Become a citizen of the Trash Isles to protect our oceans

A sassy campaign wants plastic trash recognized as an actual country, in hopes of getting official attention.

If you’ve ever had the urge to seek citizenship to another country, now is your chance — although you might not be able to visit it, exactly. British media group LADbible has launched a campaign to have the ‘Trash Isles’ recognized by the United Nations as the world’s 196th country. The Trash Isles is exactly what its name describes — a heap of plastic waste the size of France that’s expanding rapidly in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Plastic waste, as we’ve written many times on TreeHugger, is an environmental catastrophe for the planet. Every year, eight million tons of plastic are dumped in waterways and oceans, entangling marine wildlife and breaking down into tiny pieces that are ingested by animals and often eaten by humans. There are concerns about the impact on the human body: “One study carried out in the US found that 93 percent of Americans over the age of six tested positive for BPA (a [hormone-disrupting] chemical found in plastic).”

While the Trash Isles campaign sounds silly and gimmicky, it does serve a purpose:

“What better way is there to get world leaders to take notice of a problem than to stick it in front of their faces? Literally so – our application has to be read by all members of the UN Council.”

Nation status would also offer protection under the UN Environmental Charters, which state:

“All members shall co-operate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem.”

This means that, by becoming a country, other countries would be obliged to clean up the Trash Isles.

There are four criteria for becoming an actual country. These are: (1) a defined territory, (2) a government, (3) capability of interacting with other states, and (4) a population. The LADBible campaign says it meets all of these requirements, although how is not exactly clear.

The defined territory requirement is tricky, since scientists have been saying there’s no such thing as a single Great Pacific Garbage Patch; rather, plastic waste is diffused throughout all ocean waters (a significantly more terrifying prospect) and there are numerous trash vortexes in waterways. A elected government, presumably, would be formed by volunteers, and the capability of interacting with other states would come from the population, which LADbible is currently trying to rally through an online petition. So far, nearly 120,000 people have signed the petition with a goal of 150,000.

trash posters© LADbible

The campaign has some high-profile supporters, including Al Gore, who has been named the country’s first honorary citizen, and British Olympic distance runner Mo Farah.

LADbible’s head of marketing, Stephen Mai, says the Trash Isles will have everything a real country needs, from an official flag and currency called ‘debris’ to passports made of recycled materials, a national anthem, and (of course) a national football team.)

“Come on, fellow Trash Isles countrymen. Let’s put down the plastic, get off our arses and pull together to ensure the world’s first country made of Trash, is its last.”

It’s an amusing idea and it will be intriguing to see how the UN responds — although I can’t help but wonder how the Environmental Charters could possibly work for the Trash Isles if they’ve been unsuccessful at controlling pollution at its source.

Sign the petition here asking the UN to recognize the Trash Isles as an actual country.

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WATCH: Cops FAIL as They Try to Intimidate an Informed Citizen for ‘Staring at Them’


Loudoun County, VA — Ordinary citizens sometimes complain when police intimidate or harass them, often with damaging emotional outcomes. Knowing what to do when one suspects they are being harassed by police is not always as easy as filing a complaint with the local police department. However, a recently uploaded YouTube video shows citizens just how easy it is to put stalker cops in their place.

An unnamed grocery store employee had worked a full shift and was attempting to enjoy a smoke break when a Loudoun County sheriff’s deputy approached him.

The young officer asked, “How are you doing today? I saw you filming me,” presuming the man was interested in filming only the officer waiting in his cruiser in the Giant parking lot for more than 4 minutes. The stare down ended with the officer making contact with the citizen who promptly told him, “I don’t have to answer any of your questions.”

The officer could have easily turned and walked away and left the man alone. Instead, he continued to press for more information and, in the minds of many who have seen the video, he escalated an unnecessary police contact. “Is there any issue? Are you doing okay?” the officer asked, pretending to care about the man

The seasoned cop watcher calmly and collectively replied, “I’m doing okay.” Again the officer pressed with more interrogatives. “Do you work for Giant?” he asked, to which the man responded, I don’t have to answer any of your questions.

The unrelenting officer, who apparently was paranoid with a citizen’s right to film in public, again asked if the man was a Giant employee. The worker did not have to answer any questions, but gave a few tidbits of information indicating that he worked at the store, he was just having a smoke break, and he did not want to be bothered by any more of the officer’s questions.

As The Free Thought Project has reported, officers will often pretend to care about someone’s mental stability as a legal way of detaining suspects “for their own safety.” In this case, the Virginia cop said he just wanted to see if the man was “okay” or not.

“I’m standing up. I’m standing up. I’m standing straight up. Nothing wrong,” the man said, showing the officer he was not afraid of him, was complying with all of the local laws, and was not going to be intimidated.

The officer replied, “You can do what you want” — that is, apparently, everything but go about one’s day without having to be forced to interact with a seemingly paranoid cop who cannot possibly allow a citizen to film the public servant conducting his public business in the middle of the day.

Adding more comedic value to the encounter, the officer then began to explain the paranoia, by saying he noticed the man “staring” at him so he “circled back around” to investigate. “It kinda made me a bit nervous,” the officer said.

“Yep. I’m sure it did. I’m sure it did (make you nervous). Two people going to get a cigarette probably does make you real suspicious,” the man replied sarcastically.

The man then got the upper hand on the police officer, who had since called for backup. Apparently, the two men smoking outside of Giant raised enough suspicion to invest the time and money into having a second officer arrive on scene.

The man then flipped the script on the officer and explained that he watched the officer stop and wait, then circle around and park and watch them as they got their cigarettes, and again stared them down. He asked the officer, “Why should we be nervous?” indicating the actions of the officer were much more suspicious than a couple of dudes getting some cigs after a long day of work.

The cop then explained that he had the probable cause to investigate the men saying he “absolutely” got a call that the men were being suspicious, but later in the video, he admitted he received no such call. In other words, he lied.

The backup officer arrived and asked if the man had been drinking. The man replied by saying he had been at work since 7 a.m. He demonstrated his discontent with the officers’ line of questioning and inquired as to why the officers “are still talking” to him.

“I knew stuff like this happens. I just watch my back like you watch yours,” the man said, explaining why he was filming the officers.

“We’re not trying to mess with you or anything like that,” the officer says, but suggests it is part of his job to investigate citizens when they are filming him. Nothing could be further from the truth. His job is to make sure no one infringes on the rights of citizens to engage in their First Amendment rights to free speech, which includes being able to film in public.

“Okay. But nobody called you on me though,” the man said. It is at this point that the officer makes himself out to be a liar because he earlier told the man he “absolutely” got a call.

“I don’t want to be recording you just like I don’t want to be standing here talking to you right now,” the man said. And with that, the paranoid cop and his sidekick finally walked away, and let the two men return to work.


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Fracking Giant Sues Citizen for Speaking out Against Fracking

Fracking giant Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. is suing Dimock, Pennsylvania resident Ray Kemble and his attorneys for $5 million after Kemble accused the gas driller of polluting residential wells in Pennsylvania. Cabot alleges that Kemble and his lawyers extorted the company through a “frivolous” lawsuit. [1]

In 2013, an EPA official wrote in an internal report that fracking conducted by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. caused methane to leak into domestic water wells in Dimock, completely contradicting Cabot’s assessment, which said the methane gas was naturally occurring. [2]

State regulators initially got involved in 2010 and said Cabot’s drilling contaminated local wells, though a subsequent EPA investigation in 2012 found the water posed no health risks to Dimock residents.

Though the 2013 report didn’t exactly contract the EPA’s finding that the water was safe to use, it did show that at least one official determined that Cabot’s work damaged water wells.

Read: Study: People Living Near Fracking Sites Suffer Severe Health Problems

Now, Cabot is suing Kemble, claiming that his efforts to garner media attention to his polluted well “harmed” the company. The energy company alleges in the suit that Kemble’s actions breached a 2012 settlement that was part of an ongoing federal class action lawsuit over Dimock’s water quality.

Kemble says that even now his water “burns the back of your throat, makes you gag, makes you want to puke.” According to the outspoken Pennsylvanian, who, along with other community members, was featured in the 2010 documentary “Gasland,” said that things only got worse after Cabot fracked 3 wells near his house. [3]

In August 2017, scientists from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a public health agency, again tested the water at Kemble’s home and about 2 dozen other houses.

A report released by the ATSDR in 2016 found contamination in some of Dimock’s well-water, but the tests did not look at what was casing the contamination. [4]

Read: Fracking Contaminates Groundwater, Study Proves

George Stark, Cabot’s director of external affairs, said of the lawsuit:

“Cabot will protect its rights and pursue justice against those who irresponsibly and maliciously abuse the legal system.” [1]

Source: Sierra Club BC

In April 2017, Kemble and his lawyers filed a federal lawsuit accusing Cabot of continuing to pollute Kemble’s water supply. However, the suit was withdrawn 2 months later. [3]

According to Cabot, the claims Kemble made in the lawsuit were the subject of a 2012 settlement between the driller and dozens of Dimock residents – including Kemble – and were barred by the statute of limitations. Cabot claims in the lawsuit that Kemble had breached the 2012 settlement by publicly discussing the company and the alleged damage it did to his water supply.

In 2016, some of Kemble’s neighbors, who had refused to sign a settlement agreement with Cabot, were awarded $4.2 million by a jury. However, in March 2017, that ruling was overturned. [4]

The judge overseeing the case ordered a new trial.

Two weeks later, Kemble filed his lawsuit against Cabot.


[1] MintPress News

[2] The Washington Post

[3] Press Connects

[4] Hot Air

Sierra Club BC

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About Julie Fidler:

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Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.

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Greater Manchester To Plant 3 Million Trees, One For Each Citizen

By Amanda Froelich Truth Theory

Over the next 25 years, the Great Manchester area in England will plant a whopping 3 million trees — one for every man, woman and child in the region. The movement was started by City of Trees which, to date, has already planted 95,000 trees in the area.

According to the BBC, the organization believes the key to tackling climate change, creating healthier communities, reconnecting kids to the natural world, providing essential habitats for wildlife and reforesting the district is to plant trees. So, that’s exactly what City of Trees is doing!

The project’s website touts numerous economic and academic benefits of expanding the area’s greenery. One repercussion of planting the millions of trees is that the Greater Manchester’s timber and forest related industries will receive an economic boost — an important development, as both are worth roughly $550 million. As a result, 69,000 new jobs will be created. An additional benefit is educating children on the importance of caring for the environment as well as how to tend to new saplings.


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City of Trees director, Tony Hothersall:

“In terms of health… woodlands can do great things in terms of air pollution reduction… [and] can help to screen for noise pollution. They can also help cities and towns become more resilient to climate change both in terms of things like reducing the urban heat island effect and also reducing things like risk from surface water flooding.”

Learn more about the initiative by visiting the organization’s website, where you can donate to the cause.

IMAGE CREDIT: alessandroguerriero / 123RF Stock Photo

Read more: Haunting Photo Series Explores Homosexuality In India


I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here

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Get Ready – Sam Dubose’s Killer Set to be Next Cop to Walk Free for Murdering a Citizen on Video


In the wake of Officer Jeronimo Yanez’ not-guilty verdict in the shooting death of Philando Castile, and amid mass protests over such a verdict, citizens are bracing for yet another ruling in the trial of former University of Cincinnati Officer Ray Tensing.

Tensing, who shot and killed Sam DuBose, is facing his second trial after prosecutors’ first attempt at convicting him for murder and manslaughter ended in hung jury. The mistrial resulted in Tensing being retried with a second jury, a trial which could conclude as early as this week.

As The Free Thought Project reported at the time of the shooting, Tensing killed DuBose after pulling him over and discovering he did not have a license plate on the front of his vehicle. He also did not have his drivers license in his possession but did have a bottle of gin in the car.

After Tensing told him to take off his seatbelt, and while the officer was trying to open the driver’s side car door, DuBose attempted to drive off. Tensing quickly opened fire shooting the man in the head, who continued driving down the road until the car crashed.

From the body camera footage, Tensing can be seen attempting to reach into the vehicle, possibly in an effort to turn off the car’s engine, when DuBose hit the accelerator.

Tensing told fellow officers he was being “dragged,” but dashcam footage did not corroborate his claims. Now, testimony in the case is winding down, and the former officer is waiting to see if he will be as fortunate as Yanez or have to spend years in prison for taking an unarmed motorist’s life.

When grilled over his contention he was being dragged, Tensing testified this week;

After studying the body camera footage, I see now that (DuBose) pinned it

He testified he believed his life to be in danger and was forced to “end the threat” which is the reason he gave for shooting DuBose. Forensic video analyst Grant Fredericks testified for the prosecution, giving a moment by moment analysis of the body camera footage. Tensing fired back;

No disrespect to Mr. Fredericks, but he was not there experiencing what I was experiencing…He watched the body camera video, he was not in my head and seeing what I was seeing and he was not feeling what I was feeling

To many who were following the Castile story, Yanez should not have been acquitted. By all accounts, including the dash cam footage from his squad car, Castile was being compliant, even informing the officer he was in legal possession of a firearm. That statement is required by law in many states when a police officer makes a traffic stop and a motorist holds a concealed carry permit, as Castile did at the time he lost his life.

The mere fact he informed Yanez he was armed should have indicated to the officer he was no threat to the public servant. Instead of watching and waiting patiently for Castile to retrieve both his license and his permit to carry, Yanez got nervous, feared for his life, and killed Castile in front of his girlfriend and a child.

Since Yanez was found not guilty, then there is no reason to believe Tensing will be convicted either. Castile was compliant. DuBose was not. Castile informed the officer he was licensed, while DuBose did not have a valid license to drive and was in someone else’s car, which lacked a license plate. Castile was sitting still with his car in park. DuBose was fidgety, and attempted to make a getaway.

Castile was shot dead in front of his girlfriend and his child, yet no one else was in the car with DuBose to support his side of the story. All of which could lead many to conclude Tensing will walk away from the court as a free man — but none of which justify the deaths of either man.

And so the problem of police brutality, excessive use of force, and death by cop will likely continue, and along with the perceived inhumanity will come more protests, more outrage, and potentially more retaliations and assassinations of law enforcement officers such as was witnessed in both Texas and Louisiana. Something has to change.

Castile, arguably, would still be alive today if he had simply lied to the officer about his possession of a firearm. Had he simply handed over his drivers license and received a ticket for having a broken taillight, he would still be on this side of eternity — all of which may lead others to lie to police officers while stopped, simply to keep an already nervous cop from killing them.

It should be noted that the only other time Tensing had discharged his weapon in the line of duty was when he attempted to shoot a dog. Prosecutors grilled him over that incident asking the former officer, “Is it easier to shoot and kill a human being who wasn’t moving, like Sam DuBose, who was trapped in his car with his seatbelt on and you were only one or two feet away?

“Nothing about this is easy,” Tensing answered.

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