used. There is a recycling centre not so far from us that my sister goes to every weekend and they do absolutely everything imaginable, paint, batteries, drink cartons etc... We don't have really have a garden but we were given green bags to put all garden waste in to be recycled, now that I think about it, it would have been quite handy for fruit and vegetable peels.