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Photo by Susan O'Donnell
Pressing flowers and plants can be a lovely family tradition that keeps us looking closely at nature. Choose from four easy methods
Pressing flowers and plants dates back to ancient times as a form of collecting and preserving species. In the 16th century, Japanese artists began incorporating them into artwork. It can be a lovely tradition to do with children, one that keeps them looking closely at nature. Choose from four easy techniques: using a book, a wooden press, ironing, or microwaving.
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Photo by Susan O'Donnell
McDonald’s has opened a net-zero carbon restaurant in England that will act as a blueprint for future restaurants, an industry first
Treehugger.org reported on a McDonald's restaurant built in England "which is one of the first to account for embodied carbon—the upfront carbon that is emitted in the construction of the restaurant—as well as the operating emissions."* They lowered carbon emissions during construction by using various recycled materials, including appliances:
"The walls were insulated with sheep wool and clad with metal made from recycled IT equipment and "white goods": washers, fridges, and stoves, along with sustainably sourced poplar and plastic cladding made from recycled plastic bottles. The internal parapets on the roof, which nobody sees, are apparently made from recycled toasters and blenders. Instead of the usual aluminum commercial windows, it has used sustainably sourced timber.
A thousand concrete curbs were replaced with Durakerbs made out of plastic bottles, and the drive-thru lane is paved with recycled tires."
Operating emissions were reduced by installing solar panels as well as wind turbines. Author Lloyd Alter described this as an impressive first step toward sustainable construction.
Consider owning a limited-edition fine art print by A-list nature photographers sponsored by the non-profit Vital Impacts, with proceeds benefiting grassroots conservation campaigns
The non-profit organization Vital Impacts is featured in a recent article on Treehugger.com. This group of 100 photographers "is selling fine arts images with proceeds benefiting organizations that work to sustain the planet. During the first sale, 60% of net-proceeds will go to the Big Life Foundation, Great Plains Foundation's Project Ranger, Jane Goodall Institute's Roots and Shoots program, and SeaLegacy." Their intention is to raise awareness about the natural world and the organizations that work to protect it.
Mary Jo DiLonardo, December 7, 2021, "A-List Photographers Sell Fine Art Prints in Project to Aid Conservation," www.treehugger.com
Travel and tourism companies are starting to incorporate ways of supporting the local communities at their travel destinations and reducing the carbon footprint of their traveling customers. Katherine Martinko lists several such tourism companies in this 2021 article on treehugger.com.
It is easy to be overcome with dispair when hearing about the doom and gloom of the direction our planet is taking. To combat this, Treehugger.com writer Katherine Martinko recommends the podcast "How to Save a Planet" for those looking educated and inspired with doable climate solutions. She states that "the podcast's goal, as described in the introductory episode, is to ask, "What do we need to do to address the climate crisis and how do we make those things happen?" Its weekly episodes are meant to address to real-life questions and dilemmas, some of which are submitted by listeners, by bringing in experts, analyzing problems from various angles, and listing practical takeaways at the end.....What sets "How to Save a Planet" apart immediately from both other environmentally-minded podcasts and climate change reporting in general is its positive, upbeat attitude. The hosts are playful and jovial and Blumberg and Johnson share back-and-forth repartees that do not, in fact, make the subject matter seem less serious, but rather more approachable."*
*Katherine Martinko, December 8, 2020, "'How to Save a Planet' Might Become Your New Favorite Podcast, treehugger.com.
Treehugger.com writer Katherine Martinko recommends the following books for guiding activities to enjoy the outdoors with children. She selected these books based on their presentation of "excellent activities and lessons for learning about the seasons, foods and materials found in nature (including in urban settings), wildlife, astronomy, and more. These are the perfect answer to parents who aren't sure what to do with their kids outside, or for educators wanting to broaden their students' perception of the world."*
Martinko lists three books in particular:
For more descriptions, see:
*Katherine Martinko, September 16, 2020, "These Nature-Based Activity Books Are Perfect for Entertaining Kids Outdoors," Treehugger.com
Every time you answer the daily trivia question at https://www.freetheocean.com/ a piece of plastic is removed from the ocean.
A father-daughter team from Bend started a website called freetheocean.com designed to help rid the ocean of plastic pollution. According to Bendsource.com, "one click equals one piece of plastic removed. Anyone can go to the site, answer the daily trivia question and help clean up the ocean and coastline. For every question answered correctly or not, one piece of plastic is removed."* The website also raises awareness about the impact of plastics on the ocean.
Answering on-line trivia questions is a fun way to fund the pollution cleaning activities of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Parley Global Cleanup Network.
*"Free the Ocean." January 30, 2020, https://www.bendsource.com/bend/free-the-ocean/Content?oid=11893269
Photo by Hillary Daniels, Flickr
The global climate action organization Earth Day urges, “as we exercise our individual and collective responsibility to reduce viral transmissions to preserve human health, we can still exercise our responsibility to act for environmental health. We can use this solitary time to reassess our current habits and develop new ones that are better for the planet.”*
Earth Day’s authors suggest “11 actions for the planet during a pandemic”. Check them out here.
*11 Actions for the Planet During a Pandemic," March 19, 2020, https://www.earthday.org/11-actions-for-the-planet-during-a-pandemic/
Relieve your children’s anxiety about the future of the planet by showing them the steps you are taking to fight climate change
Sierra Club Magazine writer Mary DeMocker makes several suggestions for how to help children ease their anxiety that is growing from all they are hearing about the climate crisis. First, it's important to just listen as they verbalize their fears. In response, it is important to be honest with them but to also point out the progress and activism working to counter the effects. With her own children, she "assured them that apocalypse isn’t inevitable and that scientists say we have the time and the technology to avert catastrophe."* Another approach that DeMocker suggests is spending time outside connecting with nature. Finally, be a role model or work as a family to take concrete steps yourselves. For example, "an easy first step might be a family challenge to reduce food waste by 20 percent. Or, students could do school research projects about the kind of energy their local utility uses, and who gets to make that decision. Families could explore what’s happening locally with forest restoration or fossil fuel resistance, and decide how to support those efforts."*
*Mary DeMocker, Jan 25 2020. "So your kids are stressed out about the climate crisis. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/so-your-kids-are-stressed-out-about-climate-crisis?suppress=true&utm_source=greenlife&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter
Palm oil production is driving rainforest destruction. Choose palm oil-free foods and personal care products.
In Southeast Asia, Africa and South America, large areas of rainforest are being cleared to make room for palm oil production. Complex ecosystems are being replaced by monoculture palm oil plantations, driving endangered species like orangutans to the brink of extinction. The burning of native forests creates air pollution, sets the stage for large-scale erosion, and contributes to climate change.
The World Wildlife Fund reports that more than half of all packaged products Americans consume contain palm oil – everything from soap and cosmetics to processed foods and even ice cream. Finding palm oil-free alternatives in the supermarket is not always easy. Nether Providence Soap Company and Hand in Hand Soap are two examples of local companies whose personal care products do not contain palm oil.
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