Category Archives: Environment

Understanding Resolutions Through the Eyes of an Astronaut

Perspective is what helps people to see what they need changing or improving or fixing. But there is no better perspective of seeing the world than from space. Astronaut Chris Hadfield has seen more sun sets than most people will ever see in a short period of time. He sees the world as one big place in this large universe. When you see the world as this one big place then your understanding of problems is not viewed as an isolated issue but as one big group of people living together.

If you are still working on your resolutions then maybe this video will help you decide.

To learn more about Chris Hadfield you can click on the links below.

TED Talk: What I learned from going blind in space

Here I stand: The Chris Hadfield Story

Never Underestimate How Smart Animals Are

Half of the animal population has vanished since the 1970’s in part to people thinking that they have the right to hunt defenseless animals and also in part because of the war torn areas many of these animals live in, not to mention the illegal animal smuggling that exotic animals suffer from and poaching for ivory (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4). The biggest decline is from fish populations, and this is evident given the huge rise in sushi eating. Every animal on this planet is meant to be here and when humans’ come in and pass ridiculous laws, like the “Right to Hunt and Fish,” you begin to see how we are not taking our responsibility seriously in looking after these animals (More support Right to Hunt, than supporting equal rights it seems). If you want to read the full report on the decline of the animal population you can click here and download the report.

These stats very much treat animals as a sport and  game to play, with lawmakers’ response to this activity as, “the right way to control animal populations.” That argument is flawed in many ways since many hunting areas are turned into a business of making sure that there are enough animals to shoot to ensure they make a profit, because when it all comes down to it, that too is based on a business model. They make sure that animals are breeding large numbers, so this become forced captive breeding, so the idea that hunters are controlling the population is incorrect and wrong in every way if the breeders are responsible for the number of animals in the hunting areas. Hunting only becomes a necessary action with invasive foreign species, but also requiring stricter laws on bringing outside species into new areas.

Lawmakers in these states also feel that they need to pass these laws to keep anti-hunting and animal rights activists’ from passing laws that would keep them from killing animals. The challenge that many lawmakers have is that the tradition for some states dates back as far as the 1777 for Vermont, the reality though is that we don’t live in those times anymore and our way of life is very different now. It’s funny that people prefer organic stress-free environments when selecting certain animal products in the store but hunting is still ok.

Fact: A Northern white Rhino named, Angalifu, died recently at the San Diego Zoo leaving only 5 LEFT ON THE PLANET! 5! (source 1, source 2, source 3, source 4, source 5, source 6). [Update 11/23/2015: There are now only 3 left in the world after another one died, Nola, in a San Diego Zoo. The rest are in Kenya under 24 hour watch.] This is absolutely absurd and shameful. Just as I posted about how humans are guilty of putting more than 5 trillion tons of trash in the world’s ocean, animal’s are caught up in a shameful pride game of human’s hunting animals just for the sport and fun of it. Scientists’ and animal rights activists’ are trying to clone the White Rhino so they can bring them back. The Rhino’s that are left are mostly old so they do not have the youthful strength to keep procreating. We have the know-how and technology to increase their numbers, it is just a matter of how they plan to do it since no animal of this size has ever been tried before. Maybe they should use the scientists who are trying to build a real Jurassic park on helping the white rhino’s instead of a wishful dream. They hope to use stem cells to make the break through.

Animals have to look out for each other
It always amazes people when they see animals doing things that you would only expect from a human but the reality is that animals are very intelligent. Animals rely on clues from their environment to tell them things like, sources of food, direction, where they are at, and where to hide for protection. Elephants have always been known for being emotional animals with some wailing after a loved one has died. Elephants will gather together, just like humans do, to mourn the death of a friend or family member. They enjoy moving in large groups, playing together, and touching one another. Don’t all those require a sense of understanding about one’s sense in relation to others?

The same is said for all kinds of animals, so when you study animal behavior you begin to see how each animal plays its part here on earth. They, in some way, contribute to the way this planet lives and breaths. Many people are blind to see how important ants are to our world when all they see them as are little annoying creatures that bite you if you mess with them, you mean just the same as people do if a stranger came into their house? But without ants trees could not grow and gardens would not flourish because ants help prevent soil erosion and bring oxygen into the ground when they create tunnels which provides nutrients to the soil so it can breath.

When people witness an animal helping another animal it makes them all stop and appreciate the wonder that nature has provided on this planet. But it should also make us wake up and see that we need to respect and appreciate animals and not just kill them because they are just trying to defend themselves. So when I hear stories about how police had to kill lots of exotic animals just because they couldn’t put them anywhere it shows that even the police don’t respect the right’s of animals to live on this planet and when it all comes down to it, each time it happens, they will usually site money as a main reason why the animals couldn’t be moved to a safer location. Trust me you just call up any animal rights group and they will be happy to pay the bill to have those animals placed back into their natural habitat instead of killing them and putting their whole species at risk.

Just recently a couple of monkeys were playing above these train tracks in India when one of them got electrocuted on a wire. The monkey that was hurt fell to the ground. The monkey was not moving and you could see that his hair was standing on ends and was black from the smoke and shock. What made the news about this event was how one of his buddies ran down and started helping him. He picked him up and tried to breath into his mouth, bit him, put him in water to wake him up and kept moving him around to help him come back to life and guess what? After 20 minutes of his friend doing this, the monkey woke back up with a dazed look and behavior in him. So what does this tell you about animals? A lot and that nature has taught them a whole lot that we are still learning from.

Never underestimate how smart animals are because they will surprise you. When you see a cat, who is normally lazy around the house, chase off dogs that are bothering a child playing in front of the house, the cat knows to look out and protect. When a dog barks each time a bad babysitter comes over to warn the parents about what is happening, the animal knows to look out for the baby.

So if animals’ have emotional ties to one another and can understand how to save a friend’s life, then doesn’t that mean they are smarter than we take them for? Temple Grandin showed us that in her movie, and in her many years of research, so change is needed if we want to continue living among them. At this rate, animals will be a very small controlled population in the next 50 years hoping that, we, humans come to our senses, not pass laws that endanger their numbers, and that somehow we learn to respect their environments and not cut them down to build more apartments. Down below you can watch the whole thing happen as the monkey works to save his friend. In the mean time it looks like they have to look out for each if they want to survive. You will notice that majority of the people were just recording the whole thing happen with their phones.

Monkey Saves Best Friend

If you want to learn more about the impact humans’ are having on animals you can watch the movie, Earthlings below. FAIR WARNING: This movie is not for the light hearted and I only provide a link because I want to make sure you are aware of what it is you are about to see. You will need to sign in to verify your age. This movie shows just how mean humans can be towards animals and why kids need to be taught to respect and look after animals in all forms, not kill them. A bear that continues to rampage a neighborhood doesn’t need to be killed he just needs to be placed in an area that is fit for him and his social needs. Please take the time to watch this important documentary and spread the word that animals need our help to protect them. Documentaries like Blackfish also show that many animals are a business controlled by profits and bad management when instead they should be free to go where ever they want with their family.

Earthlings: A Documentary by Shaun Monson Narrated by: Joaquin Phoenix

To Learn more about this Heroic Monkey and the viral story it created online since yesterday please check out the links below and make sure to do your part in protecting animals here on this planet. It is very important to remember that animals look out for one another. In this one new story a monkey was caught playing too rough with a puppy and was put in a time out. This made the monkey very depressed and sad. Her friend helped console her by petting her on the head and sitting close to her while she got better. Animals are people and have feelings too.

Link to Article

Know that you can help animals in all kinds of way. Know that if you ever hear an animal suffering you can get involved or call 311 or 911. Some cities have their own Animal Police department so you can contact them directly when you witness a crime of animal cruelty or endangerment.

News Articles

Monkey Saves another electrocuted by power line

Monkey saves dying friend at train station in india

Monkey rescues electrocuted monkey

Side Note: To appease the readers who still view the importance of hunting as a way to control populations well that is what nature already had in plan. For animal groups that are over populated, like monkeys in many cities in India, Africa, and South America, it is very easy to see that something be done to stop or slow down their numbers. Obviously a natural predator would be the answer but how can you do that in an area largely populated with humans as well? Animals look for places with lots of food and cities tend to have lots of food so it is natural to see why overpopulation for certain groups happens when they are around people who tend to feed them all the time. As you can see from this bird stealing food, it is a problem that won’t go away until something is done to keep it from happening.

The simple solution would be to just hunt and eat the animals as many locals have started doing for pigeons, as shown on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern when he went to Boston. As a reader you probably caught me and said, but wait didn’t you just say not to hunt? Yes I did because hunting turns that animal into a sport and business which messes up its numbers, but an invasive species that is not supposed to be there that encroaches on a native species is different. In the solution found in Boston, people throw rocks at the birds and then cook the meat.

I point this out to the reader to show that I am aware of all sides on this issue. Bears that are under populated in certain regions should not be killed, regardless for obvious reasons but bears that are overpopulated in others tend to be a different issue and that issue lies with how much land are we going to allow animals if developers just keep building where ever they throw money around. This takes land away from animals that need their homes in order to survive. Just look at the Amazon rainforest, 3/4 of its trees are gone, a place where 70% of the world’s oxygen comes from so when all of it is gone, how do we plan to get fresh oxygen again? Don’t ask the lumberjacks they don’t get that what they’re doing is very harmful to the environment. A very sticky issue that needs a solution soon if we plan to live with animals in the future.

More than 5 Trillion Pieces of Trash in the World’s Ocean, Study Finds

Article Updated: [1-4-2015]

Recycle: It’s a word we all keep hearing and something we know we should be doing more often but we don’t really think much about it since we figure trash is just something that gets taken away and we never have to see it again. Well, guess what? Thanks to those lazy habits of just throwing everything in the trash instead of making sure it gets recycled, there are trillions of pieces of trash in the ocean now. It’s easy to understand how a lot of that ends up there when you think about all those barges on the water that carry trash to islands and the wind knocking off some of it along the way. That’s not the main reason but just a small part of the whole picture.

 A Study done by Markus Eriksen et al of the 5 Gyres Institute showed that by collecting samples of trash over the surface of the ocean they were able to estimate the amount of garbage in the ocean. Understand this did not take into account trash that is sitting on the ocean floor which could very well push that number even higher when you think about all the things that people have dumped way out in the ocean so no one would know about it.

The surprising thing about garbage is how much of it is recyclable and how much effort schools and the government try to encourage people to recycle their trash. Many cities now have rules in place that if you don’t recycle correctly they will fine you which is a good place to start but for people with money it doesn’t seem to phase them as much. Again, they feel they can just buy cleanness. Every state has some program in place that encourages drivers not to litter because that causes the roads to look dirty. It requires a large amount of man hours to have people come out and clean them up. What really bothers me is when I’m driving and I still see people throwing their cigarette butts out the window and even trash. What they don’t realize, for many that live near rivers and ocean’s is that the wind can pick them up and end up in places that they shouldn’t be in. Animals don’t know the difference so they try to find out what is inside of them, especially plastic bags, where if they are lying on the surface of the ocean can trap a bird inside and even drown if they are not careful. The reality though is that they shouldn’t be worrying about drowning from a plastic bag because it is our responsibility to keep that away from them.

You Already Know What You Need To Do, So Do It!
People know they should recycle but they need to realize that trash multiples everyday, just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. So here is how you can stop this horrible human habit.

1. Start Composting – Instead of throwing your fruit peels or left over food in the trash create in a pile in the backyard and put them there and throw leaves on top with dirt. After awhile it will start to break down and you can use that stuff to fertilize your yard. You will help the environment and create a nutrient rich soil for your yard.

2. Create your own backyard garden – Using the fertilizer you made from your new compost pile your garden will soon grow faster thanks to all the nutrients in the ground for it to feed off of. You will be able to grow your own vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers which will save you lots of money in the long run.

3. Have several different trash cans for different things – Label your trash cans by their objects: Glass, Compost, Plastic, Aluminum, Tin, Trash. Then use them accordingly. Many places let you come and drop off your aluminum in exchange for cash.

4. Check to find out where a recycling center is – Many times if you live in a small area it is difficult to have that many bins to recycle with. Instead just have one large bag for recycling and then take it to the recycling center. Many times you can just sort the items there or they will sort them for you.

5. Always try to make sure you buy products that can be recycled – Don’t buy anything that has to be thrown away. For example, styrofoam is impossible to break down so try to buy eggs in plastic containers or shop at local markets that let you bring your own reusable egg containers so you only pay for the number of eggs you take. You can recycle styrofoam but it is hard to find places that do.

6. Encourage kids to get in the habit of recycling – Make them aware of how many things can be recycled and what bin they go in. For example if you are done with a computer, make sure all its parts get recycled. FInd a place that takes old computer parts and recycles them. Majority of all plastic can be recycled but just look under the container for a triangle and inside it is a number that will tell you where it can be recycled.

This issue is a huge problem because it only means that animals are getting caught in our trash that is floating out there. For those that like eating fish, remember they are swimming out there with all our trash surrounding them. Doesn’t sound pleasant to eat now, huh? All those products that leak liquids or toxic chemicals into the ocean have a way of coming back to us when we order anything that comes from the ocean. That’s how nature works.

[updated portion]
The recent plane crashes into the ocean are difficult to find in the vastness of the ocean, and it makes the search harder when trash is floating at the top of the water which confuses pilots for missing bodies. It takes their focus away from finding what they need too, but in the meantime they must still exam the trash because bodies can get caught in the many drift nets that fishermen toss out into the ocean when they are done using them. This report by CNN shows just how big of a problem trash is in our oceans, even during search and rescue missions. Divers are constantly coming across trash floating all around them. Fish eat this stuff, especially plastics which cause many of them to ingest dangerous chemicals, which sometimes end up back on our plates.

To learn more about this problem you can check out the news stories below, read the full study, and start making it a habit to recycle. Just remember don’t make excuses about doing it.

A good book to read to help create products that are 100% recyclable is Cradle to Cradle by Williams McDonough. Even the book is made to be recycled.

Just remember this study only covered what’s in the ocean, it doesn’t include trash found on land. When you try to guess what that number would be well, it’s pretty sad.

News Articles

Good Job, Humans: The Ocean now contains 5 trillion pieces of trash

There are at least 5.25 Trillion Pieces of Plastic in the Ocean

Full Scale of Plastic in the World’s Ocean revealed for the first time

The Ocean Contains over 5 Trillion pieces of plastic weighing more than 250,000 tons

270,000 tons of plastic floating in the ocean, study finds

New Scientific Study Estimates Nearly 270,000 tons of plastic floating in the ocean

Study: 270,000 tons of plastic floating in the ocean

Study Source from PLOS One Journal

Read Full Study Online

Need to Learn about the Last 125 years real quick? WSJ Makes it Possible

From 1889 to today you can explore all the major events that the wall street journal has covered in the United States through this well developed webpage that explores major events in US history through photos. They covered 125 years worth of events. You can look by certain decades of influence or you can look at individual events.

This site is a great tool for learning about and remembering all the major things that one should at least be knowledgeable about. Anyone studying US history this is a great learning tool to help illustrate those events in photographs. Take a look around and explore. You might be surprised to learn about some important milestones in this country’s history and the people who came before you.

Wall Street Big Issue

UN Climate Report Issues Warning about Global Warming

In case you didn’t know the UN basically told the world recently that the world needs to make a better effort in stopping global warming pollution otherwise the conditions will only get worse. The decline of the world’s food supply has caused a massive economic wave around the world resulting in higher food prices. Efforts need to be made now in order to slow down the effects.

News Article
Intergovermental Panel On Climate Change
The Economist Article