Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Environment’ 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?

Thank you for visiting my blog! Please check back 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!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

Read Full Post »

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!

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

Follow this blog!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

Read Full Post »

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!

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

Follow this blog!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

Read Full Post »

California is a pretty amazing place for many reasons, and one is that we have a lot of different species and subspecies of salmon! The Sacramento River, for example, is the only major river in the world that has four distinct subspecies, or runs, of Chinook Salmon!

Salmon are such amazing creatures! They are so important to the ecosystems in which they live, and they have been so important to human societies for so long that they get a lot of attention, and rightly so. And, when their populations are not doing well, ecosystems and human societies feel the impacts.

Two adult Coho Salmon migrating up a river. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), sometimes called Silver Salmon, are one of the species found in California. They are a species that live in the ocean for most of their lives, but then migrate up rivers and streams along the north and central coast of California to breed and lay their eggs in gravel beds in the upper watersheds. In addition to being found in California, Coho Salmon are also found breeding in rivers and streams along the Pacific coast of North America all the way to Alaska, and the Pacific coast in northeastern Russia as far south as northern Japan.

When they do this epic migration, how long it takes, where they lay eggs, how long those eggs take to hatch, what the young salmon need to survive and for how long, when the young salmon migrate down river and into the ocean, and how long they live there before returning to the river of their birth are all important aspects of Coho Salmon biology that need to be understood if restoration efforts are to be successful.

The grant program I manage funds salmon recovery projects, so I am writing this blog post in part to help myself understand the life cycle of the Coho Salmon so that I can make the best decisions I can when deciding what projects to fund. So, with no further adieu…

The Coho Salmon life cycle in California:

In January, adult female Coho Salmon will lay between 1,500 and 3,000 eggs each in a gravel nest, called a redd, in a stream in the upper watershed of a river system. After mating and laying eggs, the adult Coho die (more on this later).

Many of the eggs are eaten by other aquatic animals, but generally between 200 and 300 hatch. This takes between 50 and 70 days depending on water temperature.

A stream in the upper Navarro River watershed in California where young Coho Salmon spend a bit over a year feeding and growing. Photo: A Birding Naturalist.

Once they hatch, these young Coho Salmon spend approximately a year living in shallow areas of streams where they can hide amounts rocks and large woody debris and prey on smaller fish and aquatic insects.

After about 14 months living and growing in these shallow streams, the 50 to 100 surviving young salmon, that are now called smolts, begin to migrate down stream in spring. Their color changes. They loose the bars and spots that helped them to camouflage in the upper watershed streams and turn onto a bright silver color. Internal changes also occur with their gills and kidneys transitioning to be able to survive in salt water.

Once they reach the ocean in summer, the smolts spend about a year-and-a-half feeding and growing into adult salmon. Adult Coho commonly grow to about 18 lbs in weigh and 24 to 30 inches in length.

Beginning in December, the now three year old Coho Salmon begin their migration back up the rivers and streams. This first involves a transition period to allow their gills and kidneys to transition back to tolerating freshwater. The adult Coho also start to become more and more red in color as they migrate up the rivers. Once the adults are accustomed to freshwater, they begin swimming upstream, guided by scent and triggered by stream flow volumes, back to the upper watershed streams where they hatched.

Then in January, the one to four adults that have survived all the way to this point from all those eggs that were originally laid find a partner, mate, the females lay between 1,500 and 3,000 eggs each in a gravel nest, called a redd, and then the adults die. Unlike some other salmon species, Coho Salmon breed one time and then die. No adult Coho preform a return migration to the sea.

While the completion of the life-cycle of a Coho Salmon with the laying of eggs and death is the end of the individual salmon’s life, it is just the beginning of the lives of many other organisms and has effects that ripple out across the ecosystem. The dead adult salmon are important food sources for aquatic animals (such as crayfish, caddisflies, and rainbow trout) and terrestrial animals (such as bear, river otters, raccoons, and eagles). The decomposing adult salmon bring nutrients from the ocean in the form of their own tissues, and deposit those nutrients in mountain streams and rivers. In this way, they serve as an important source of nutrients, basically fertilizing the soils of the forests of the upper watersheds.

Coho Salmon are amazing animals with an amazing life story. I am very happy to be doing work that will help to provide the habitats and water they need to allow them to continue it to the next chapter.

Thank you for visiting my blog! If you are interested in other ways to connect with me, here are a few options:

Begin following this blog!

View and subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

Read Full Post »

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!

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

Follow this blog!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

Read Full Post »

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 draught-proofing our living spaces.

Draughts are annoying. Having air moving through our homes reduces the control we have of the temperatures of our living spaces. This means that during the colder seasons, draughts cause cold outside air to flow into a building while the air that has been heated flows out and that heat is lost. And the opposite is true in the warmer seasons with draughts bringing hot air into buildings that have been specifically cooled, and that cool air is lost. This means we all tend to spent more energy and money in heating or cooling our homes than we have to. This extra heating and cooling contributes to our carbon footprints and so contributes to global climate change.

Applying sealing tape along the edges of window frames is one way to reduce draughts. Photo: Zameen.com

One solution is to draught-proof our homes. Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save both energy and money. And this is true of any type of building. Sealing window frames, adding weather-stripping to doors, and even filling gaps around pipework can all help seal the homes we live in and reduce the need for extra heating or cooling.

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!

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

Follow this blog!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

Read Full Post »

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 buying bulk foods.

Food often comes in various amounts of packaging. This packaging takes resources to make, especially if it involves plastics. Then, once the food has been consumed, that packaging often ends up in landfills where it can persist for a very long time, especially if it involves plastics. Producing the packaging, transporting the packaging, disposing of the packaging. All these steps contribute to carbon emissions and increase the daunting problem of how to handle garbage.

Bulk foods are available in many grocery stores. Photo: Food Network.

One solution is to buy bulk foods. Buying foods in bulk uses less packaging. This means that foods purchased this way contribute less carbon to the atmosphere and less material to landfills. Buying food in bulk also saves money. Bulk foods are generally between 30% and 50% cheaper than their more heavily packaged counterparts. So, buy bulk foods and save your money and your planet at the same time!

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!

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

Follow this blog!

Subscribe to my YouTube channel – A Birding Naturalist

Follow me on Instagram – abirdingnaturalist

Read Full Post »

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 refrigerators and freezers.

We can all take steps to make our refrigerators and freezers more efficient. Photo: House Integrals

Our refrigerators and freezers are on all the time and they use a lot of energy. In fact, since these appliances are some of the few household items that truly never turn off, they can account for as much as 7% of a households energy bill! And in many cases, these appliances are not running as efficiently as they can. Of course, to produce the energy to keep our foods cold requires the burning of fossil fuels which contributes to climate change.

The solution is to take care of our refrigerators and freezers. Here are a few suggestions. 1) Replacing older appliances with modern, energy-efficient models will quickly pay for themselves with lower energy bills. 2) Keeping about 4 inches between the back of the fridge and the wall means that air can circulate and dissipate the heat these units produce allowing them to run more efficiently. 3) Letting hot food cool down to room temperature before putting it in the refrigerator means that the fridge does not have to use the extra energy to cool warm food. 4) Defrosting freezers once a year will help them run more smoothly and also allow the space inside them to be used to maximum effect. 5) And, of course, keeping the fridge and freezer doors closed keeps the temperature inside cold, again prevents the appliances from using extra energy to re-cool after warm air slip in through open doors.

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!

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

Read Full Post »

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 washing with cold water.

This week the green thought is about mylar balloons.

Mylar balloons pose serious threats to wildlife, soils, and oceans of the world. Photo: Washington Post.

Balloons are fun! They symbolize celebration and happiness! But they are not a celebration for the planet. Mylar is plastic. Balloons frequently escape from parties and drift away. Even when they are placed in the trash, they often escape from landfills. These escaped mylar balloons end up in the water and that is where the problems begin. Many marine animals ingest mylar balloons. Some of them eat balloons intentionally such as sea turtles that eat balloons likely mistaking them for jellyfish. Some of them eat balloons accidently such as baleen whales that swallow balloons along with the krill that they capture in the hundred of gallons of seawater that they take in each mouthful. Even if the mylar balloons are not eaten directly, they break down into microplastics that cause a myriad of problems from polluting soil and water to poisoning microbes to getting into the food that humans eat. Definitely not good!

The solution is: don’t buy mylar balloons. If we all stop buying mylar balloons, fewer and fewer will be produced. This is a great example of how we can all use our wallets to influence industries and push towards the world we want.

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!

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

Read Full Post »

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 coffee cups.

This week the green thought is about washing with cold water.

Washing dishes with cold water can save a lot of energy. Photo: reviewed.com

We all wash clothes. We all wash dishes. All this washing uses water, soaps, and energy. The energy is used to pump water, to run dish washers and washing machines, and to heat the water. And that last part is where we can all easily do a lot better! About 90% of energy used in washing cloths and dishes is used to heat the water. Just to heat the water! Using energy means burning fossil fuels which releases carbon dioxide which contributes to climate change.

An easy solution is to simply wash with cold water! I will admit that washing dishes by hand with cold water is not as comfortable as with warm water. But washing clothes and dishes with cold water works as well as with hot water. And it saves energy which reduces releases of carbon dioxide which avoids climate change.

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!

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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »