Last Blog of the Year!

Hey Guys,

This is my last blog of the school year! I will be back next year, so don’t get too sad 🙂 Anyways, I thought because we are all going to be on summer break, it would be appropriate to talk about some environmentally friendly vacations!

According to Brian T. Mullis, president of the Sustainable Travel International, Ecotourism, a trend that is now on the rise, “gives travelers the opportunity to directly benefit the people and places they visit by supporting conservation and protecting cultural heritage as well as economic development.” Eco-tourists often look for sustainable hotels, air-fare, and restaurants when traveling. Below, I have listed some of the most eco-friendly resorts to visit.images

Campi ya Kanzi

Kenya

The resort offers walking safaris led by traditional Maasai tour guides in Kenya’s prime game area between Amboseli and Tsavo national parks. Because it is mainly powered by solar energy, Campi ya Kanzi is a smart choice.

Haciendas Del Mundo Maya

Mexico

Haciendas Del Mundo Maya, is a nonprofit organization that works with Mayan communities in the Yucatán Peninsula. They “promote the diffusion and conservation of Mayan natural and cultural heritage by establishing the basis to create micro-regional development poles and promoting strategies to strengthen the skills and capacities of the communities’ residents.” Hacienda has also funded 318 family orchards to struggling farmers in Mexico.

Chaa Creek

Belize

Chaa Creek is one of the first eco-friendly resorts in Belize. Established in 1981, Chaa Creek resides on a 400 acre nature reserve along the banks of the Macal River. The cottage style buildings focus on sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind energy making it a great choice for eco-friendly travel.

Beat The Heat–The Green Way!

Hey Guys!

I’m so happy we are finally having some warm weather again! I don’t know about you but I spent my memorial day weekend laying out in the 80 degree weather at the pool and it was great. When the weather is this warm, lots of us are turning on our air conditioners in order to cool down. It may seem like a simple appliance, but are you aware of how big of an environmental footprint AC’s really have? Not only will these innovative heating and cooling systems help save the environment, they will also cut down on energy cost.

Geothermal Heating/Cooling Systems

Geothermal systems use stable ground temperatures to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. With this system, one unit of electricity creates four units of heat cutting down on energy usage. Geothermal systems use heat pumps that circulate liquid through pipes buried in the ground. The liquid responds to the ground temperature and goes back up to the heat pump which either warms or coolsHTB127TqGVXXXXXNXVXXq6xXFXXXD your house. Because this kind of system doesn’t use a lot of electricity or rely on fossil fuels, it’s a very eco-friendly choice.

Solar Heating Systems

Heating and cooling systems that use solar energy are very effective and eras that receive adequate amounts of sun. They the heat of the sun through a fluid (usually water or non-toxic products) and transfer it into the home where it collects in a storage chamber for later use. That heat can be sent through radiators, radiant floor heating setups, hot water baseboards or central forced-air systems keeping you cool or warm when you need it.

Hybrid Solar Air Conditioners

Hybrid solar air conditioners rely both on solar energy and batteries. When there is sunlight, the air conditioner uses solar energy for both power and to charge the batteries. Most of these systems can run off a single solar panel, making them an easy addition to your household.

 

 

Major Environmental Fund Contributors

Hey Guys,

Lucky for us, it seems as if today’s million and billionaires are taking more of an interest in the environment. It seems as the state of our planet gets worse, the more people are willing to fund efforts to support environmental groups and research. Below, I’ve listed the top 3 contributors to environmental efforts today. Hopefully, more and more people will get involved before it’s too late.

Nathaniel Simons

Simons is the leader of the Sea Change Foundation, one of the biggest funders in climate change and energy space exploration. Simon’s, son of mathematician James Simons, the created Renaissance Technologies, uses the funds from his father’s multi-billion dollar company for his foundation. In 2012, it was recorded that the Sea Change Foundation gave out $55 million to research in areas such as climate change and new energy sources.

1024x1024

Tom Steyer and wife Kat Taylor are both major environmental philanthropists.

Tom Steyer

A retired California hedge fund billionaire, Steyer aims his activism towards fighting and exploring the issues of climate change. Since he became a philanthropist, Steyer has been a dominant force in changing the politics of global warming. Both Steyer and his wife have contributed large grants and sums to environmental research groups. In 2012, the couple established TomKat Charitable Trust, a grantmaking company committed to supporting environmental studies.

David Gelbaum

Out of all three, Gelbaum has definitely donated the most money to environmental causes. Gelbaum contributed  200 million alone to the Sierra Club and another $250 million for land conservation in the West. However, Gelbaum generosity has caused him to lose most of his fortune from his successful Wall Street investments.

Cancer and Pollution

Hey Everyone,download

Not long ago, I talked about how poor environmental conditions can contribute to the development of disease. Recently, I stumbled across an article written about an experiment conducted by the American Cancer Society (ACS) in regards to environmental conditions and the rate of individuals in that area diagnosed with cancer.

The way the ACS demonstrated their findings was actually pretty cool. The researchers created a detailed map of the United States; including cancer rates in over 2,000 U.S. counties, as well as many other countries around the world. Although cancer rates have been decreasing over the past 30-40 years, the maps indicated that in some areas such as the Southeast and Appalachian regions rates have remained relatively high. Within the maps, environmental quality was measured by the Environmental Quality Index (EQI) which included data on exposures in different domains of air, water, and land. Interestingly enough, specific cancer types, especially  prostate cancer and female breast cancer, showed the strongest correlation with the EQI findings with rates of those cancers being highest in counties with the poorest EQI.

Another interesting finding provided by the data of the maps showed the unusually high rate of cancer in Louisiana. Lung Cancer rates were among the highest in the U.S., especially prominent in males. After extensive research, experimenters were able to tie this phenomenon back to the 1970s when shipbuilding was especially prominent along the Gulf Coast. The high rates of asbestos likely contributed to these soaring cancer rates and the majority of patients being male was tied to the fact that mostly men worked in the shipbuilding profession.

All in all, I just find it really interesting that researchers are being able to find these correlations. In my opinion, I feel that it just further proves the urgency to protect our environment because of the adverse effects it can have on our health.

How Much Time Do We Have Left On Earth?

Hey Guys,

Previously, world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking had given the time humans had left on Earth as 1,000 years. However, due to heightened environmental concerns, Hawking has changed that estimate 10 centuries shorter giving us only 100 years left. According to Hawking, “With climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious .Although the chance of disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand yearsdownload.

So what are we supposed to do? In Hawking’s opinion, the state of our environment at this time along with the denunciation of climate change by many, our only choice seems to find another planet to inhabit. However, if we were to make some serious changes to our environmental footprint as soon as possible, we could add a couple more years to our time left on earth.

If you think that 100 years sounds drastic or maybe unrealistic, you may be shocked by how much are environment has changed in the last century. In just over 100 years, the average temperature of the planet has increased by almost two degrees fahrenheit and is continually increasing by about .15 to .20 degrees each decade. So one degrees doesn’t seem like a lot, right? Wrong. A one-degree global change is significant because it takes an enormous amount of heat to warm all the oceans, atmosphere, and land by that much. In the past, a one to two degree drop was all it took to plunge the Earth into the Ice Age.

So, not to scare you too much or anything…but we need to lessen our impact or find a new planet–ASAP.

Trump’s Environmental Polices

Hey Guys,

Last Saturday marked President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office. On that day, thousands of Americans marched protesting Trump’s climate change policies. Although there are many things in regards to campaign promises that he has not yet acted on, Trump and his cabinet have been very active when it comes to the environmental policies. Trump has signed at least eight, if not even more, anti-environmental executive actions during his term. From allowing mining companies to dump coal debris and waste into nearby streams to loosening restrictions on power plant emissions, Trump’s environmental policies are causing many to becafp-hx74lome concerned.

Participants of the marches said they were objecting Trump’s abolition of restrictions on mining, oil drilling, and greenhouse gas emissions of power plants. Throughout his political career, Trump has called climate change a hoax, disputing the overwhelming findings of scientists that the world is warming from manmade carbon emissions.

The main reason Trump has abolished so many regulations is to increase production of the natural gas and oil industries. During his campaign, Trump promised coal miners to rid of all environment regulations against them saying “These ridiculous rules and regulations make it impossible for you to compete.” Within weeks of his inauguration, Trump already rid of the Obama administration’s ‘Stream Protection Rule’ that prevented companies from dumping waste into nearby bodies of water.

Over 300 marches took place last Saturday, the biggest one in Washington D.C. The ‘sister protest’ in Seattle had over 3,500 participants according to KOMO News. Hopefully, the People’s Climate March will reach some influence over Trump in his administration because the way things are looking now, our environment could be facing serious consequences.

Earth Day Protests

Hey Guys!

Well I totally forgot Earth Day was last Saturday, my bad. I mean, I think it is great that we have a day encouraging to love and protect our environment however, it seems a little hallmark-y to me. I know you all have probably heard the cliche “Everyday is Earth Day!” and annoying as it may sound, it’s actually really true. Think about only setting aside one day a year to care about yourself–sounds crazy, right? Just as your body requires lots of care pretty much everyday, so does the environment!

This Earth Day, crowds around the country gathered together to suppScience_March_84951.jpg-2f4a9_c0-211-5000-3126_s885x516ort science and ‘evidence-based research’ fueled by President Donald Trump’s threats of implementing budget cuts towards agencies funding scientific experiments. At the main “March for Science” that took place in Washington D.C., demonstrators gathered at the Washington National Mall where speakers emphasized the importance of scientific research in today’s world. One main point made in the protest was the fact that Trump’s policymakers seem to be ignoring the issues of climate change. TV host and scientist Bill Nye, one of the speakers at the event, rallied supporters stating, “Today we have a great many lawmakers — not just here but around the world — deliberately ignoring and actively suppressing science. Their inclination is misguided and in no one’s best interest. Our lives are in every way improved by having clean water, reliable electricity and access to electronic global information.”

Besides the main march in Washington, almost 600 other smaller marches took place around the country on Earth Day. Throughout all of the marches, all seemed to be making clear their opposition to Trump’s budget blueprint which would cut $12.6 billion from the Department of Health and Human Services and $5.8 billion from the National Institutes of Health alone.

 

Plastic Bag Ban

Hey Everyone!

This week I thought it would be interesting to talk about the fairly recent plastic bag ban in Washington state. In fact, this law was enacted in the Seattle area almost exactly one year ago!

In order to understand the significance of the ban, and just how much of a victory it really is, it’s important to look at the crushing impact plastic has on our environment. These bags do not degrade in the environment, are solid waste to landfills, are produced from nonrenewable sources, and frequently clog storm drains. Plastic bags are also a hazard to both marine life and land animals, posing as something many species recognize as food which can make them very sicanvas-grocery-bag1ck.

According to a report from the City of Seattle before the plastic bag ban was put in place, over 292 million plastic bags were used annually in the city. And in an estimate conducted by The Worldwide Institute, roughly 100 billion bags are issued annually in the United States. So what can you use in replace of plastic bags? Options such as paper or reusable shopping bags have become increasingly popular and are promoted in grocery stores throughout the country. Paper bags far outweigh plastic because they are biodegradable, made from renewable resources, and are recyclable. But better yet, use reusable shopping bags because it is cheaper, produces far less waste, and uses a significantly smaller amount of resources.

Now that the ban has been put in place for the majority of counties in Washington state, those 292 million plastic bags in Seattle have dropped to almost zero. Because many other states have also chosen to enact this law, hopefully the 100 billion bags issued in 2016 will significantly drop this year. Who knows? Maybe a few years from now we can stop manufacturing plastic bags for good.

Global Warming & Wacky Weather


Hey Everyone,

With the warmer weather and sunshine, as well as spring break just days away, it’s really starting to officially feel like spring. Despite having started the spring season several weeks ago, the winter we have experienced this year in Washington has been especially harsh as well as long. The multiple snow days and snuggling up by the fire were all enjoyable. However, with this record breaking winter comes concerns.

arctic_oscillation

Many people associate global warming with warmer temperatures, however it can also cause cold snaps similar to those we experienced this winter.

The fluctuation of our weather may seem intriguing and sometimes humorous, however global warming plays a large role in the unpredictability in intensity and length  of our seasons.

Seattle’s average is approximately 5.9 inches of snow per winter, although we have experienced several winters in the mid 1900’s that have seen much more. According to records kept by Sea-Tac airport, “The one-day record for snowfall at Sea-Tac is 20 inches on Jan. 13, 1950—although the city’s overall snowiest 24-hour period occurred from Feb. 1-2, 1916, when 21.5 inches was measured at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle.” This past winter, we experienced over 8 inches in a 24 hour period; much more than what is typical.

Back in autumn, early forecasts of a La Nina winter (winters that typically are cooler and wetter than normal with large amounts of snow) were predicted but then called off due to the record heats neighboring states were experiencing. The unpredictability and increase in heat, caused by the over-flow of CO2 and other harmful emissions causes our earth’s temperature to fluctuate rapidly damaging species and ecosystems.

All in all, I think most Washingtonians are delighted with the warmer weather and bits of sunshine that are being reintroduced. Although extreme weather such as snow or high heat can be fun and exciting, it is also a call for help issued from our planet in regards to cutting down pollution.

Greenest City Action Plan

Hey Guys,

Recently, I read an interesting article about Vancouver, Canada’s goal to become the greenest city in 2020. In order to achieve this, the city has created the ‘Greenest City Action Plan’ which aims towards not only reducing their carbon footprint, but also the creation of a strong local economy, vibrant/inclusive neighborhoods, and to lead as an example for other cities across the globe.

greenest-vancouver-236c497ec31f2217c6ad77f264abea90-preview

Many bike paths have also been constructed in the city in order to encourage alternate transportation.

Vancouver has relied on green urban planning, material conservation, and sustainable mass transportation to reduce the city’s impact on the environment. By doing so, Vancouver has become the city with the lowest per capita greenhouse gas emissions of any major city in North America. Vancouver is already one of the world’s most sustainable cities, but is now trying to become the greenest city in the world.

Currently, over 80% of Vancouver’s energy is supplied by hydroelectricity, a form of energy primarily produced by water turbines in dams that are constantly monitored. By implementing this energy source, Vancouver is producing clean and cheap energy that emits absolutely nothing.

In order to keep up with its growing population but also achieve their goal of keeping the city as friendly on the environment as possible, Vancouver has applied ‘eco-density’ to their city planning. Eco-density, a fairly common concept amongst cities, entails building vertically as in skyscrapers opposed to shorter and wider buildings. In addition,  Vancouver has the goal of building only energy efficient buildings, so that along with retrofits, all buildings in the city are carbon neutral by 2030.

Although this may seem like a lot of work, Vancouver is already well on their way to accomplishing their goal. Hopefully, the city will be able to become the “Greenest City In The World” and lead as an example for all of us.

Can Pollution Cause Cancer?


Hey Everyone,

In a world where each year 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer and 7.6 million die from the disease yearly, many of us are wondering how we can avoid this tragedy. With so many different forms of the disease, there are also many different factors that can contribute to developing cancer.

Ultimately, researchers have found that cancer is caused by changes to certain genes that alter the way cells function. Although some of these genetic changes occur naturally when DNA is replicated during the process of cell division, others are the result of environmental exposures that damage DNA and cause malfunction. Because the environment we live in today is full of pollutants and harmful chemicals, many of us, no matter how healthy of a lifestyle we live, develop cancer due to themaxresdefault exposure.

Water, air, and soil; three things that the average human encounters on a daily basis. Although they may seem like harmless necessities, these three elements are all heavily polluted in today’s environment. Because we interact with these substances daily, they can have a harsh impact on our health.

According to the World Health Organization, the air we breathe is heavily polluted and contains cancer-causing substances. Because of the massive amounts of cigarette smoke, car and factory emissions, as well as other contributors to CO2, the World Health Organization argues that the air we are breathing could most definitely be labeled as a carcinogenic

In regards to water pollution, the World Health Organization states, “water contaminants of concern include arsenic, asbestos, radon, agricultural chemicals, and hazardous waste. Of these, the strongest evidence for a cancer risk involves arsenic, which is linked to cancers of the liver, lung, bladder, and kidney.”

Anyways, I hope this information motivates you to be kinder to the environment–your health may depend on it!  

Eco-Friendly Food Products

Hey Guys,

Last week I talked about sustainable clothing companies so I thought it would be appropriate to explore environmentally mindful food companies. Although the main culprit in the food industry’s bad reputation towards CO2 and other chemical emissions is the meat industry, there are many other common ingredients in packaged and processed foods that have a harmful impact. Fillers and preservatives like palm oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and other common snack food ingredients have devastating impacts on our environment. From destroying the rain forest, emitting harmful gases, and harming farmers and workers that produce them, these ingredients are important to avoid at all costs.

 

Numi Organic Tea

Numi tea company prides itself on its values of integrity and social responsibility amongst employees as well as its support of organic agriculture, fair dealings with small suppliers and farmers, and community and environmental programs. The company produces a large variety of 100% organic and fair-trade teas to satisfy any avid caffeine addict.

 

Organic Valley

A farmer-owned co-op, Organic Valley was founded in 1988 to support rural communities and protect the health of family farms through organic agriculture. Organic Valley’s 1,687 family farms produce an array of meat and dairy products that are responsibly produced.

 

Nature’s Path Foods

According to Nature’s Path, they are a “fiercely independent” family company based in British Columbia. With three distribution centers in North America, Nature’s Path’s guiding principle is “always leave the soil better than you found it.” The company has recently built a near-zero-waste headquarters that includes a rainwater harvesting system and an on-site composting facility. Nature’s Path also buys non-organic land in order to convert it to organic farms to help other farmers.natures-path-logo-large

Enviro-Friendly Apparel


Hey Guys,

Previously, I talked about processes commonly used for the production of clothing and how they can have an extremely detrimental impact on our environment. Although consumers are starting to be more aware and conscious of the products they buy, many are still oblivious to the horrors they are inflicting on both workers and our planet. In order to avoid supporting these harmful practices and companies, I have attached a list below of environmentally conscious brands.

pasted_image_0_1

Patagonia

One of the first companies to promote fair-trade and environmentally-friendly production, Patagonia is a great company that focuses on safe practices. As one of the first companies to start using recycled materials and organic cotton in their products, Patagonia is a great example of a environmentally conscious company.

 

Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher is quickly becoming an industry leader in ethical and sustainable fashion. The company values ethical treatment of their workers as well as the environment and by 2020 hope to have 100% organic cotton and linen fibers, responsible dyes, carbon positive operations and a no waste facility.

 

Fibre Athletics

Fibre Athletics is a fair trade and 100% organic company based andmanufactured in the USA that focuses on the conservation of our planet. In fact, each purchase made from Fibre supports environmental and poverty alleviation projects around the world.

 

All in all, it is easy to see that there are many affordable and convenient ways to purchase ethically sourced and fair trade clothing. Although it might not seem like an urgent issue, the amount of waste and chemicals emitted b
y conventional companies can and already have implemented great stress and consequence on our environment.

Enviro-Friendly Cars

Hey Everyone,

In this post, I thought it would be interesting to explore some of the most eco-friendly cars we have today. As you may know, we 32B75B5300000578-3518086-image-a-1_1459462419636have come a long way since the very first gas-guzzling cars created in the late 1800’s. Today, many cars rely on electricity or other forms of energy besides gas to fuel their engines.

When determining a car’s eco-footprint, many think that it is all about fuel-efficiency. While that is a key factor, it isn’t the only thing that is important. A major misconception in this area is that electric cars are ideal because they are “zero emission vehicles” meaning they don’t emit harmful gases like CO2. While this is true in some ways, these electric cars still emit plenty of CO2 in regards to re-charging their batteries.

So, which cars are really the best choice in regards to our environment’s safety?

 

Midsize Car: Nissan Leaf

 

The energy range of the LEAF, 107 miles, might not seem like a lot compared to other electric cars of its size and to anyone with a long commute, but for everyday driving, it’s hard to argue with Nissan’s electric solution. With only 204g of CO2 per mile and an affordable cost of $26,456, the Nissan Leaf is a great option for a eco-friendly midsize car.

Compact Car: Chevrolet Volt

An affordable $24,720 and a mere 51g of CO2 per mile rank the Chevy Volt at the top of the compact cars in regards to eco consciousness. The car can also make it about 42 miles until needing its next charge.

Large Car: Tesla Model S

A hefty 76,500, the Tesla Model S is quite a price to pay in regards to it’s not very impressive eco-friendliness. Larger cars are less likely to be as efficient because of their size and weight that requires more resources to fuel. Still, the Model S only emits 229g of CO2 per mile and can go 101 miles until its next charge.