For some animal species, time on planet Earth is running out. There have been five mass extinctions in the planet’s history, and animal populations so far suggest that we may have entered what will be the sixth great extinction wave. Since the 1960’s and 1970’s, when the idea of saving many of the world’s animals was first recognised, scientists have strived to save dwindling animal numbers. But, despite efforts, the list of endangered species has more than doubled in the past two decades according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). More than 23,000 plant and animal species are listed on the IUCN, including corals, birds, mammals and amphibians.
What classes an animal as endangered?
The IUCN accounts for all of the endangered species, classifying them on a spectrum that ranges from “near threatened” to “extinct”; with “endangered” species in the middle. Factors that are examined to determine the level of extinction include a vulnerability analysis of a species’ habitat, an indication of a shrinking population, and observing issues that prevent reproduction.
As it stands, 3,406 mammal species are categorised as threatened. In 2015 the number stood at 1,201. Extinction rates have reached levels unparalleled since the dinosaurs died out 66 million years ago, and this is mainly because of air and water pollution, forest clearing, loss of wetlands, and other man-induced environmental changes. As human beings, we are responsible for being the biggest threat to endangered species. Habitat loss is the greatest threat to wildlife globally, affecting over 2,000 mammals.
How losing species could create a butterfly effect.
Species loss threatens to reduce biodiversity and ultimately the collapse of ecosystems across the world. One of the biggest examples of this are endangered bees. The rusty patched bumblebee’s population has plummeted nearly 90% since the 1990’s in the United States. Bees play a vital role in pollination for agriculture, globally honey bees are the world's most important pollinator of food crops. It is estimated that one-third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees.
The Countries with the most threatened mammal species.
For World Environment Day on 5th June, Eco2Greetings have used World Bank data to highlight where in the world mammals are most in need of protection and conservation. The map reveals the top 10 countries with the most threatened mammals.
The number of mammals in Eco2Greeting’s top 10 list who are on the brink of extinction is 898, and they are struggling to survive in all corners of the world; from Australia and Malaysia to Mexico and Brazil. Indonesia is the country taking the top spot of the most threatened mammal list. A gargantuan 188 species of mammal are classified as endangered here and will be wiped out completely if more is not done to conserve them in their corner of the world. Madagascar, home to the favourable Lemur is next with 120 of their national mammal species under threat.
Find the full interactive map here.
Climate change is a huge issue facing the world today. So huge, in fact, that you might feel like there’s nothing you alone can do about it. However, the fight against climate change requires the cooperation of everyone, and no effort to protect the environment is too small. Read on to discover how you can make a difference in your changing climate.
What is climate change?
Climate change refers to a shift in the usual weather patterns, or climate, of a particular location. On a larger scale, climate change is the changing temperature of the Earth’s air, land, and oceans. While weather patterns can vary from month to month and year to year, climate change refers to shifts over long periods of time.
What causes climate change?
Climate change is the result of heat becoming trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere. Heat gets trapped because of greenhouse gases, which prevent the Sun’s energy from leaving the atmosphere. This is known as the greenhouse effect.
Greenhouse gases come from different places, but use of fossil fuels is the biggest way that humans contribute to the greenhouse effect. Fossil fuel emissions come from a variety of sources. Industry contributes over 20 percent of total emissions, while transportation in the form of vehicles, airplanes, trains, and ships is responsible for about 27 percent of emissions. The energy you use to light and heat your home contributes to the greenhouse effect, as does agriculture and deforestation.
What are the effects of climate change?
When you measure climate change in degrees, the issue may seem small. However, even a small change in the Earth’s temperature can have a severe impact. Climate change can cause:
- Rising sea levels.
- More severe and frequent storms.
- Drought and heat waves.
- Plant and animal extinctions.
How could climate change impact my community?
The effects of climate change could mean real problems for communities around the globe. Extreme weather events can devastate communities, causing deaths, destroying livelihoods, and leading to years-long rebuilding efforts.
Changes in rainfall and weather can disrupt the production of food crops, increasing the cost of groceries and creating food insecurity in communities not accustomed to wondering where their next meal will come from. Floods and droughts can disrupt the supply of fresh water for drinking, crop irrigation, and energy. If you live in a coastal area, you could even see the landscape transform completely due to rising sea levels.
What can I do about climate change?
It’s not hard to reduce your carbon footprint. With a few small changes to your lifestyle, you can reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions you produce. Here are some ways to get started:
- Reduce how much you drive. By opting for walking, bicycling, or public transportation whenever you can, you can reduce the amount of fossil fuels your vehicle consumes. When you have to drive, try to carpool to reduce the number of emissions-producing vehicles on the road.
- Choose vehicles with better gas mileage. Cars contribute to emissions through their gasoline usage, so the less fuel you need, the smaller your carbon footprint. Driving a more fuel-efficient car will also save you money.
- Lower driving speeds. Driving at speeds over 70 mph consumes more fuel than driving at lower speeds.
- Reduce your meat consumption. Meat production is a major contributor to climate change, especially beef and lamb. Since people in industrialized nations eat, on average, twice as much meat as is considered healthy, cutting back could benefit your health as well.
- Moderate your thermostat. Keeping your house cooler in winter and warmer in summer reduces the amount of gas and electricity you use. Both gas and electric temperature control systems use fossil fuels. If you can’t sacrifice comfort, look for other options for making your home green, like passive solar heating or a geothermal heating and cooling system.
- Switch light bulbs for LEDs. Since LED lights consume less electricity than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, this swap can create a more eco-friendly home.
Stopping the progression of climate change requires a global effort, but the change begins with you. To help in the fight against climate change, start incorporating these strategies for energy efficiency into your life today. For more information on tax rebates and incentives for green home improvements, click here.
For people who have become more conscious of what goes into what they eat, the good news is that an increasing number of food manufacturers are offering organic options, making organic food one of the fastest-growing segments of food production in the United States. The bad news is that all of those options can be confusing, especially when factoring in food made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Some people might be trying to eat an all-organic diet, and others may simply be trying to avoid GMOs. Although foods may be labeled as USDA-certified organic or Non-GMO, consumers may not understand the difference. In many cases, there is some overlap between the USDA Organic and Non-GMO labels, but there are some key differences consumers should be aware of when trying to make the distinction between organic foods and foods made without GMOs.
In general, foods bearing the USDA Organic label have been produced without the use of GMOs as well as other criteria that certify that the food has been produced with at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Foods that have been labeled as Non-GMO, on the other hand, only need to meet the criteria that they contain less than 1 percent of GMO content. Foods certified as Non-GMO may have been exposed to chemical pesticides or fertilizers, animals may have been subjected to antibiotics or hormones, and livestock may not have been fed using 100 percent organic feed. In short, all USDA Organic certified foods are Non-GMO, but not all Non-GMO certified foods are organic.
The increased variety and selection available at the grocery store today may be more confusing, but anyone who is concerned about what goes into their favorite organic chocolate brands will need to know the difference between the labeling and what the labels mean. The following chart helps delineate the differences between USDA Organic and Non-GMO labels, so review it the next time you check the labels on your favorite snacks.
Author bio: Chris Bekermeier is Vice President of Marketing at PacMoore. PacMoore is a food contract manufacturer that offers food processing and packaging services. Bekermeier received his B.S. in business management from Eastern Illinois University and his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Even though we inhabit a planet that is almost 70% water, one out of every 10 people in Earth does not have access to a clean water supply. More than 1.75 million children die each year from drinking polluted water, which is unjustifiable when global spend on bottled water could provide everyone in the world with a clean supply three times over.
These are among the extraordinary facts about water which appear in the video below, which was produced by Nature’s Water (www.natureswater.ie/uv-sterilizer.html). It is not meant to be a finger-pointing, guilt-tripping exercise in blame, but rather a thought-provoking perspective on how the world’s water is used. We can all do our little bit to use water more efficiently for the benefit of those who aren’t fortunate enough to have easy access to the resource.
Take a look at the video and think about what you could do to encourage water conservation and help those who crave the clean water that many of us take for granted.
Earth Day is an important event that takes place on April 22nd every year. As our world continues to grow, we are constantly using more of the resources that the Earth gives us. Do to this growth, we are now facing troubles of global warming and the need to push for clean energy resources.
Celebrating and acknowledging the Earth on Earth day is one small step we can take to greatly impacting our name. New Holland CDJR has put together a list of ways that we can strive to appreciate the Earth all 365 days a year. These little steps are extremely beneficial to the environment and are also a great way of saying thanks to the earth. Check them out below!
How often do you look in the refrigerator and throw something away because the best-before date has passed? Many people rely completely on food expiration dates to make a decision as to whether food is safe to eat or not. However, as this infographic from Lakeshore Convention Centre outlines, we take these expiration dates at face value too often.
Rather than simply blindly following expiry dates we should check is the food fresh by either smelling it or sampling it. Remember that expiry dates are there to indicate a product’s freshness and is in no way an indication of a products safety.
Try to educate yourself and others about what food labels really mean as it’s such a shame that so much food is wasted unnecessarily. Find out more information about the real meaning of food expiration dates in the infographic now.
Christmas – a time packed full of delicious foods and indulgence, but unfortunately also a time of huge food waste.
Food waste is a major problem around the world. Current estimates put global food waste between one-third and one-half of all food that is produced – and Christmas is no exception.
We often end up cooking for 20, even if there’s just 8 of us! And this means we end up with leftovers that we tend to throw away. In fact, UK households throw away the equivalent to 4.2 million dinners on Christmas Day.
The festive season is naturally a time when we indulge with our family and friends but throwing away 4.2 million of perfectly good Christmas dinners is a staggering waste. It would take the average family nearly 4 days to eat all of their food bought just for Christmas day.
Food waste is not just a moral issue, it’s an environmental issue too. Research from Love Food Hate Waste provides food for thought. It suggests that if we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be the equivalent to taking 1 in 4 cars off the road.
Let's make sure this Christmas isn’t a wasteful one!
According to the CIA Factbook, the amount of oil left is based on the current technological and economic viability of extraction. This obviously implies that technologies and economies change, which means that the reduction of these oil reserves will put further weight on the following issues:
The increase in fracking, and its associated risks (including water damage & increased seismic activity) Increasing dependence on imported oil, which could cause consumer prices to rise The development of more clean energy sources New innovations like Tesla’s solar-panelled roofs The adoption of electric vehicles The distribution of electric vehicle charging stations (making owning one and driving one more feasible across the country)
There is much more coal than oil available, but scientists agree that if we use it all, it will push us into the critical zone for global warming.
Interactive graphic by RS Components.
Every crisp packet, chocolate wrapper or drinks bottle we drop on the ground contributes to the overall global epidemic of litter, a problem that costs billions in cleanup attempts and leads to huge reputational damage for businesses and communities. If we saw a fast food restaurant’s grease-stained packaging draped over a tree branch or a pile of litter providing a less than picturesque welcome to a housing estate, we’d get the impression that the people who own the restaurant or the residents of that estate do not care about littering.
This infographic from Cleaning Services Group advises us as to the grim consequences of littering, as well as what we can do to actively tackle the problem. It doesn’t require hours of effort or resources. Even if all we did was educate friends or family about the harmful effects of littering, or took it upon ourselves to pick up and properly dispose of any litter we come across, that’s still a step in the right direction. A further step would be to lobby our local and national governments to commit resources to the problem and act against litter.
Litter is an environmental crisis that humans created. It’s now up to humans to undo the damage.
Can art change lives? Can art drive revolutions? Plenty of people think so. The rainforests of the world provide endless artistic inspiration, extraordinarily beautiful places seething with life, verdant and exotic. Here are three ways to enjoy the artistic fruits of rainforest inspiration.
Photographer Philippe Echaroux projects images onto the rainforest itself
As reported on Petapixel, the respected French photographer Philippe Echaroux recently projected a series of amazing images of indigenous Brazilian tribes-people onto the country's rainforest landscapes, in a project called The Blood Forest.
The artworks focus on a Suruí tribe led by chief Almir Surui Narayamoga, the man tasked by his country's government with replanting and protecting the tribe's rainforest lands. The chief apparently invited Echaroux to draw attention to the ongoing damage being caused to his land by deforestation and gold mining via photography, revealing the ancient, intimate connection between his people and their environment.
As the photographer said, “Victims of massive deforestation and gold washers who did not hesitate to violate the Surui’s territory to seize deposits of precious stones, the Surui people want to raise awareness of this horrible and greedy slaughter that endangers a territory and its people.”
If you're fortunate enough to be visiting Paris you can enjoy remarkable images of the projected photos at the Taglialatella gallery Paris from November 10th to December 15th.
Rainforest Artists moved by deforestation crisis
As we know, rainforests are disappearing fast from every corner of the globe. A group of artists moved by the crisis have made a series of paintings celebrating the forests in all their glory. The artists want to raise awareness through their work, and many of them donate a percentage of the proceeds from sold work to rainforest conservation initiatives and charities.
You can see the paintings on the Rainforest Artists website, which provides links through to the artists' websites or galleries, where you can buy their work.
Henri Julien Felix Rousseau – Who never actually saw the rainforest
Henri Julien Felix Rousseau is probably the most famous artist of all to be fascinated by the rainforest. He was awarded distinctions in music and drawing at school but didn't take up art full time until he was forty nine years old and retired from his day job at the Paris customs office. Self-taught Rousseau became the archetypal naïve artist, respected and admired by Picasso and Kandinsky for revealing “the new possibilities of simplicity.”
Rousseau's best known paintings are of lush jungle scenes, inspired by his frequent visits to the Paris gardens and zoo. Rumour has it he travelled to Mexico to fight in the subtropics while in the army, but the story isn't true. Rousseau did talk to soldiers who'd served in the Mexican rainforest, and their stories shine through his work: Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!), Scout Attacked by a Tiger, A Lion Devouring its Prey, The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope and many more works all bear witness to his fascination. To experience Henri Rousseau's rainforest paintings in all their glory, visit Wikiart.