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Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Category

Once a week, I am offering up a tip or action or idea that we can all engage with to work towards living in ways that allow for more health and wellbeing for all aspects of the planet.

This week the green thought is about disposable, plastic utensils!

Plastic utensils can often degrade into components that are harmful to animals including humans. Photo: Cap Radio.

Single use plastic items are definitely bad for the environment. Once discarded, plastic degrades in the environment releasing toxins and breaking down into microplastics that clog the digestive and respiratory systems of animals who ingest or inhale them. An plastic utensils are no exception to this. An estimated 40,000,000,000 plastic utensils (forks, knives, and spoons) are discarded every year around the world. That is a lot of plastic that only gets used once and then is thrown away!

A solution is to to stop using plastic utensils. When we get a meal from a restaurant or café, we should all think about if we really need any plastic utensils. Many food items can be enjoyed with the use of utensils at all. And if a meal really does need a utensil to eat it, we can all carry reusable utensils. There are some great ones out there that come in sets with a knife, fork, spoon, and even chopsticks. And they often have their own carrying bag. By reducing the plastic utensils we all use, we can all help reduce the amount of plastic that is produced and the amount of plastic that gets into the environment! So, we can all start saying “no thanks” when a server asks if us if we would like any plastic utensils with our food.

What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any other solution ideas?

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Once a week, I am offering up a tip or action or idea that we can all engage with to work towards living in ways that allow for more health and wellbeing for all aspects of the planet.

This week the green thought is about combining stops while driving!

When we combine multiple stops in a single outing, we will keep the car engine warm and save fuel! Photo: West Milford Messenger.

Driving a car burns fuel. Even in an electric vehicle uses fuel, and most of the fuels used by cars and trucks around the world are fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon into the atmosphere which is one of major causes of global climate change. So, every time any of us take our vehicle on the road, we are contributing to climate change. Not good. And one thing that tends to use more fuel is to make individual trips to individual destinations. Doing this means that a engine starts off cold each trip, and cold engines are inefficient engines.

A solution is to combine trips. Longer excursions with multiple stops let our vehicle’s engines warm up to their most fuel-efficient temperature, and then not cool down as much before we start them again. This means that the engine will use a minimum amount of fuel for the distance we need to go and the stops we need to make. So, we should all plan our errands one after the other in a single outing. Adopting this strategy will help us all save fuel, save money, and save the planet!

What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any other solution ideas?

Thank you for visiting my blog! Please check back next week for another Green Thought Thursday!

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Once a week, I am offering up a tip or action or idea that we can all engage with to work towards living in ways that allow for more health and wellbeing for all aspects of the planet.

This week the green thought is about confetti.

With New Years approaching, a lot of confetti is going to be used around the world. This confetti can be a big problem it is made of tinny pieces of plastic or other non-biodegradable material. Once the confetti hits the ground it is difficult to clean up. And if it made of non-biodegradable material it will make its way into waterways and degrade, thereby damaging the natural environment. And that is not even considering the costs, resources used, and other impacts from making the stuff in the first place!

Biodegradable confetti looks great, often smells great, and is better for the environment! Photo by Etsy.

A solution is to use biodegradable confetti. A lot of fun biodegradable options or forms of confetti are now available. Some are made of biodegradable paper, some are flower petals, some are made of dried lavender (so they smell lovely), and some are dried leaves (eucalyptus leaves smell lovely, too). Lots of options! And they are easy to get. All of these options are available through online vendors, and event planners are becoming more and more familiar with these options every day.

What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any other solution ideas?

Thank you for visiting my blog! Please check back next week for another Green Thought Thursday!

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Once a week, I am offering up a tip or action or idea that we can all engage with to work towards living in ways that allow for more health and wellbeing for all aspects of the planet.

This week the green thought is about eating our leftover food.

Throwing away leftovers is a significant waste of food, money, and other resources; and it contributes to the problems of landfills and climate change. Photo: National Today.

It is often hard to make just the right amount of food. Especially when cooking for multiple people, it is impassible to know for sure exactly how much each person will eat of each of the dishes being prepared for any given meal. This means that it is very common to have some leftover food after everyone has finished a meal. So, what to do with this leftover food? One option that occurs all too often is to throw the leftovers away. If this food is is thrown away, it can represent a huge waste of food and money. And it can also add completely unnecessary additions to climate change and landfills. The food that is leftover after a meal is perfectly good to eat, throwing it away means that no one will have the chance to eat it. The food that is left over also costs money to buy. Wasting that food is also wasting the money that was used to purchase it. Thrown out food ends up in landfills which use up space and resources to manage. Thrown away food in and out of landfills decomposes and release greenhouse gasses such as methane which contribute to climate change. All because food gets thrown away.

A solution? Eat the leftovers. instead of throwing leftover food away, save it by putting them in the fridge or freezer, and these leftovers can easily save for a couple of days (and sometimes much longer). By eating leftovers one day a week, the grocery bill goes down, sometimes be as much as 20%. And keeping leftover food out of landfills means that the landfills themselves have less material to deal with, and release less methane and other gasses that contribute to climate change. And they are tasty!

What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any other solution ideas?

Thank you for visiting my blog! Please check back next week for another Green Thought Thursday!

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Once a week, I am offering up a tip or action or idea that we can all engage with to work towards living in ways that allow for more health and wellbeing for all aspects of the planet. Last week we talked about reusable shopping bags.

Hole is the ozone layer (blue) over Antarctica. Photo: Vox.

This week the green thought is about the ozone layer in honor of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer which will be tomorrow. The ozone layer is a thin layer of gas in the Earth’s atmosphere with a high concentration of ozone (O3). This layer is extremely important because ozone absorbs many of the types of rays produced by the sun that are harmful to living organisms. However, chemicals such as halocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons destroy ozone. These chemicals are found in common household items such as air conditioners, refrigerators, fire extinguishers, some foams, and many aerosols. The resulting ozone depletion is a contributing factor in cancer rates and other health impacts.

One solution is to stop purchasing and using products that contain these ozone-depleting chemicals. There are many products that contain ozone-depleting chemicals, but there are also many that do not. By carefully selecting things like cleaning supplies and home appliances, we can all help drive the market away from producing items that harm the ozone layer and towards products that leave the ozone layer intact. Reducing carbon consumption will also help as the burning of fossil fuels is another source of ozone-depleting chemicals. Buying local, driving less, and making our homes more energy efficient are all helpful steps.

What do you think of these thoughts and the solution? Is this a step you will take? Do you have any other solution ideas?

Thank you for visiting my blog! Please check back in next week for another Green Thought Thursday!

If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a few options:

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A variety of reusable shopping bags. Photo: Sapphirevn

Once a week, I am offering up a tip or action or idea that we can all engage with to work towards living in ways that allow for more health and wellbeing for all aspects of the planet.

Last week we talked about giving to charities.

This week the green thought is about shopping bags. Single use plastic items are definitely bad for the environment. Once discarded, plastic degrades in the environment releasing toxins and breaking down into microplastics that clog the digestive and respiratory systems of animals who ingest or inhale them. Plastic shopping bags are one of the items that contribute to microplastics in the environment. Additionally, plastic bags also pose risks to sea turtles because when they are suspended and floating in water, they resemble the jellyfish that sea turtles eat. They also pose a risk to whales because plastic bags can easily be swallowed by a whale unintentionally and then become lodged in their digestive tract killing them.

One solution is to stop using plastic bags. Taking reusable shopping bags with us when we head to a store is a small step that each of us can do that will have major benefits to animals and the environment. Bags are available made of all kinds of materials such as cotton, coconut fibers, bamboo, and even recycled plastics. They can also be homemade! Reusable bags are easy to carry, easy to wash (if necessary), and easy to use. Plus, they will save a bit of money as more and more stores charge for single use bags. All we need to do is remember to grab those reusable bags on our way out the door. While this may not be a habitat we currently have, it is certainly one we can all start practicing to learn.

What do you think of these thoughts and the solution? Is this a step you will take? Do you have any other solution ideas?

Thank you for visiting my blog! Please check back in next week for another Green Thought Thursday!

If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a few options:

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Once a week, I am offering up a tip or action or idea that we can all engage with to work towards living in ways that allow for more health and wellbeing for all aspects of the planet. Last week we talked about planting native species.

Logo of the United Nations. Photo: United Nations

This week the green thought is about charity. The United Nations has recognized that “eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.” I think it is a really important point that the UN links poverty with sustainable development. When individuals or a community are in poverty, they may be forced to make decisions that not environmentally friendly, but do produce short-term benefits. So if we as a society can reduce, or even eliminate, poverty we will go a long way towards allowing humans to make decisions that help the whole world in the long-term.

One solution is the UN’s International Day of Charity that is observed every September 5th. Since that date is right around the corner, I thought it would a good time to bring it up and keep it in all of our minds. While I am not wild about who is commemorated by the September 5th date (it was chosen because it is the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa who I am not a big fan of), I do really like the idea of an occasion where we can all think about ways we can support those less fortunate that ourselves, and in so doing we can all help make this a safer, healthier, and more ecologically sustainable world for humans and all other living creatures.

What do you think of all this? Is this a step you will take? Do you have any other solution ideas?

Thank you for visiting my blog! Please check back in next week for another Green Thought Thursday!

If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a few options:

Follow this blog!

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Once a week, I am offering up a tip or action or idea that we can all engage with to help reduce waste, use less materials and energy, help conserve species or habitats, and/or generally work towards living in ways that allow for more health and wellbeing for all aspects of the planet.

A garden planted with California natives (used as an example because I live in California! Photo: California Native Plant Society

This week the green thought is about planting native plants. Whether you have a large yard, a single flowerpot, or something in between, we all have a choice of planting native plants or non-native plants. One of the big problems with non-native plants is that they often do not stay where we plant them. Oh, that specific individual plant stays put, but plants have amazing ways of dispersing their seeds, and so the population spreads! And non-natives can have some serious drawbacks for species that are native. Non-natives may not provide the food that native animals need, or they even be toxic. They many outcompete native plant species. They may use more water than native plant species. The list goes on and on.

Native plants are a great solution. Native plants are likely to provide benefits that mirror the drawbacks of non-natives. Natives are likely to provide the food that native animals need. They are likely to occupy an otherwise underutilized niche in the ecosystem and so not outcompete other species. They use less water than non-natives. This list also goes on and on. So, when it comes time to plant something, we can all take a bit of time to learn about what plants are native to the areas we live in and select one of those!

What do you think of these thoughts and the solution? Is this a step you will take? Do you have any other solution ideas?

Thank you for visiting my blog! Please check back in next week for another Green Thought Thursday!

If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a few options:

Follow this blog!

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Once a week, I am offering up a tip or action or idea that we can all engage with to help reduce waste, use less materials and energy, help conserve species or habitats, and/or generally work towards living in ways that allow for more health and wellbeing for all aspects of the planet.

This week the green thought is about plant milks. Milk from cows is great. It has a lot of protein, a good source of vitamins, and has a lot of calcium and other nutrients that are very helpful to staying healthy. However, cows milk has some serious drawbacks. The biggest one is that it means keeping a lot of cows! Raising and maintaining cows requires a lot of resources from space to water to feed. On top of consuming all those resources, the cows themselves release a lot of greenhouse gases. All of this makes cows milk (and really any animal milk) pretty costly for the environment.

Plant milks can come from a range of different plant species and offer excellent alternatives to cows milk. Photo: Science Meets Food.

One solution is offered by plant milks, and since #WorldPlantMilkDay is on August 22 this seems like a great time to discuss these alternatives. Almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, and so many more options are available in most grocery stores, these days. This has not always been the case, but it means that we all have options! Plant milks require a lot fewer resources to produce as compared to animals milks in part because they cut out a huge step. To produce animal milk, plants have to be raised to feed the animal that produces the milk. By simply getting milk from plants, that removes the entire animal step. So, plant milks offer tons of health benefits, cause much less pollution, they eliminate any issue of animal cruelty, and they help reduce a driver of climate change by releasing much less greenhouse gas! All terrific for the human body and the environment! So, lets all go and experiment with the various plant milks and add them into our diets.

What do you think of these thoughts and the solution? Is this a step you will take? Do you have any other solution ideas?

Thank you for visiting my blog! Please check back in next week for another Green Thought Thursday!

If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a few options:

Follow this blog!

View and subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

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Read Full Post »

Once a week, I am offering up a tip or action or idea that we can all engage with to help reduce waste, use less materials and energy, help conserve species or habitats, and/or generally work towards living in ways that allow for more health and wellbeing for all aspects of the planet.

This week the green thought is about plastic straws. Single use plastic items are definitely bad for the environment. Once discarded, plastic degrades in the environment releasing toxins and breaking down into microplastics that clog the digestive and respiratory systems of animals who ingest or inhale them. Of the many many different plastic items that we humans make, plastic straws are particularly prone to get into waterways and pollute the natural environment. And they are so widely used that they make a big impact with approximately 2,000 tons of plastic straws entering the worlds oceans every year. Plastic straws are one of the top ten items picked up in beach cleanups every year.

A variety of reusable straws are available as alternatives to plastic straws. Photo: The Wire Cutter.

One solution is to stop using plastic straws. When we get a drink for a restaurant or café, we should all think about if we really need a straw at all. Many drinks can be enjoyed simply by sipping from the edge of the cup. And if a drink really does need a straw, we can all carry reusable straws. There are some great ones made of silicone or metal that work great, are easy to carry, and are easy to clean. By reducing the straws we all use, we can all help reduce the amount of plastic in getting into the environment!

What do you think of these thoughts and the solution? Is this a step you will take? Do you have any other solution ideas?

Thank you for visiting my blog! Please check back in next week for another Green Thought Thursday!

If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a few options:

Follow this blog!

View and subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

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