6 eco-friendly ways to incorporate hemp into your daily routine

February 19, 2019 by  
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After decades of “reefer madness”, the misinformation about Cannabis is finally starting to disappear, and the truth is coming out about the many benefits of the magical plant. However, many still don’t know the difference between cannabis, marijuana and hemp , and continue to believe they are one and the same — but, they are not. So, what are the many uses of hemp? Read on to find out. In a nutshell, cannabis is a family of plants that have two major classifications: Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Marijuana, which is what people consume to get the effects of THC, can come from either Indica or Sativa. While hemp only comes from Cannabis Sativa. Because marijuana and hemp come from the Cannabis Sativa plant, they definitely have a lot in common. But, there are significant differences. Without getting too detailed about the differences between plant structure, marijuana has THC — which is what gives it psychoactive properties — and people grow it for recreational and medicinal use. Hemp is grown for industrial purposes because it can be used to produce everything from clothing to biofuel. Hemp has minimal amounts of THC, so it doesn’t get you high. However, like marijuana, it does have CBD which can be used for medicinal purposes. Simply put, hemp is a Cannabis Sativa plant that is not a drug and doesn’t get you high. Instead, this amazing plant is used to make a variety of amazing products. Just last year, President Trump signed a bill legalizing hemp at the federal level, which means the industry is ready to explode. Here are the many uses for hemp. Related: Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport incorporates natural fibers into body design Clothing Not only is hemp fiber absorbent and lightweight, but it is strong, weather resistant, versatile, eco-friendly and extremely cost-effective. Hemp fiber is three times stronger than cotton, and the differences in farming cotton and hemp are extraordinary. Hemp crops require half the water, they don’t need fertilizers or pesticides  and there is almost zero waste because you can use every part of the plant. Hemp plants also absorb more CO2 than trees, and it grows so quickly that it one acre can produce tons of fiber in just four months. Before reefer madness started in the 1920s, “80 percent of clothing was made from hemp textiles .” Oral hygiene Swishing hemp oil around in your mouth for a few minutes every day can strengthen your teeth and gums, heal bleeding gums, prevent gingivitis and help with bad breath. Hemp oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and an antifungal agent. So, it can not only prevent cavities and tooth decay, but also repair damaged teeth . Body oil and lotions Hemp oil and lotions can give you soft skin , but that’s just the beginning. They can moisturize your skin without clogging pores, as they contain essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 to give your skin a healthy glow and the amino acids help prevent wrinkles. Hemp oil and lotion is loaded with anti-aging vitamins and minerals that boost skin elasticity, treat acne and keep the skin hydrated. Hemp products are also effective for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Paper When hemp production was made illegal in the early 20th century, it put an end to the use of hemp paper, which was widely used throughout the 1800s. Hemp paper is high quality because of the high cellulose and low lignin content, and it is more eco-friendly than tree paper because it can be produced faster. In a 20-year cycle, one acre of hemp can produce just as much paper as ten acres of trees because trees take decades to grow, while hemp stalks take just four months. Hair products As good as hemp can be for your skin, it can also do amazing things for your hair. Shampoos and conditioners made from hemp oil will moisturize and nourish your hair and scalp, making it perfect for keeping dandruff away. Hemp oil can also strengthen your hair to prevent breakage and stimulate the production of keratin, which is the protein that makes up the majority of your hair . Wood finish Hemp oil can revive the wood in your home and give it an excellent finish. You can use it on wood floors, furniture, cabinets and molding, and the age of the wood doesn’t matter. It can revive old furniture or give an amazing, dark finish to new wood that is stained or bare. Hemp oil is also an excellent top coat for painted wood furniture. This list is just the beginning. Hemp can also be used for other products like biofuel, food  and even as a plastic alternative. Now that a major legal hurdle has been overcome in the United States, consumers will likely see more hemp-based products than ever before. Images via Shutterstock

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6 eco-friendly ways to incorporate hemp into your daily routine

Senate approves major public lands bill

February 15, 2019 by  
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On Tuesday the U.S. Senate reversed the trend of shrinking protected space by approving a public lands bill that adds 1.3 million acres of wilderness, creates five new national monuments, expands some national parks and reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This major new public lands bill is a hodgepodge of more than 100 individual bills related to conservation and outdoor recreation. Now more than 350 miles of river will attain the designation “ wild and scenic ,” which safeguards them and limits development. Outdoor lovers will enjoy nearly 700,000 acres of new recreation areas and 2,600 miles of new trails. In Montana and Washington, 370,000 acres of land will be excluded from mineral development. Related: Bureau of Land Management moves forward with the sale of sacred land The National Park Service will administer three new national monuments created by the bill: the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home in Mississippi, former residence of the murdered civil rights leader; Camp Nelson, Kentucky, a Civil War hospital and recruiting center; and Mill Springs, Kentucky, a Civil War battlefield. The two other new national monuments will be Jurassic National Monument, 850 fossil-rich acres in Utah, and the Saint Francis Dam in California, site of a tragic collapse in 1928. The Land and Water Conservation Fund , a bipartisan 1964 creation of Congress, expired last September. The fund used revenue from offshore oil and gas to fund conservation of water resources, natural and recreational areas and cultural heritage. The new public lands bill revives the fund. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund has been a pre-eminent program for access to public lands,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. However, this public lands bill victory came after a fight. Republican Senator Mike Lee derailed the bill last year by trying to exempt his home state of Utah. Lee has been an outspoken opponent of the 1.3 million-acre Bears Ears National Monument, created at the end of President Barack Obama’s term, and other obstacles to development and mineral extraction. “This victory was a long time in the making, and it is the result of the steadfast efforts of many who care deeply about America’s natural treasures,” said Sen Richard Burr, R-N.C. “Protecting this program is the right thing to do for our children, grandchildren and countless generations so that they may come to enjoy the great American outdoors as we have.” Via APNews Images via Free-Photos

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Compensation for conservation: water markets are economists’ answer to scarcity

February 15, 2019 by  
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As cites grow and put more pressure on water sources, scarcity is an increasingly important issue. More than two thirds of the world’s population experience a water shortage every year. Just because water continues to reach your tap does not mean your area isn’t experiencing a shortage. Instead, it could mean your town is forced to tap sources, such as rivers, faster than they can renew. Economists have introduced one solution, water markets, which assign a value to usage under the premise that when something has a dollar value, people are more likely to conserve it. What are water markets? When preserving nature for nature’s sake is not enough to get a company’s attention, sometimes the best strategy is through its bottom line. Related: 7 ways to conserve water and reduce your water footprint Water markets function similarly to the stock market or carbon trading markets, where water usage rights and quantities can be traded among voluntary stakeholders within a watershed. There are different types of trades and markets that vary based on local legislation, infrastructure and government regulation. Ultimately, one water user sells a portion of its predetermined water allotment to another user, meaning it reduces the quantity of water it uses (in exchange for compensation), while the buyer utilizes the agreed upon amount of water. Why would the seller engage in a water market? A farmer, for example, might sell a portion of their water access and use the funding to purchase more efficient irrigation or use it as compensation for reducing their yield. Why would the buyer engage in a water market? A metropolitan area, for example, might purchase water from farmers upstream and use it for urban residents. This enables more efficient use of the water available, without forcing the government to tap into reserves or build expensive infrastructure to reach far away sources. Environmental organizations might also purchase water and then not use it, simply to ensure that an optimum amount of water cycles through the watershed to support healthy ecosystems . Why do we need water markets? Most people consider water a human right and a shared resource; however, this means that people do not necessarily have tangible incentive to conserve . Agriculture is the largest water user, with more than 90 percent of all water going to irrigated farms . But nearly 75 percent of all irrigated farms are vulnerable to scarcity, and almost 20 percent of all irrigated crops are produced with nonrenewable groundwater. This means that a fifth of everything we eat taps the earth’s water supply beyond what the water cycle can naturally replenish. This rate is alarmingly unsustainable. As The Nature Conservancy reported , “Nature is the silent and unseen victim of water scarcity.” But with the rise in severe weather, including flooding and drought , those who are paying attention could argue that nature is not so silent. Not to mention the 844 million people living without adequate access to clean water who are also victims in plain sight. Have water markets been successful? Australia’s Murray-Darling river has one of the most widely cited examples of a successful water market. Established in response to a seven-year drought, the market provides farmers with an alternate revenue stream that helps them stay in business even during times of water crises. Currently, 40 percent of all water used within the extensive basin in southeastern Australia is traded water. Another example comes from San Diego, California , where the water authority pays farmers to reduce water and reroute it to urban areas. This traded water covers one third of the city’s water needs. Reducing water use on large farms — without destroying local economies and food supplies — inevitably has to be a major part of the solution. Unlike carbon trading, which many argue promotes “pay to pollute,” water markets offer “compensation for conservation.” According to The Nature Conservancy , water markets “offer a powerful mechanism for alleviating water scarcity, restoring ecosystems and driving sustainable water management.” Markets, however, are intended to be one solution within a more comprehensive conservation strategy. Other components include enforcing meaningful reductions in water usage —  forcing businesses to innovate more efficient operations, appliances and products. The concepts of trading and monetizing water access are complex, abstract and focus on major players. More research is continually needed to ensure that market approaches do not only benefit the loudest and highest bidders, but to ensure the equity of markets for small and nontraditional users. + ‘The Nature Conservancy’ Image via Diego Delso

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Compensation for conservation: water markets are economists’ answer to scarcity

Climate change to change the color of the oceans over the next 80 years

February 12, 2019 by  
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The color of the oceans is about to undergo some major changes. As a result of ongoing climate change , scientists are predicting that the color of the oceans will slowly become bluer over the next 80 years. The color difference is directly connected to microbial phytoplankton , which absorb sunlight near the surface of the ocean. As the acidity and temperature of the oceans rise, the number of phytoplankton is expected to decrease in certain regions. Once the phytoplankton populations drop off, the surface will have a harder time reflecting sunlight, which will ultimately change its color. Related: Oceans warming 40 percent faster than previously thought According to Gizmodo , new research from Nature Communications argues that the subtropical oceans will be most affected by the color change. These regions are particularly susceptible to temperature and pH fluctuations, which will harm phytoplankton populations. Conversely, oceans in the Antarctic and Arctic could become greener, because these areas are not likely to experience significant changes in water temperature. Scientists have been using satellites to monitor the color of the oceans over the past 20 years. The images taken by the satellites are manipulated by a computer algorithm, resulting in a rough sketch of how much chlorophyll is present in the water. The only issue with this tactic is that climate change is not the only force at work here. Natural forces, like El Niño , also affect the color of the oceans. This is why scientists are exploring other methods of detection that will isolate the impacts of climate change. This includes measuring food sources for phytoplankton, looking at patterns of ocean circulation and analyzing growth rates of phytoplankton populations around the world. “Our model can now suggest what such satellites might see in the future world,” MIT scientist Stephanie Dutkiewicz explained. Experts predict that by 2100, the temperature of the oceans will have risen by at least 3 degrees Celsius. This difference in temperature is expected to change the color of around half of Earth’s oceans, though the color difference will not be detectable by human sight. Via Gizmodo Image via NOAA

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Climate change to change the color of the oceans over the next 80 years

NASA finds cavity the size of Manhattan underneath Antarctic glacier

February 7, 2019 by  
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NASA just made a disturbing discovering underneath the Antarctic ice. A team led by the space agency found a huge cavity — around 1,000 feet high — under a glacier in Antarctica, and it is steadily expanding in size. Experts have predicted they would a large cavity somewhere underneath the Thwaites Glacier, which is located in West Antarctica, but they did not expect such a large one between the ice sheet and bedrock. NASA scientists discovered the expansive chamber using a mix of radar and satellite imagery techniques. The cavity has been forming over the past three years as higher global temperatures have steadily melted the ice. The cavity, which is close to the size of Manhattan, is large enough to have housed around 14 billion tons of ice at one time. “[The size of] a cavity under a glacier plays an important role in melting,” Pietro Milillo, who works for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), explained. “As more heat and water get under the glacier, it melts faster.” Related: Oceans warming 40 percent faster than previously thought NASA believes the cavity illustrates a need for more Antarctic studies in the near future, especially as global temperatures continue to rise. Keeping tabs on how fast these glacier’s are melting will also give us better insight on rising sea levels and climate change around the world. The space agency hopes that additional studies will help better predict how much oceans will rise — which has a direct impact on coastal populations. Being similar in size to Florida, the Thwaites Glacier has contributed to a four percent increase in sea level over the past few years. NASA discovered the Antarctic glacier has enough mass to raise sea levels around the world by around two feet. Even more concerning, melting glaciers affect nearby bodies of ice, which leads to additional runoff. Scientists previously found that sea levels are rising faster than they have over the past 2,800 years. Experts also anticipate that oceans might double their current pace over the next 100 years. The vast majority of the rise in sea levels is due to melting Antarctic glaciers. These massive chunks of ice contribute an astounding 14,000 tons of water per second into surrounding oceans . Via Fortune Image via NASA

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Reimagine a resilient future with this nature-based tool

January 30, 2019 by  
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Most Americans have personally experienced a federally declared, weather-related disaster in the last decade. In fact, the number is 96 percent of the population. Both science and personal testimonies indicate that extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency.  Naturally Resilient Communities  is an interactive website that allows users to explore successful examples of nature-based solutions to reduce risks and re-imagine a resilient and connected future for their own communities. The guide, launched in 2017, provides case studies and funding suggestions for urban planners interested in learning how to implement specific ecosystem-based strategies that address pervasive challenges such as flooding, sea level rise and coastal erosion. Naturally Resilient Communities is a partnership between the American Planning Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Association of State Floodplain Managers, the Environmental and Water Resources Institute, the National Association of Counties, The Nature Conservancy and Sasaki Associates, with funding from the Kresge Foundation. What are nature-based solutions? Nature-based solutions, according to the site, are strategies that “use natural systems, mimic natural processes or work in tandem with traditional approaches to address specific hazards.” Ideally less expensive and destructive than “over-engineered” infrastructure, such as concrete sea walls, natural solutions protect and restore ecosystems that effectively filter and redirect storm water while providing additional benefits to nearby communities. For example, a healthy coastal marsh can reduce storm waves by up to 50 percent, and therefore provides a protective buffer for homes, businesses and infrastructure along the coast. In addition, marshes are an important habitat for birds , fish and other wildlife and can be used for recreational biking and walking trails. In turn, access to urban parks increases property values. It’s a win-win-win for the community, nature and the economy. “Investing in nature is both a viable way to adapt to climate change and a good way for the community to create the kind of future they want to live in,” Nate Woiwode of The Nature Conservancy told Inhabitat in an interview. “It is smart investing across the board.” Related: Bronx community garden transformed with sustainable improvements Naturally Resilient Communities provides more than 20 suggestions of natural solutions and 30 case studies from cities and towns that successfully use them. The target audience is urban and rural planners or decision makers and the teams that support them. The guide has been utilized throughout North America and the world to engage residents and visualize smart climate action that takes nature and communities’ needs into account. Other examples of solutions include preserving floodplains and upstream watersheds, rather than paving and developing within feet of a river. Healthy river ecosystems allow space for natural, upstream flooding in times of heavy rain and reduce catastrophic flooding in urban areas downstream. The online tool allows users to specify and filter their searches based on hazard, region, type of community (eg. rural or urban) and implementation price range. Users can click on various solutions displayed on a visual coastal landscape graphic to learn more about the benefits. Nature-based solutions include: Parks and preserves Restoration of marsh, reef, sea grass, beach or mangroves Relocation of homes and businesses in flood-prone areas Flood bypass Horizontal levees Flood water detention basins Trees and vegetation throughout streets, parking lots or roofs Bioswales Rain gardens Horizontal levees , for example, integrate marsh land with a below-ground concrete wall. This alternate approach to a traditional concrete wall provides a natural buffer zone, reduces the size, cost and maintenance of the hard structure and provides natural habitat with recreational opportunities, such as birding trails. The partnership behind the online tool hopes that by making the benefits clear and accessible, municipalities will feel empowered and motivated to integrate nature into their adaptation and development plans. Green spaces build a sense of community, slow down and redirect storm water, improve water and air quality, sequester carbon and reduce heat radiating from concrete during hot summers. Natural habitats provide shelter for a variety of species, increasing biodiversity, ecotourism and commercially important fisheries. Related: Sean Parker’s wedding violations result in new app for California coastline Numerous studies also indicate a profoundly positive psychological impact of nature and access to green spaces, including increased physical activity and health. One study from California indicated that 90 percent of minor crimes occurred in places where residents had no access to vegetated areas. Facing both rising urgency and increasing public support, cities and towns are interested in implementing sustainability measures but almost always lack information and funding. In addition to case studies and links for more resources, the online tool also provides suggestions for different funding strategies. “Counties are on the front lines of emergency response and preparedness,” said Sally Clark, president of the National Association of Counties, in a press release . “And we’re pursuing forward-thinking measures to mitigate risk and foster local resiliency. The Naturally Resilient Communities project helps us leverage natural and other resources to make our neighborhoods safer and more secure.” + Naturally Resilient Communities Images via Robert Jones , Lubos Houska and Free Photos

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MVRDV designs solar-powered KoolKiel with Jenga-like architecture in Germany

January 30, 2019 by  
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Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has unveiled plans to redevelop a post-industrial city block in Kiel, Germany, into an eye-catching, mixed-use complex that matches the creative spirit of the site’s current tenants. Dubbed “KoolKiel,” the 65,000-square-meter redevelopment project will include the adaptive reuse of the existing single-story W8 Medienzentrum building as well as the addition of a new zig-zagging plinth, office tower and hotel tower. The buildings will also be equipped with rooftop solar panels, rainwater catchment systems, green roofs and other energy-efficient features. Located near the southernmost tip of the Kiel Fjord, the project site is currently home to W8 Medienzentrum, a large, single-story building that was originally used for storing chains for ships and has been converted into an office space housing mostly companies in media and the creative industries. Inspired by the influence of these tenants on the area’s “unique and charismatic” identity, MVRDV has drawn inspiration from the existing community of companies for the KoolKiel design. The proposal will remake W8 Medienzentrum’s existing structure into a mix of commercial units with apartments above, while the new buildings will offer additional office space, a 250-room hotel, more residences, retail and a public event space. Dynamic exterior spaces — from a public courtyard with street furniture to a rooftop park — will connect the various buildings. Creative community input will be key to the project. For instance, the facade, made from fiber reinforced concrete panels, will display icons inspired by creative local businesses and individuals. The flexible design system also gives the community the choice to change many of the interior and exterior elements of the buildings, from the number of cantilevered units on the hotel tower to the size and layout of apartments stacked above the existing W8 building. Related: MVRDV proposes a glowing “Times Square Taiwan” with interactive media facades “In a location with such a dynamic and creative existing community, it’s obvious that the community should have a say in this development,” said Jacob van Rijs, principal and cofounder of MVRDV. “KoolKiel is not only inspired by them, but it also allows them to tailor the proposal to their wishes — we’re presenting them with not just a design, but also a question: ‘how “Kool” do you want it?’” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV designs solar-powered KoolKiel with Jenga-like architecture in Germany

This new initiative aims to sustainably recycle your old bras

January 30, 2019 by  
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As tidying up continues to be one of the top trends in 2019, bra company Harper Wilde is asking its customers what they are doing with old bras they no longer use. Charities don’t accept most used bras, but if you throw them in the trash, they end up in landfills . To fix that problem, Harper Wilde is teaming up with For Days to launch a new bra recycling initiative. When customers order bras from Harper Wilde, the company always sends a prepaid return shipping label with the order to facilitate easy returns if the bras don’t fit properly or if the customer isn’t happy with the purchase. Now, customers can put their old bras in the box and use the prepaid shipping label to send them to Harper Wilde, and the company will recycle them . Related: Eco-friendly options for decluttering waste Harper Wilde and For Days are promoting the new recycling initiative on social media with the hashtag #RecycleBra, so customers can tell the world how easy it is to dispose of their old bras in a responsible way. Both Harper Wilde and For Days are direct-to-consumer brands that use a closed-loop membership model. When ordering from Harper Wilde, customers can order three bras at a time and return anything they don’t want to keep. For Days is a T-shirt retailer that sells organic cotton tees. Members of the site order shirts, then keep what they love and return what they don’t like. They can also return old T-shirts and get a “refresh.” When that happens, For Days sorts, sanitizes and breaks down the shirts and blends them into fresh, new yarn that it uses to make more shirts. Now that Harper Wilde has partnered with For Days for recycling, it can break down the materials from old bras and repurpose the material. The fibers can’t be used for new bras just yet, but they can be upcycled into new yarn that can be used for other clothing items or downcycled into industrial products. + Harper Wilde Image via Shutterstock

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This new initiative aims to sustainably recycle your old bras

How to teach children about climate change

January 22, 2019 by  
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As the saying goes, children are our future. Because they will be the next voice in striving toward a sustainable planet, they must first be aware of the problems and possible solutions. But implying that the earth will eventually burst into a fiery ball and there’s little we can do about it might not be the best approach. When educating children about climate change , it’s important to make sure the information is age-appropriate, you use positive, empowering language and you remember to revisit the conversation often. Here are a few pointers to get you, and your potentially earth-saving discussion, headed in the right direction. Make it age-appropriate Children are both imaginative and literal, so a phrase like, “We’re killing the planet” can set the conversation off on the wrong path. Remember that those developing minds are a blank slate when it comes to climate change. They don’t have decades of knowledge, facts and fallacies from which to work. For children under the age of eight, keep the conversation focused around a love of nature . Impress upon them the beauty around them. Talk about the importance of picking up garbage, helping animals and growing plants. With an understanding of nature, children will have a better comprehension of climate change down the road. Around the age of nine or 10, children are able to consume more abstract concepts. This means that they can absorb information through discussion and hands-on activities. Related: 7 ways to conserve water and reduce your water footprint Make it tangible Although children become capable of engaging in the discussion, it’s always better to help them see the problem through hands-on activities. The goal is to visually express the point. For example, create a science experiment in your kitchen where you grow plants in an aquarium and add chemicals to the water. Show them images of environmental pollution and talk about how the food chain is affected by the loss of a species. When thinking about examples that will resonate with your child, keep in mind his or her interests. Are they passionate about a particular animal? What about babies, trees, bugs or food? Meet them where their interests lie for the best results. Be factual, not inflammatory For children to have an understanding that might lead to change, they must first understand the facts. Using fear tactics is not likely to net the result you’re looking for. Instead, focus on facts that are easily digestible. Don’t worry about statistics and hard data. Instead, discuss things that interest them. Make it a regular conversation. While washing the vegetables at the kitchen sink, discuss where the water comes from, how it’s treated and where it goes after it heads down the drain. Explain how chemicals in that water end up back in the system. When planting the garden, talk about how the plants benefit from sunlight and water, and how that ultimately brings energy into our bodies. Remember that the conversation regarding climate change will be ongoing. As they get older, discuss reports, news and articles. Educate them about how the fossil fuels  that plastic is made from affects the planet, and challenge them to think about changes you could make as a family to eliminate plastic in your home. Your children will have questions. When they do, admit if you don’t have the answers. Empower them by showing them how to perform effective research and find the answers together (within the allowed boundaries of internet usage in your home). While you’re online, track down a carbon footprint calculator and have your children complete it with you as a measurement of your electrical and water consumption. Find resources for every age The idea of climate change is certainly not new, and generations of teachers and parents have found interesting ways to discuss the issues with children of all ages. Books and videos that cover the effects of climate change on our planet are prevalent and allow you to preview material before sharing it with children. Read books that are engaging and informative. Start with “The Magic School Bus” or “Bill Nye the Science Guy” for digestible and entertaining content. Related: Oceans warming 40 percent faster than previously thought Keep it positive Although a virtual dark cloud sometimes goes hand-in-hand with discussions around climate change, try to focus conversations around positive actions. Discussing the topic by showing your child news reports of other children picking up plastic trash or businesses aimed at sustainable practices. This shows them that many, many people are making tangible changes already and offers encouragement that they too can make a difference through small or large actions. Do as you say The most powerful statement you can make to your child is living the life that you talk about. Although children hear what you say, when they see you taking your own shopping bags to the grocery store and they understand why, it drives home the message. Work with your children to avoid single-use plastic by making your own yogurt and applesauce, taking a reusable water bottle everywhere you go and declining straws at the restaurant. Recycle at home and explain the process as you go. Nurture their environmentalist tendencies by signing up for a beach clean up day or a community tree planting event. Via Rainforest Alliance , NASA , Scholastic and Study Images via Shutterstock

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Pet food manufacturers are experimenting with insects instead of meat

January 22, 2019 by  
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It is now a well-established fact that there is a link between human meat consumption and climate change, thanks to the CO2 and methane emissions that come from raising and transporting cattle and pigs. Since pets are responsible for 20 percent of global meat consumption, some pet food manufacturers are turning to insects instead of beef to make their products. According to the BBC, one pet food manufacturer says that 40 percent of its new product is made from black soldier flies, which are an excellent source of sustainable protein. The food comes from UK startup Yora, but does it meet your dog’s nutritional needs? Pet diet expert at the Royal Veterinary College, Aarti Kathrani, says that the flies can be a useful part of your pet’s diet, but more research is needed. “Insects can be a very useful source of protein,” Kathrani said. “More studies are needed to show how much of these nutrients can actually be absorbed by a dog’s body— but some studies suggest that insects can provide nutrients for dogs.” Related: Can vegan pet food be good for the planet and your pet? Since they use a smaller percentage of water and land, flies do produce protein more efficiently than cows. However, the environmental effects of feeding your dog flies instead of meaty food go much deeper. Analysis results showed that when societies become wealthier, people opt to indulge muscle meat rather than meat from internal organs. Those organs, also known as offal, are just as nutritious, so it gets made into pet food. Which concludes that dog food is just as sustainable (or unsustainable) as human meat consumption. And, if we wean dogs off of meat and switch them to insects , what would we do with the offal? Insects in cat food can be a different story as cats tends to be more picky with their food because they can’t make taurine, an essential amino acid. They do get their taurine from meat and fish, but Dr. Kathrani says that there are insects that also contain taurine and could be useful for a feline diet. In addition to Yora, other competitors have popped up in the pet food market that are incorporating fly protein , including Insectdog, Entomapetfood, EnviroFlight, Chippin and Wilderharrier. Via BBC Images via Shutterstock

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Pet food manufacturers are experimenting with insects instead of meat

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