Have you ever looked at that plastic cup in your hand and wondered where it came from? Not just the store where your mom bought it, but where it REALLY came from!
Flip the plastic cup over (make sure it’s empty first!) and you’ll see something like Made in China. But that’s only the beginning of your cup’s travel history.
The ingredients that went into making it came from different places all over the world, maybe even Madagascar! That island paradise, home to some of the most unique creatures on the planet, is also where a mineral called ilmenite is found.
Ilmenite is a mineral used to make paper, plastics and paint. It’s even in your toothpaste! To get this stuff out of the ground it has to be mined, and to mine it you need to cut down trees and start digging. It’s a really messy way to get our hands on a mineral, and it can mean that lemurs like Cosmo lose their homes!
Mining isn’t the only threat to Madagascar’s amazing wildlife. Wildlife trade, overfishing and climate change are all making a big impact. While these things might seem totally unrelated, they actually all have to do with something called DEMAND.
Everyone likes playing on a Wii, rocking out on an iPod and surfing the net on a brand-new laptop, but all of these things have to come from somewhere. Getting them to people all over the world isn’t easy on the environment, either!
Air and water become polluted and loads of greenhouses gases are created when your longboard is making its way to the store by truck, ship, and plane.
About 75% of the animals on Madagascar don’t live anywhere else in the world, so protecting them is uber important – and really hard! If they’re lost, there’s no hope of ever getting them back.
What can YOU do?
- Think about whether you really need something before you buy it.
- Encourage your parents to buy food and other necessities that were grown close to home.
- Reduce, reuse and you guessed it – recycle! It really does make a difference.
- Host a clothes swap with your friends!
- Learn more and spread the word – start by watching The Story of Stuff