5 Small Ways To Be A Big Friend To The Environment

5 Small Ways To Be A Big Friend To The Environment

5 tips and tricks to being eco-friendly!

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Save the whales! Save the turtles! Save the Earth!

We hear about stories all the time where sea turtles have straws stuck in their noses or a whale died because its body was packed full of trash. We hear about how our trash is ruining the Earth, harming the ecosystems, and damaging the environment. Climate change? Global warming?

We all know the drill. We were taught the three R's early on in life: reduce, reuse, recycle! It was like a mantra being repeated over and over. Reduce, reuse recycle! Reduce, reuse, recycle!

So many people, kids as well as adults, are so very clueless and ignorant when it comes to this issue. They don't understand that we're killing the lives of humans and animals alike, the pollution of our air and our water is essential!

So, for those of you who want some easy tips and tricks to being environmentally friendly, here they are!

1. Reusable straws.

Okay, so I can admit that I love straws as much as the next person. Whether it's drinking water or drinking coffee, I desperately NEED a straw. I just hate the idea of coffee staining my teeth or the idea of cold ice water hitting my teeth. I used to go through straws like crazy but now I have been more conscious about the consequences. I have invested in reusable straws and they are amazing! They're easy to use, easy to wash, and even easy to carry if necessary. I'm not one of those people who carry around reusable straws in my purse so when I go out, I just suck it up and drink my drink without a straw.

2. Reusable cup or water bottle.

This step is one that you definitely should follow. First of all, plastic water bottles are so bad for you. The plastic is laced with chemicals so already, that's a fat no. Second, if you leave those plastic water bottle in the heat, these chemicals will become pronounced in your water. Plus, so many of these plastic water bottles end up in the ocean, where they are consumed by whales, or dolphins, or sea turtles. Just don't do it! Investing in a reusable water bottle or cup is worth it, plus you save money! You pay a one time fee at the store, in which case most water bottles range around $9-20. Additionally, if you refill your reusable water bottle, you no longer have to spend about $5 every couple of months on a new pack of water bottles. Also, Starbucks offers you a great deal! I know where you're headed, cups or mugs at Starbucks are expensive! They actually just realized a reusable venti cup that is complete with a lid and straw for only $3! I use this cup for water, tea, or coffee all the time! And the best part is, bringing in a reusable cup to Starbucks saves you money! You say 10 cents per purchase and that doesn't seem like a lot but those 10 cents really add up!

3. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

So we've already gone over reducing and reusing, by ending plastic straws and plastic water bottles, but the next key step is recycling! I'm sure you already know but you can recycle clean plastic, paper, and metal products! So if you're going to ignore my second tip and continue using plastic water bottles, the least you can do it recycle it. When you go to the store, try and make a conscious effort to buy items that can be recycled or better yet, items made from recyclable materials. Recycle those cereal boxes or those protein bar boxes! If you don't know what can and can't be recycled, look it up! It takes two minutes of your time, not even!

4. Save water!

So I'm sure many of you have been told before to take shorter showers. Whether it's to save on your water bill or to save the environment, definitely follow this step! There are so many ways for people to save money, you just have to make a conscious effort to do. Take shorter showers is one example. If you can't take shorter shows then just turn off the water during shampooing and conditioning. The little steps count and most definitely matter! If you're washing the dishes, wet all the dishes before you start and have a side bowl of soap and water. There's no need to keep the water running. Turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth. Another thing that people don't think about is water your plants and grass at night! So many people turn their sprinklers or hoses on during the day during 95-degree weather just to have the water quickly evaporate. Wait until sunset or night time so that your plants can be watered and actually receive the water.

5. Car pool.

Carpool is super neat because guess what! You get to save gas! And we all know that gas is freaking expensive as hell! The fewer people drive their cars, the less toxic fuels are emitted into the air. So the next time you and your friends are going to school, ride together. Take turns driving every day or every week. Carpool if you're going to work. Carpool if you're making plans to get food. It doesn't matter, just take one car!

So all in all, save those turtles people! Save those whales and for goodness sakes, save the Earth! Use these super easy and quick tips that may seem small but will, in the end, make a huge difference!

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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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Houston, Let's Not Forget Harvey

Harvey had an impact that went beyond floodwaters.

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Almost exactly a year ago, Houston was victim to Hurricane Harvey's torrential storming and flooding. A year later, recovery has been swift but not complete. Some areas still bear the brunt of Harvey's damage—and some losses, of course, can never be made up.

Harvey taught us, as Houstonians, more about ourselves and each other than we've bothered to know in a long, long time. I live in a neighborhood where I'm lucky if I ever manage to catch a glimpse of my next-door neighbor, let alone have some attempt at a conversation with them.

I remember though, when Harvey hit, how everyone would be out, surveying the water levels, asking each other for the latest updates and evacuation possibilities, and checking in to make sure everyone was all right. It made me understand what being a member of a community can truly be like.

It was also a wonder seeing how much compassion and mercy were still present in people; recovery could have been delayed for much longer without the help of every single person who pitched in. I'm not just talking about immediate relief like providing boating services to shelters and providing food and supplies to evacuees stuck at said shelters.

Even the rebuilding that began weeks later and is still ongoing was supported by people's lives, times, wallets and hearts. Spending weekends helping clean out residential areas and hosting food drives for the homeless became the norm, and volunteer lists overflowed with the number of people who were willing to come out and lend a hand.

Today, I remember Harvey and I realize that it marked a trying period for the city. Lives were lost and many people lost many invaluable things; some people are still trying to recover from the impacts of the hurricane.

Recently, the Carolinas were hit by Florence, a tropical storm that seemed like nature's attempt of irony after Harvey.

Thankfully, meteorologists were able to provide timely enough weather updates that the inhabitants of the worst affected areas were able to evacuate to a safer location before the storm hit. Even with about a million people being told to clear evacuation zones though, almost fifteen people still died and many hundreds were rescued by air and water.

Right now, many people in those areas are in the same position our community was in a year ago; many watched the hurricane take away everything they had ever known and loved, and are in the critical process of rebuilding in the aftermath of the hurricane.

We are proud Houstonians, but what Harvey showed was that we were also proud citizens and very, very human. So Houston, let's take this opportunity to remember Harvey not only for what it took from us but also what we gained from it.

Let's show that we remember and have felt the pain of being left with nothing and feeling broken and helpless.

With our support, whether monetary or material, let us show the victims of Florence that as long as there is humanity, there is hope.

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