Tag Archives: organic

California is preparing for a weekend of wintertime wildfires.

Forests in the American West are having a harder time recovering from wildfires because of (what else?) climate change, according to new research published in Ecology Letters.

Researchers measured the growth of seedlings in 1,500 wildfire-scorched areas in Colorado, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Across the board, they found “significant decreases” in tree regeneration, a benchmark for forest resilience. In one-third of the sites, researchers found zero seedlings.

The warmest, driest forests were hit especially hard.

“Seedlings are more sensitive to warm, dry conditions than mature trees, so if the right conditions don’t exist within a few years following a wildfire, tree seedlings may not establish,” said Philip Higuera, a coauthor of the study.

Earlier this month, a separate study found that ponderosa pine and pinyon forests in the West are becoming less resilient due to droughts and warmer temperatures. Researchers told the New York Times that as trees disappear, some forests could shift to entirely different ecosystems, like grasslands or shrublands.

You’d think the rapid reconfiguration of entire ecosystems would really light a fire under us to deal with climate change, wouldn’t you?

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California is preparing for a weekend of wintertime wildfires.

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The 3 Holiday Plants You Have to Have

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You don’t have to have a green thumb — or be vegan — to delight in the presence of plants. Gardening and food consumption aside, household plants are pretty miraculous to have around due to their numerous superpowers. And what better time to take advantage than during the holidays, when we could all use as many superpowers as possible.

Health Benefits of Plants

Most of us realize the pluses of incorporating greenery in our indoor environments, including 20 percent less dust, according to a study by Washington State University. Besides magical fairy dusting and beautification of a space, plants can absorb up to 10 percent of carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the air we breathe. Plants even reduce stress and boost morale when placed in offices, simultaneously reducing airborne bacteria.

Plants Improve Indoor Air Quality

What many people are unaware of is the fact that certain plants do all of the above while also removing toxic gases and chemical vapors commonly found in our indoor environments, according to studies by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Green building today is great for energy efficiency, but it’s not always so great for our health. In 1973, NASA realized that indoor air pollution in tightly sealed structures could present health-related problems. The Clean Air Study, led by Dr. B.C. Wolverton in conjunction with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, discovered the miraculous benefits of 50 houseplants (three of them being holiday plants) that are exceptional little air scrubbers. These must be potted plants in soil and ideally, one should be placed every 100 feet for maximum air filtration benefits, as advised by NASA.

3 Holiday Plants that Remove Chemicals

Three popular holiday plants — the Poinsettia, the Norfolk Island Pine and the Christmas Cactus — work as natural, mini air purifiers. They provide an affordable defense by absorbing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia, from the air through the tiny openings in their leaves (stomata) and their root microbes. Let’s take a closer look at each plant.

1. Poinsettia

You’ll recognize this holiday beauty from its bright, vibrant bracts (leaves). Ironically, it’s not the flower of this plant, rather the leaves, that are grown in pink, red, white, speckled or marbled. Discovered by Joel Poinsett in 1830 in Southern Mexico, this plant prefers semi-shade. It’s easy to grow and pretty resistant to insect infestation. Water when the top layer is dry.

2. Norfolk Island Pine

Photo: Adobe Stock

This evergreen often serves as a mini Christmas tree with a similar appeal. One variety, the heterophylla, is suitable for indoors and can grow up to 10 feet high! It was discovered by Captain Cook and botanist Sir Joseph Banks. The Norfolk Island Pine prefers full sun to semi-shade. Use water sparingly in the winter and mist often.

3. Christmas Cactus

Photo: Adobe Stock

This beautiful cactus with bright red buds blooms fully in December. Unlike most plants, this cactus removes CO2 and releases oxygen at night, making it a great plant for the bedroom. It prefers semi-sun and is highly resistant to insect infestation. Allow it to dry between waterings.

There you have it — the perfect holiday or housewarming gift. Your host or hostess will be breathing easier through the hustle and bustle while enjoying a more beautiful and relaxing home.

The 3 Plants Every Home Should Have for Clean Air

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Better Breathing: 6 Of The Best Plants For Indoor Air Quality

The average American spends 90 percent of their time indoors. …Sarah LozanovaFebruary 11, 2016

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4 Ways Reducing and Reusing Can Save You Money

When most people think about reducing and reusing, they mainly …Anna JohanssonDecember 1, 2017

The 3 Holiday Plants You Have to Have

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Deciding what to prepare for a dinner party is difficult …Haley ShapleyNovember 29, 2017

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The 3 Holiday Plants You Have to Have

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The hellish 2017 hurricane season is officially over.

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The hellish 2017 hurricane season is officially over.

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Convicted coal baron Don Blankenship is running for U.S. Senate.

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Convicted coal baron Don Blankenship is running for U.S. Senate.

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Not all coal workers at the Clean Power Plan hearing in West Virginia wanted it repealed.

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Not all coal workers at the Clean Power Plan hearing in West Virginia wanted it repealed.

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Biomimicry – Janine M. Benyus

READ GREEN WITH E-BOOKS

Biomimicry

Innovation Inspired by Nature

Janine M. Benyus

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $9.99

Publish Date: August 11, 2009

Publisher: HarperCollins e-books

Seller: HarperCollins


This profound and accessible book details how science is studying nature’s best ideas to solve our toughest 21st-century problems. If chaos theory transformed our view of the universe, biomimicry is transforming our life on Earth. Biomimicry is innovation inspired by nature – taking advantage of evolution’s 3.8 billion years of R&D since the first bacteria. Biomimics study nature’s best ideas: photosynthesis, brain power, and shells – and adapt them for human use. They are revolutionising how we invent, compute, heal ourselves, harness energy, repair the environment, and feed the world. Science writer and lecturer Janine Benyus names and explains this phenomenon. She takes us into the lab and out in the field with cutting-edge researchers as they stir vats of proteins to unleash their computing power; analyse how electrons zipping around a leaf cell convert sunlight into fuel in trillionths of a second; discover miracle drugs by watching what chimps eat when they’re sick; study the hardy prairie as a model for low-maintenance agriculture; and more.

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Biomimicry – Janine M. Benyus

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Sea creatures may be eating all that plastic because it tastes delicious.

Poor dumb turtles and fish, always chomping on the ubiquitous plastic in the water by accident — or so the story went, until a handful of recent studies suggested sea creatures may actually be choosing to eat plastic.

In one of these experiments, researchers took single grains of sand and particles of microplastic — both around the same size and shape — and dropped them onto coral polyps. The tiny creatures responded to the plastic the same way they would to a tasty piece of food, stuffing the bits of trash into their mouths like so many Snickers Minis.

“Plastics may be inherently tasty,” Austin Allen, a study coauthor and marine science doctoral student at Duke University, told the Washington Post.

Coral polyps rely on chemical sensors — taste buds, essentially — to determine whether something is edible or not. And they were repeatedly chosing to swallow plastic during the study. Only once in 10 trials did a polyp make the same mistake with sand. In fact, the cleaner and fresher and more plastic-y the plastic was, the more readily the coral gulped it down.

While the long-term effects of the plastic-saturation of the planet are still unknown, this research suggests that accidentally tasty microplastics could pose an extra hazard to already beleaguered corals around the world.

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Sea creatures may be eating all that plastic because it tastes delicious.

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EPA is charging ExxonMobil $2.5 million for polluting Gulf Coast communities for decades.

Poor dumb turtles and fish, always chomping on the ubiquitous plastic in the water by accident — or so the story went, until a handful of recent studies suggested sea creatures may actually be choosing to eat plastic.

In one of these experiments, researchers took single grains of sand and particles of microplastic — both around the same size and shape — and dropped them onto coral polyps. The tiny creatures responded to the plastic the same way they would to a tasty piece of food, stuffing the bits of trash into their mouths like so many Snickers Minis.

“Plastics may be inherently tasty,” Austin Allen, a study coauthor and marine science doctoral student at Duke University, told the Washington Post.

Coral polyps rely on chemical sensors — taste buds, essentially — to determine whether something is edible or not. And they were repeatedly chosing to swallow plastic during the study. Only once in 10 trials did a polyp make the same mistake with sand. In fact, the cleaner and fresher and more plastic-y the plastic was, the more readily the coral gulped it down.

While the long-term effects of the plastic-saturation of the planet are still unknown, this research suggests that accidentally tasty microplastics could pose an extra hazard to already beleaguered corals around the world.

Original source – 

EPA is charging ExxonMobil $2.5 million for polluting Gulf Coast communities for decades.

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Wind energy over the oceans could power the world, geophysicists say.

Sorry to ruin the party, but a report from the Food Climate Research Network casts doubt on recent suggestions that pasture-raised cattle could sequester massive amounts of carbon in the soil.

By nibbling plants and stimulating new root growth, the old argument goes, cows can encourage deeper root networks, which suck up more carbon. Proponents of grass-fed meat have embraced these findings, saying that pasture-raised livestock could mitigate the impact of meat consumption on the environment.

The new report — cleverly titled “Grazed and Confused?” — acknowledges that pastured cattle can be carbon negative, but this depends on the right soil and weather conditions. In most places, according to the report, grazers produce much more greenhouse gas than they add to the ground. It is an “inconvenient truth,” the authors write, that most studies show grass-fed beef has a bigger carbon footprint than feedlot meat. “Increasing grass-fed ruminant numbers is, therefore, a self-defeating climate strategy,” the report concludes.

Fortunately, grass-fed beef is not the only solution being bandied about: Research shows that a small dose of seaweed in livestock feed could drastically reduce methane emissions. And if you really want to reduce your impact on the climate you could, you know, stop eating meat.

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Wind energy over the oceans could power the world, geophysicists say.

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5 Zero Waste Swaps to Make in Your Bathroom

Going zero waste can feel daunting ? trust me, I remember the feeling! The average American generates 4.5 pounds of trash every single day (that’s 220 million tons total each year).?How in the world does a person shrink down all that?household waste into nothing? Are there really?sustainable alternatives to everything I use in my daily life?

Truth is, going zero waste happens over the course of a lifetime ? baby step by baby step. One day, you decide to stop accepting plastic straws at restaurants; the next you locate a bulk shop in your area and start shopping exclusively package-free. And every day in between you gradually replace disposable, limited-use items with reusable, lasting ones.

Why This is Important

Our world is hooked on disposables. We manufacture and purchase?vast amounts of unrecyclable goods that are?designed to fail on us, then we throw them away without a second thought. Many of these are?single use plastics?that will not?decompose?for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

As such, most of these swaps involve replacing plastic with something better (often stainless steel, natural fibers or bamboo) that will stand the test of time or decompose naturally when it’s time to toss it.

Ready to join the party? Start by using up your old products (recycling, giving them away or selling them online), then gradually introduce these new options into your routine. Take care of them and you’ll be able to prevent all sorts of bathroom garbage from going to the landfill. Yipee!

10 Zero Waste Swaps to Make in Your Bathroom

1) Handkerchiefs vs. Tissues

Whether you’re fighting a cold or just dealing with allergies, it’s likely you go through a lot of tissues in your daily life. Grab a hankie instead! You can rinse?these as you go, then boil and line dry to get rid of any bacteria. Plus, they’re so much softer on the nose.

Related: 6 Potent Healing Herbs for Cold and Flu

2) Safety Razor vs. Disposable Razors

Disposable plastic razors are non-recyclable and extremely expensive. Plus, I’ve found that they tend to deteriorate remarkably quickly. Keep your skin smooth with a durable, stainless steel safety razor like this one instead and stop tossing razors for good.

3) Bulk Shampoo vs. Packaged Shampoo

Did you know you can buy hair and beauty products in bulk at most?bulk health food stores? It’s true! Just pour?what you need into a refillable glass pump bottle and use till it’s time to top off again. I purchased mine from Amazon, but you could likely find these in the bath aisle of any department store.

4) Coconut Oil vs. Makeup Remover

I’ve never found an eye makeup remover I like better than pure, organic coconut oil. It’s multi-purpose and dissolves?whatever tough makeup I have on at the end of the day. Buy your coconut oil in glass, then reuse or recycle the jar when you’re done with it.

Related: 15 Surprising Uses for Coconut Oil

5) Bamboo Toothbrush vs. Plastic Toothbrush

It’s time to be done with plastic like this for good! Standard plastic toothbrushes with plastic bristles are non-recyclable and wasteful. Look for a bamboo option instead. They are 100 percent biodegradable, eco-friendly and sustainably sourced and produced. Cool right? My favorite brands include Brush with Bamboo, WowE?and f.e.t.e. Huge fan!

Which zero waste swaps will you be making in your bathroom this fall? I’d love to know which ones stand out to you!?

Related:
How to Host a Zero Waste Dinner Party
3?Essential Zero Waste Items to Keep in Your Car
10 Ways to Start Living Zero Waste

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Zero Waste Swaps to Make in Your Bathroom

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