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Posts Tagged ‘Pollution’

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?

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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 voting.

This week the green thought is about reusable coffee cups.

This is not news. We, as a society, use a lot of coffee cups. The disposable coffee cups that we all get when we visit a café or coffee shop are a classic one-use-item. We drink our beverage, and then throw away the cup. Maybe we recycle it. Either way, the USA alone uses, and disposes of, about 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups a year! That is about 5,000 cups a minute! And that is just one country! That is a lot of waste!

A variety of reusable coffee cups. Photo: Bon Appetit

One solution, which is is not innovative or revolutionary, is that we can all bring our reusable coffee mugs with us when we are going out for coffee! Reusable coffee cups are pretty! They are easy to use, and easy to clean. And they could greatly reduce the amount of trash we produce. We just need to remember them when we leave the house.

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 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 house plants.

This week the green thought is about pumpkins (in honor of Halloween!).

A collection of lighted Jack-o-lanterns ready for Halloween. Photo: Merriam-Webster.com

Growing pumpkins is a big deal in the USA. Over a billion pounds of pumpkin is grown each year. A lot of these end up canned as pie filling, and a lot become jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Growing all these pumpkins has some serious implications on the environment. One is the use of pesticides. Since many insects and fungi like pumpkins, growers use quite a bit of pesticide to prevent infestations. Transporting food is another issue. Moving pumpkins around the world means the burning of quite a bit of fossil fuels. A third issue is the decomposition of jack-o-lanterns once Halloween has passed. The majority of the pumpkins that are carved into jack-o-lanterns end up in landfill after Halloween. As they decompose in landfills, they contribute to the release of methane which is a powerful greenhouse gas. All of these issues raise problems that we should all be aware of when carving pumpkins this Halloween.

Luckily, these problems have solutions! Buy organic pumpkins. Buy pumpkins that were grown close to where you live. Eat the pumpkin flesh and seeds. Compost the pumpkin or simply bury it in the garden. All of these actions reduce the environmental impacts of pumpkins and allow for a greener, healthier Halloween for all of us and the planet as well.

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 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 the 30-wears rule.

This week the green thought is about house plants.

Air pollution is a big problem that impacts the health of just about every living creature on earth, including humans. Car exhaust, as just one example, includes soot, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (a previous Green Thought Thursday touched on VOCs), and small amounts of heavy metals. These are all unhealthy for most living organisms to absorb. In 2018, the World Health Organization found that nearly 91% of the human population of the world lives in areas where the level of airborne pollutants is above healthy levels (Health Effects Institute 2018).

Indoor plants can be grown at home or in the office such as around these cubicles. Photo Credit: Wiki Nursery Live

One partial solution is to grow house plants. Adding plants to your indoor spaces can have lots of great benefits. Different species of plant can absorb certain pollutants in the air and degrade or modify them to make them less toxic. Two specific examples are palms that filter out acetone, xylene, and toluene; and Philodendrons that remove formaldehyde. Indoor plants can also increase humidity which as health benefits such as reducing dry skin, reducing eye irritation, improving throat and airway health, and many more. There are also mental health benefits to being surrounded by living plants. Research has shown that stress and depression rates are lower among people who work and live with plants in their common spaces than in people with no living organisms in close proximity. Growing indoor plants is awesome!

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 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 Low-VOC Paints.

This week the green thought is about the 30-Wears Rule.

When buying clothing, ask if an will be used 30+ times. Photo: Ecobnb

Clothing uses a lot of resources to make and transport. And that is not where the issues with clothing ends because once purchased, those clothing items are often not used all that much! On average, an article of clothing is worn seven times before being discarded. That results in over 16 million tons of fabric being thrown away around the world every year. That is a huge environmental impact!

One solution is to follow the 30-wear rule. Before purchasing an item of clothing, we can all ask ourselves if we will wear the item 30 times or more. If the answer is 100% yes, that item might be a good buy. But if the answer is anything less than 100% yes, we should all choose to not buy the item. And when we do decide to buy something, we all then have the responsibility to follow through and actually wear the item 30 or more times. This will help reduce waste, and also tend to slow clothing production which both will help 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 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 carpooling.

This week the green thought is about low-VOC paints.

Painting is a ton of fun and can really change the feel of a room, but more happens when any of us paint something than a change in color. As paint dries, scintillating as that is to watch, it releases a whole suite of different chemicals into the air. That smell of fresh paint is a result of those chemicals drifting around in the air. These chemicals are all grouped under the label Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. The problem with VOCs is that they contribute to fine particulate pollution in the air, and also cause health impacts in humans (and likely in other animals as well) including eye irritation, headaches, nose and throat irritation, nausea, loss of coordination, kidney damage, and central nervous system issues among others.

Some cans of low-VOC paint of various colors. Photo: Stelzer Painting

One solution is to buy and use low-VOC, or zero-VOC, paints. Some paints are made with chemicals and materials such that they release relatively low levels of VOCs. This means that the paints are likely to have fewer impacts on the health of us humans, and also have less of a negative impact on 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 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 spaying/neutering our pets.

This week the green thought is about carpooling.

Driving causes a lot of problems. Some of these problems arise directly from cars. Smog, chemical air pollution, burning fossil fuels, noise pollution, time spent in traffic, money spent buying gas, and money spent buying cars are just a few! Other problems are indirectly associated with cars. Repairs to roads as a result of high traffic, creating materials to build all the cars needed, the fossil fuel used in transporting cars to market, and the fossil fuels used in transporting fossil fuels to gas stations are just a few of these.

Carpooling individuals. Photo: King County.

One partial solution is to carpool. Carpooling is when multiple people share a ride in the same car. This means fewer cars on the road which would help alleviate the direct an indirect issues listed above. It also opens some doors to people to do not, or cannot, drive by providing them is an way to reach places of employment that might be impossible without a car. There are drawbacks such as extra coordination of pickups and dropoffs and also the need to find multiple people who all live close to one another and also work close to one another. However, the benefits are huge and certainly outweigh these costs.

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 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 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:

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!

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