Trash in Space

casey-horner-778570-unsplashPhoto by Casey Horner on Unsplash

You might remember my last blog post about amazon and the issue of generating trash through our consumption behavior. So, I think this topic makes a perfect sequel for my last post. We not just have to deal with our trash on earth. We also have to deal with it in space.

I came across the topic several weeks ago when I was sitting in a doctors practice waiting for my appointment. In the morning of that day I was wondering what topic I wanted to write about in my next my blog post.

The answer came to me in form of a Swiss travel magazine called Transhelvetica. The topic of that issue was interestingly enough called “Space”. As I am highly interested in that field since I was a kid, it caught my attention right away. Especially one article opened my eyes. The article dealt with Swiss researchers who want to invent an efficient technique to catch trash in space.

There is trash in space?

Unfortunately, yes. Since we started actively exploring space, starting with the Sputnik satellite in 1957, we generated a massive loud of trash or in technical term debris in space. They range from old satellites, spent rocket stages to fragments from their disintegration and collisions.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the many satellites which are out of use? If the satellite is lower in earth orbit the last fuel (I also didn’t know that satellites have fuel) is used to slow down the satellite until it falls out of the orbit and finally is burned in the atmosphere. If the orbit is higher than even less fuel is needed to blast the satellite further into space to the so-called “graveyard orbit”. You get the main idea here.

Here are some numbers of debris from 2016:

  • Debris larger than 10 cm approx. 18.000
  • Debris between 1-10 cm approx. 670.000
  • Debris smaller than 1 cm 170 Mio (not so much a problem on earth but for the ISS and satellites up there)

Honestly, I am quite shocked by these numbers. They make me think about all the amount of trash that we generated and which we are not even aware of. Which is not addressed or spoken about in public. I feel overwhelmed by not only taking actions to deal with environmental issues on the planet but also facing issues which feels so out of reach for my little impact.

But before I get mad and desperate I want to take a look at ideas which are already in the draws of smart scientists. I want to know if we can work this out or if we will find the night sky covered in moving debris instead of stars one day.

After a bit of research in the net I found a quite recent news about a British debris-hunting satellite (largest satellite ever deployed with 100kg weight)which was deployed from the International Space Station (ISS) in last summer and is equipped with a harpoon, a debris net and targeting software. The company which developed this satellite is Surry Satellite Technology Ltd. in collaboration with the Surey Space Center. The harpoon was successfully tested on February 8th, 2019. You can watch a short video of the test.

I am now a bit surprised that just a few days ago they executed the test. If I would have tried to finish this post in January this great news would have been missing. Reminds me of great synchronicities in life.

On the one side I feel quite proud to see that things are moving forward. On the other side we have to speed up a bit with our attempts as our demand for more telecommunication services and therefore more satellites is increasing. And let’s not forget the space agencies, which are also still active, want to shoot new equipment up into the unknown.

I really hope that we take this issue seriously and maybe it helps us to remember where we are coming from or with Mr. Carl Sagan’s words “We are made out of star stuff”.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to get out in a clear night to watch the magnificent stars as long as we can see them 😉

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Goods for Trash

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Photo by Jilbert Ebrahimi on Unsplash

 

I just recently had a conversation with my brother about amazon, the former book retailer and today the retailer for everything. My brother told me that, when you order something directly from amazon and you send it back, amazon destroys the goods. I couldn’t believe what he said. So, I started to do my own little research to understand the full story.

I found a German TV report which was broadcasted in June 2018. The report claimed based on several testimonials of former amazon employees, that the company destroys goods worth several 10.000 Euros daily. Why is that? The report mainly focuses on the argument that amazon organizes the logistics for a wide range of external suppliers, who pay a fee for the storage space amazon offers. To keep that volume of storage space as small as possible, amazon receives the order to destroy the goods, which are not sold to the customers.

That seems to me as a pure economic action and maybe ‘business as usual’.

As I went on looking for some other reports I found an interesting article on t3n, which is an online platform dealing with topics around digitalization. The article gives a more objective view on the issue of the destruction of returned goods in the trade. It also details some more arguments for the destruction. For example, amazon donates a certain amount to charity organizations, but the donation is taxed (in Germany 19%). Compared to the tax the destruction of goods costs significantly less.

Yes, if you are a company such as amazon you watch your numbers because your main focus lies on making a profit. I totally agree that it seems like amazon is trying to do good and I also think that this destruction of new goods is an issue that goes way beyond just amazon. The article makes a very interesting statement: “it is a problem of our society and not purely of the trade”. The quote refers to how we consume and that there is the tendency to buy something new if it is broken, because it’s repair would cost more. And that is, in my opinion, the big underlying issue here: our consumption behavior influences the actions taken in the economy. I am sure there are many more things to consider but that is a huge issue.

And so, we have to ask ourselves “How much responsibility do we have?” “How many things do I need, how much do I want to spend on quality, from where do I buy?”

I have been customer of amazon for years now, mainly buying books. In knowing about this behavior, do I now consider to stop purchasing from amazon? …honestly no, because I think that that will not solve that particular problem.

Of course, amazon is a big player, but it is not the only one. So far, I have ordered a lot of my clothes in the past years from Zalando. And I can tell you that I have sent a lot of clothes back, not knowing what Zalando does with them.

But after that bit of research I will definitely reconsider my online ordering habits.

I would love to see any big company doing the first initial step towards a more resourceful handling of goods. But I get the feeling that we as customers also have to make our own contribution.

RETHINK – Reloaded

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Photo by Martin Shreder on Unsplash

It has been over one and a half years now since I posted my last article. Guess what… life took a different course for me during that time. My time and energy were directed to other topics and especially to the job I just started at that time.

Much has happened between then and now. I don’t have that job any more, I have finished my yoga teacher apprenticeship and now I give yoga classes twice a month, I got married to a great man and we moved into a new apartment.

It is my mission to contribute to humankind’s transformation and to show people how valuable we all are and that we all play an important part on a wider scene in this universe.

The clear decision to follow my own path and create my own business was made about a year ago, but this inner calling to contribute in the world is much older. Actually, I wanted to become an astronaut as a child and I followed that vision for a long time until something dawned on me.

I wanted to become an astronaut, not because of the science but because to see our blue planet from a totally different perspective. I could sense how precious our existence is in this vast universe and know that we are here for a reason.

And my reason is to remind everyone else of his beauty and power, of his magnificence and his value for this world. That we have the power to transform this world in something incredibly beautiful, where love is omnipresent, and fear is only there to remind us of our growth and not to freeze us.

I now feel ready to completely own this blog and continue with my writing about the topics which are so important to me and hopefully also to you.