I had the idea for this post during my July project: Nature and Us. However as I couldn’t get it to fit in I wanted to make it a separate post all together.
Production of food and drink is a multi billionaire business. Eating is a basic human necessity and yet, despite all the food to go around, all of the food produced each year and the food available on the shelves, millions go hungry.
According to the BBC, as of 2020, 700 million people are going hungry. That number is increasing every year.
A meeting was held in 2019 by a branch of the UN and talks were held about food waste what needs to be done to make changes.
“Deeply concerned that approximately one third of the food produced annually in the world for human consumption, equivalent to some 1.3 billion tonnes and representing an approximate value of 990 billion United States dollars, is lost or wasted, while 821 million people suffer from undernourishment.”
Why is so much food wasted?
Well, many reasons could factor but one answer is it goes off before it is used. Life is busy so when you get home after a long day on your feet you are not in the mood to make food for yourself.
There are recipes out there that can use few ingredients and take no more than 15 mins to make.
Shark Fin Soup is a traditional soup that is part of Chinese cuisine. The shark fins provide texture and then the taste comes from the other soup ingredients. It is most commonly served at special occasions such as weddings and banquets, or as a luxury item.
The cartilage in the fins are usually shredded and used to thicken the soup. It embodies good luck, or good fortune. But why are warnings given about eating this dish? And what impact does this have on the population of sharks?
According to ScienceDirect, there is Mercury and arsenic in processed fins from nine of the most traded shark species in the Hong Kong and China dried seafood markets. A team discovered that the food being consumed by the people contains high levels of mercury that is actually legally considered unsafe for humans.
According to a 2018 report by Marine Policy, more than 1 million tons of shark product are caught each year. This translates to about 100 million sharks that are killed per year
Affect on the shark
After their fins have been cut off, sharks are able to survive a little while, however because they cannot move to filter oxygen through their gills, they sink to the bottom of the ocean and die in excruciating pain either due to lack of oxygen or hunger, often both.
It is sickening to think that millions of sharks are subjected to this each year. How can this amount of pain be a sign of good luck for a human, regardless of traditions?
Affect on the environment
Shark populations have significantly decreased over the previous years, and no doubt! The amount of sharks harvested and lack of selection deplete the populations faster than they can reproduce.
No sorry. I am not talking about The Disney film Frozen. If you were looking for that you’re going to be disappointed. But don’t leave yet! I want to chat about Ice caps.
What is an Ice cap? According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, it is a dome-like sheet of ice that covers the lands features and it can spread for kilometers in all directions.
Almost 10% of the worlds land mass is covered in frozen water in Glacier’s and ice caps. Why are they so important though, are they useful to the environment? and what is the effect climate change is having on them?
First of all, lets delve into why they are beneficial.
They spoke about the importance of snow and ice. Here is a quote from their paper:
The global significance of ice and snow is profound. Less ice, snow and permafrost may amplify global warming in various ways. Melting glaciers and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will raise the mean sea level. The retreating sea ice, in combination with increased supply of fresh water from melting glaciers and warmer ocean temperatures, could affect the strength of major ocean currents.
This could spell disaster for many countries who depend on the slow melt from the glaciers, carried by rivers to support their agriculture and domestic water supplies. If their water source just disappears, the people who need this water will suffer greatly.
Animals in Greeenland
Polar bears, Humpback wales, Musk Oxen, Walruses, Reindeer and White,tailed eagles. They all live either on the land, sea or in the air surrounding Greenland.
I was amazed to find that Greenland has the worlds largest national park, and that actually, the animals have a larger domain than the islanders who live there. Because the park is so big, it means that the animals can roam undisturbed by unwanted human visitors. But despite the paradisiac wilderness, a significant part of the Greenland ice sheet is on the brink of a tipping point. What does this mean?
Melting its ice sheet completely would eventually raise global sea level by 7 metres. In the event this happens, the Netherlands would be completely wiped out. Denmark would become much smaller, the Polynesian islands would be submerged. Miami & Tokyo would be rendered uninhabitable.
As a rule of thumb, for every centimetre rise in global sea level, another 6 million people are exposed to coastal flooding around the planet. On current trends, Greenland ice melting will cause 100 million people to be flooded each year by the end of the century, so 400 million in total due to sea level rise.
Andrew Shepherd. NASA, scientist from university of Leeds. (Source)
So we have covered what they are, why they’re useful and what the affect climate change is having on the glaciers and icecaps. Now, we are going to discuss what can we do to help?
Do your part.
Speak up. You can take a stand in protecting the planet by writing to government officials to stop endangering our eco system. You can take action here: Actions | NRDC
Reduce water waste. So take shorter showers, turn off the tap if your’e not using it. (The EPA estimates that if just one out of every 100 American homes were fitted with water-efficient fixtures, about 100 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year would be saved—avoiding 80,000 tons of global warming pollution.)
Eat the food you buy…eat less meat. Since livestock products are among the most resource-intensive to produce, eating meat-free meals can make a big difference, too. The amount of in-date food that goes into landfills in America each year could actually feed whole villages in 3rd world countries like India.
Walk or bike. Do not drive if you don’t have to. If your destination is 5 mins away in the car, use the opportunity to get the exercise and walk or cycle, if you are able to. You could even make use of public transport!
If you are interested in learning more, head on over to the NRDC website and have a look at the different articles available.
Thank you for listening.
If you would like to join in on this project, head on over to this page to learn more! I would love it if you joined in.
Apiphobia, mottephobia, spheksophobia. What do these three have in common? They are the names of the three main insect fears, fear of bees, moths and wasps. Why are so many people scared of insects, how important are insects to the eco system and how can we help them?
Why are people afraid of them?
Now it may be as simple as, they have had a bad experience with them. I think everyone has had a bug jump out at them when they least expect it, and yet not everyone will scream when they see another one at a different time. Maybe it’s learnt behaviour. Who knows?
Well according to The Cut, “Psychologists studying disgust, talk about something called the “rejection response” — the overwhelming feeling that you need to get this thing away from you, like, right now. The rejection response, like fear, is a mechanism designed to keep us safe. The presence of insects often indicates that something isn’t safe to consume or touch” and so overtime we have “come to associate the messenger with the threat itself .”
The National Geographic has an interesting article and it lists ways they impact and play a part in the environment – They are providers, decomposers, pest controllers and pollinators.
Without them, “species that are higher up the food chain suffer population losses.”
We know that insects break down waste products, unlocking certain nutrients for other insects, so without them and those unlocked nutrients: “Waste and carrion would persist in ecosystems, impeding the flow of nutrients.”
“By feeding on crop-threatening pests, predatory insects perform the role of pesticides without chemicals”. Without them, “Pests proliferate, damaging crops and forests, spurring increased pesticide use.”
Did you know that “one out of every three bites of food humans eat relies on animal pollination in the production process.” Without bees and other pollinating insects, “humans and animals lose key food sources.”.
Fun ways for all the family or even just yourself to help can be found listed below. One massive one is STOP using chemicals that kill them!!! No matter how “careful” you may be, they will kill a wide range of insects, not including your intended target.
Dig a pond.
Plant Native Plants.
Make a nectar bar!
Compost your waste
Making a nectar bar means including plants in your garden that are rich in nectar. For example Buddleia is well known for attracting nectar feeding insects such as butterflies and hoverflies throughout the summer.
I would love to hear how you are helping our insects. Do you have a bug house in your garden? Do you have flowers? Let me know in the comments and do not be afraid to get involved. To learn how, head to the page : Nature and Us.
I had a submission last month sent in by Jathilda. It is a beautiful read and I was delighted to receive it. I hope you enjoy it as much I did.
Hardly any topic is as much discussed as environmental matters. Yet there aren´t enough efforts to disburden our beautiful earth. Against this backdrop, it is more important than ever to take action. Whether that might mean buying groceries at your local market, reducing emissions by riding the bike, supporting sustainable businesses or raising awareness for this theme.
The blogger Talitha Tulloch from Talitha’s Travels created a series called #natureandus which revolves around our planet, the breathtaking wonders it´s offering us and how we can give some eco-friendly love back.
Sometimes we seem to forget what an actual honor it is to live on this planet. How lucky we are to catch a glimpse of nature´s miracles.
I can still remember the moment, when I first experienced my love for nature.
It was 2004, when toddler-me visited my second home, the Philippines, for the first time. My father´s German and my Mother´s Filipina, and although I was born and raised in Germany, I always felt a deeper connection to my Filipino roots. After we had visited our relatives in Manila, we traveled to Boracay, the most breathtaking place I’ve ever been to.
When we got off the plane, our hotel room wasn´t ready yet. We used this spare time to take a break from the flight in an adorable café, which was only a couple of steps away from the beach.
After my mother ordered some beverages, I became very impatient and fidgety. All I could think about was jumping off my chair and running into the turquoise, sparkling waves. Which is exactly what I did after another five minutes of annoying my mother with my chair acrobatics. Since my bikini was still locked in a suitcase, all that a café guest could see, was a cheering toddler in Hello Kitty panties, stumbling towards the beach on the most excited pair of legs
The water touched my feet, and in that moment I felt pure, genuine joy. Until today I feel the most happy on the beach.
Beaches fill my heart with bliss and every sense of stress, irritation or helplessness disappears. Nothing compares to this wonderful bond with nature.
That´s why pictures of coral bleaching, littered beaches and plastic-contaminated oceans are not only making me sad, but furious. The good thing is, that we have still time to turn this ship around.
We can still take actions to make this earth liveable for future generations, to make sure that the waves of enlightenment hit our children or grandchildren, too.
Thank you so much Jathilda for your submission! Here are their social media links to find more about them:
When I started this project, I started to talk about it with a coworker. We spoke about how the Japanese use forests to help him de-stress. He mentioned how he notices the difference to his mind and body as soon as he walks amongst the trees. He can feel the stress leave him. He feels better.
It got me thinking, why does this happen? Why is it important we all get out into nature?
The Japanese have a type of therapy that they find is working. It’s called Forest Bathing.
What is it? Walking into the green and soaking up the air, feeling the tension, anxiety and stress leave your body. Studies taken by Japanese researchers found that just taking a 40 minute walk among on a forest floor reduces the glucose levels in diabetics, it has a positive affect on those who suffer with depression and even anger.
How can we do this though if there are no forests left, for both us and the wildlife?
Can you guess roughly how many trees are cut down every year? I was shocked when I looked into it. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2016 State of the Forests report, it revealed that 7 million hectares of forest are lost annually while agricultural land expands by 6 million. How many acres is that annually that’s lost? 172,973,76. All that land decimated.
What is the impact on the Earth??
Well animals lose their home. How would you feel if you were minding your business and all of a sudden you were evicted from your home with no where else to go and no say in the matter. You have grown up there, it is familiar and all of a sudden it is gone. That happens to so many, many animals everyday and they have no voice.
Trees soak up the carbon dioxide and pump out clean oxygen. Now, people chop down trees, and replace them with farm animals or mining facilities. Creating more carbon dioxide becoming a burden on the climate, because they got rid of the trees that were helping us.
Showing a tree some love – Tree hugging.
If you have never hugged a tree, you are missing out. Why is it beneficial? Hugging a tree basically makes you happy. It releases the hormones oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin.
Trees are more than amazing. We need to stop the destruction of them, otherwise we are going to have none left.
Here are some charities to check out and/or support if you are able: