Across the planet, roughly half (yes half) of the world’s forest and trees have been cut down by humans. Even with new laws in some countries, which enforce re-planting of trees, many countries have no such protection or regrowth laws. Trees are vital to the planet, humans and all life. They are home to many animals and insects and supply food for many of them as well. Trees supply oxygen, are windbreakers, provide shade, support soil erosion, slows water runoff and is used by humans in many facets of our lives. Trees are so important that if the planet were to continue losing them at the current rate, life on Earth will continue to change and be dramatically different in the future. As trees vanish, so does the life living among them and relying on them to survive.
How many times have you eaten something and thought to yourself “I’m just not going to think about what’s in this/where it came from”? If you’re like me, way too many times (especially during exam week, but I digress). Often it is from a fast-food chain, or out of a vending machine. Rarely do we think of our fish dinners in this way; we generally think of fish as being healthy (they often are) and a more sustainable choice than a hamburger. However as a marine biology student I am learning things about the oceans, and more specifically what we humans are doing to them, that are making me think twice about the fish I eat.
Humans have and are still fishing the oceans as if their supply of seafood is bottomless, a real problem considering marine species, like everything else on earth, do not exist in infinite numbers. And fishing does not just affect the species fisheries are aiming to catch- thousands of fish are caught inadvertently through by-catch and are wasted. Some fishing methods such as trawling are horribly destructive to ocean habitats home to countless species. Aquaculture is often no better, introducing pollutants, invasive species, and disease to ocean waters, and destroying natural habitats to make the farms. After learning all this (and I know there is still much, much more for me to learn), I have had to take a very hard look at the fish I am eating, and have found myself asking the question I normally reserve for my guilty pleasure foods: just what exactly is the story behind what I am eating??
There are ways to find out, although for seafood I have found that finding information can be very difficult. Most countries don’t have mandatory seafood labelling which would tell the consumer where and how the seafood was caught or farmed. This information can be crucial in determining whether a product is sustainably sourced or not.
Programs providing a rating system of products based on where and how they were caught or farmed (such as SeaChoice, a Canadian program based off of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program) are a great information base, but since labels of actual products are often lacking enough information, the consumer needs to do some work as well. Start by doing some research on your favourite seafood and see if any of them are sustainable. If upon reading the labels of said seafood product you do not see enough information for you to determine if it is sustainable or not, purchase something different that you are certain about. And start asking some questions: if no one is ever asking for more information, why on earth should suppliers feel the need to give us any?
It is often easy to feel that the earth’s situation is hopeless, that we have already messed up the planet so much there is nothing worth doing to try and save it, but this isn’t true. No one is perfect, but little changes can make a big difference. If you feel that you are in a position to make some changes, give this some thought. Start small, give it a try, and see what happens!
Thanks very much!
Samantha is a marine biology student, looking forward to discovering the countless things she has yet to learn about the oceans
To clean our homes too often we use highly toxic industrial products to the environment. However, there are some very simple and effective natural products that will make your home shine.
-Marseille soap : It can be used to maintain a clean home, but also to wash clothes.
Laundry recipe: Grate 150g of soap for 3 liters of hot water. Shake before each use and pour one cup by washing. A few drops of essential oils can be used to perfume the washing.
We spend a lot of time discussing how to better our lives with health, exercise, finding peace and being better individuals. Well, having said this, I would like to discuss how to turn that discussion onto dogs.
I have two female dogs, one is Kida; a Chesapeake Bay Retriever she is 5. The other is Seraphina aka. Sarah; a German Shorthaired Pointer, she is 7. They are the world to me and I take care of them in that manner.
Spring brings to life all living things gone dormant during the winter season. Animals and insects scurry about, trees and plants blossom, and there’s just an energy spring brings to all life. One of my favorite parts about spring is what grows on the forest floor and is a wild, delectable treat offered for a month or less each year. The Morel mushroom is one of Earth’s hidden foods and if you love mushrooms like my wife and I do, you owe it to yourself to see if the area you live in produces these little morsels of deliciousness.
Terms like green, natural, minimalism and eco-living have been gathering significant popularity. What do these terms really mean? A frequent definition is caring for nature but if we are getting technical, isn't everything nature-- even us? Isn't that idea of caring for nature really about creating a stable and ideal environment for human beings?
Farmers markets are great places to buy fresh, seasonal, organic foods and also help out your local farmers! In this day and age when most of the food we see in grocery stores and restaurants comes from factory farms and processing plants, it is more important than ever to support those who produce natural fare. There is no better way to get your food than straight from the source (the earth) and farms also benefit the global ecosystem and spare animals from cruelty. Factories on the other hand emit high amounts of pollution, waste energy, and pose a danger to our health with the usage of fertilizers, pesticides, diesel, and hormones.