WHY SPECIES BECOME ENDANGERED: ENDANGERED SPECIES DAY 2021

Photo by Elena Blessing from Pexels Some of your favorite species are currently facing threats of extinction. Every third Friday of May, Endangered Species Day is celebrated worldwide to spread more knowledge, raise awareness and take action to protect wildlife and endangered species. For Endangered Species Day 2021 which comes up this year on Friday, 21, 2021, here are 8 reasons why species become endangered and are placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Before then, just in case you’re wondering, what exactly is an Endangered Species and this IUCN Red list of a thing??? An Endangered species is any species – animal or plant – that is at the verge of extinction, globally or within a certain geographical location. The IUCN is the body in charge of listing these species among other agencies. Species that are facing threats are classified into: Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VN) on the Red List. That’s out of the way now. Let’s get into the main. Deforestation Deforestation is every species’ worst nightmare. The forest is the primary home for millions of plant and animal species on earth and with deforestation becoming the new normal, these species don’t stand a chance at all. According to Greenpeace in its animated series “Countdown to Destruction” with Alice Braga, an area the size of a soccer field is destroyed every 5 seconds to make room for large scale agriculture. The agricultural sector is responsible for 80% of all global deforestation. This screams every thing bad for every species on Earth. WHY YOU SHOULD PLANT TREESHOW YOU CAN PLANT TREES WITHOUT PHYSICALLY PLANTING When deforestation happens, these species lose their home, some of which are killed in the process. With this happening at a fast rate, best believe, they become endangered and close to extinction. Species like the Black Spider Monkey, Tiger and Saola are currently on the IUCN Red List because of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. Climate Change Here comes another reason why species become endangered. Climate Change. In 2019, Defenders of Wildlife published a study in the journal Nature Climate Change, where they found out that 99.8% endangered animal species are affected by climate change. Bad right? With climate change comes a whole lot of danger. Photo by NastyaSensei from Pexels Ice caps are melting which is a threat to species like Polar Bears in the sea-ice environment. There are lots of forest fires happening here and there thanks to the heat that comes with climate change, destroying habitats. Take the Amazon Rainforest Fire for example, we've seen how devastating they are. In the ocean, coral reefs are bleaching due to high levels of CO2 acidifying the ocean and increasing temperature. Sum up all these things and they lead to…

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GREENWASHING: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

All around the world, lots of people are now going green, living ecofriendly and being eco-conscious. With this happening, brands and companies that are out to degrade and pollute the environment - and those who profit from environmental degradation - have asked themselves what can we do to lead these eco-conscious people astray? How can we take them out of the light? Well, the answer they came up with is Greenwashing. Now you ask, what is Greenwashing? Greenwashing is what these non-environmentally conscious brands and companies do in order to trick people into buying their products and services. It’s simply false advertising. Greenwashing has been around for long and with the increasing number of eco-conscious individuals and consumers’ determination to pay a higher price for eco-friendly goods and services, it’s now common more than ever. Let’s look at a few examples: A very common example of Greenwashing is oil companies - the so called “oil giants”- talking about green gas, their investment in cleaner energy, joining the climate change and net-zero by 2050 - to name a few - with misleading ads and campaigns. One would think that with the IPCC report on climate change there would be a change. Don’t get me started on the fast fashion brands where they go about releasing collection after collection and throwing in the usual terms – which you would read later on - when of course you, nothing about the collection or brand says environmentally friendly. It’s all Greenwashing. And there’s the switch by Coca-Cola, changing it’s Sprite bottle from the usual green plastic bottle to a transparent one, with the claim of “boost recycling.” This switch is a part of the company’s “World without waste” vision. It this isn’t greenwashing at its peak, then I don’t know. Photo from Coca-Cola So, the next big question…“How can I spot/not fall into the Greenwashing pit?” As previously pointed out, not because a brand sprinkles the environmentally tagged terms around their product and service means they’re actually in for environmental protection. You need to watch out and do your own research. Colour: It’s no secret that green is the colour used when it comes to things of the environment. “The brands” are aware of this and as such they go around painting everything about them green to attract people. One might see this and go “oh green. Nice. They’re into the environment.” You need to watch out because not all that screams green actually is green. It might just be black in disguise – no shade to black colour. I actually love black. False promises: There’s a lot of this going around now. False promises can be in the form of a brand promising to plant trees or donating to a…

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SLOW DEATH BY RUBBER DUCK: BOOK REVIEW

On The Eco Writer (TEW) Book Club, for April we read Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects our Health by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie with Sarah Dopp. As clearly stated on the title, the book reveals how several chemicals which are present in some of the products we use in our everyday life affects our health. It also shows how the average citizen can force the government to regulate the use of the toxic chemicals, protecting lives. “Toxic chemicals are now found at low levels in countless applications, in everything from personal-care products and cooking pots and pans to electronics, furniture, clothing, building materials and children’s toys.” These two set out to show how humans are unknowingly exposed to all forms of toxic chemicals by purposely exposing themselves to a good number of them. They carried out series of experiments which mimic real life situations in an attempt to expose the now so common sources of pollution. “From the moment we get up from a good night’s sleep under wrinkle-resistant sheets (which are treated with the known carcinogen formaldehyde) to the time we go to bed at night after a snack of microwave popcorn, pollution surrounds us.” For their experiment, experts were consulted and the series of laboratory tests carried out followed standard science protocols. Seven toxic chemicals were analyzed in this book. These chemicals were discussed in chapters in the first person. Chapter 2 – Rick carries out an experiment with phthalates which are found in personal-care products like shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions and colognes, disguised as “fragrance” or “parfum” and in kids toys. Chapter 3 – Bruce talks about Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) like Teflon, “the nonstickies” which are common in fast food wrappers, pizza boxes and microwavable popcorn bags, as well as the legendary nonstick frying pan. Chapter 4 – Rick dives into Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE) and brominated flame retardants. Chapter 5 – Bruce deals with the toxicity of mercury and exposes himself to mercury from eating fish. Chapter 6 – Rick talks on our obsession with germs and the chemical Triclosan which is found in products tagged “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial.” He also exposes himself to this chemical. Chapter 7 – Bruce targets the pesticides used in spraying our lawns and gardens. Chapter 8 – Rick experiments with plastics showing how Bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disruptor linked to early onset of puberty, obesity, cancers and decreased sperm count, leaches from polycarbonate plastic when heated, especially in baby bottles. What stood out for me was the way the reports and researches by scientists were handled by individuals, organizations, agencies and governments. I kept wondering why despite all the science, it took a lot of time to regulate…

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EARTH DAY 2021: 9 THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR THE PLANET

Earth Day 2021Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels Earth Day is a day set aside to promote all round protection of the planet, from conservation to sustainability to creating of awareness. The first Earth Day was celebrated April 22, 1970 in the United States and has since become a global movement, celebrated every April 22, to remind us of the need to protect the planet. The theme for this year's Earth Day is "Restore Our Earth." We're two days away from Earth Day 2021, here are 9 things you can do for Earth Day 2021. Disclaimer: Some links on this post are affiliate links which means if you make a purchase using said link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost on your end. 1. Plant trees The importance of trees cannot be stressed. We need to plant trees now more than ever because climate change. Habitat destruction. Loss of biodiversity. Air pollution. Just in case you’re wondering why plant trees, you can find your answer here. Photo by Akil Mazumder from Pexels Thanks to Ecosia, Treedom and so many tree-planting organizations, you don’t have to plant trees yourself. You can now plant trees without physically planting. Learn more about how you can plant trees without physically planting one here. 2. Go for clean-ups A very common things in our world today is littering. There are people out there who have made it their lives mission to litter. There’s a lot of waste here and there, in beaches, parks and other places which requires clean-up. For Earth Day, you could participate in a clean-up activity or even start one. This little act of just putting someone else’s trash in the bin would really go a long way in helping the planet. Photo by Lucien Wanda from Pexels 3. Join, start or support an environmental organization There are a lot of environmental organizations out there, all with the aim of environmental protection, be it conserving biodiversity, fighting climate change, conserving the ocean and many more. You could join/support an environmental organization of your choice to help the fight and lend your voice, or you could even start one in your community. THE ECO WRITER BOOK CLUB Join the growing community of readers who are passionate about the environment to read the best books on everything environment. JOIN BOOK CLUB 4. Reduce, reuse, recycle The 3Rs! There’s a reason why they always go together. Reduce? Reducing can be in the form of you reducing your waste by buying less, reducing your carbon footprint, how you consume…to name a few. When it comes to reusing, you have to use, use, use whatever thing you have over and over again. You don’t just use and discard. No one-time thing here. Recycling is a bit similar. Here, you transform…

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CLIMATE CHANGE AND FOOD SECURITY

Photo by Vo Thuy Tien from Pexels Climate change and food security? Well it's no news that the climate is changing. Climate change is not a new thing. It's already happening and has affected us on so many levels. With all the increasing temperature, change in rainfall patterns, increasing carbon dioxide concentration and many more, there's bound to be a change in our food system, access to food and food quality.Let's look at it on different fronts. Plants/food crops: - Just like you and I, plants can only tolerate heat to a certain level. With warming, there's more heat. This heat drives ozone production which impairs plant growth and damage leaves.- The warm temperatures also prolongs the season which pests are active and enables their spread to higher elevations. With this happening, our food crops don't stand a chance. Photo by Egor Kamelev from Pexels - Weeds aren't left out either. The increasing temperature also favours their growth and distribution and new species are rising.- On another side, there's flooding and drought happening and our food crops don't stand a chance either way. With drought there's no water to grow crops and with flooding the water is in excess- In areas experiencing drought, the soil becomes more dry making it difficult to till and grow crops. Less water is available for irrigation.- With more carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere, research has shown that exposure to increasing levels of carbon dioxide can decrease the nutrient content of staple crops. More people will be faced with zinc and protein deficiency. CLIMATE CHANGE – definition and causes EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE ENVIRONMENT EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON HUMAN Animals/livestock: - Animals are faced with severe heatwaves. This has caused heat stress which reduces their overall productivity.- With drought, there's shortage of food for livestock and there's no water to grow grains and forage crops.- Increasing temperatures also favours growth and spread of animal pest and diseases. THE ENVIRONMENT AND YOU: WHY YOU SHOULD CARE CARBON OFFSETTING 27 TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT DO ZERO-WASTE LIKE A PRO, EVEN AS A BEGINNER Join 1000+ subscribers to receive FREE cool zero-waste hacks and tips for your zero-waste journey every week. CLICK HERE to sign up now for free while it still lasts! Fishery: - The ocean is acidifying due to absorption of carbon dioxide in large concentrations. With this, the water becomes un-livable for fishes and other sea creatures. Some migrate, some die off. This leads to reduction in population.Now have it at the back of your mind that the fish population is already declining due to overfishing and death from oil spills and toxic chemicals. Climate change is now added to the list.- The acidity has also led to the…

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ECO-FRIENDLY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

Eco-friendly New Year's ResolutionPhoto by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels Well well well, look how far we’ve come. We’re just days away from the New Year! The year may have been good for some of us and tough for others but at last, here we are. So, congratulations everyone!!! Some of us will be saying “out with the old, in with the new,” trying to kick off some habits that aren’t eco-friendly. If you're one of those saying this, I’ll be giving you 10 eco-friendly New Year’s resolution for the New Year. Buying Less This has to be the first on my list because we literally can’t do without buying. Whether we need it or not, all we do is buy. We’re all guilty of this. So here’s what we’re going to do in the New Year. We’re playing pretend. That's right. When you see a thing that screams “buy me,” you’re going to pretend you didn’t hear or see it. That’s it. Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels Before you buy anything ask yourself if you really need it, if you can improvise or substitute for a version you already have. Buying less will not only help the environment but save you money. So let’s save money and the environment this New Year. Less Plastic, More Reusable You should already know by now that plastic is causing serious damage to the environment. If you don’t already know, well now you know. There’s a really loud call to beat plastic pollution and you can answer that call this New Year as part of your eco-friendly New Year’s resolution. Photo by alleksana from Pexels How can you use less plastic? For a start, there are lots of reusables out there from cutlery to straw to bags. Get yourself one. When going shopping, bring your own bag. Go with your own alternatives to plastic. Reducing Your Carbon Footprint We’re at that stage of Climate Emergency so reducing your carbon footprint is another great eco-friendly New Year’s resolution. Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases you emit for every activity. You can start by shopping locally, less transportation, reducing your food waste, and even the basic thing like turning off your light when you're not using it. 27 TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT Sustainable Fashion From carbon dioxide emission to generation of waste, fast fashion is literally killing the planet. Saying no to fast fashion can also be one of your eco-friendly New Year’s resolution. Re-think what you wear, thrift more, buy from eco-friendly and sustainable brands, even the smallest thing as repeating your clothes to avoid buying new ones will go a long way. Photo by Kai Pilger from Pexels DIY I love me some DIYs! You know some of the things you buy, you can make them…

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ECO-FRIENDLY WRAPPER: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels Eco-friendly wrapper. What happens next? We’re few days away from Christmas. Best believe we’ve all got our gifts wrapped up the eco-friendly way since it’s a Green Christmas. With all that eco-friendly packaging used to wrap our gifts, the question now is what happens to these wrapping paper alternatives we’ve used? When you open up your gifts, what do you do with them? In our quest to reduce our waste and achieve zero-waste, we’ve switched from our unsustainable habits to a more sustainable one, we’ve adopted more eco-friendly practices. We shouldn’t let all that work and effort be in vain. What do I mean? For Christmas, we’ve used all sorts of things – calendars, newspapers, old fabrics, cartons, bags, books and many more to wrap our gifts, all to avoid buying new wrapping papers to reduce waste. These wrappers were automatically destined to get to the bin because the regular thing is “open gift, put wrapper in the bin.” It’s what we’ve normalized. But since we’re doing zero-waste, we hopped on the eco-friendly wrapping trend. Photo by Alizee Marchand from Pexels Lots of us will receive gifts wrapped up the eco-friendly way. So, when you open up your gifts, don’t go the default “open gift, put wrapper in the bin.” We’re unnormalizing that. We’re saying bye to the bin. What we’re doing now is keeping the wrapper. Whatever thing was used to wrap your gifts, when you open them up, keep that wrapper. Don’t go to the bin. But why should I keep them? You see the main reason for hopping on the eco-friendly wrapping trend is to reduce waste. So when you open your gift which was initially wrapped the eco-friendly way and you throw out that eco-friendly wrapper, then the whole eco-friendly wrapping thing was a waste of time. We played ourselves. The waste isn’t reduced, instead more waste is generated and we all know where they’re going to. Landfills! Photo by Lucie Liz from Pexels By keeping these wrappers, you’re doing the initial plan which is to reduce waste. When you keep these things, you reuse them. Reusing stuff is really important when it comes to zero-waste. You can use them to wrap up stuff in the future. Let’s not play ourselves. So, here’s what we’re going to do. - When you open your gifts, open them carefully so you don’t go ripping or tearing the eco-friendly alternative wrapper because when you do, it’ll no longer be useful which means it’ll go to the bin and then mission failed. DO ZERO-WASTE LIKE A PRO, EVEN AS A BEGINNER Join 1000+ subscribers to receive FREE cool zero-waste hacks and tips for your zero-waste journey every week. CLICK HERE to sign up now for free. - When you’ve successfully…

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ECO-FRIENDLY GIFT PACKAGING IDEAS

Photo by Lucie Liz from Pexels When it comes to eco-friendly packaging, it's mainly just you reusing and recycling the things around you rather than getting a new one. As a follow-up from the previous post Eco-friendly Gift Wrapping Ideas, I'll be giving you 9 eco-friendly gift packaging ideas that you can use this season. They're mostly things around you. What are these things? OLD BOOKS Books are really common stuff and we all have lots of them lying here and there, some of which we don't have need for. The not having need for is the major point here. Instead of them lying around taking up space let's turn them to something cool. Wrapping paper! With your old books, you could take out a sheet or two to make wrapping papers out of them. Use them to wrap your gifts. By doing this, you're reusing, creating a new thing out of it. In this case, a wrapping paper. Photo by Ian Panelo from Pexels What happens if I don't have old books? Well if you don't have old books, you can ask around. Think the bookstore near you, your friends, neighbors...they may have a book or two they planned on throwing away. By doing this, it doesn't end up being waste. SHEET MUSIC Are you a music person? Do you have a family member or friend that is into music? Well, how about sheet music for packaging? Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels Old sheet music can also be an eco-friendly packaging. If you have one around you, it'll be a great choice to use them. If you don't use them now, they might end up as trash and there goes your wrapper. You wouldn't want that happening. All you need to do is wrap it around your gift and secure with a tape, rope or ribbon. CEREAL BOX Your cereal box is passing as one of the eco-friendly gift packaging ideas. You see cereal, I see eco-friendly wrapper. I mean, if they package your cereals then why can't they package your gifts? Think eco! Photo by C Technical from Pexels Convert your cereal boxes to gift wrappers. Take out the cereal, put your gift in and seal up. You can also open the box up completely and wrap inside out. If you happen to receive a gift wrapped in a cereal box, no it isn't embarrassing. It's simply reusing and recycling to reduce waste which is good for the environment. You should try it sometime! GLASS JARS Glass jars make good alternatives to plastic for storing stuff and can also pass as an eco-friendly packaging. If your gifts are glass jar worthy or can fit into them, then take out your jars and package away. Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels MAPS If you happen to have old maps in…

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ECO-FRIENDLY GIFT WRAPPING IDEAS

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels Gifting is a common thing for Christmas so how about some eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas? Let’s not have that regular “open gift, put wrapper in the trash” scene on Christmas morning this year. Let’s do green wrapping. For your green wrapping this green Christmas, I'll be giving you 6 eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas you could use as alternatives to your regular gift wrapper. Shall we? NEWSPAPER: If you're one of those people that happen to store newspapers, well now is a great time to bring them out. Wrapping your Christmas gifts in old newspapers are great eco-friendly moves this season. Instead of using your regular store-bought wrapper, dig out these old newspapers from their hiding and re-use them. Photo by Digital Buggu from Pexels BOXES: You know those cardboard boxes that your products or other stuff come in? You can use them too. If your gift is one that needs a box, take out these boxes and re-use them. Re-using these boxes instead of getting new ones will prevent them from being thrown out as trash, where they'll end up in landfills. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels If you don't have these boxes, you could get them from your local stores or friends who may want to throw them out. By doing this, you save the boxes, the planet and yourself some cash. BAGS: Those bags from your shopping can also serve as a good eco-friendly wrapping idea. It may be the brown ones or the coloured ones. If you have them, all you need to do is take out the handles and open up the bottom and there you have yourself a good wrapper. With your new found wrapper, put your gift in and secure with a tape. Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels OLD CLOTHES/FABRICS: Instead of throwing out your old clothes and fabrics, you can do amazing things with them like turning them to wrappers for Christmas. If you have one or two old clothes and fabrics, put them to use this season. Wrap your gifts the Furoshiki way! OLD WRAPPER: If you have old wrappers from last year's gifts or maybe you got a wrapped gift sometime this year and you've been keeping the wrapper for one reason or another, you can re-use them to wrap your gifts this season. Photo from Pexels DO ZERO-WASTE LIKE A PRO, EVEN AS A BEGINNER Join 1000+ subscribers to receive FREE cool zero-waste hacks and tips for your zero-waste journey every week. CLICK HERE to sign up now for free! OLD CALENDARS: Every year, we get new calendars to replace that of the old year. If you happen to have old calendars lying around in your home from previous years, they can be great eco-friendly wrapping alternatives this season. All you need to do is take…

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8 ECO-FRIENDLY TIPS FOR CHRISTMAS

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels It’s December which means we’re officially counting down to Christmas Day!!! Preparations are being made and there’s lot of planning to be done. For this season, I’ll be giving you some eco-friendly tips for Christmas…a green Christmas as I love to call it. Tip 1: Decoration For your decorations, go all eco-friendly. If you have old ones from last year why not re-use them? Re-using your old Christmas decorations is one way to go about it instead of buying new ones. You could use more natural stuff like leaves and plants to decorate your home. Avoid plastics in your decorations because they’ll contribute to the current plastic pollution problem. Some of your decorations can be DIY. You can check out some eco-friendly DIY tutorials on YouTube for your decoration. Photo by cottonbro from Pexels Tip 2: Buy less, buy smart, think green When shopping this time of the year, there’s always this urge to buy more stuff. It’s like they keep calling your name or there’s some kinda magnet on them. Well if you’re planning an eco-friendly Christmas, you need to reject that call. Straight up voicemail! Photo by Sam Lion from Pexels Buying less is one important eco-friendly Christmas tip. Before you put anything in your bag (reusable bag of course), ask yourself if you really need it, if you can do without it and if you can improvise or substitute for another eco-friendly form. Buy smart and think "green". If you have an old version at home, use it rather than buying a new one. Perks of this is that you not only get to protect the planet, but save money. Tip 3: Make a list Well yes of course you need a list. There’s a lot of stuff to do so you need to put them down. Making a list is one of the eco-friendly tips for Christmas. Shopping list, grocery list, gifting list, whatever it is just make a list! When you make a list, you’ll have everything you need at a glance and when shopping, you’ll only have to make a one-time trip to the store, reducing your carbon footprint in the process. Reducing your carbon footprint is really important because…CLIMATE CHANGE. Tip 4: Bring your own bag Your eco-friendly Christmas shopping isn’t complete without your reusable bag. Go to the store with your own bag so you won’t have to use a plastic bag. Using a reusable bag is a great way to avoid plastic and reduce plastic pollution. A reusable bagPhoto by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels Tip 5: Re-think your gifts Lots of gift will be given out this season so you really need to rethink your gift. Make them eco-friendly. When buying gifts for your loved ones, buy gifts that are eco-friendly, sustainable and will…

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