Wim Kruiswijk: Finding Messages in Bottles

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Wim Kruiswijk: Finding Messages in Bottles

For decades Wim Kruiswijk has lived on the Dutch coast walking the beach before people arrive and after they have left. His treasure: messages in bottles. Over the years he has collected thousands, and turned beach combing into meaninful friendships. He’s also become extremely knowledgeable about why people write messages and bottles, as well as what else is happenning to the environment along the coast. Today on the podcast, in assocation with the For Keeps podcast, we pay a visit to Wim Kruiswijk to learn about his incredible experiences with messages in bottles.

The Battle To Protect Kudremukh

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The Battle To Protect Kudremukh

The conflict is a familiar one no matter where you live in the world: Beautiful natural ecosystem where a vast amount plants and animals thrive is also the same land that a mining company wants to extract resources from.

Kudremukh National Park got its status in 1987. Unfortunately it was the target of Iron-ore extractions since the 1960s. Over the years instead of halting the mining, the company found ways to continue. That is -until a group of concerned and determined activists came together to bring about an end to the mining in 2005.

Niren Jain was part of this group that dared to take on the powerful forces in business and government. Their story is one of success but also struggle, as part of a battle that should be over, but somehow, finds new ways of carrying on.

Today on the podcast, in Mangalore, Karnataka, we hear the story of how mining was stopped in Kundremukh, and the aftermath of such a momentous achievement.

Break Down: The Struggle For Responsible Ship Recycling

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Break Down: The Struggle For Responsible Ship Recycling
Oil Drums in Karachi, photo by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelfoleyphotography/2547842587/in/photolist-4T9mQt-4wFCML-qWrx4r-m4gqJq-8yMZQM-4yzi2Z-4BXh44-7vMcKb-fAaYES-Con6Ca-6kiJTV-4HgTVd-pGsMwo-ssa9Tp-5BjgFW-8p4t2K-dtcx4a-oKKBZ9-vY5csj-a4i4ny-sHC6yq-fHxDX-fHzDG-BmHcD8-b4CT2B-drU5uo-4Sypsz-6kiPje-7W9z7M-fioTXk-pUTaZT-cRH1RJ-rkq88P-a8mJAd-cj7hrN-9RhyxS-otDYEv-6t3Eep-4SCCs1-bN496n-6P6zts-5rPWSj-8ZdvJK-gnbu7i-99XZCF-bPrVsP-pps71f-6WMCzY-79S2z7-ajeQsN"> Michael Foley / Flickr CC-BY-ND 2.0</a>

(Show #487) While global shipping is a massive and lucrative business that benefits people in so many ways, there is another side to it. Once the massive vessels need to be retired, they have to be broken down and their valueable materials recycled. Doing this using well equipped workers and proper facilities comes at a cost, and for decades, companies have been getting around that cost by sending their ships to parts of the world like India and Bangladesh where neither equipment nor proper facilities are required. Where no one is looking, and where toxic materials can be dumped and handled with minimal complaints. My guests on today’s program from the Brussels based NGO ShipBreaking Platform are among the most well informed and dedicated observers of this practice, advocated to stop harmful practices and push companies to act responsibily. A major challenge in an industry few people follow or feel able to influence, listen in and hear what is going on out there.

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How Do We Get There From Here

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photo by eutrophication&hypoxia on flickr

As the sun disappears behind the concrete horizon, I look across the 10 lanes of highway that are currently all filled with cars moving extremely slowly. Everyone in their own vehicle on their way back from work heading home, everyone hoping this traffic will clear up, just as they hope everyday around this time.  The highway is massive and bleak, with shards glass and tiny nondescript car pieces along the shoulder. The sound barriers couldn’t possibly block out all this sound, but communities along the highways of New Jersey figured that out long ago. Most of them are used to the 24 hour, year after year sound of trucks and cars roaring in the direction of New York or Pennsylvania.

This is New Jersey in 2012. This was New Jersey in 1992. A few decades pass, but other than the shape and design of the newer cars on the road, the feeling has not changed. If anyone happens to tune into news in the car, they could surely hear a report about the state of the world, specifically about the environment and the point to which humans are pushing it through our own collective behavior. But thats just on the news, the story out there is doing the daily routine. Getting through the day. Making that car payment. Paying that mortgage. Living that life we were taught to live.

Along the highway, between the occasional tree or building, there are the billboards. One in particular is for solar energy for your home. There’s a phone number under a picture of a solar panel. I wonder how many people have dialed it and how things are working out for them. A Prius pulls in front of me, I almost forgot there were hybrid vehicles out here among the SUV’s and livery cabs. The exit ramp takes me around and over the highway, the bridge I grew up crossing everyday looks worn and crumbling. The etched date in the concrete reads: 1974. I wonder how much we’ve really learned since then.