Glitter is the icing on the cake of the craft and makeup world. Made of tiny pieces of plastic bonded with aluminum, glitters are quite charming but dangerous.
According to scientific research, glitters are hazardous to the environment; especially the world’s ocean. When washed down the drain they become a subset of marine plastic litter known as micro-plastic.
It usually takes four weeks to degrade. However, the degrading process varies and depends on the size, environment and other factors such as heat.
Most glitters do not degrade in clean water as it takes microorganisms to start the degrading process.
The safest way to dispose of these fanciful plastics is to permanently glue it to something you plan to hold on to for a long time. They should not be washed down the sink.
For a greener alternative, salt glitters (which basically involves the use of food coloring and salt) could be used as a substitute for plastic glitters.
Human activity causes environmental degradation, which is deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; extinction of wildlife; and pollution.
The environment has an effect on people’s behavior and motivation to act.
When an environment is clean and neatly arranged, it influences the mood of people; for example: a well decorated room can bring about comfort and a relaxed state of mind. Interestingly, a bright room with so much lights, whether artificial or natural, can improve health outcomes such as depression, agitation, and sleep.
In the light of the above facts, we need keep our environment clean at all times, ensuring the cleanliness and proper aeration of our homes through any of the following habits;
Disposing our dirt properly
Weeding our environment periodically
Curbing infestation through fumigation
Habitual hand washing with soap and water; running water preferably.
Psychotherapist and philosopher Erich Fromm (1900-1980) called the longing for nature biophilia. This is people’s love for nature, for the living. The term comes from the Greek and literally means “love of life or living systems.”
After Fromm’s death, the evolutionary biologist and professor at Harvard University, Edward O. Wilson, adopted this term and introduced the “biophilia hypothesis.” Wilson spoke about the “human urge to affiliate with other forms of life,” in other words, about our connection with nature. It is a connection that has evolved over millions of years. Human beings come from nature. We evolved and interacted with nature. We should therefore be considered a part of nature, just like all other life forms. The same life force in us is also in animals and plants. We are a part of the “web of life,” as Wilson expressed it.
The biophilia effect stands for wilderness and the conception of nature, for natural beauty and aesthetics, and for breaking free and healing.
The lessons of wilderness
Scientists call what goes on in humans when they’re in the wilderness an immediate conscious experience (ICE). The main focus here is on the psychological aspects of the experience of nature and wilderness. It’s about what individuals experience personally when they come into contact with nature, about what’s going on inside, what states of consciousness they are experiencing, what new ways of thinking and seeing they develop, how they find new solutions to problems or learn to deal with physical or psychological stresses. Whatever happens in the consciousness when a human being is immersed in the wilderness, environmental psychologists call it an immediate conscious experience in nature.
On top of perceiving the physical reality of our environment with our five senses, we humans also tend to derive additional meaning from the impressions we see, hear, smell and feel. This is true for our social environment as well, which we analyze, trying to make sense of everything that goes on around us. In general, the human species is the only one on this planet that searches for so much sense and meaning in life — and in nature. We can interpret nature and find metaphors and symbols that “tell” us something. It’s a very individual process. Depending on our background or our current state of mind, reading nature can differ completely from person to person and moment to moment.
A seedling can, for example, symbolize our own desire for children, a growing business idea, or a new life plan. A mighty tree standing in a wild place, defying wind and weather, can trigger associations with steadfastness. I recently saw a perennial growing out of a sidewalk grate. It took root in a small handful of soil that had collected there, and it was in full bloom. I suddenly thought how it’s possible to make so much from so little, when there is a will. This association came to mind while I was looking at the determined perennial.
Or think of a sprouting willow tree after a clear-cutting. The tree defies its destiny, revitalizes itself even after a radical interference in life, and attempts a new beginning. It grows above and beyond the harm done. Those who are in a similar situation, wanting to leave old wounds behind and to feel revitalized, might find solidarity with this unfaltering willow and feel inspired to find new energy. The willow may be whispering, “You’re not alone. I made it. You can rise again, too.” The symbolism of a damaged, downright mutilated tree that defies its destiny and maintains its will to live is intense. It may also be relevant in cases of physical trauma — for example, if a person has to cope with a physical impairment or negative physical changes and wants to say yes to life, just as the mutilated willow does.
The value of retreating into nature
Nature offers us impressions that we can see and interpret as symbols and, at the same time, it offers us a place of retreat, where self-reflection is accessible. It thus supplies us with the material and, at the same time, the space to reflect on it. The value of the wilderness experience lies in the “being away;” that is, being elsewhere. When we get out of the usual everyday experiences and find ourselves in a completely unfamiliar, inspiring environment, we gain a little distance from our problems.
Rachel and Stephen Kaplan, environmental psychology professors at the University of Michigan, identified “being away” as one of the most important mechanisms through which our nature experience affects our psyche and gives our soul space. These conclusions came from their numerous studies with test subjects who found a retreat in nature and then reported on what the wilderness did for them. “Being away” also means having a time-out from society, escaping human civilization for a while, alone or in selected company. It represents being away from consumerism, away from the digital world, away from the expectations of others, away from the performance pressure and the corset into which modern life often squeezes us. It signifies being far away from a world in which we must constantly fit a certain image and in which we are force-fed what it means to be a “good” person, a “well-adapted” person, a “hardworking” person, or a “productive” person.
“Being away” means we are in an environment where we can be as we are. Plants, animals, mountains, rivers, the sea — they are not interested in our productivity and performance, our appearance, our paycheck, or our mental state. We can be among them and participate in the network of life, even if we are momentarily weak, lost, or bubbling over with ideas and hyperactivity. Nature does not send us utility bills. The river in the mountains does not charge us for the clear, clean water we get from it when we wander along its banks or camp there. Nature does not criticize us. “Being away” means freedom from being evaluated or judged, and escaping from pressure to fulfill someone else’s expectations of us.
“Being away” is the ideal way to experience the therapeutic biophilia effect of nature.
If you really want to reduce your carbon footprint, have fewer kids and ditch your car…!
Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.
The most common way to reduce the carbon footprint of humans is to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse. In manufacturing this can be done by recycling the packing materials, by selling the obsolete inventory of one industry to the industry who is looking to buy unused items at lesser price to become competitive. Nothing should be disposed off into the soil, all the ferrous materials which are prone to degrade or oxidize with time should be sold as early as possible at reduced price.
This can also be done by using reusable items such as thermoses for daily coffee or plastic containers for water and other cold beverages rather than disposable ones. If that option isn’t available, it is best to properly recycle the disposable items after use. When one household recycles at least half of their household waste, they can save 1.2 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Another easy option is to drive less. By walking or biking to the destination rather than driving, not only is a person going to save money on gas, but they will be burning less fuel and releasing fewer emissions into the atmosphere. However, if walking is not an option, one can look into carpooling or mass transportation options in their area.
Choice of diet is a major influence on a person’s carbon footprint. Animal sources of protein (especially red meat), rice (typically produced in high methane-emitting paddies), foods transported long distance and/or via fuel-inefficient transport (e.g., highly perishable produce flown long distance) and heavily processed and packaged foods are among the major contributors to a high carbon diet.
Finally, throwing food out not only adds its associated carbon emissions to a person or household’s footprint, it adds the emissions of transporting the wasted food to the garbage dump and the emissions of food decomposition, mostly in the form of the highly potent greenhouse gas, methane.
The carbon handprint movement emphasizes individual forms of carbon offsetting, like using more public transportation or planting trees in deforested regions, to reduce one’s carbon footprint and increase their “handprint.”
Furthermore, the carbon footprint in the food industry can be reduced by optimizing the supply chain. A life cycle or supply chain carbon footprint study can provide useful data which will help the business to identify critical areas for improvement and provides a focus. Such studies also demonstrate a company’s commitment to reducing carbon footprint now ahead of other competitors as well as preparing companies for potential regulation. In addition to increased market advantage and differentiation eco-efficiency can also help to reduce costs where alternative energy systems are implemented.
Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash – Having fewer children, eh? In Africa? That’s a tough call.
The most significant way individuals could mitigate their own carbon footprint is to have fewer children, followed by living without a vehicle, forgoing air travel and adopting a plant-based diet.
Having one fewer pair of small human feet padding around your home can help the environment, at least those were the findings of a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Looking at 39 peer-reviewed articles and governmental reports, the researchers determined that the best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions was to have one fewer child.
In reality though, shrinking one’s carbon footprint is difficult, and conscious choices have to be made to do it.
Researchers are aware of this, advocating that textbooks shift away from advocating for the low-impact solutions, like plastic bag reduction, and put forth possible solutions that are more radical, or at the very least, will have a bigger impact.
“Though adolescents poised to establish lifelong patterns are an important target group for promoting high-impact actions, we find that ten high school science textbooks from Canada largely fail to mention [high-impact] actions (they account for 4 percent of their recommended actions), instead focusing on incremental changes with much smaller potential emissions reductions.”
Of course, high impact and low impact choices can vary depending on where a person lives, something else the study points out.
For instance, switching from a gasoline automobile to an electric car still emits the equivalent of 1.15 tonnes of CO2 a year, but this number can go up if the electricity used in your area doesn’t rely heavily on renewable sources of energy.
“We provide mean values for our recommended actions,” the researchers write, “but we do not suggest that these are firm figures universally representative of each action, but instead best estimates.”
Still, taking bigger swings to help the planet may have enough of a spillover effect to save it, the researchers believe. At least until we’ve all gone vegan and are walking everywhere.
Can getting in touch with the Earth’s electrons improve your well-being? We look at the science.
The concepts are ones that we all can understand. Celebrating nature. Improving health. Getting a good night’s sleep. Strengthening the primordial bond between humans and the planet on which we live.
The science of it all? Well, that’s a little harder to grasp. Which is why earthing — the practice of physically getting in touch with Mother Earth to better your health — remains fact for some and fiction for others.
The article concludes that, “Emerging evidence shows that contact with the Earth — whether being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounded conductive systems — may be a simple, natural, and yet profoundly effective environmental strategy against chronic stress, [autonomic nervous system] dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed [heart rate variability], hypercoagulable blood and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.”
Picture by Pixabay
How does one “earth?” Well, it can be as simple as the act of walking barefoot outdoors. There, with bare skin on bare earth — this, again from the JEPH article — “Reconnection with the Earth’s electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being.”
It is, earthing proponents state, all in the electrons. The Earth’s surface is electrically conductive, enabling free-ranging electrons to jump into the human body. That is, providing nothing else — say, that pair or rubberized sneakers — gets in the way.
Once at one with the body, the electrons “rebalance” the electrical state of the body and create, according to the article by Gaétan Chevalier, Stephen T. Sinatra, James L. Oschman, Karol Sokal and Pawel Sokal, “a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems.”
Photo by Pixabay
OK. But what about indoors, sleeping or working or eating? Can you get your electrons on indoors?
Many earthing products — sheets, pillowcases, mats for the floor, etc. — are sold (red flag! red flag!) so that you can get all that good earth energy with a roof over your head. The products all have some kind of energy conductive material — metal strips of some kind — woven into the product. The product is plugged into the grounding hole of any electrical outlet. That ground, of course, should have a direct line to the earth.
So, from ground to your king-sized bed on the second floor — you’re earthed. All you need are a couple grounding products, sold on several websites. These sites, it must be pointed out, have direct ties to some of the the authors of the aforementioned study (red flag!).
“Basically, it’s the overlaying of ‘science-y’-sounding terminology to earth worship, where the power of the earth somehow maintains and protects us, and the cause of all illness is because of man’s ‘disconnectedness’ from the earth,” writes Gorski, a surgical oncologist at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit. He’s also chairman of the board of directors for the Society for Science-Based Medicine, a group which is dedicated to promoting good science in medicine and opposing pseudoscience in medicine.
“Basically,” Gorski writes, “it’s magical thinking on par with homeopathy.”
The Wall Street Journal did a look into earthing in a 2014 article entitled, “Will Getting Grounded Help You Sleep Better and Ease Pain?” and found it lacking in credibility, too. Author Laura Johannes interviewed professors and electrical engineers who confirmed that, yes, walking barefoot outdoors, or inside on a grounded mat, can cause the body to absorb electrons.
But, they point out, that happens all the time. Plus, they say, nothing is special about the Earth’’ electrons.
Johannes writes that there is “little credible proof of health benefits,” according to the experts the Journal interviewed.
Dr. Andrew Weil is the founder, professor and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He’s also a best-selling author of books on holistic health.
“We’ll need additional studies of better design and with more participants before we can know whether it is really possible to derive health benefits from earthing,” Weil wrote. “While the studies done so far are intriguing, some of the hype for earthing is over-the-top.”
In the end, there are proponents of earthing who are steadfast in their belief that it works, and that the science-based community (along with some journalists and other unsavory characters) are out to get them. And there are hard-nosed skeptics who look at earthing as a scam, as a bunch of scientific hooey and, at worst, as a capitalistic enterprise designed to take money from sick people.
As Weil suggests, more studies are never a bad thing. Until then, though, most would probably agree that a little barefoot walk in the park now and again can’t hurt.
While the society waits for better government policies geared towards environmental sustainability, the individual can take baby steps that can amount to long strides over time if done with consistency. To some extent, the society is a reflection of the individuals in it. This implies that people with healthy living habits makes for a better society.
Below are some simple things you can do to care of your immediate environment.
Turn your lights off! This one seems like a no-brainer but people often forget to switch off the light when they walk out of a room. Turn off lights when you aren’t using them and you will help save the environment and save on your electricity bill. Try to have an hour every day where you don’t use lights. Use energy-efficient light bulbs instead of regular bulbs. They last longer and in turn saves you a bit of money. Be sure to turn off lights, the TV, and other appliances when you are not using them. Lower your air conditioning when it is not necessary.
40% of electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off! So unplug that phone charger, better still the extension cord.
Don’t Drive If You Don’t Have To
Can you ride a bike to work, walk or take a taxi? If there is a way to reduce your car use, try to do it every day. The first two makes you healthier, and if you take the taxi, you can read or check your emails and/or newspaper while you commute.
It is safe to assume that everyone has a garbage can. You can have a second bin for your trash as well: compost. Gardeners love compost, since it creates a rich, natural soil to grow flowers and vegetables in. It also saves dumps from dealing with extra garbage. If something can decompose, try composting it!
Don’t Forget To Reuse And Re-purpose
Simple efforts like reusing plastic bags or re-purposing an old shoe-box can save tons of waste from the dump. Plus, re-purposing items around the house is a great way to nurture your own creativity. How many ways can you reuse an old milk tin…?
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)
It is very common to see plastic bags in surplus quantities in our homes. It is also common to see them littered all around us in the most uncomfortable ways. Yet, every time we go to the market or shops, we leave lots at home only to bring more back with us. If a million Nigerians can go to the market with a plastic bag from their homes every week, that means there will be, at the very least, one million less bags produced. This will help protect our environment and conserve resources.
The truth is that we create LOTS of trash. Just think about how much stuff you bring home from the market or stores that ends up in the trash can, and I’m not even talking about the food itself, just the packaging. Consider how you can reduce the amount of garbage you create on your own.
Plant Trees And Native Plants
Have you planted a tree before?
Green living areas in our cities and suburbs are vital. Industrialization and suburban sprawl have taken away the trees – our main source of unadulterated oxygen. They’re also beautiful, and they do their part to keep our environment clean.
By planting a tree today, you can make green space and unadulterated oxygen a reality for the next generation. The same goes for landscaping with native plants. Not only are they low maintenance, they conserve water, reduce carbon pollution, and support the health of local wildlife. If you don’t have your own lawn you can spread the word and tell a friend.
Fall In Love With Mother Nature
“There is mounting research that supports the idea that children [and adults] who spend regular time playing and learning in the natural world are happier, healthier, smarter, more creative and better problem solvers,” shares Janice Swaisgood, Children & Nature Network’s National Coordinator of Nature Clubs for Families.
Essentially if we want to be inspired to protect our natural resources, we must fall in love with nature. Go out, swim in a lake, and walk or play on the beach. Put down your phone and go outside to see what kind of birds and butterflies are fluttering about your yard. When you find a bird nest and observe (not interfere) with the hatching, growing, and finally flying away… you develop an intrinsic vested interest or ownership in the natural world.
So there you have it folks! Start changing the world with what is right in front of you. The power to make the world a better place is in our hands, not the hands of politicians nor anyone else. We have a duty to care for the planet and it is our daily decisions to make a difference that can change everything. Regardless of whether global warming exists or not, we’re still responsible to be good stewards of nature.
Imagine what might happen if everyone decided to get serious about this one.