Monday, February 21, 2011

Enjoy the beach...take your litter with you!

You enjoyed a day at the beach. The seabirds were diving, dolphins jumping and you even managed to catch a couple of nice-sized fish. You pack up and leave behind, an empty foam cup, a plastic water bottle, 12 inches of twisted fishing line and a half-buried, plastic bag. Have you ever wondered what happens to the litter you leave behind?

Aside from its unsightly appearance, litter ultimately ends up in the ocean. Litter negatively affects marine animals in two ways, ingestion and entanglement. Many marine animals confuse ordinary litter with food and eat it or they become tangled in pieces of fishing line or gear. Whether eaten or entangled, litter causes infection, starvation and death for many animals.

Sea turtles don't know the difference between a floating plastic bag and a jellyfish, their favorite food. If eaten, a plastic bag may cause a blockage in the stomach resulting in starvation and death. A seabird may mistake a small piece of styrofoam for food, ingest it and ultimately starve and die. Pelicans can become entangled in a piece of discarded fishing line, restricting movement and flight. These animals may starve, drown or become severely injured from ordinary litter left on the beach.

The Sea Turtle Foundation estimates that 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles die every year from ingesting or becoming entangled in ocean litter. So, enjoy the beach and remember to take your litter with you.
By guest blogger Debi Haynes Photo courtesy snre.ufl.edu

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Love is in Bloom


Love is in the Air........

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and time is ticking away to purchase a gift for that special someone. Candy, jewelry, and cards are always a safe option, but this year, think outside the box. Sending a bouquet of flowers every Valentine’s Day gets stale. Flowers are quite the gesture, but there are other options than spending an absorbent amount of money for flowers that will just die in a few days. Bet you didn’t know that “when you inhale the sweet smell of a store-bought flower, you are also inhaling up to 127 different types of chemicals used on commercially-grown flowers, many of which are banned in the United States” according to the Organic Consumers Association.

Consider an alternative approach to show your sweetie how much you care by purchasing flowers that you both can plant together. Nothing says “I love you” like something that will live on long past Valentine’s Day! If you’re really industrious you can start these flowers from seeds yourself. Otherwise, consider purchasing bulbs or flowers from your local nursery or farmer’s market. Like the flowers, your love will blossom and continually grow through the seasons.
(Image: Victor Love Flowers)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

World Wetlands Day


Today we celebrate not only Groundhog’s Day, but it is also World Wetlands Day. Declared in 1971, countries around the world gathered to sign the Convention on Wetlands, an intergovernmental treaty and the first eco focused convention. Since then, on February 2nd activists all over the world unite and proclaim the benefits of wetlands around the world.

What are wetlands?


Many consider wetlands to lie in the surrounding coastal areas, however a wetland is any area of land where water covers a solid area that can range in various size, and can last years or just a few months. The embodying water can be still, flowing, fresh or salty. In North Carolina, wetlands are home to many plants and animals that rely on each other for food and shelter. Overall ,wetlands are the most valuable and productive ecosystems on the earth that provide food, shelter, and are areas for nurseries or buffer zones for animals breeding.

How to protect wetlands in North Carolina?

Pollution, urban encroachment and, partial drainage has strained the degradation of our wetlands. To help protect these valuable sources on our coast is a difficult task, however there are programs across the state that protect and support wetlands and the wildlife that you can participate in. Volunteer with the many watershed or conservation groups across the state, or work with a community group that take on a wetland to preserve. Plant native plants in your yard and limit the use of fertilizers and pesticides that pollute our neighboring waterways to the lakes and oceans.

Image from www.airheadscuba.com

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recycle & Reuse Unwanted clothes




Spring is slowly starting to make a presence, as is the time for spring cleaning. Beyond scrubbing the house from top to bottom what can you do about all those unwanted clothes that seem to have acquired permanent residence in your overstuffed closet and drawers? Recycle them! It may seem a little strange, but you recycle cans, newspapers, water bottles, and now clothing has become another item.



Do your part to be green and consider a few of these options:

A) Host a clothing swap- Invite your friends over, and ask that everyone brings items in good condition that they no longer want or have grown out of, by the end of the evening, you and all of your friends will have new items to add to your evolving wardrobe. Leftover items can be donated to a specific charity.

B) Consignment shops: Earn extra money to purchase some of spring’s latest fashions by taking unwanted clothing to local consignment shops in your town.

C) Textile art: If it seems you can’t part with that blouse because it has such a fantastic pattern or color, but the blouse has parted with you, there are a few options. Cut the sleeves off and take the body portion of the blouse to make a pillow. Visit a local craft store to purchase embellishments such as fringe, lace, ribbon, to enhance your newest home d├ęcor. If you have several pieces that you cannot part with, consider cutting patches of the clothing to make a blanket, or quilt. This is perfect for moms and or grand moms who want to save their children/grandchildren’s clothing through the years but simply do not have the space for the budding size change. Think creatively!

D) Consider the item: There are several items in your closet that can find a new home with some simple internet research. There are a variety of programs across the country that takes items to be reused or reshaped in another way. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe takes older sneakers in any condition then uses the rubber from the soles to make athletic playground surfaces such as interlocking gym floor tile and track surfaces.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection agency, “Reusing items or making them with less material decreases waste dramatically. Ultimately, fewer materials will need to be recycled, combusted for energy, or landfills.” So while sorting through your large collection of clothing, consider the options. You never know what items can have a new creative twist in your wardrobe collection.
Image from kitchenmagic.com