11 Easy Ways You Can Save The Planet And The Sea Turtles

11 Easy Ways You Can Save The Planet And The Sea Turtles

Go beyond the reusable straws, please, it isn't that difficult.

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We have until 2030 to slow down climate change enough that the human race can survive on earth until at least 2050. While this all sounds far into the future, it isn't, and every day we are making small decisions that only speed up the decline of our planet.

Believe it or not, it's easier to help than you think.

Sometime in the past few years, the internet decided that plastic straws from fast food joints and coffee shops were killing too many sea turtles and sea birds. This caused individuals to urge others to skip the straw when they order drinks or to bring their own straws. There are so many options for reusable straws on the market now, it's kind of annoying if you still try to make excuses not to buy one.

Plastic straws are also too small for recycling machinery to process, meaning they fall through the cracks or they get caught and tangled.

But, straws aren't even that big of an issue. Boycotting the single-use straw, while it does help the sea turtles and the environment, does only a small amount of good. In fact, of the 9 million tons of plastic waste added to the ocean each year, plastic straws only make up about 2,000 tons.

So, how else can we help?

1. Stop using plastic grocery bags.

Plastic grocery bags are easy to grab when you're buying a few things at your local grocery store, but investing in a reusable bag or two to take to the store is one way to cut back on your plastic waste.

And, if you forget your bag, try to carry your purchases without a plastic bag, and if you have to, cram them all into as few bags as possible.

2. Eat less meat and dairy.

According to The Guardian, "meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority — 83% — of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions." Vegan diets are the single biggest way to reduce your impact on our planet, reducing greenhouse gases, land and water use.

Even eating one meatless meal a day can make a change, and I think it's a serious option to consider when you're trying to treat the planet right.

3. Stop drying your hands.

When you're in public restrooms, avoid using hand dryers or paper towels. Either way that you are choosing not to dry your hands, you're saving electricity or you're cutting back on paper towel waste. Your hands will dry eventually, anyways

4. Skip the dryer when doing laundry.

This cuts back on electricity usage and prevents not only wrinkles but also static. The only drawback is it can take a long time to air dry and drying racks take up a good bit of space. But, saving the planet is going to include a few sacrifices.

5. Try using wool dryer balls.

Ever thought about how many dryer sheets end up in a landfill? Me neither, but once you think about it... that's a lot. Dryer sheets also contain lots of yucky chemicals and can actually do more harm than good to your clothes and your dryer.

Wool is a great alternative that most people don't even know about.

Wool dryer balls take the place of dryer sheets and make your clothes softer and dry faster without creating nearly as much waste and without the chemicals.

6. Bring your own produce bags to the grocery store.

I've always tried to just skip out on the produce bags altogether to cut back on plastic, but sometimes you need one, because produce can be wet from the water sprayed on them or even dirty from literal dirt. You don't want to get everything else in your cart wet or dirty, so a produce bag makes sense.

Invest in some reusable, non-plastic produce bags to create less plastic waste.

7. Use a reusable bottle and a water filter.

Another easy way to cut back on plastic is to stop buying and using bottled water. In just the United States, about 1,500 plastic bottles are being used every second. Reusable water bottles and cups are sold almost everywhere, and keeping one with me at all times to prevent myself from drinking from single-use bottles is a change I have tried to implement in my personal life.

Water filters can help make sure the water you're drinking is actually safe to drink, so there's really no excuse to buy reusable water bottles at this point. You're literally just paying for plastic when you buy them. Save your money and the planet.

8. Replace disposable face wipes with reusable ones.

Single-use face wipes to take off makeup (or even just to wipe off your face when it feels extra grimy) are essential in almost every makeup wearer's bathroom. They're easy to use and almost foolproof.

Except, if you're using one, maybe two, of these wipes every day, that's a lot of wipes that end up in the trash. Eventually, those all end up in a landfill somewhere and, let's be real, that's a lot of unnecessary waste.

Microfiber cloths can take the place of wipes and do the job just as well. Of course, it's still important to wash your face afterward but to take off your makeup, they do the trick. You can throw them in with your laundry when you've used them and they'll come out looking brand new.

Also, if you use something like micellar water to take off your makeup with a cotton pad, or if you use a toner with a cotton pad, or you use cotton pads in general, there are reusable bamboo pads that will do the same job.

9. Use bamboo paperless towels.

Imagine all the paper towels you've used in your lifetime. It's a lot, right?

Invest in some paperless towels that will clean up and soak up your messes just as well. When they're dirty, throw them in the washer and air dry. They'll be just like new in no time.

10. Find a reusable coffee filter.

Whether you use a Keurig or a regular coffee pot, there are reusable K-cups and reusable coffee filters to replace their disposable counterparts. Both use regular coffee grounds and will brew normally.

11. Plant a vegetable garden.

Growing your own veggies can increase the oxygen in the air, cut down on costs at the store, and reduce carbon footprints created by transportation from farms to grocery stores. It's also good for you!

At the end of it all, every small difference each of us makes does just that: it makes a difference. Don't be afraid to mess up and forget the reusable straw. As long as you're making an effort to practice more sustainable choices, you're a part of the change.

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20 Of The Coolest Animal Species In The World

Animals that almost seem imaginary.
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The world is full of amazing animals. So amazing, that narrowing them down to 20 felt nearly impossible. To determine who made the cut for this list, I used very important factors such as, cuteness and how much some of them looked like Pokémon . I know, very official. So here are some of the coolest animals in the world.

1. Pink Fairy Armadillo

The pink fairy armadillo is the smallest and cutest species of armadillo. It is on the list of threatened species and is found in the sandy plains, dunes, and grasslands of Argentina. The pink fairy armadillo is a nocturnal creature that survives mostly on insects and plants.


2. Okapi

The okapi is an animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Although the stripes make many people believe okapi are related to zebra, they are actually closer to giraffe. Okapi are solitary creatures and come together to breed. They are herbivores, mostly eating leaves, grass, and other plants.


3. Glaucus Atlanticus or "the Blue Dragon"

These little dragon-like creatures are often only about a few inches long and can be found in the Indian Pacific Oceans. The blue dragon floats upside down in order to blend the blue side of them with the water, and the silver side with the surface of the ocean. This tiny dragon feeds on creatures like the man o' war and can even deliver a sting similar to it.


4. The Maned Wolf

The maned wolf is often found in the grasslands of south, central-west, and southeastern parts of Brazil. It is neither related to wolves nor foxes despite its appearance and name, but is actually closer to dogs. The maned wolf hunts alone and primarily eats both meat and plants (about 50% of its diet).


5. Fossa

The fossa is a carnivorous animal located in Madagascar. Despite having many traits similar to cats, it is more closely related to the Mongoose. The fossa is only found in forest habitats and can hunt in either daytime or night. Over 50 percent of its diet happens to be lemurs.


6. Japanese Spider Crab

As the name suggestions, the Japanese spider crab inhabits the waters surrounding Japan. In many parts of Japan, this crab can be considered a delicacy but can be considerably difficult to catch. The Japanese spider crab can grow to 12 feet long from claw to claw. There is only one sea creature-- amongst similar species (aka crustaceans)-- that beats the weight of a Japanese spider crab: the American Lobster.


7. Pacu Fish

Look closely at the teeth, do they look familiar? This fish is found in the waters of South America. This fish, while related to the piranha, can actually grow much larger. They can also be found in rivers like the Amazon and is an aid to the fishing industry. Unlike the piranha, pacu mostly only eat seeds and nuts, though can still create nasty injuries to other animals if need be.


8. Slow Loris

The slow loris is a nocturnal creature found in Southeast Asia. While very adorable, the loris's teeth are actually quite venomous. The toxin on their teeth can also be applied to fur through grooming to protect its babies from predators. Often times these creatures forage and spend time alone, although can on occasion be seen with other slow lorises. Apart from their toxic teeth, the slow lorises have another defense mechanism, in which they move nearly completely silently in order to prevent discovery.


9. Angora Rabbit

These cute, fluffy rabbits are among the hairiest breeds of rabbit of both wild and domestic types. These rabbits originated in Turkey although managed to spread throughout Europe and was even brought to the United States in the 20th century. These rabbits are often bred for their soft wool which can be made into clothing, and often get rid of their own coats every 3-4 months.


10. Axolotl

The axolotl or "Mexican salamander" (who looks like a Pokémon , if you ask me) is often spotted in lakes in various places around Mexico. These little salamanders are amphibious although often spend their adult lives strictly in the water. However, the population of these cute creatures is dwindling due to non-native predators and the continued urbanization of Mexico. The axolotl eats small worms, insects, and fish in order to survive.


11. Liger

The liger, however made up it sounds, is a real (and cute) animal created by a lion and a tiger mating. Ligers only seem to exist in captivity or zoos because the lion and tiger don't share the same habitat in the wild. Unfortunately, these animals don't live very long or are sterile despite being bigger than both the lion and the tiger. While these animals are cool and unique, they are not strictly natural or sustainable.


12. Bearded Vulture

I don't know about you all, but this vulture reminds me of a phoenix which was initially why I looked into the creature. These vultures inhabit a range of places from southern Europe to the Indian subcontinent, to Tibet. This vulture, like other vultures, typically eats dead animals, although it has been documented that the bearded vulture will attack live prey more often than other vultures.


13. Goblin Shark


This unusual shark is also known as a "living fossil" because they are the last representative of sharks that lived about 125 million years ago. It is a deep sea shark that can grow between 10-13 feet if not longer. The goblin shark has been caught accidentally in every major ocean. The goblin shark is not a fast swimmer and relies on ambushing its prey.


14. Red Panda

This cute, small panda lives in the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China. The red panda is rather small, only about the same size as most domestic cats. Its eating habits range from bamboo, to eggs, to insects, and several other small mammals. The red panda is primarily sedentary during the day and at night or in the morning does whatever hunting it needs to do.


15. Blobfish

This blobfish is, in a way, so ugly that it is cute (although reminds me of a certain Pokémon ) This fish lives in the deep waters of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The blobfish has a density only sightly above that of water. The fish primarily hunts by just floating along and letting creatures wander into its mouth, rather than expending any energy.


16. Leaf Deer

The leaf deer is usually found in dense forests in the northwest region of Putao. The adult leaf deer only stands at about 20 inches high and the males and females are nearly identical except for an inch long horn on the males. It is called a leaf deer because hunters could wrap the deer in a single large leaf.


17. Tiger

While tigers are a more common animal than many others on this list, it is still one of the coolest animals in the world. Tigers are the largest of all cats and once ranged from Russia, to Turkey, to parts of Asia — almost all over the world. These animals are fierce, powerful creatures, although they are on the endangered species list.


18. Narwhals

Narwhals are a species of whale that live in the waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia. The narwhal's diet changes depending on the time of year: in the spring the narwhal will eat cod, while in the winter the narwhal will eat flatfish. Narwhals can live up to 50 years and most frequently die of suffocation from being trapped under the ice.


19. Cheetah

Cheetahs, while more commonly heard of then some of the other animals on this list, are still incredibly cool. They often inhabit many parts of Africa and Iran. These amazing cats can reach up to 60 miles per hour in three seconds and use their tails to make quick and sudden turns. These amazing cats also have semi-retractable claws which helps with speed. The cheetah, however, doesn't have much besides speed to defend itself.


And finally....


20. Superb Bird of Paradise

This GIF demonstrates the mating dance used by male superb birds of paradise. Typically females reject about 20 mates before selecting one they want to mate with. They are often found in New Guinea although it is unsure just how many of these birds there are. As far as scientists know, the population has remained stable.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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The Flint Water Crisis Is Affecting More People Than We Know, Including The Unborn

Flint is not the only city with water pipes contaminated with lead. At 40 weeks pregnant, I have to worry about the lead in my home’s water.

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Many Americans are familiar with the atrocities in Flint, Michigan. Flint received nationwide coverage when it was revealed that residents were being restricted access to clean water and were exposed to water contaminated with lead for many years. After the state discovered the lead, the residents were left with the contaminated water and still have it years later.

I have watched many documentaries on Flint like "Here's to Flint" and "Fahrenheit 11/9." The scenes from the documentaries are haunting and much resemble a war-torn, third world country. I was especially surprised when I received a letter in the mail from Chicago's Department of Water Management. The letter looked like nothing special and had been placed in a pile of junk mail that none of my roommate's wanted to read. I eventually went through the mail and was shocked at what I read. The letter casually says that my home uses a water meter and water meters activate lead in pipes.

It continued to say that most homes in Chicago test under the U.S. EPA's benchmark level for lead in drinking, however, 17.2% percent exceed it.

As a pregnant woman, this is horrifying news. I had been pregnant for months drinking and cooking with contaminated water before reading this letter. Drinking water contaminated with lead has long term effects for the whole family. For example, it affects the brain and nervous system development in children and increases the risks of things like kidney damage and high blood pressure in adults. The CDC itself says that there is no known safe level of lead in a child's blood.

I especially remember a scene in "Fahrenheit 11/9" where they talk about the effects lead has on the babies born to pregnant women who consumed it. It can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. There are pregnancy complications like low birth weight, premature delivery, preeclampsia.

Babies whose mother consumed lead water have been reported to have behavioral problems, lower IQs, and learning disabilities.

My own home soon resembled that of a developing country. I had stacks and stacks of water bottles. I have to use these bottles for everything. Just like residents of Flint, I have to brush my teeth with water bottles. I have to go through about five water bottles to boil water to cook. If I am out of water bottles, I just have to wait it out because the alternative is not worth it.

Having to worry about lead in the water is very stressful. Along with all the other stresses of pregnancy, I have to stress about accidentally poisoning my baby. I know that I have to take precautions in my own home, but am unsure where else is contaminated. I don't know where is safe. I don't know who else received the same letter I did, but ignored it as junk mail.

I recently had a house guest stay from another state. He asked why our water had an odd smell. I had to casually tell him not to mind that, it's just the lead in our water. I find it very disheartening that the city, state, and country don't prioritize the health and safety of its pregnant women, babies, or children. It is sincerely unfortunate how things like access to clean drinking water in America are just a luxury.

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