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Wildlife

Celebrating National Honey Bee Day: 11 Ways Honey Bees Improve Our Planet

August 18, 2017
National Honey Bee Day

Despite the common use of phrases such as “busy as a bee” and “make a beeline,” there is nothing routine about honey bees. In existence for approximately 125 million years, the honey bee provides many benefits to humans, our natural food sources and the planet. In honor of National Honey Bee Day on August 19, we’ve compiled 11 ways that bees make our world better.

1. Bee Products Fight Significant Disease

Bumblebee venom has been used to treat arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and depression. Studies have found honey, venom and royal jelly help to shrink cancerous tumors.

2. Honey Doesn’t Spoil

Its water content, at approximately 17 percent, is much lower than that of fungi or bacteria. Honey is the only food whose shelf life is forever.

3. Honey Works As an Antibiotic

As a medicinal aid, it offers unique antibacterial benefits for safe and effective wound care. Cuts, burns, psoriasis, eczema and even fungal infections respond positively to mindful topical honey applications.

4. Honey Bees Predict Storms

Exceptionally sensitive to environmental electromagnetic change, bees sense oncoming rainfall and thunderstorms. If you notice a sudden absence of bee activity, get ready for some extreme weather.

5. Honey Offers an Excellent After-Workout Replenishment

Its unique glycemic index equalizes blood sugar spikes, which typically occur after intense exercise. Honey’s distinct mineral composition targets muscle recuperation and may increase the output of subsequent workouts.

6. Bees Are Distinctively Symbiotic

No other creature on this planet performs its exclusive pollination service. Bees derive pollen necessary for honey and wax production from a wide variety of plants and flowers that, in turn, utilize powder delivered by bees for reproduction. Without pollen-producing plants, bees would cease to exist, and vice versa.

7. Bees Pollinate One-Third of Our Food

A vast majority of fruits and vegetables depend on pollination, including one important plant — alfalfa, which, in turn, feeds our beef and cattle. In the United States alone, bee-pollinated crops account for approximately $6.8 billion in sales.

8. Honey Bees Catalyze Crop Growth

In fact, active bee pollination spurs plants to produce up to 300 percent more per season. It’s no wonder beekeepers are welcome neighbors to savvy farmers and often compensated for their service.

9. Just a Spoonful of Honey Offers a Myriad of Preventive Benefits

Honey eliminates free radicals in the human body. It contains 27 minerals, 22 amino acids and over 5,000 protective enzymes. It’s no wonder royal jelly, bee pollen and raw honey all repeatedly earn superfood accolades.

10. Beeswax Has a Multitude of Uses Outside the Hive

In cosmetics, its natural ability to lock in moisture makes it ideal for lip balms and skin salves alike. Beeswax candles burn longer and cleaner than conventional paraffin alternatives without any soot. Did you know beeswax prevents rust formation on cast iron pieces and tools? Or that it is commonly used to seal natural cheeses? In a pinch, you can even use beeswax for polishing shoes. As such, it also provides weatherproof protection.

11. Honey Bees Promote Biodiversity

Bees routinely pollinate over 150 crop plants as well as a plethora of wild flowers and native brush. Our planet’s vital green space could not survive without the consistent reproductive service they provide. A healthy ecosystem regulates climate, purifies water, maintains soil balance and provides essential natural resources.

In a trickle-down scenario, the mighty work of bees can be hailed as a crucial element to the healthy maintenance of our planet. Now that’s cause for celebration. Happy National Honey Bee Day, indeed.

Environment

A Carbon Footprint You May Never Have Considered: Your Apparel

August 14, 2017
Carbon Footprint of Apparel

You’re well aware of the usual suspects that cause your carbon footprint to grow — driving a gas-guzzling car, eating imported produce and tossing recyclables in the trash can all come to mind. But you might not realize you’re hurting the earth by building your wardrobe without considering the carbon footprint of apparel.

On the list of products most often purchased by consumers — and most often replaced by them, too — clothing and accessories come just after food and beverages on the list. This means the apparel industry has had to figure out how to produce products as quickly and as cheaply as possible. It’s no surprise, then, that their methods end up taking the planet and its resources for granted.

Clothing Production Wastes and Pollutes Water

Look at the tag in the back of your shirt or in your favorite pair of slacks. What was the main ingredient used to create the garment? It’s likely you will find it’s made of cotton, which means you’re wearing a not-so-eco-friendly fabric unknowingly.

To successfully grow enough cotton to produce a single shirt, farmers need around 2,700 liters of water to properly irrigate the crop. This is more than two times what an average person drinks in a year. As you can imagine, this means cotton production in places where people already struggle to get the water they need to drink puts quite the strain on the environment.

Clothing manufacturers are also notorious for polluting water during production. On top of that, lots of water is required to dye fabrics. This water, of course, becomes waste afterward.

Manufacturing Uses Fossil Fuels and Chemicals

Cotton isn’t the only offender when it comes to non-eco-friendly practices. Digging deeper into clothing production reveals just how dependent some fabrics are on the most notorious materials.

Take polyester, for example. In order to produce the most commonly used clothing fiber in the world, manufacturers use 70 million barrels of oil every year. Many other synthetic fibers emit extremely damaging gases, like N2O, 300 times worse for the atmosphere than CO2. And, of all the world’s chemicals, 25 percent are used by the textile industry.

These decisions clearly come back to hurt the earth in the long run. It’s easy to see how the atmosphere suffers and how such reliance on non-sustainable fossil fuels can quickly deplete the planet’s resources. But it’s not just production that makes a big difference to the earth around us. For example, plastic fibers shed from our clothing make up 85 percent of the man-made material found on the U.S. coastline.

Cleaning Out Your Closet Can Make Waste

Cleaning out closest

The average American discards around 70 pounds of clothing per year. What do you do with clothes you no longer want? If you said, “Throw them in the trash,” there’s work to be done to shrink your carbon footprint further.

Clothing still in good condition can have a second life if you donate it to a non-profit organization that sells secondhand goods for cheaper prices or gives items to the less-fortunate for free. The garments that aren’t in resale condition might still have a bit of value if you can get a bit creative:

  • Use holey old T-shirts to create dust rags for your house
  • Let your kids turn old socks into puppets the next time you’re stuck inside on a rainy day

Some companies will even recycle the most down-and-out textiles in your home in order to create industrial rags or other useful products. The possibilities are endless, so do your research before you toss fabric into the trash.

It’s a Joint Effort to Get Greener

Now that you know the clothing industry’s secrets — and have improved your own methods for cleaning out your closets — you are better prepared for shrinking the carbon footprint you leave behind. You should feel good about your efforts to learn and do more. You’re working toward the greater good and safeguarding the earth for generations to come.

Wildlife

Why Can Some Animals Live in Urban Environments While Others Cannot?

August 11, 2017
Animals in Urban Environments

It’s common today to see animals in urban environments. Squirrels, opossums, badgers, foxes, otters, monkeys, birds and insects live happily various cities around the world.

Other species, though, just can’t seem to make it in the big city. Researchers have noticed this and have begun identifying characteristics that make some animals better than others at living in urban areas.

Adaptability

One of the overarching themes in the differences between those that thrive in cities and those that don’t is adaptability. Cities are quite different from animals’ natural habitats, and animals need to be able to adjust to these environments to survive.

Cities also change rapidly. Buildings go up, roads get paved and plants get cut down all the time. Animals need to be able to adjust quickly to these changes in their habitats.

Scientists have discovered that city living is actually altering the brains and behavior of animals. Species are not only adapting in the short term, but they’re also evolving as a species to thrive in urban environments.

Generalists

Animals that are generalists – that is, they don’t need highly specific things to survive — are better at adapting to urban environments. Food sources in cities can vary dramatically from day to day as new things are imported and people vary their diets. For this reason, animals that eat a wide range of foods survive better.

Other features change frequently in cities as well. Habitats are altered, new species are introduced and people’s attitudes toward animals can change rather quickly.

Non-Native Food Sources

Cities are often havens for non-native species that wouldn’t find what they need in the natural habitats outside of the cities they live in. That’s because people import and export a higher volume of items into and out of cities than in the countryside.

Plants that people import and use for decorative purposes feed non-native insects that often hitchhike their way into the city on these plants themselves. Non-native animals may just find that they prefer the availability of non-native food sources available in cities.

Intelligence

All of this adapting requires a lot of intelligence to pull off. Studies have confirmed that animals with bigger brains relative to their body size are more likely to be successful in cities.

Researchers at a university in Sweden conducted a study of 82 different species of birds and found the ones with larger brains, such as crows and wrens, were better city dwellers. This is also true with very similar species. Another research project found that white-footed mice and meadow voles that lived in cities had bigger brains than those that lived outside of urban areas.

Warmer City Environments

Because the man-made surfaces in cities absorb heat better than natural surfaces, cities are generally hotter than other nearby areas. This is often referred to as the “heat island effect.”

For this reason, animals that prefer warmer climates tend to do better in cities. Those who don’t do well with higher temperatures typically can’t survive. Sometimes, these heat-loving species are non-native ones that come from warmer climates.

Agility

Another feature of successful city dwellers has to do with their physical abilities. Urban areas contain lots of strange obstacles, such as fences and buildings. In order to get around, animals need to be able to comfortably climb these barriers.

Agility can also be crucial to finding food that’s lying in trash cans, dumpsters or other receptacles. Animals may also need to climb over or around obstacles to avoid roads and other dangerous areas.

Less Competition

Some species thrive in urban environments because the species they typically compete with don’t. If their predators or other animals that eat the same things as them aren’t around, there’s less danger or competition for food. This leads to spikes in these species’ populations and encourages them to stick around the cities where life is easier for them.

Urbanization is changing the environment as well as the ways animals live. As urban environments expand, wildlife is adapting, often out of necessity. As this continues, which it likely will, highly adaptable species will have some advantages over those that can’t change their lifestyles as readily.

Environment

A Climate Change Side Effect: Risk Epicenters

August 7, 2017
Climate Change Side Effect

Climate change has become a divisive concept. Some believe that a climate change side effect only impact a small portion of the world and that the consequences won’t be that severe. Then, there are the people who believe that climate change is the biggest and most important problem facing humanity today. Science shows this second group of people is on the right track, as there is a growing body of articles and research studies that show climate change will have significant consequences.

But just how badly will climate change affect the world? Unnervingly, in more ways than one.

Socio-Economic

This is an often-overlooked climate change side effect. If harsh heat wipes out crops in the southern part of the U.S., this isn’t just a problem for farmers. Rather, it affects an entire social class. Conversely, those in the northern part of the U.S. may not be as affected.

One study shows how climate change would affect people according to socioeconomics. The study showed that the poorest third of counties in the U.S. are set to experience an income loss of between two and 20 percent. Granted, this is a worst-case scenario, but it’s important to acknowledge the deadly possibility of this outcome.

Water

You can live without food for weeks, but you need water every 72 hours to stay alive. It’s such a valuable resource, people may even go to war over water supplies in the next 100 years as clean water becomes increasingly scarce. If climate change continues to eviscerate certain parts of the world with massive droughts, vast reserves of water begin to look better and better.

Recently, Egypt threatened Ethiopia. Why? Ethiopia wanted to dam the Nile River. If that doesn’t scream “urgent problem,” nothing does. Water is key to life on Earth, and will be profoundly affected by climate change.

Melting

The Arctic is the focal point of melting ice caps. As the Earth gets warmer, it’s only natural that the icy parts of the world will begin to melt. Not only does this endanger the lives of people and wildlife, it affects the political landscape, as well.

What happens if a crumbling iceberg wipes out a town, or if rising sea levels drown coastlines? Who takes the blame for this? It’s a scary idea that deserves discussion.

Pandemics

Rapidly spreading diseases can affect any country on the planet — especially in our highly mobile modern society. You may believe you’re not at risk for a pandemic if you live in a medically advanced country like the U.S., but the risk for a pandemic focuses more on unstoppable viruses and diseases. Nobody on Earth is truly safe from a pandemic.

Pandemics can also raise political tension, as travel bans begin to be enacted. It’s only a matter of time before those tensions rise to a tipping point.

Migration

This is an aspect that may come as a surprise to you. In certain parts of the world, climate change is making some areas unlivable. Whether they are under attack from constant monsoons or continuous drought, these extreme weather events are too much for some populations.

If people can’t live in these areas, they’ll begin to migrate. And, as we’ve seen, many countries don’t welcome massive in-migrations of refugees. It causes a lot of problems, and it’s a serious issue that needs to be considered when dealing with climate change.

Oceans

Deep-Seafloor: The New Frontier

August 4, 2017
Deep-Seafloor

The oceans are an essential resource that the U.S. and other countries need to maintain and explore. Not everyone realizes it, but the world depends on the ocean. Awareness about the deep-seafloor is usually in connection to stopping trash from ending up around the necks of sea turtles, in the guts of seagulls or from joining the Pacific Ocean’s garbage patch.

It’s time to find out just why the world needs to explore its oceans more. And now is the time to take charge of the water and learn from it. We’ll then be able to predict weather patterns, animal migration or even the next catastrophic event, such as a hurricane or tsunami, with more accuracy than ever before.

It Starts With Mapping

Getting an accurate map of the ocean floor is vital to understanding the power and life it holds. It’s common knowledge that people have only explored about five percent of the world’s waters, but why? Without the right technology, and accurate maps, scientists can’t learn more about the ocean anytime soon.

So, what’s being done to create accurate, helpful maps of the seafloor? In June 2017, Seabed 2030 started the first effort to create a single, comprehensive map of the ocean floor. That’s 140 million square miles, for anyone who’s counting.

As the name suggests, the project won’t finish until at least 2030. The biggest issue when mapping the ocean floor is salt water. Modern technology has a hard time reaching through the water to the depths of the sea, which is why we know more about the surface of other planets than Earth’s five oceans.

It Continues With Gravity

While projects like Seabed 2030 are happening, there are others that are mapping the ocean from a different perspective.

Using Earth’s magnetic field, an international scientific team created a topographic map using gravity. This new map will aid people that sail shipping cargo into or out of the U.S. by preventing accidents where boats run into an undetected shallow seabed, also known as ship grounding.

This effort strengthens the American economy and infrastructure because the global trade market is key to the country’s operations. Other maps can also base their starting point off of the now-known topographical one, which makes the mapping process even faster for other scientists.

It Concludes With Science

The more scientists learn about oceans, the more the world benefits from their findings.

Researchers can use maps to chart exploratory trips to find out more about sea life, but they can also harvest natural minerals like copper, nickel and cobalt. These untapped mines could contain more than what exists on land, expanding the lifetime of the mineral marketplace and potentially reducing inflated prices.

Investments into ocean mapping by countries, like the U.S., would give those who reach the resources first a boost to their global market and economy. Mining marine resources could also create more jobs as facilities and techniques are developed to bring the minerals back to land.

Understanding what’s beneath the ocean floor would also expand the science community’s understanding of fish migrations. Plus the shape of the seafloor impacts when and where tsunamis will happen. Understanding this could lead to more accurate weather warnings.

Creating a map of the entire ocean floor is the new space-race for scientists and countries worldwide. Researchers want to know what’s underneath the boats and ships cruising across the water, and will soon find out what’s at the bottom of the newest frontier. It’ll just take time, dedication and a lot of science.

Environment

Going Green is for Everyone

July 31, 2017
Going Green

“Going green” seems to be the buzzword of this generation. It refers to making changes in your life that will help the planet and slow down the negative effects that have been impacting the environment. For some, going green might seem like a “hippie” movement, and they might dismiss it as a lifestyle that is not for them.

While there is a variety of different ways to go green, you don’t have to go to extremes — like becoming vegan or living in a commune — to develop a lifestyle that improves your health and the planet. Anyone can make simple changes in their lives to have a positive impact on the world.

Start Small

Going green starts with small steps that can be done inside the home on a daily basis. For example, turning off lights when you’re not in the room helps. So does using rechargeable batteries and setting electronic devices to energy saver mode. Have some appliances in your house you don’t use every day? Unplug them until you need them to save on energy.

You can also make small adjustments to conserve water. It is one of the most important elements on the planet to sustain life. Without it, you can’t grow food or hydrate your body. It’s crucial for survival. Water is both a renewable and nonrenewable resource, so it’s imperative to preserve it — and you don’t have to turn your whole way of life upside-down to accomplish that.

Some small things you can do to go green with water include installing low-flow shower heads and toilets, turning off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth and changing your landscaping to plants that are native to your area so they use less water. Native plants also help conserve the natural environment of your area.

Other ways to start small with going green include walking or riding a bike when possible instead of driving a car. This will reduce emissions released into the atmosphere and put you on the path to healthy living through exercise.

Make It a Family Affair

No one said you had to go green on your own. Get your family and friends involved. After you’ve started with the small steps, gradually adding more ways to be green will be easy and will have a huge impact on the environment. Here are some ideas:

  • Recycle

    Does your community have a recycling program? If so, participate and have your kids help separate the trash from the recyclables. Even toddlers have the ability to separate plastic, cardboard, glass and paper into individual bins for pick up. If it all goes into one bin, even easier!

 

  • Grow a garden

    Planting a garden as a family has so many benefits. Kids will learn where food comes from and how to eat healthily. Having fresh fruits and veggies reduces the amount of food you have to buy from the grocery store, which in turn reduces the amount of package waste and the impact of shipping products from one area to another. In addition, you’ll bond as a family and teach your kids responsibility.

Family garden

 

  • Use reusable bags and containers

When you make your trips to the store, take reusable bags with you. When you pack a lunch for work or for your kids, use reusable containers. This small practice reduces the amount of waste in landfills.

Another way you and your family can go green is by reusing paper at home. Whenever you have to print a document, print on both sides. If you only print on one side, use the other side for art projects or cut the paper into smaller pieces to make your own note pads. If you have old toys, furniture or clothing that your kids have outgrown, find ways to recycle them instead of throwing them into the landfill.

Going green doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It is definitely the trendy thing to do, but it has so many benefits for you and the environment. Saving the planet is going to take all of us. Start small and go from there — it will add up to make a huge impact.

Oceans

Can We Save the Great Barrier Reef?

July 28, 2017
Great Barrier Reef

Coral reefs are hot dive spots all around the world, and the Great Barrier Reef is among the best of the best. It’s the largest reef system in the world, consisting of about 3,000 separate reefs all clustered together.

Coral reefs are kind of like the rainforests of the ocean. They house the most marine life while taking up the smallest amount of space on the sea floor. This makes them incredibly important for the entire marine ecosystem.

They can be hazards for surfers and ships, but they are life support systems for the rest of the ocean. This is why the coral bleaching events are so worrisome, and what brings us to the question of whether or not we can save the Great Barrier Reef.

The Symbiosis

Coral bleaching occurs as a result of stressors. This might not be a surprise, but coral doesn’t adapt to change very quickly. When it gets stressed, like it does when oceanic temperatures rise, it spits out something called zooxanthellae. These are tiny, plant like organisms that give the corals their color and perform photosynthesis, providing the coral with nutrients.

When those zooxanthellae get expelled from the coral, it can no longer get those nutrients. If the stressor isn’t removed from the environment quickly enough, the coral will eventually either starve to death or die of infection. Bleached coral isn’t dead. It’s just close to it.

Global Bleaching Events

The greatest coral bleaching event ever recorded started in 2015 and is still going. Technically, it’s been several bleaching events, but they have impacted some of the same reefs for multiple years, which isn’t exactly allowing the coral to recover. The Great Barrier Reef is one of those coral colonies that’s been hit for the past few years, and it’s dying as a result.

A whopping 29 percent of the Great Barrier Reef died as a consequence of the 2016 bleaching event. The reef might not be dead yet, but we sure are making strides at killing it. The problem with this is two-fold. Of course, we’re killing off the coral, but we’re killing it much faster than it can regrow. At the same time, we haven’t stopped warming the atmosphere and, therefore, the water.

There’s No Stopping It

You might have realized by now that scientists aren’t debating if climate change is real or not. Rather, it’s a case of how bad it might be. The reason for this is simple. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is being expelled in mass amounts, about 2.4 million pounds per second. Even if we were to stop all greenhouse gas emissions this exact second, it wouldn’t be enough because CO2 sticks around — and around, and around. It takes anywhere from 20 to 200 years for it to dissolve back into the ocean and stop warming our planet. There’s simply not enough time.

So, if the waters continue to warm, as they are expected to do, and we can’t stop our production of greenhouse gases — let alone start removing them from the air — it makes sense that we’ll continue to lose the coral reefs.

Now, this isn’t to say that we’ll lose all the coral reefs everywhere. There is some chance that corals will adapt to the rise in temperature if it stays below 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, the diversity of coral would be greatly diminished, and any remaining semblance of the Great Barrier Reef would be a ghost of its former glory.

Can We Save the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef will not survive climate change. The obituaries that were written for it as a publicity stunt to draw attention will turn out to be more accurate than the authors imagined. The truth is, the Great Barrier Reef has created its own ecosystem. When it dies, and the ecosystem will inevitably also die. It took 25 million years to build it, and we will have destroyed it in a century.

The fact that we can’t stop the inevitable death of the reefs shouldn’t be enough to prevent us from trying. We can still help some coral survive, but we can’t do it by pretending climate change isn’t real. Each person needs to take responsibility for their actions and the actions of others. We might not be able to preserve our planet the way it is now, but we can certainly help it recuperate for the future.

Environment

The Debate Over Teaching Climate Change in Schools

July 24, 2017
Climate Change

Even with concern for climate change in the US being the highest it’s been in about 30 years, only 45 percent of Americans are worried about it. This almost even split is likely to make the debate over the issue of climate change even more controversial regardless of whether you believe or doubt the phenomena.

However, more debate has risen recently over whether school curriculums should include climate change. This conundrum is extremely complicated, delving into issues beyond climate change itself, like how we decide what topics our children learn.

What Has Happened?

Recent events have proven that the debate over teaching climate change in schools is far from finished. In Florida, House Bill 989 passed in June. This bill enabled any individual in Florida to raise concerns about a school’s curriculum and potentially have it changed. Some people believe this bill to be an attack on the teaching of climate change and other controversial topics.

Similarly, in February 2017, the state of Idaho removed any references to climate change from the education curriculum. While many Republican sources argued that the move was simply an act of giving control back to individual school districts over their own curriculum, the specific removal of how human behavior affects Earth’s climate can be viewed as a direct attack on the teaching of climate change itself.

Theory or Fact?

The issue at the heart of the debate over teaching climate change in schools is whether it is a scientific theory or scientific fact. Few question the place of scientific facts in our nation’s curriculum — gravity is a force keeping us on the ground. Electrons have a negative charge, and humans are mammals. But should we consider climate change a fact or theory?

The general scientific consensus is that climate change happens, and we are at least one of the causes. While many prominent scientists and officials do question this basic premise, most controversy surrounds the extent that humans influence global warming. This is why many people criticize the teaching of climate change in schools. If uncertainty exists, then many people believe schools should not teach the subject to their children.

To Teach or Not to Teach — That Is the Question

The uncertainty surrounding climate change is one of the main reasons why its relevance to the curriculum is questioned so regularly. However, 97 percent of scientists agree on both climate change happening in the world and human activity’s effect on it — so is it really that uncertain?

The real danger that surrounds teaching climate change in schools comes from the potential for teachers to fail to teach it properly. Climate change’s controversial nature is likely to spur passionate opinions from even teachers themselves, supposed bastions of impartiality.

Many teachers misrepresent the scientific consensus regarding climate change, teaching inconsistently with the reportedly 97 percent of the scientific community who support the occurrence of human-influenced climate change.

What to Do?

So what is the solution to the debate over teaching climate change in schools?

Simply put, there is no one solution. No single action can possibly solve the myriad of problems likely to arise from teaching climate change in schools, or from failing to teach it.

But if, as many scientists believe, human activity is a factor in climate change, then it is essential for the next generation to learn about the potential effects of their actions — and what they can do to alleviate the results of those actions.

Wildlife

Behind the Scenes of Wildlife Documentaries: Less Authentic Than You Might Think

July 17, 2017

While most of us never get the chance to get up close to animals in their natural habitats, we can catch a glimpse thanks to wildlife documentaries. These films and TV shows let us see shots of beautiful natural landscapes, learn how animals grow up and watch exhilarating footage of hunting.

But how natural are nature documentaries, really? Do the people that make them ever fake it?

As it turns out, they sometimes do. While most people that work on these projects certainly mean well, they sometimes revert to tricks and shortcuts some might deem deceptive.

Telling a Story

In order to make any media project interesting to people, you have to tell a story. While this is a normal part of filmmaking, some might say the storytelling tactics of nature documentarians can be deceiving.

The way a narrator frames footage can have a significant impact on how viewers perceive it, especially in combination with the soundtrack and special effects. For example, many wildlife documentaries frame predators as vicious monsters that will stop at nothing to kill.

This can make a scene more exciting, and cause you to sympathize with the prey, which makes you more involved in the story. It can also give frequently demonized creatures, like sharks, a bad reputation with people.

Shark for wildlife documentaries

Describing a hunt in this way is, of course, a dramatization. In reality, both creatures are just trying to survive.

Documentary makers might also leave out things that happened if they don’t fit with the story they want to convey.

For example, in the BBC’s “the Hunt,” the directors wanted viewers to emphasize more with the predators, so they didn’t show footage of what happened after prey was caught. This, they decided, would be upsetting to viewers and cast the predators in a bad light.

Faking It

While framing a story in a certain way might be permissible, sometimes documentary crews actually fake footage or manipulate animals to get them to do what they want.

The truth is some of the wildlife you see in wildlife documentaries might not be wild at all. People who work on these projects have admitted to using footage of animals in zoos or animals they rented from game farms. Some scenes are even augmented with CGI.

Sometimes, the sets have also been manipulated to make these scenes seem more real. For instance, BBC’s Frozen Planet included footage of a mother polar bear and her cubs in their den. The den, however, was man-made and was located at a Dutch zoo. What looked like snow in the film was actually wood chips. The film didn’t explain this to its viewers.

Sir David Attenborough, who narrated the project, defended the choice. He says nothing would have ruined the moment and made the film less enjoyable. Attenborough has publicly supported filming animals in captivity rather than in the wild, saying it keeps both animals and humans safer.

Clever Editing

To documentary filmmaker’s credit, the footage of non-wild specimens is often interlaced with actual shots of animals in the wild.

Patching together shots of various different animals is actually fairly common practice. When you’re listening to the story of how a family of lions raises its cubs for instance, you’re probably not watching the same family the whole time. The footage is more likely a compilation of various groups of lions.

Often, these scenes are edited in such a way that it looks like it’s all footage of the same animals. Some might call this deceptive, while others would say it’s a natural part of filmmaking. The narrator never actually said all of the footage was of the exact same animals.

You could make decent cases both for and against these practices of modern-day nature documentarians. On the one hand, most of them don’t deny using them, and they do make a more interesting film. On the other, they often don’t explicitly point them out either, and viewers reasonably assume they’re watching actual wildlife footage.

Green Technology

Looking for a New Car? Here Are Some Green Car Options

July 14, 2017

Twenty years ago, finding something “environmentally friendly” to drive meant relegating yourself to a three-cylinder Geo or a moped. Technology has come a long, long way since the 90’s. With new restrictions from the EPA, and other groups forcing manufacturers to consider emissions in every model they produce, people are getting environmentally friendly cars they want to drive.

So now that you’ve got all these great choices, which one should you choose? Good question, depending on your needs from the car and how green you want to be, any of the cars listed here could be the right fit for you.

Toyota Prius

Run a search for “green car,” and this is the model that’s likely to come up. The Prius is currently in its fourth generation. That’s a testament to the car’s practicality and reliability, and if you’re not put off by the one-of-a-kind styling, the Prius can be a fantastic car to own.

With just over 120 horsepower, the Prius isn’t made for racing, but its electric motor provides the torque to get up to highway speed without fear of being crushed. The Prius shines in comfortably moving four people and their things over an impressive distance on very little “dinosaur gas.”

Hyundai Ioniq

It took the Korean Hyundai/Kia team a few years to catch up to other manufacturers, but their first attempt at a hybrid car is hailed as an instant hit. Part of what makes the Ioniq so likable is that it abandons the philosophy hybrids should stand out on the road. Instead, they made it look like a regular car and hey, people want to drive it!

The Ioniq is primarily a runabout due to its 124-mile range, but it does feature fast charging and performance comparable to the competition from Toyota and Ford.

Tesla Model 3

While it might not be an option until production recovers from the initial onslaught of public interest, the Model 3 should represent a real alternative for those who would otherwise buy a Prius.

Yes, its $35,000 price tag would require you to check every option on a Prius to even approach, but you never have to buy gas for the Tesla because it is entirely electric. The Tesla also outperforms the Prius and features the expected host of interior options that Tesla has made its name on, such as an expansive touch-screen center console.

Lexus CT 200h

What’s that you say? You’d buy a Prius if it weren’t so awkward to look at and had, perhaps, a nicer interior. Friend, look upon the used CT 200h and rejoice! If you’re not the type who’s read every word that Car & Driver has published in the last decade, you might have missed this car.

Just think of it as a Lexus Prius with a nice low price tag because, sadly, the CT is discontinued. People didn’t know where it fit-in, earning only 40+ mpg to the Prius’ 50+ and lacking the sporty nature of other small luxury cars. If you can getpast that, it’s got a comfy Lexus interior, handsome looks, and it will probably survive nuclear fallout.

Chevrolet Colorado Diesel

But these little cars can’t do work! It’s true, finding a work vehicle that can get the job done without polluting is hard. While one best-selling vehicle in America can be had with an “environmentally-friendly” turbo V6 sporting a name that rhymes with “piece of goose,” real-world testing exposes that engine’s environmental shortcomings.

The Colorado, however, uses an old-school eco-friendly approach; diesel. It can achieve over 30 mpg and thanks to its 370 ft. lbs. of torque, it can do all the towing and haul your full-size gasoline truck from 2004 could. Look for these to become gems on the resale market.

Make your Choice

These five options give you three different fuel types to choose from and represent everything from the bargain-basement to upscale luxury. If you thought going green meant making compromises, today’s car market will prove you wrong, because these are only the beginnings. Happy car shopping, keep it green!