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Environment

2018 Environmental News and Recap

December 31, 2018
environmental news

The future of the planet isn’t often a positive topic of discussion, and it’s admittedly easy to see the negatives. As fluctuating temperatures, unseasonable weather and natural disasters such as hurricanes and forest fires grow more common, it seems our current course is taking us toward even greater environmental disaster.

In truth, there’s still time to change the future’s trajectory, and politicians and entrepreneurs have made incredible progress in the renewable energy sector and other areas of restoration and conservation. 2018 was a pivotal year for the planet, and we’ll recap some important environmental news everyone should know about.

Compromised Ecosystems & Alternative Materials

The non-biodegradable properties of plastic make it an enormous threat to marine life. Many animals are unable to differentiate the material from their food, and an estimated 90 percent of seagulls have shards of plastic in their gut. In consideration of the unsettling fact that nine million tons of plastic enter oceans every year, the number of affected seabirds will only continue to grow, representing an enormous disruption in the ecosystem with severe consequences.

There’s hope for the future as a greater number of people adopt eco-friendly alternatives to plastic. Society’s growing awareness of the issue has led to an increase in the popularity of bamboo straws and compostable utensils made from cornstarch, simple solutions which divert massive amounts of waste from the ocean. Many cities, states and countries are beginning to restrict plastic bags, and Prime Minister Theresa May has outlined a plan to ban plastic straws.

The Global Food Supply and New Strains of Crops

Rising temperatures linked to climate change could hurt crop yields on a global scale. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study claiming that for every degree (Celsius) the Earth warms, corn yields would decrease by an average of 7.4 percent. Wheat yields would drop by an average of 6 percent, soybean yields by 3.1 percent and rice yields by 3.2 percent — all disconcerting to think about.

As temperatures rise, however, scientists continue to develop new strains of crops to deal with climate extremes. They’re preparing for a future where intense changes in temperatures and weather conditions cause short-term droughts and other issues that compromise agriculture. That said, everyone can do their part, and those who make a vegetarian diet part of their New Year’s resolutions are helping to decrease greenhouse gases and extend the global food supply.

Climate Refugees and Renewable Energy Initiatives

Researchers estimate two billion people will have to flee their homes by the year 2100 due to rising sea levels. The problem will reach the U.S. in susceptible states such as Florida. Around the world, flooded coastlines will force refugees to search for safety on higher ground. Charles Geisler, the lead author of the study, predicts other conflicts such as the issues policymakers will inevitably face when they have to address migration for displaced families.

While the study is troubling, countries across the globe have organized renewable energy initiatives with the potential to change the future. In places such as Tunisia, Wales and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, politicians and entrepreneurs have planned ambitious projects and programs to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Through solar, wind, geothermal and tidal technology, they intend to make a massive transition toward clean energy.

Climate-Related Illnesses and Wind Farms

Heat stress related to global warming, the spread of infectious diseases, extreme weather events and malnutrition are going to increase, according to the World Health Organization in a 2017 report. They estimate that death rates as a result of climate change will exceed a quarter of a million each year by 2050, a grim portent of what’s to come if policymakers don’t act to implement eco-friendly programs. Fortunately, some countries have taken note.

China’s air quality is notoriously poor, and the pollution is often harmful to the health of those who live there. As the world’s leading contributor of carbon emissions, this seems inevitable. Despite its reputation, China has developed the Gansu Wind Farm Project, a series of large-scale wind farms which will help the country move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy, averting some of the short- and long-term consequences associated with dependence on fossil fuels.

A Better Balance With the Planet Is Possible

More than that, a better balance with the planet is plausible. Eco-friendly solutions such as alternative materials and renewable energy initiatives are promising, and as scientists develop new strains of crops, it’s clear we’re capable of adapting to the challenges that lie ahead. These challenges are inevitable.

Despite excessive waste, rising temperatures and sea levels, a compromised food supply and climate-related illnesses, not all the environmental news this year was negative. As countries acknowledge the threat of global warming and act with a greater awareness of their impact, the world is changing positively.

Environment

The Top Sustainable Beauty Brands

December 27, 2018
sustainable beauty brands

This is the fifth and final part of our series looking into environmental issues with the beauty industry, areas it’s excelling in sustainability and where we can expect to see sustainability efforts improve in the future. You can find the previous post here. Hope you have enjoyed reading!

 

You’ve decided to switch to sustainable beauty to benefit your health and the planet we all share. Good for you, eco-warrior!

Followers of this series already know some handy tips and tricks for making your daily beauty routine greener. Still, companies that have already gone the extra mile in implementing sustainable practices deserve some major props and increased patronage (although I’m not an affiliate with any of these brands — just a fan of sustainable companies). Read up on some top sustainable beauty brands that can make your grooming more Earth-friendly.

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Environment

Sustainable Cosmetic Packaging Revolutionizing the Beauty Industry

December 24, 2018
sustainable cosmetic packaging

This is the fourth of a five-post series looking into environmental issues with the beauty industry, areas it’s excelling in sustainability and where we can expect to see sustainability efforts improve in the future. You can find the previous post here.

 

While environmentally friendly personal care companies originally marketed primarily to those with a hippie or new age mindset, today, beauty product manufacturers who ignore trends toward sustainability risk becoming obsolete. Conscientious consumers, especially millennials and Gen Zers increasingly demand products that treat the planet kindly. As science develops ever more eco-friendly packaging materials, cosmetic manufacturers benefit both the Earth and their bottom line by utilizing these innovations to decrease their carbon footprint.

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Environment

How to Identify Sustainable Beauty Products by Their Ingredients

December 20, 2018
sustainable beauty products

This is the third of a five-post series looking into environmental issues with the beauty industry, areas it’s excelling in sustainability and where we can expect to see sustainability efforts improve in the future. You can find the previous post here.

 

Many people know that switching to sustainable beauty products helps the environment, but did you know it may improve your health as well?

As many of the chemicals typically used in cosmetic production have yet to undergo rigorous testing, no one truly knows the impact these synthetic substances may have on health. But we do know that the skin absorbs chemical additives like a sponge. So avoiding personal hygiene products laden with chemical additives and preservatives just makes sense.

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Environment

How Did Sustainable Beauty Begin, and What Are the Current Trends?

December 17, 2018
sustainable beauty

This is the second post in a five-part series environmental issues with the beauty industry, areas it’s excelling in sustainability and where we can expect to see sustainability efforts improve in the future. You can find the previous post here.

 

In today’s electronically connected world, consumers have greater access to information about the products they use than ever before. As a result, manufacturers face increasing public pressure to abandon wasteful production practices and embrace cleaner, greener alternatives.

The beauty industry stands at the forefront of the sustainability movement. Consumers criticize non-essential items most harshly. While few people encounter public scorn for activities such as driving — which pollutes heavily but remains a necessity — choosing to patronize beauty brands accused of unsustainable practices has long raised eyebrows. Cosmetics manufacturers continue to experiment with new techniques to create products that enhance beauty without destroying the planet.

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Environment

Common Beauty Industry Environmental Issues

December 13, 2018
beauty industry environmental issues

This is the first of a five-post series looking into environmental issues with the beauty industry, areas it’s excelling in sustainability and where we can expect to see sustainability efforts improve in the future.

 

More people than ever before recognize the importance of going green to humankind’s continued existence on this planet and with good reason. The most recent National Climate Assessment strongly suggests that failing to take immediate action to address climate change will cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

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Environment

How Climate Heroes Are Saving Our Planet

December 6, 2018
climate hero

Most people accept climate change as a reality and one of the biggest collective challenges humanity has yet to overcome. With few exceptions, the general public sees climate change for what it is: a threat.

Though many people understand the danger climate change poses to the planet and both human and non-human lives, the concept can seem abstract at times. Unless you’re a prominent environmentalist or study climate science yourself, you may not be familiar with the world’s climate heroes. These individuals are taking direct action to stop environmental destruction in its tracks.

Who are today’s climate heroes? What role do they play in stopping climate change? And how can the average citizen contribute? Humanity’s ability to create big environmental change relies on the answers to these important but often overlooked questions.

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Green Technology

How Can Lean Manufacturing Be Sustainable

October 18, 2018

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword — it is an important part of almost every industry if the industry wants to continue to grow and thrive in the modern economy. Lean manufacturing can be a great way for a number of different industries to increase efficiency and productivity but can it also be sustainable?

What is Lean Manufacturing?

First, what is lean manufacturing?

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Wildlife

How Can You Participate In National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month?

October 8, 2018

There’s nothing better than having a little furry family member ready to greet you when you get home every day. Nothing, that is, other than adopting one from a shelter or animal rescue. October is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. If you don’t already have a dog — or if you do — how can you participate in this awesome month-long event?

Start at Your Local Shelter

The best place to start during National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month is at your local animal shelter. Depending on where you live and how many animals are currently staying in the shelter, you may be able to find the perfect new four-legged member to add to your family. Many animal shelters run events and offer discounts on adoption fees during this month to encourage adoption.

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Environment

How to Live Green When No One Around You Is

October 1, 2018
how to live green

You’ve done the research and have started taking some steps.

Maybe you’ve eliminated plastic from your life, or you’ve committed to buying organic food and composting or producing as little waste as possible. You’ve discovered a new determination to break old habits and build new ones, to doing your part to help heal the world.

Especially if you are just beginning your green journey, you are probably full of excitement and determination. But more than likely, you are surrounded by people who don’t share your passion — whether it’s unsupportive family members, skeptical friends or antagonistic co-workers, it’s easy to feel alone in your green lifestyle.

It’s only natural to want the people you care about to join you, or at least to understand why you are making different choices. But sometimes, no matter what we do, we can’t seem to get our people on our side. Here are some ways to handle relationships with people who aren’t supportive of your new sustainable lifestyle.

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