I recently came across a video regarding the National Geographic Society’s “Big Cats Initiative”. This video talks about how the number of big cats in the wild is decreasing rapidly. This includes lions, tigers, cheetahs, and leopards. National Geographic Society is helping bring awareness to this issue by supporting scientists and conservationists working to save these animals. The problem that drove this initiative is that big cats are being threatened. For example, there is as few as 3,000 tigers, 7,500 snow leopards, 10,000 cheetahs, and 30,000 lions that remain in the wild. The reason the number of big cats in decreasing is because of habitat loss and degradation as well as conflicts with humans. The solution is to fund on the ground research and innovative conservation projects to protect the planet’s top felines. So far the National Geographic Society has supported 64 innovative projects to protect 7 iconic big cat species in 27 countries. They have also built 1,000 bomas to protect livestock, big cats, and people. Above is the video which explains its initiative and describes what is happening to the big cats.
Deforestation is most commonly perceived as an environmental issue. However, it also negatively affects ethnic and religious groups in various parts of the world. An article titled, “Deforestation: The Human Costs”, it predicts that in the next 25-30 years popular tropical forests will become unproductive land stripped of its identity.
Deforestation then poses as a threat to ethnic and religious groups because it destroys many homes for people around the globe. Tribal groups are forced to find a new area of land to inhabit because their land is destroyed. This forces them to be homeless and search for new land, which is times of desperation ends up being land already inhabited by other groups. This limits resources and causes tension at times. All of this due to a huge environmental issue, that many people do not care about or show interest in helping. If the groups that are being relocated have extreme difficulty finding forest that fit their way of life, they have to expand their search. This causes them to change the way of life they were accustomed to by “converting to agriculture or to cash employment”. Their rights to their land are completely disregarded as deforestation becomes an increasingly bigger problem. This is just another one of the benefits of tropical forests that is stipped as deforestation gets increasingly worse.
Over March Break I realized just how many receipts are printed each day. My mom frustratedly mentioned how pointless it is when cashiers give you a receipt after paying with cash. However, receipts in general are printed in bulk each day, whether it is an item paid with cash or credit.
An article I read called “Going Paperless: The Hidden Cost of a Receipt”, mentioned that more than 250 million gallons of oil, 10 million trees, and 1 billion gallons of water is used each year for the US to make enough receipts for one country alone. An effective way to eradicate paper receipts is to make online records readily accessible. Many stores now give you the option to have a paper copy or have a copy sent to your email. WIll Hines from Clinton Global Initiative University is part of a group that is getting rid of receipts from the campus. The money that they save from printing paper receipts is going towards a tree-planting charity. He then proceeded to introduce this idea to other campuses to help spread more awareness of the unsustainability of receipts.
Another method designed to help reduce paper receipts is by signing up for Square Register, which promotes and allows you to receive digital receipts. Paper receipts make up for 1.5 billions pounds of environmental waste. Therefore, imagine if we could eliminate paper receipts. We would be helping the environment by reducing 1.5 billion pound of waste. That is a significant amount of waste and we have the technology and ability to terminate them. The future of receipts should and will be e-receipts.
Lately, water bottles have transformed from environmentally friendly to an accessory. Specifically, S’well water bottles have become very trendy and popular, which is great for our environment. Whether people realize it or not they are helping the environment every time they buy a new trendy water bottle opposed to a case of plastic water bottles at the grocery store. Plastic waste is being tossed into landfills in large sums, which has proven to be a major issues for the environment.
An article on CNN talks about how Sarah Kauss, the founder of one of the newly popular water bottle brands, S’well, is 10 million dollars closer to completely replacing plastic water bottles. She had the idea to create these water bottles after her bussiness school reunion, where she heard a presentation on the global water crisis and the impact plastic waste from water bottles has on the earth. She realized that the stigma against water bottles could have been the look. She hated the look of regular metal water bottles, therefore, she wanted to innovate something that was trendy, cute, and environmentally friendly.
It wasn’t until 2010 when Kauss launched her first S’well. However, S’well water bottles were not only pretty, they are also able to keep liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours, which is a huge benefit for people who are constantly on the move. The business saw a revenue surge of 400% between 2013 and 2014, which led them to $10 million as of last year. However, the water bottles are becoming even more popular now and the company is expected to continue exponentially growing. This exponential growth shows that our environment in moving in the right direction through these small steps. She hopes that S’well water bottles can be acceptable in the business world, which is happening currently. The other day my dad mentioned that many people in his office starting carrying them around. These have helped encourage the reduction of plastic bottle consumption and they are also BPA free.
The business has come a long way since Kauss was at her bussiness school reunion. There are 90 colors of S’wells now. She even just created a bottle that looks like wood. Everytime someone buys the wood S’well water bottle, the business will plant a tree in a forest and last year there was a total of 20,000 trees planted. Kauss has given water bottles the ability to become trendy as well as help aid environmental conservation in a very short amount of time.
When I went home this weekend I realized that many of my neighbors and people in my town still had their christmas lights on. It’s February and people still feel the need to keep their festive lights on all night long. This is not a sustainable thing to be doing when the lights are truly not serving any purpose at this time. In an article Roz Warren sarcastically describes how she loves to waste fuel driving from house to house observing how her local friends are wasting electricity by stringing an abundance of lights around their house. However, many argue that the lights make winter more bearable. That may be true but they also use more electricity and in the long run are not sustainable for our environment. Even if they are using LED holiday lights it is still not necessary for them to be on through March. There comes a point when people need to take down the Christmas decorations. US households combined use more electricity for a single holiday than countries such as El Salvador and Ethiopia do in an entire year. That fact alone should serve as a wake up call to take down your Christmas lights. There is 6.63 billion kilowatt hours of electricity consumption every year due to Christmas festive lighting. That amount of electricity alone is enough to run 14 million refrigerators. The fact that Americans utilize this much electricity for one holiday should be more of a known problem that we are beginning to reduce as a country. It is understandable that people are going to put lights up during the holidays every year but I do not understand why people still have them up when it is February. Americans must start shutting down their Christmas lights for the future of our environment.
ronment with snow removal tactics. I looked up ways to be more environmentally friendly when removing snow during these times and I found an article highlighting specific ways to help make a difference during the winter months in New England. According to the “Sustainable America Blog” the first of the 6 eco-friendly snow removal ideas entails scattering eco-friendly ice melt substances instead of harmful rock salt. You can find a list of the best options for an eco-friendly salt on the “EPA’s Design for the Environment list”. The second one is to, “use battery-, electric-, or hybrid-powered snow blowers instead of gasoline-powered ones”, which is also only necessary when there has been heavy snowfall and it is too difficult to shovel. The third suggestion is “if you feel you must use a gas-powered snow blower for extremely large areas or spaces too far for an electrical cord to reach, use the most efficient gas-powered kind”. The right way to do this is too get a two-stage, four stroke engine instead of a single-stage, two-stroke engine. This will allow your snow blower to be more efficient by using fewer emissions. It is also suggested that you invest in a snow blower with your neighbor to save emissions being emitted into the environment. The fourth suggestions is “go old school and use snow shovels, ice crackers, and brooms”, and if you do not want to be the one to do the tiresome shoveling, then hire a kid. In the long run you will be helping the environment. The fifth suggestion is “find an eco-friendly snow removal service in your area”, this is simply be solved just by requesting that the products being used by the snow services you have are environmentally positive. Lastly, the article says to, “sprinkle birdseed, clean clay cat litter, sand, or fireplace ash on walkways and driveways for traction”. However, do not use too much of those on your sidewalks or driveways because when the snow melts the substances can run off into the vegetation and waterways and harm them. Hopefully, these steps will allow people to be more mindful of the environment when they are cleaning up snow storms this winter.
Many people use face wash multiple times a day but what they do not know is that the microbeads in them are harming our environment. I recently read an article called “Microbeads 101: why they’re bad news and why you should care”, which explains the up and coming issue that is found in everyday face washes. The discovery was found in Great Lakes and it is now being banned in beauty products since President Obama signed a bill enforcing that around 2017 there will be a gradual reduction of Microbeads and even made illegal. They are little beads made of plastic found in products you use all the time such as, toothpaste, exfoliants, and body scrubs. They eventually end up in our bodys of water and it is harming the environment drastically. These beads do not harm humans as much as they do harm fish. The fish are severely suffering from these small harmful looking beads. The fish think the microbeads are eggs and they eat them, not knowing that they will cause harm. However, they will eventually harm humans because the fish that are eating these microbeads are what we end up eat for meals and putting into our body. There are many up and coming problems with these tiny beads, therefore, Obama signed a bill to push for the extinction of them in facewash and to help better the environment. It is important that people gain awareness and stop buying and using products with microbeads until they are completely banned.