Summer Sustainability

6 Ways To Strive For Sustainability This Summer

You can pretty much go from 5am to 9pm with the sun as your lightbulb!

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Sustainability (noun)- capable of being sustained; of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged; of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods

In simpler terms, sustainability is the methods of properly disposing of disposables, recycling, eating locally, conserving water and all other resources and goods, and reducing energy use and waste.

Here are some statistics that call for action:

The United States wastes 60 billion tons of food annually.

About 36 football fields worth of trees are lost every minute.

The average American used 176 gallons of water daily, compared to the 5 gallons of water an average family in Africa uses daily.

With stats like these, it is no surprise that a lot of people are tending toward sustainable practices. We have companies turning 'ugly produce" into appealing snacks, businesses running on solar power, and most stores promoting reusable bags.

In the midst of summer, it is especially easy to try out some sustainable techniques:


1. Become a more conscious consumer at the grocery store.

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Since you have more time on your hands, spend an extra minute to look for sustainable items in the food store. buy products with less packaging. Look for fair trade products. Bring your own reusable shopping bags!

2. Rely on daylight as much as possible.

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Summer is the best time to rely on daylight because we have the most of it. You can pretty much go from 5am to 9pm with the sun as your lightbulb!

3. Take shorter showers when possible.

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It's pretty hot out, so its not like you have to stand under the shower for 20 minutes just to feel warm. Try to be in and out with some showers... Do what you need to and then get out.

4. Recycle!

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If reusable bottles aren't your thing, you'll probably be drinking more water, gatorade, and other beverages out of recyclable bottles in the summer. Just pay attention and make sure you toss them in the right bin.

5. Shop at local markets and farmer's stands.

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With the nice weather, a bunch of fruits and veggies are in season. You can find little farmers stands just about anywhere if you look hard enough!

6. Open windows for some fresh air.

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This one is something that might be a bit hard in summer because any fresh air that is going to flow through your home is probably too hot for comfort. However, as it gets closer to fall, you can rely on the breeze to be your AC on a cool enough day.

Summer is the perfect time to put into practice these simple sustainable techniques!

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Are Plastic Straws Really Killing Sea Turtles?

It's no secret that plastic isn't great for the environment, but how sensationalized is this topic actually becoming?

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When I first saw a video of a sea turtle getting a plastic drinking straw removed from its nostril, I was obviously upset like any other viewer would be. I care a lot about the environment and about animal life and it was upsetting to see that a product of human consumption and ignorant waste was destroying precious parts of our world. I wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon of "plastic straws kill sea turtles!!!" but only knew about the issue from this video and what I heard from people or saw on social media. The whole topic of plastic waste into the ocean remained in the back of my mind until the recent pledge of Starbucks to stop using plastic straws in stores by 2020 reminded me of the issue.

As the topic of plastics and their pollution of the environment (largely the oceans) has become so recently powerful I decided to do some research of my own. If I was going to tell people to stop using plastic straws because they were killing sea turtles, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't just repeating everything I heard from social media.

Turns out, plastic straws are hurting sea turtles and other marine life, but a lot of what I thought about plastic waste was exaggerated (at least from what I had heard from others). Sea birds are the most impacted creature by plastic straws, not sea turtles. About 1 million or more seabirds die every year from ingesting plastic straws and choking on them. In research from recent scientific studies, 80-90% of seabirds have some kind of plastic inside of their stomachs. Also, the ecological footprint that plastic straws alone leave on the planet is actually pretty small compared to food waste or fossil fuels.

However, all the buzz about sea turtles may come from the fact that globally 86% of sea turtle species are known to be affected by plastic debris. Overwhelming amounts of plastic garbage in the ocean have caused a steady decline of the leatherback sea turtle over the past several years, so much that they have been placed on the endangered species list. Plastics can hinder eating and consumption, breathing abilities, and even reproductive capabilities of all kinds of sea turtles.

So while plastic straws may not be killing sea turtles in hordes, they are killing sea birds, and plastic overall have caused huge and deadly effects to many sealife species. We have known that plastic is bad for the environment and the oceans for quite a while, given the fact that the Great Garbage Patch was discovered almost 20 years ago, so it's more than time to start caring about the problem. If we can eliminate single-use plastic straws that aren't biodegradable, we can stop using other single-use plastics and make a better effort to reduce our harmful impacts on the oceans. Individually, we can move towards small changes, which can move our society to a more sustainable and healthy place. If you are more interested in this topic, I would suggest reading about how you can make a change or looking at this article and checking out this scientific journal.

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Vinicius Amano

@viniciusamano

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5 Easy Habits That Can Help Change The Earth And Make You Feel Accomplished This Earth Day

We have to make the Earth a better place for everyone to live.

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Today is Earth Day! If this does not excite you it should because we are in need of a change. The science is proving the claims that Global Warming is a real and scary thing. I know how hard it is to make the adjustment to go green. If you try to change everything all at once, it is going to be very difficult. But if you make small adjustments then it can make all the difference in your world and the Earth.

Here are 5 habits that help improve the quality of life on Earth:

1. Turn Off Water

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One thing that you can do and it is simple is to turn off the water while brushing your teeth. We use about 4 gallons of water when we leave the water running while we brush our teeth. This is a minor adjustment that you can incorporate into your everyday life that can help the Earth.

2. Reusable Grocery Bags

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I know that we have all seen these bags at the register of every grocery store for $.99 or $1.99. It is a small price to pay to using less plastic. I know that my family made the change about a year ago and we love it. We carry our reusable grocery bags into the store and feel better knowing that we are making a difference, even if it is a small one. If you don't want to use reusable bags then use paper but make sure you recycle the bags. The best thing about reusable you don't have to worry about recycling or throwing plastic bags away, they're yours to keep.

3. Laundry Routine

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Sunday is for laundry. Change around your laundry schedule. Make sure that you are only doing laundry once a week, and make sure that it is a full load when you do it. If you can get away with doing it every two weeks would be even better. I do my laundry every two weeks and it saves the planet water. Make sure you are washing your clothes are the cold setting because it uses less water and hot doesn't get your clothes any cleaner (that's what detergent and bleach are for).

4. Turn Off the Lights

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You do not need to alert the whole neighborhood that you are home. So if you are in the living room then you do not need the lights on in the bathroom and your bedroom. That is a waste of energy and not to mention your driving your light bill up. So make sure you when you leave a room to turn off the lights in that room. Also, you have window blinds for a reason. So open them up during the day and leave the lights off.

5. Unplug the Chargers

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Unplug your device chargers when you are not using them. Whether the phone is attached or not the energy still flows through the wall plug. So in the morning when you take the phone off the charger unplug it from the wall. You also should not charge you phone over night anyway. You should charge it up right before you go to bed and then unplug it. Our goal is to use less energy.

These are some simple habits that you can do that will help the Earth. You don't have to make the change to going green all at once. I know for me it started with a few simple things and I am still working on going completely green. There are things on this list that I am guilty of sometimes, but I working at it every day because it's not just for me but for everyone. We have to make the Earth a better place for everyone to live. Remember "Go Green" and "Happy Earth Day"!

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