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5 Things Besides Sunscreen That Are Bad for Coral Reefs

Coral Reef Awareness Week, in the third week of July each year, was created to highlight the importance of coral reefs and the need to protect them. Coral reefs only cover 0.2 percent of the ocean floor, but these amazing ecosystems support around 2 million species of marine plants and animals. In addition, more than 500 million people throughout the world rely on coral reefs for food and income.

Coral reefs have been on the earth for about 500 million years. But in the past few decades, coral reefs have been dying at an alarming rate. It?s estimated that 19 percent of the world?s coral reefs are already dead, and 60 percent are currently at risk. If global action is not taken to stop this decline, all coral reefs will be in danger by 2050.

You may have heard about how sunscreen can be toxic to coral reefs, but many other factors also impact the health of coral reefs. Let?s look at some of the worst threats coral reefs currently face.

1. Climate Change

Research suggests that climate change is quickly becoming the most significant threat to coral reefs today.

A coral reef is actually a community of hundreds to thousands of corals, which are small, delicate animals that are easily disrupted by changes in their environment. Each tiny, soft-bodied coral secretes a hard outer skeleton of limestone to keep itself safe. The accumulation of these skeletons creates a coral reef.

This process has been going on uninterrupted for thousands of years and has created the massive coral structures we know today. But corals also form an incredible partnership with a type of algae known as zooxanthellae to keep this cycle going. Zooxanthellae are single-celled algae that can live within the corals? soft tissues, where they photosynthesize in a way similar to plants. The corals can then feed off the products of the algae?s photosynthesis and continue to grow and thrive.

It?s been observed that a rise in ocean temperatures of only one or two degrees can disrupt this unique partnership. When oceanwater heats up, the zooxanthellae start producing toxins, which forces the corals to eject the algae back into the ocean. Without the zooxanthellae, corals lose a vital food source and slowly die. This process is known as coral ?bleaching? because the colorful, living algae and corals are gone, leaving only the white limestone skeletons behind.

Climate change is causing a rise in overall ocean temperatures, as well as increasing the likelihood of localized temperature spikes. A chilling example of this was a ten-month long stretch of abnormally warm water around Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean from July 2015 to April 2016. In the months following the temperature spike, 90 percent of the reef?s corals died.

Another deadly trend fueled by climate change is ocean acidification. Every day, 90 million tons of carbon pollution is released into our atmosphere. About one-third of that carbon is absorbed by our oceans, which is gradually altering the chemistry of seawater and making it more acidic. The chemical changes make it more difficult for corals to acquire the nutrients they need to survive, causing a slower decline than bleaching, but with a similarly fatal end.

2. Over-Fishing

Global demand for fish continues to increase, both for food and for the pet trade. Over-harvesting of fish to meet this demand is taking a toll on biodiversity and the ecological balance of coral reefs. Physically damaging fishing methods, such as trawling or using dynamite or cyanide in the water, can also damage or completely destroy coral reefs.

3. Pollution

Pollution affects our entire planet, including our oceans. A 2013 study found that fine airborne particles, produced largely by human industrial activities, actually block sunlight from reaching corals, which impacts photosynthesis and growth. Researchers examined coral reefs in Panama and Belize and found their growth rates have been slowing down since the 1950s because of this reduction in sunlight.

In addition, the 8 million tons of plastic that enter the world?s oceans each year disrupt countless numbers of marine plants and animals, including corals, who will eat tiny plastic pieces thinking they?re food. Many other sources of pollution, such as oil spills, sewage and agricultural runoff, also take a toll on coral reefs.

4. Human Activities

Irresponsible human recreation, such as careless swimming, snorkeling or diving, can damage coral reefs. Boating can also hurt coral reefs through noise pollution, dropping anchors on sensitive areas or collisions with wildlife.

Human coastal development is another threat. Sensitive marine areas are being dredged and disturbed to construct airports and buildings on land reclaimed from the sea. Also, building marinas, fish farms and other water-based structures can disrupt nearby coral reefs.

5. Disease

The frequency of coral disease appears to be on the rise, primarily by infection from bacteria, fungi or viruses. Scientists believe this is largely due to the increased environmental and physical impacts corals are currently facing, which weakens their natural defenses.

For example, an Australian study looked at the effect of permanent offshore visitor platforms that had been constructed within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Researchers found that coral disease was up to 18 times more likely in reefs with platforms compared to undisturbed reefs.


The World Resources Institute has a great video summarizing their Reefs at Risk report, which examined the state of the world?s coral reefs and what we can do to bring them back to health. Check it out below.

Related on Care2

10 of the Most Endangered Species on Earth
How You Can Help Protect the World?s Wildlife
10 Surprising Facts About Turtles

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Things Besides Sunscreen That Are Bad for Coral Reefs

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10 Ways to Get Plastic Out of Your Kitchen

Plastics seem to invade every aspect of our lives, and the kitchen is no exception. From cooking to storage to packing food for on the go, there are places that we can ditch the plastic in favor of safer, more Earth-friendly materials. Take some time to inventory the plastic in your kitchen and see if your kitchen can go plastic-free. It’s easier than you think!

Plastic is no good for the planet, and it’s no good for people, either. Plastic pollution is a serious environmental problem. It pollutes our waterways, causing ocean dead zones and killing countless numbers of aquatic life. You don’t want plastic coming in contact with your food, either, especially hot or acidic foods. Plastic cooking utensils and food storage containers can leach toxins into the food that it touches. No, thank you!

10 Ways to Get Plastic Out of Your Kitchen

Luckily, there are lots of simple ways to get plastic out of your cooking processes. One word of caution: if you’re getting rid of plastic that you already have, like ladels or tupperware, see if you can come up with crafty or creative ways to reuse them elsewhere, rather than sending them to the landfill. That plastic still exists, even if it’s not in your home!

Ready to ditch the plastic in your kitchen? Here are 10 tips to get you going!

1. Store your food in glass or metal. Instead of plastic Tupperware containers, chose metal or glass food storage. Glass Mason jars are great for storing bulk items like beans, grains and nuts. You can also check retailers like The Container Store. I’ve seen some great glass and metal food storage options there.

2. No more baggies! When you’re packing lunch, choose reusable glass or metal containers instead of plastic baggies or plastic Tupperware containers.

3. Choose reusable. You don’t need plastic forks and spoons in your lunchbox! Grab metal utensils from your own utensil drawer instead. If you want something that’s just for lunch, check out these cute, reusable wooden utensils!

4. Get rid of plastic cooking utensils. Ditch the plastic tools like spatulas and serving spoons in favor of metal ones.

5. Skip the processed food and produce in plastic bags. Processed food almost always means disposable plastic packaging, so choose whole foods wherever you can. When you’re hitting the produce section, don’t buy fruits and veggies in plastic wrap or those plastic mesh bags.

6. Forget bottled water. Chances are you already don’t buy bottled water, but just in case there are any hold outs out there, this is a no-brainer. Bottled water is expensive and the plastic bottles are unhealthy. Choose filtered tap water in a reusable glass or BPA free metal bottle instead.

7. Bring your own bag to the grocery store. You probably also already have reusable grocery bags, but what about when you’re in the bulk or produce aisle? Skip the single-use plastic bags in favor of reusable produce bags instead.

8. Buy dishwasher detergent that comes in a cardboard box. Dishwasher detergent often comes in a plastic container. Skip the plastic and opt for the powdered stuff in a cardboard box. Even better? Make your own dishwasher detergent!

9. Make your own dish soap. No need to buy dish soap in a plastic bottle, either. You can make your own dish soap at home! I know, the Dr. Bronner’s in this recipe comes in a plastic bottle, but many co-ops offer bulk refills of Dr. Bronner’s, so at least you only have to buy the one bottle. If anyone has suggestions for getting around this one, I’d love to hear them!

10. Skip the nonstick. Did you know that the nonstick coating on pots and pans is actually plastic? Instead of nonstick, choose cast iron or stainless steel so you can cook plastic free!

How do you keep the plastic out of your kitchen?

Cast Iron 101: Cooking, Cleaning and Seasoning
13 Natural Ingredients to Clean Almost Anything
Your Kitchen Sponge is Gross. Here’s How to Change That.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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10 Ways to Get Plastic Out of Your Kitchen

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Four Daring Women To Climb the Highest Peak in Mexico for Charity. One #NuttyGoodAdventure

Ten years ago, Georgina Miranda couldn’t even run a mile. One day, she read an article about atrocities in Congo that inspired her to do something.

So, like any normal super human, she decided to transform herself in order to climb the highest peak on each continent to raise money for charity.

This March, Georgina and three other amazing women – Emma Walker, Jessica Hamel, and Elizabeth Williams – will tackle the highest peak in Mexico – Pico de Orizaba – a volcano reaching 18,491 feet.

They’re totally nuts.

Not only will it be the highest that Emma, Jessica and Elizabeth have ever climbed, they are pushing their limits for an awesome cause: Big City Mountaineers.

Big City Mountaineers helps transform the lives of underserved youth around the country through outdoor adventure and wilderness education.

Elizabeth Williams is the program director for Big City Mountaineers, and says, Im climbing Orizaba because I believe in how important it is to get kids on wilderness adventures who might not otherwise have the opportunity. It really changes their perspective.

Emma Walker is a freelance writer and adventurer, and helps as a guide for Big City Mountaineers.

Jessica Hamel is a freelance social media wizard and entrepreneur – founder of a delicious vegan coconut oil frosting brand called FROSTD – when shes not training for 100 mile races.

And when Georgina Miranda isnt chasing adventure, shes a serious business woman and entrepreneur – founder of Altitude Seven – a website dedicated to helping women seek adventure on their own terms.

In honor of these ordinary women-turned-extraordinary, Olomomo Nut Company decided to sponsor the climb with a campaign on Care2, and by donating 25% of online sales between March 1st and 15th 2017 to support Big City Mountaineers.

Please join us. We dare you to take the Olomomo #NuttyGoodAdventure challenge.

Justin Perkins is the Founder of Olomomo Nut Company – a brand with values from Boulder, Colorado. (He is also the VP of Strategic Partnerships for Care2!) Olomomo aims to create the tastiest artisan, small batch, roasted almonds, pecans and cashews. Olomomo uses simple whole food ingredients to create flavors will blow your mind and fuel your healthy adventures. Theyre a favorite snack of squirrels, monkeys, foodies, moms and even extreme athletes. Be Nutty. Be Good. Be Adventurous.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Four Daring Women To Climb the Highest Peak in Mexico for Charity. One #NuttyGoodAdventure

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12 Ways to Get Rid of Aggressive Weeds Without Resorting to Roundup

You dont have to resort to chemical herbicides in order to get rid of invasive weeds. Safer options exist that will work just as effectively. They may take a bit more persistence, but the benefits of organic control methods far outweigh the negative health effects of chemical pesticides.

So whats the big deal about Roundup? Its a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide, which means it kills most plants that it comes in contact with. Roundup is also the most widely used herbicide in the world.

Glyphosate is the active herbicidal ingredient in Roundup. Many genetically modified food crops, such as corn and soybeans, have been scientifically designed to be resistant to glyphosate. Farmers can then spray Roundup on their fields and kill all the weeds, leaving only the food crop standing. This greatly simplifies weed control, but it also means the food crops are literally covered with Roundup. And so is any food you eat thats made from these crops, like corn chips, bread, and other packaged food.

A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that glyphosate residue in our food may enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. This can lead to disruption of normal body functions and the development of diseases such as Parkinsons disease, infertility and cancers.

A French study also found that a filler ingredient used in Roundup, polyethoxylated tallowamine, was more deadly to human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells than the main herbicidal ingredient glyphosate.

We’re just starting to understand the serious long-term health and environmental effects of Roundup and other popular herbicides. The less we use these chemicals, the better. Try some of these effective organic weed-control methods instead.

1. Mulching.

Covering the soil with an extra layer of organic matter can smother and inhibit weeds, as well as prevent new seeds from germinating. You can mulch with compost, bark, wood chips, newspaper, cardboard, grass clippings, straw, or most other organic matter. But make sure not to get hay, which can have a lot of unwanted seeds. You can also put ground cloth, old shower curtains, or other thick material underneath a pathway made of wood chips or gravel to prevent weeds from growing through.

2. Hand-Digging.

Manual removal with a shovel, hoe, or other tool is an effective spot-treatment for basically all weeds. Many weeds may come back and need to be dug again. But consistent hand-weeding will greatly reduce their populations. When young weeds are promptly dug out, they wont be able to seed and reproduce. And regularly digging up weeds with tap roots, such as dandelions or thistles, will weaken the root and eventually kill the plant.

3. Competition.

Weeds cant take hold if theres no space for them. Try planting dense groundcovers and perennial plants in ornamental beds. The shade and heavy root systems of trees and shrubs can naturally prevent weeds from growing underneath. If youre battling weeds in your lawn, make sure you use grass varieties appropriate for shade, drought, or other difficult areas where a regular lawn might not grow well, leaving openings for unwanted visitors.

4. Regulate Food and Water.

The nutrients and irrigation you give your garden will encourage weeds as much as the plants you want to grow. Only give your plants what they need. Well-established trees, shrubs and perennial plants can often do well without a lot of extra fertilizer and irrigation. Vegetables may need a bit more, but you can be selective. Heavy feeders can get extra compost, like squash and cucumbers. However, you can feed crops like root vegetables much less.

5. Solarize.

Solarizing involves covering an area of weeds with a heavy plastic sheet. This works best in full sun where the heat will collect under the sheet and literally bake the weeds. Leave the sheet in place for 4 to 6 weeks. Youll know its done when the weeds underneath are clearly brown and desiccated.

6. Limit Tilling and Digging.

Turning over the soil in your vegetable patch or other beds will bring new weed seeds to the surface. Experiment with the no-till method of gardening, where you try to disturb the soil as little as possible. For example, if youre seeding vegetables, only dig down as far as you need to plant the seeds instead of deeply digging or tilling the entire bed. The no-till method has also been shown to improve soil structure and fertility, as well as increase beneficial soil organisms.

7. Corn Gluten Meal.

Corn gluten meal is a powdery byproduct of the corn milling process thats been found to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Its often applied to lawns, or can be used in other garden areas. Its non-toxic to animals and you can buy certified organic corn gluten meal. If you cant find it in your local garden center, corn gluten meal is available online.

8. Vodka.

Try spraying a mix of 1 ounce vodka, 2 cups of water, and a couple drops of dish soap on weeds with good sun exposure. This will often dry them out and kill them. It doesnt work well in shady areas. Also be careful not to overspray onto any of your regular plants, the vodka will dry out whatever plants it hits.

9. Vinegar and Salt.

Regular 5 percent household vinegar can be used on its own against weeds. Its even better mixed with salt and dish soap. Mix 1 gallon of white vinegar with 1 cup of table salt and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish detergent. Put the mixture into a plastic spray bottle and spray directly on targeted weeds.

10. Soap.

The oil in soap naturally breaks down the surface of waxy or hairy weed leaves. Adding a few drops of liquid dish detergent to vinegar or vodka sprays will help it stay on the leaves and have the greatest impact.

11. Boiling Water.

Simply boil a kettle of water and pour it over any undesirable weeds to burn them. This works especially well for weeds growing in cracks of pavement or cement. The water will cool as it runs off to the sides of your pavement and wont hurt any plants along the border.

12. Flame Weeding.

This involves passing a flame over a weed briefly in order to fatally heat the plant tissues. A flame weeder is typically a wand connected to a propane tank. These may be carried at your local garden center or hardware store. Flaming will only kill the weed parts above the ground, not the roots, so you may need to flame your weeds a few times before theyre gone. Clearly, this should not be done during any dry spells when there is a risk of fire. Always follow the safety precautions that come with your flame throwing device.

What to Plant, Weed and Prune in May
Yoga for Gardeners: Recover from the Garden on the Mat
How to Make Your Garden Wildlife-Friendly

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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12 Ways to Get Rid of Aggressive Weeds Without Resorting to Roundup

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Permaculture: Landscaping That Works With Nature

Permaculture is a combination of the words permanent and agriculture. It refers to a system thats designed to help create more sustainable methods of agriculture, but also healthy landscapes, ecosystems and even societies.

What is permaculture?

The term permaculture was started in the 1970s by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison who worked together on the theory at the University of Tasmania.

Bill Mollison describes permaculture as a philosophy of working with, rather than against, natureof looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single project system.

The basic idea of permaculture is to develop an area so that it meets the needs of all its inhabitants, human or otherwise. Your choices of plants, landscape features and layout should all have a purpose and work together to create an ideal space that will continue to thrive for many years to come.

This can be much easier said than done, but permaculture provides some key principles to help with whatever project youre planning.

Permaculture Design Principles

Permaculture principles can be used in many ways. You can apply them towards creating a city food garden, restoring damaged wilderness areas, promoting greater biodiversity in backyards and anywhere else where humans can assist or enhance the earths natural systems.

1. Observe and Interact Before you start any permaculture project, you want to intimately understand the area you are dealing with. Spend some time observing the site, how it changes during the seasons, what animals might live there, which plants are growing in what areas, what seems to be working well and what may be harming the local system.

2. Catch and Store Energy Sustainable ways of collecting and storing sources of energy, such as heat and water, are vital to maintain a healthy landscape. For instance, you can create areas that will naturally catch and hold water at the bottom of slopes and valleys. This will also prevent runoff and erosion.

3. Obtain a Yield An important part of any ecosystem is to provide food for all the animals that live in it, including humans. As you design your permaculture area, make sure to include spaces to plant annual vegetables as well as perennial food plants, such as fruit trees and berry bushes.

4. Apply Self-regulation and Accept Feedback All ecological systems have their limits. Work within the natural boundaries of your space and dont plant or include more than it can handle. Also make sure to plant appropriate plants for the site. If you have a hot, rocky slope, try planting a mix of drought-tolerant groundcovers and shrubs.

5. Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services Compost is an obvious example of this principle. You can plant whats called a cover crop in order to create more organic matter. These are plants that are only grown to be cut down and used as compost. Fast-growing plants, such as peas or buckwheat, make good cover crops.

6. Produce No Waste Any sustainable system contains no waste. This may not always be practical in the modern world, but you can take steps to minimize your waste. For instance, when you buy quality tools, they will last much longer than cheaper ones that you would have to throw out more often.

7. Design from Patterns to Details What patterns does your landscape have? Is there a sunny location that would make a good vegetable plot? Or a hard-to-access corner where you could plant a group of native, low-maintenance shrubs? Keep the larger picture in mind before getting into a detailed plan.

8. Integrate Rather than Segregate See if anything can serve more than one function on your site. If you have an area with too much sun exposure, planting a fruit tree will have the double function of providing shade and food.

9. Use Small and Slow Solutions Systems that operate on a smaller scale will naturally use less energy. Growing and transporting vegetables from thousands of miles away from you uses a lot more energy than growing those vegetables in your backyard or buying locally-grown veggies.

10. Use and Value Diversity Landscapes that include a variety of plants and features will create a richer and more sustainable environment. For instance, groups of native shrubs or perennial herbs next to vegetable-growing areas will attract pollinators and provide protection.

11. Use Edges and Value the Marginal There is often more activity and diversity on the edges of an ecosystem, such as a river. Fish and wildlife will spend most of their time along riverbanks where there is more cover, slower water and opportunity for hunting than the middle of the river. This can be applied to your landscape as well by including features like wandering pathways to provide lots of edges for the beds or ponds for greater diversity.

12. Creatively Use and Respond to Change This principle has particular importance as advancing climate change and human development continue to affect our environment. An inspiring example of what can be done to creatively respond to change is in Chinas Loess Plateau.

The Loess Plateau is an area about the size of the state of Texas that was extremely degraded by human use and had essentially become a desert. In 1994, the Chinese government started a massive rehabilitation project of the region. Environmental engineers organized local communities to help make terraces, replant native vegetation, and create areas for agricultural crops.

John D. Liu, director of the Environmental Education Media Project, filmed some amazing before and after shots of what the Loess Plateau project achieved. Its also a great example of what can be done by applying permacultures principles to work with, rather than against, nature.

Check out a short clip from John D. Lius film here:

Permaculture: Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability, by David Holmgren

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Permaculture: Landscaping That Works With Nature

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Which is Deadlier: Guns, Cars or Air Pollution?

According to the CDC,Americans are now as likely to die from a car accident as they are of gun violence.In about 21 states, people are actually more likely to die from gunshot wounds than from vehicular accidents. This is a sobering statistic. But even more sobering is the fact that Americans are far more likely to die from air pollution than from an unfortunately placed bullet or car crashes combined. Look at these numbers:

2014 deaths by car: 10.3 per 100,000

2014 deaths by guns: 10.3 per 100,000

2014 deaths by air pollution: 70 – 130 per 100,000 (Baltimore had the highest rate at 130)

The numbers, of course, vary from year to year, but about 30,000 Americans die in car accidents, 30,000 Americans die from guns, and200,000+Americansdie annuallyfrom air pollution.

Let’s put these statistics into real numbers for one state. In a recent year, Utah lost 256 people to car accidents, 260 people to gun violence and about 1300people from air pollution.

So, where is the outrage when it comes to America’s dirty air?

The problem is when someone dies from a gunshot wound or car accident, the cause is obvious, not to mention often graphicbut with air pollution, death usually creeps up insidiously and ambiguously Essentially no one lands in the morgue with a toe tag that says died of air pollution. Instead, the cause of death is listed as heart attack, asthma, lung disease, stroke, SIDS or cancer. But the result is the same lives cut tragically and unnecessarily short.

Equallytragically is that we know air pollution kills, yet we do not do everything we can to clean-up our air.

We let big industrial polluters and trade associations bully us into thinking we must choose between a strong economy and clean air, which is a false choice. In fact, the EPA has shown that for every dollar spent on pollution mitigation and prevention, $30 to $90 of economic benefit is returned to local communities. Just think of the worlds richest nations versus the worlds poorest nations. Who has cleaner air? Clean air and wealth go hand-in-hand.

As long as we accept dirty air and its accompanying mortality, we will have dirty, stinky air. But when we stand up together and say the birthright of every child to breathe clean air trumps the rights of industry to pollute, then we will have clean air.

To get involved with the national clean air movement join Moms Clean Air Force and to see one state, Utah, get serious about cleaning up their air, visit the Utah Moms for Clean Air. Extra-motivated? Start your own grassroots clean air group and help fight for the air we all share.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


Which is Deadlier: Guns, Cars or Air Pollution?

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3 Innovative Recycling Projects Used For Good Around the World

Programs around the world are constantly engineering new ways to recycle. Many of these initiatives are transforming the lives of millions through the power of recycling. For millions of folks around the world things such as household light, shoes and even soap are a luxury. Here are three exceptional examples of programs that are working to make the world a healthier and happier place.

Liter of Light

photo credit: Liter of Light Europe Facebook Page

Founded in 2013, this program aims to provide homes with a very simple light source that many impoverished households arent able to enjoy. A liter soda bottle is filled with bleach or chlorine, to prevent mold or algae growth, and is placed in a hole through the homes roof. Sunlight is refracted through the bottle and shines through the bottom. This gives the effect of about a 55 watt light bulb. The Liter of Light project is based in the Philippines, but has spread across the world to several other countries such as Pakistan, India and Vietnam, Switzerland, Kenya and more. On Jan 19 this year, the team was awarded the prestigious 2015 Energy Globe World Award for outstanding sustainable best practice projects from around the world.


photo credit: Indosole Facebook Page

Aptly named, this projects roots are planted in Indonesia. The team recognized quite a large problem, which is 1.5 billion tires being wasted around the world. Rubber does not decay over time. So, the fact that tires are thrown into landfill piles and water sources creates an additional danger for the growth of harmful bacteria and insects. Mosquitos and other similar bugs love to use old tires as a home. As such, less fortunate areas that arent able to dispose or recycle these tires have seen an increase in diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. In addition, many tires are being burned around the world which emits toxic fumes into the air and are harmful to breathe. Indosole hand crafts shoes with recycled tire soles that are comfortable, stylish and conscious about the environment.

Clean the World

photo credit: Clean the World Facebook Page

Diarrheal diseases kill approximately 1.8 million people per year. A majority of reported cases occur in Africa and South Asia. The only proven way to fight against germs is with proper body and handwashing, with soap. Unfortunately, the reason many of these diseases transpire is due to a lack of clean water and soap. One such program is fighting against the enormous waste of toiletries across the globe. Clean the World works with hotels and many other organizations to donate products that would have otherwise gone to waste. These products are donated directly to family homes as well as schools, community health providers, maternity health programs and nutrition programs. Whats more, the team works with communities to provide proper teaching about diseases, germs and proper handwashing techniques.

Its awe-inspiring to imagine all the possibilities for the millions of unused products thrown away in the United States alone. Be sure to check around your area for any local recycling initiatives. Keeping yourself informed about local and global recycling programs will truly reach communities around the globe.

Photo Credit: UNICEF Ethiopia

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


3 Innovative Recycling Projects Used For Good Around the World

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How Does Ethical Consumerism Lead to Bad Behavior?

We cant be perfect. Either accept this truth, or risk driving yourself bonkers.

That said, many of us do make peace with our imperfections or, at least, say we do. The reality, however, occasionally seems to be that when were not at our best, our brains grow quietly unwilling to acknowledge were taking the low road. Whats more, not only do we refuse to see the so-called worst in ourselves, but we chastise others for their ability to be the good people we cant (or wont) be.

A great example of this can be seen in an upcoming July article for the Journal of Consumer Psychology. The study dovetails with previous research to suggest that, while people want to buy products manufactured by ethical means (think fair trade), it turns out that if were actually given the opportunity of knowing where our merchandise comes from, wed rather remain in the dark.

Whats more, if our friends and loved ones tell us the products theyve chosen to buy are made by demonstratively principled companies, we label those people preachy, unfashionable and unattractive. (This response might be all-too familiar to folks like feminists and vegans who, given the wrong audience, can barely open their mouths without being accused of behaving holier-than-thou.)

Authors of the study arrived at the conclusion that individuals who choose to buy items produced by ethical means were seen as a kind of threat to others sense of self-righteousness. But whats perhaps even more interesting is that, when surveyed, those who denigrated do-gooders revealed they didnt feel much revulsion toward companies that defied ethical standards. Thats because one feeling cannot exist without the other: If fair trade isnt a big deal, then companies that avoid fair trade arent really doing anything wrong.

All this reveals a great deal not only about our very human need to often live in willful ignorance (otherwise we might grow overwhelmed and, in turn, paralyzed by all the worlds very real horrors), but that each of us knows so little about who we really are and what we really care about.

For example, few of us would admit that we dont much care whether the clothes we buy were made by children working in slave labor conditions. And yet the fact that these practices continue, often in the name of United States consumerism, show that more than a few of us truly dont make the issue worth our time.

Its not that were bluffing, necessarily; when we say we care about sweatshops, we usually mean what we say. The issue is that were genuinely unaware that, deep down, these issues arent our priorities. This kind of unconscious lack of familiarity with our own values (or lack thereof) touches on a theory known as the introspection illusion. This is the idea that our desires are rooted in such complex psychological mire, theres no real way for us to understand why we like what we like, and why we dont like the things we find repellent.

There are dozens of experiments that seem to reveal introspection, or an attempt to understand the self, is not the means to identify our innermost truths. On the contrary, its the means for us to come up with justificationsas to why were drawn to Thing A and not Thing B, when, really, we havent a clue. Thats why many people patronize therapists. These caretakers have training and, more importantly, objectivity, and are far more likely to identify, for arguments sake, our sense of shame when we cant pay for more expensive fair trade options.

The truth is its OK to feel small when we cant achieve or dont even think to try what others do with passion and conviction. The problem comes when we start acting out against those people, or actively undermining the causes they support. Again, its about our ability to be imperfect, as well as our need to accept that the best we can do is try.

When we come into contact with individuals of whom we are jealous, we must try our best to know and admit our true feelings. In turn, we can either minimize the accomplishments of others, or strive to be more like them. At least that choice (introspection illusion be darned) is up to us.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


How Does Ethical Consumerism Lead to Bad Behavior?

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The Truth About Styrofoam (Infographic)

You know that awful squeaking sound that styrofoam makes when it touches just about anything? That’s a warning sound for us all.

During the holiday season, several items you purchase may be packaged in styrofoam. While you certainly can’t control exactly what packaging a company decides to use, you can make your voice heard by creating a petition to ban usage of styrofoam or sign a current petition.

Why might you want styrofoam banned in your state or country? It can take up to 500 years to decompose. Less than one percent is recycled. There’s a human health impact because styrofoam contains a known carcinogen, benzene. Furthermore, there are so many alternatives to the plastic foam that we can do without it. Read more about the impacts of styrofoam in this infographic from Wheels for Wishes.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


The Truth About Styrofoam (Infographic)

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How Far Would You Hike for Internet?

Mahabir Pun has brought internet access to parts of the Annapurna region in Nepal that can only be reached by several days of travel on foot. Despite the internet being something that the first world largely takes for granted, according to the filmmaker, this change has vastly improved “the region’s standard of health, education and prosperity.” Watch the video to learn more about this incredible story.

HIKING FOR EMAILS from Clemens Purner on Vimeo.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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How Far Would You Hike for Internet?

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