Archive | Saving Our Animals

A Happy Day For The Polar Bears???

Well, it’s either a very sad or happy day for the polar bears…I can’t decide which. Today, the US Government has decided that the polar bear species should be protected as a threatened species. The problem is the decline in Artic sea ice from global warming.  According to World Wildlife Fund, “If current warming trends continue, they may disappear within 100 years.” That would mean my great-grandchildren wouldn’t know what these elegant and beautiful animals would look like in the wild.

Climate change is destroying polar bear habitat, putting the species at risk of extinction.  Sea ice, which polar bears depend on for hunting animals, melted to record low levels last summer. The projection for ice melting this summer is expected to be “extreme” also.  Geoffrey York, coordinator of WWF’s Polar Bear Conservation Program says “Based on the best available science, if current sea ice trends continue, two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will be lost by 2050. We should be taking every action possible to reduce stresses on polar bears, and we believe that oil and gas activities pose formidable risks to the Arctic sea ice ecosystem and the polar bears that inhabit it.

I find eye-opening information like the above quote, a great platform for discussions with my kids.  I showed Angelo some polar bear pictures from the web and explained what was happening with the bears.  He had two comments.  “I KNEW Francesco should have saved the polar bears at his birthday party!”  (Francesco’s party benefitted the tigers from friends bringing a donation in lieu of gifts.)  And his other comment “Well, thank goodness Sophie is saving them if we can’t!” (It’s timely, but the boys are attending a birthday partythis weekend, where the little girl decided she wanted to help the polar bears rather than receive presents.)  If only children ruled the world… Countries would be on time-outs – rather than at war and the preservation of animals would be more important than the excessive importance of oil and gas!  

 

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Disposal Of Household Hazardous Waste & Medicine

An article in my local news inspired this article, as I felt such a strong reaction to what I was reading.  Talk about feeling the consequences of your actions!  A person decided to dump litres of latex paint into their storm drain which flowed into a local creek which happens to be a high volume fish-bearing waterway.  What caused me to gasp is my 4 year old was releasing coho fry into this very creek only weeks ago on his first preschool field trip.  Because of this action, about 44,000 fry and eggs narrowly escaped death,  because the quick acting creek’s president shut off the creek intake and switched to the back-up well water.  They won’t know if the thousands of fish will be affected, but it makes you stop and scratch your head.  Even if the storm drain isn’t marked, come on!

So I did some digging on the disposal of hazardous household waste… paints, antifreeze, antibiotics, etc.  The culprit in the above crime (latex paint) is one of the easiest types to dispose of, along with water based paint, as it’s less harmful to simply ‘dry up’ this paint.  If you buy cat litter or sawdust, fill up a paper bag with it, and then pour the remaining paint into the bag.  Wait for the paint to be absorbed and dispose of the bag with your household trash.

You cannot do this for oil-based paints as they post potential environmental and public health risks.  You need to contact your local hazardous materials resource centre for information on proper disposal.  OR you can give away or donate leftover paint to a local theater group or non-profit organization.  Or even more fun, you can also locate a user for your paint through freecycle.org, an online swap shop.  I’ve never heard of this website before, but it’s a nonprofit movement of people who are giving away stuff.  It’s all about reuse and keeping good things out of landfills.  I logged onto this site and found local communities with groups setup, close enough by to drive to and this is a worldwide site!  Very cool find.

Something that is piling up in my cupboard after a bad flu and strep throat season is old antibiotics.  You know that last little bit of medicine that never gets used up?  I’ve been collecting my bottles of old antibiotics in a safe place and when it’s worth the trip for me, I can bring it to my local pharmacy.  My pharmacist told me to take a marker and black out my personal information on the label, then bring them in and they’ll look after proper disposal of what would be a harmful substance to the environment. Continue Reading →

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How Hard Is Your Water? Find Out And Save Money!

I read an interesting article at our local Ecology Centre that describes how you can save money if you know the category your city’s water falls into:   Soft, Medium, or Hard.   If your water is soft, you can use 1/2 the recommended amount of laundry detergent and still have your clothes clean.

Why?  The target water category that detergent is developed for is medium to hard water.  The water in our city (Vancouver’s Lower Mainland) is categorized as ‘very soft’.  A few Canadian cities marked as having moderate to hard water are Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax.   Regina is listed as having very hard water.   Because cleaning product manufacturers’ typically recommend amounts based on moderate hardness, we having ‘soft’ water can use much less detergents, starting at 1/2 the recommended amount and adjusting from there.  

The chemical that produces a ‘sudsy’ action in cleaners is called  surfactants.   All detergents, personal/home care cleaning products, even toothpaste contain surfactants…they can be found in anything that produces suds and they increase the level of cleaning power.    Laundry detergents contain the highest level of surfactants.   When the amount of laundry detergent is overused to wash clothes, excess surfactants  get released  after treatment.   This can have a negative impact on fish and other aquatic life.   While saving money for your family is a bonus with reducing your amount of detergent, think of this action as one more way to help our local ecosystem.

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Kid Friendly Eco Project

My son Angelo loves wild fish and gets so excited when we drive by a sign marking the road of a fish route. For years he yells “fish sign!!” when we drive near a creek or local fish hatchery. So when I saw a blurb on our local Ecology Centre’s web site regarding a project with storm drain marking, my ears perked up.

Why is this important? The yellow fish are there to remind us that storm drains on our roadways empty directly into local streams. Storm Drain Marking is a conservation and education project developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

I had no idea this project was available to the public and I LOVE the idea of my family being able to assist with placing the fish stencils we’ve enjoyed seeing in the community for so long. With the fingerling festivals approaching in our local hatcheries it’s a great marriage of two very kid friendly projects.

The kits and procedure for storm drain marking has recently changed. The kits previously contained a fish stencil with a spray can of yellow paint. Now the kits contain a brush to clean the road, VERY powerful glue to spread in the cleaned area, gloves to handle the glue, and a fish sticker that actually gets glued to the road. There is also a huge mallet that you get to bang the fish so that it sticks to the road forever (smile). In a child’s eyes, what is there not to like about this project? They love glue, stickers, fish, and banging something with a hammer. I love it! Also included are door knob hangers that educate the neighborhood on the importance of caring for neighborhood streams and tips for protecting our fish. What a wonderful, educational project for young children. I have reserved my family’s kit and will post pictures and a description of the project when we complete. Oh yes, the kit comes with reflective vests….this is all just too fun. (Did I mention it’s free of cost??) I’m noticing a theme with ECO kids projects…most don’t involve money and everybody (including mommy and daddies) are learning!

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