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Climate Change could kill off a quarter of the Earth’s species by 2050

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polar bear by flickrfavourites via Flickr

1 in 4 of the planet’s species could be forced into extinction by 2050 because of global warming. Devastating, but a very real possibility according to research by The Nature Conservancy.

99% of the species currently at risk are so because of human-related activity, and the number one cause is climate change. Earlier this year, Leonardo Dicaprio used his Oscar speech to put climate change back on the agenda, reminding us that 2015 was the hottest year recorded on the planet.

The consequences are being felt right now. Animals across the globe, from polar bears to flamingos may well join the golden toad on the list of animals labeled ‘extinct’ due to our changing climate. Despite the warning signs, we currently have a presidential candidate who doubts the existence of climate change.

Is it time to ask whether our governments, and ourselves, are doing enough for the animals, plants and people suffering as a direct result of global warming?

Which species are at risk?

Polar bears are one of the most loved endangered creatures. Experts predict polar bears face extinction in less than one hundred years as their habitat literally melts away.

On the opposite side of the planet, the risks from climate change remain devastating. The Adelie Penguin’s are considered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as ‘near threatened’. Their numbers are expected to dwindle by 30% in the next 3 generations.

Other species considered at risk from climate change include leatherback and hawksbill turtles, koala bears, the beluga whale, the arctic fox and many many more.

We’ve already lost some forever

Among the best known on this list is golden toad (Bufo periglenes), thought to have become extinct at the end of the last century directly as a result of climate change. The golden toad once thrived in the high altitude forests of Monteverde, Costa Rica.

According to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the frogs have sensitive skin, and are particularly vulnerable to pollution and ultraviolet radiation. The changes brought by global warming are thought to have played a significant part in the species’ decline.

Sadly, this year we’ve added the first mammal to the list of species that have become extinct as a direct result of climate change. The Guardian reported that the Bramble Cay melomys, a small rodent endemic to the Great Barrier Reef, is now wiped out in its only known habitat.

Last seen in 2009, they lived on Bramble Cay Cove off the coast of Queensland. Rising sea waters have destroyed over 97% of their habitat. A report found the cause to be man-made climate change.

Are humans on the endangered list?

Yes, we may be on the list too. Climate change kills more people annually than terrorism; it’s severely damaged infrastructure and threatened entire cultures and languages.

An independent report linked 400,000 deaths per year to climate change, and estimated that figure will rise considerably. Millions will be displaced and become environmental refugees in the coming years. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), one person a second is displaced by an environmental disaster, with 22.5 million people forced to flee their homes since 2008.

In the Pacific Ocean, people indigenous to small islands are living with the consequences of rising sea waters. These people will have to abandon their lives, their homeland and their history.

For some it isn’t just a case of leaving their home, but also leaving their languages behind. In fact, it’s estimated that climate change could contribute to the loss of half the world’s languages in the next century.

What can be done?

Our planet is warming at a faster rate than anytime in the last 10,000 years; and WWF scientists estimate animals and plants will have to move faster than 1,000 meters per year in order to stay within a climate zone in which they need to survive.

The only way we can tackle the damage caused by climate change is by having a determined and educated population that will lobby their governments into working to secure the future of our planet. If Donald Trump becomes the United States of America’s 45th President this year, he will become the only world leader not to accept the science behind climate change.

Not only is climate change having an irreversible and devastating affect on wildlife, but also on humankind. Try calculating your carbon footprint and seeing how you personally can live a greener, kinder lifestyle.

 

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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