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Climate Change Upsets Wildlife Migratory Patterns

Climate Change Upsets Wildlife Migratory Patterns

People are masters of changing the natural world. We build cities, install false borders and carve tunnels through mountains. We can even alter the climate of the entire globe – even though we’re not trying to do it.

 

Climate Change Upsets Wildlife Migratory Patterns

 

Guest Post by Emily Folk

 
The changes we make to the planet and its environment can upset the behavioural patterns of many species, impacting the way an animal acts and how well it can adapt to changing conditions. Storms are getting worse, deserts are expanding and wildlife is finding it increasingly difficult to survive. Climate change is impacting our world in ways we haven’t even realized yet.

The reality is, we are reducing many animals’ chance of survival. The species that are already at risk are having the hardest time because they were already struggling to survive, and many of them live in areas that are more susceptible to climate change.
 

Land and Air

 
A recent study explored the impact of climate change on land mammals and birds and the results were not uplifting. Land mammals and birds are struggling to survive in the face of climate change. As the world warms, everything is changing. The study found that of the species studied, 47 percent of threatened land mammals and 23 percent of endangered birds are already being affected by climate change.

Those are huge numbers, but they aren’t surprising. The animals that are most affected seem to be those with a specialised diet, and that live in areas where plants aren’t adapting well to warmer weather. This is forcing them to move, where they lose access to what little vegetation they have. They are then dispersing into smaller and smaller ranges and changing their migratory patterns to find enough food.
 

Marine Life

 
While the numbers of affected land animals are staggering, they aren’t the only animals who migrate. Marine wildlife is also struggling, both from climate change and from human disruption. Underwater drones are providing some insight as to how species migrate and adapt to changes in their marine environment.

One region that is experiencing rapid changes is the Arctic; yet, we don’t yet fully understand what the impacts will be. Some species, like gray whales, migrate to the Arctic every year for food. As the waters warm, it’s unclear what will happen. Their migration patterns may have to extend farther and farther north for them to find enough food.

Gray whales are just one example of animals that are altering the migratory patterns due to the changing climate. It’s estimated that over 80 percent of marine mammals are changing their migration and feeding patterns due to climate change and the warming waters it brings. The alterations occurring in the ocean are happening faster than what we see on land, and we’re behind the curve on it. Keeping track of the migrating species is difficult, especially when we can no longer find them in their usual feeding grounds.
 

Coral Reefs

 
Warm waters are pleasant to swim in, but they tend to lack nutrients that are vital for marine species. As temperatures increase, we’re starting to see startling changes. Global bleaching events that go on for years not only hurt coral but also the species that live in the precious reef ecosystems. It puts pressure on our most vulnerable and vital ecosystem. After all, “Without the blue, there is no green.”

Migratory patterns exist because species have to move to survive. They rely on knowing where they’re going and what to expect when they get there. The less certainty they have, the greater the variables they encounter, the worse their chances of survival. On a small scale, like building a dam or a city constructed on feeding grounds, this might not matter much. But on a global level, like what we see with climate change, the impact can be insurmountable.

The planet has already seen five mass extinction events, and scientists say that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction. The best chance we have of protecting these at-risk species is to study them, learn how they’re being affected, ensure our protection measures are as comprehensive as possible, and improve the way we treat our environment.

 

Get Involved

 

♣ Download My Green World’s mobile game app, World of the Wild

♣ Register your interest in My Green World’s Kids Corner education program.

♣ Sign up for My Green World’s newsletter.

 


How Humanity is Disrupting Ecosystems and Wildlife

Disrupting Ecosystems and Wildlife

People are loud, excitable and numerous. Since we have spread to every corner of the planet, we have impacted every corner, and sometimes in unexpected ways. While climate change and habitat destruction are old hats for their environmental impact, there are plenty of other things we do that mess with nature as well.

 

How Humanity is Disrupting Ecosystems and Wildlife 

 

Guest Post by Emily Folk

 

Noise Pollution

 
Human noise is everywhere. Even places that are supposed to be quiet have become incredibly loud. The ocean, which you always think of as a quiet, serene place filled with dolphin clicks and whale calls, is now filled with the rumble of humans. Marine wildlife is still out making noise, but now they have to compete with shipping routes, seismic surveys, oil extraction and sonar, not to mention military experiments and submarines. Those shipping routes alone have doubled their noise every single decade since the 1960’s. All this sound is wreaking havoc on the ability of underwater dwellers to function and has even contributed to whale beaching events.

Humans have also achieved a “super predator” status. That makes all other animals afraid of us. A wild animal that has just made a kill, perhaps its first kill in weeks, will generally abandon it the second it hears a human voice. Often, the animal will never return to the kill either and leave it to rot. If the animals live in an area with constant noise, they may suffer hearing loss, reducing their ability to react to environmental cues, causing them to suffer some of the same effects humans have under chronic stress conditions.
 

Human Arrogance

 
Habitats aren’t just destroyed for new houses or slash and burn farms in the tropics. It’s a constant factor in every nation. With the human population over 7 billion, we are always eating up space for ourselves. We need food, housing, and leisure activities, and we, like all of those things away from other people. That has a severe impact on wildlife.

In addition to taking up space for agriculture and land clearing, humans also use wilderness areas to extract resources for their own use. Industrial activities like mining, logging, road construction and oil and gas extraction all deplete wilderness areas where wildlife live. Wilderness now covers less than a quarter of Earth’s total land surface. This declining land area – compounded by climate change altering the habitable areas for wildlife – leads to extinction of species and loss of biodiversity on a global scale.

 

Light Pollution

 
Light pollution is something most people have heard of, but we tend to think of it as the reason you can’t see stars at night when you live in the city. It might be a bit annoying but nothing that’s too damaging to the environment. Except that it is, especially for the animals that use the light of the moon to guide them. One species that has so far been unable to adapt to this light pollution is sea turtles.

All species of sea turtles are affected by light pollution, but loggerhead, leatherback, and green sea turtles have taken the biggest hit. When nesting females come to shore, they come at night, lay their eggs and then head back to the sea.

The baby sea turtles are supposed to follow the light of the moon to find the ocean over the sand. But nearby lights from cities are often confusing and cause them to go the wrong way. They get hit by cars, picked off by predators, fall into storm grates or simply die of exhaustion, further diminishing already endangered species.
 

Climate Change

 
This list wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the global impact humans have had on our climate. With climate change, we are impacting every existing ecosystem on the planet – from coral reefs and frozen tundras to expanding deserts and missing monsoons. The impact of climate change isn’t yet fully understood, but the outlook is bleak.

As the world grapples for solutions to these issues, it is vital that every person on the planet strives to increase their own understanding of how their actions affect other species that share this Earth.
 

Get Involved

 

♣ Download My Green World’s mobile game app, World of the Wild

♣ Register your interest in My Green World’s Kids Corner education program.

♣ Sign up for My Green World’s newsletter.

 


The Pink Dolphins of Hong Kong

pink dolphins of hong kong

In busy Hong Kong waters live the Chinese white dolphin, also known as the ‘pink dolphin’, or the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin, but this iconic species is rapidly disappearing.

The Pink Dolphins of Hong Kong

 

Guest Post by Karoline Hood

 
Though the Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins are considered to be part of a single widespread and highly variable species, some biologists consider Humpback Dolphins in the Indo-Pacific to consist of two species: S. plumbea in the western Indian Ocean, from South Africa to at least the east coast of India, and S. chinensis, from the east coast of India to China and Australia.

Dr Samuel Hung Ka-yiu is the Chairman of Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society and has been monitoring dolphins in Hong Kong waters since 1997. Dr. Hung’s 2015 report revealed that there were close to 158 dolphins in Hong Kong waters in 2003, but their population has plummeted to just 47 in recent years.

However, a 2017 study by researchers at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) delivered the first-ever comprehensive population assessment of the Chinese white dolphins that inhabit Hong Kong waters, and what they found differs from the common public belief.

In fact, “it differs very substantially from the estimates reported in Hong Kong for the past many years,” said Dr. Leszek Karczmarski, Associate Professor at the Swire Institute of Marine Science and School of Biological Sciences, HKU, who has instigated and supervised this study.

“Contrary to statements frequently repeated by various Hong Kong media, there is no such thing as ‘Hong Kong dolphin population,’” he added.

“The dolphins seen in Hong Kong waters represent an integral part of the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) population; they are not aware of the administrative border between Hong Kong and Mainland waters, frequently traverse these waters, and there are at least 368 dolphins that rely on Hong Kong waters as part of their home range,” said Mr. Stephen Chan, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Karczmarski’s Lab and the lead author of the study.

The Chinese white dolphins are also known to be in North Lantau waters near Castle Peak, Lung Kwu Chau, Sha Chau Marine Park, Chek Lap Kok and Tai O. They are also found in the waters south of Lantau, including Fan Lau and the Soko Islands.
 

History of the Pink Dolphin

 
The Chinese white dolphin was first observed in Hong Kong’s Pearl River Estuary over 300 years ago. However, it was not until the late 1980s that scientists began tracking their population and behaviour.

The ‘pink dolphin’ as it is colloquially known, became Hong Kong’s official mascot for the handover ceremony in 1997 when Britain returned the territory to China. Born grey, the dolphin gradually turns pink as it ages, and their pink hue is thought to be a result of flushing blood to the outer layers of the skin for regulation of body temperature.
 

Threats to the Pink Dolphin

 
The population of the Chinese white dolphins in the Pearl River Estuary inhabits one of the world’s most congested areas. Heavy marine traffic, increased development and severe water pollution has placed dolphins in these areas under enormous pressure. Such disruption to their habitat represents the greatest threat to the Chinese white dolphin.

Hong Kong waters are one of the world’s busiest waterways, with High-speed ferries coming to and from Macau with passenger and freight, which cut right through the dolphins’ habitat and can kill them in collisions. In addition to that underwater noise pollution from the boat’s engine which magnifies under the water affect their echolocation efficiency. Dolphins rely on sonar to navigate, communicate and find food.

Hong Kong’s rapid development projects pose a significant threat to dolphins in Hong Kong waters, with populations being impacted by the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, which started in 2011, as well as the Hong Kong International Airport runway.

Yuki Lui Hiu-ying of the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society (HKDCS) said that the increased shipping traffic and large scale developments in the region have negatively impacted dolphins in Hong Kong waters.

“We did a study and put Ecological Acoustic Recorders in the water and could hear a lot of dolphins, so we know they use that area to feed at night, and it’s an important habitat for them,” said Lui Hiu-ying.

“We urged the citizens to write to the government and to tell them we don’t want this huge construction that impacts the dolphins, we gathered a lot of comments from the citizens, but sadly, the government did not listen and passed the Environmental Impact Assessment Report, and the work started,” she said.

“We don’t have much hope, but we will still need to do something. We are bringing more awareness; I see more students and more Hong Kong people becoming aware, so I see a little hope.”

Added to this, increased pollution resulting from these construction projects is causing high calf mortality; with toxins killing young dolphins whose immune system is not strong enough to handle the increasingly inhospitable environment of the Pearl River Estuary.
 

How You Can Help

 
♣ Reduce rubbish such as straws, plastic knives and forks, plastic bags.

♣ Avoid using skin products that contain microbeads as eventually, they end up in the ocean.

♣ Write to local ferry companies and ask them to reroute or slow down.

♣ Sign the petition to reroute ferry traffic.
 

Learn More

 
♣ Download our mobile game app, World of the Wild! Click here to download.

♣ Register your interest in My Green World’s Kids Corner education program.

♣ Sign up for My Green World’s newsletter here.

♣ Follow us on Facebook here.
 


The Wonderful World of Whales

whales

These mysterious giants roam the world’s ocean – the Pacific (and Western Pacific), Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Southern Ocean basins. There are over 90 different species of Cetacea (whales and dolphins), all unique in their own way, including some that scientists know nothing about.

 

The Wonderful World of Whales

 
 What all whales have in common is that, like us, they are mammals: they surface and breathe air through nostrils on their head, are warm blooded, and nurse and care for their young. Most large whales are migratory and spend summers feeding in the freezing polar ocean basins where they build up an insulating layer of fat known as blubber. Blubber also serves as their food supply in their food scarce winter tropical breeding areas.

Whales belong to the order “Cetacea” and are divided into two suborders, “mysticeti” and “odonotoceti”.
 

Mysticete Whales

 
Mysticete whales are baleen whales and are unique in that they have a bristle-like structure of plates made of keratin – the same protein that makes up fingernails and hair – growing from their upper jaw. Baleen whales do not have teeth, instead, this structure is called ‘baleen’ serves the purpose of filtering food from water. These whales, while being extremely large, eat very small prey including zooplankton, krill, small crabs and small schooling fish. Mysticeti whales are also identifiable as both nostrils are visible leaving them with a double blow-hole opening on the top of their heads. There are at least 14 species of Mysticeti, divided into four families: Balaenidae, Balaenopteridae, Eschrichtiidae and Neobalaenopteridae.
 

Odontocete Whales

 
Odontocete whales, such as dolphins, porpoises and sperm whales have teeth, and only a single blowhole visible (though they also have two nostrils in their skulls just like us). They generally eat larger fish, octopus, squid and larger crabs. Odontocetes have a sensory ability called ‘echolocation’ in which they produce sound, which echoes back off objects, in order to “see” objects, including prey.

Orcas, whilst referred to commonly as killer whales, are the world’s largest dolphins and are also grouped with this suborder. There are at least 10 families of Odontocetes which include dolphins, porpoises, river dolphins, sperm whales, beaked whales, and the narwhal whose spiral tooth looks like a unicorn horn. All species vary widely in size and characteristics but among them are some very well-known, very interesting, and even some unknown species.
 

The Blue Whale

 
The blue whale is the largest living animal in the world. It is a Mysticeti and belongs to the family Balaenopteridae along with the well-known humpback whale. The females of the species, being larger than the males, can grow up to 33 metres long and can weigh 150,000 kilograms. Their voices are almost as big as they are – their song is so loud and deep it is thought to carry up to a thousand kilometres through the ocean to reach others of the species.
 
whales

The Bowhead and Right Whales

 
Right whales get their name from whalers who considered them the ‘right whales to catch’ as they were so easy to target – they swim slowly, stay close to shore and float once killed. The three species of right whales – Southern right, North Atlantic right, and North Pacific right, along with the Bowhead whale – are all Mysticetes and make up the family Balaenidae. Though much smaller than blue whales, Bowhead whales have the longest baleen of all whales, reaching four metres in length. Whilst Southern right and bowhead whales are rebounding, the North Pacific and Atlantic right whales are still critically endangered, each with fewer than 500 individuals left alive in each species.
 

The Gray Whale

 
Gray whales are also Mysticetes and are the only species in the family, Eschrichtiidae. They are relatively small for Mysticete whales, reaching about fifteen metres in length. Gray whales eat off the ocean floor, sometimes by lying on their sides. Interestingly, gray whales can be right or left-side dominant, like humans, and will lay on whichever side is dominant when feeding. These whales are sometimes referred to as the friendliest of all species because they often approach boats. Though, whalers sometimes refer to them as ‘devilfish’ after several of the species attacked their boats to defend their young.
 

whales
Photo credit: Merrill Gosho, NOAA

The Sperm Whale

 
Sperm Whales are the largest Odontocete whales, making up the family Physeteridae. The males can reach 16 metres, whilst females only get to 11 metres – the biggest sex difference of all whales. They have around 40 teeth only in their lower jaw, each weighing up to a kilogram, and feed on giant squid. They are the easiest whale to spot as they are so oddly shaped, with large square heads, and their blow is bushy and angled, due to the position of the blowhole. Sperm whales are thought to be one of the deepest diving whales, holding their breath for over an hour and diving over a kilometre down.
 

Photo Credit: Gabriel Barathieu
Photo Credit: Gabriel Barathieu

The Northern Bottlenose Whale

 
Northern bottlenose whales are also Odontocetes and are the most well-known and studied of the family Ziphiidae, which is made up of about 22 recognised whale species. Most of these species are beaked whales, but the group also includes the northern bottlenose whales. These whales have large protruding foreheads and small stubby beaks similar to that of dolphins. Males of the species, interestingly, have been known to form friendships in which they associate with another male of similar age. In the 19th and 20th centuries, they were hunted often. As they are curious creatures and, due to their friendships, when one whale was killed they often stayed nearby it, making them an easy target. About 65,000 were killed in this time period and today, data is too insufficient to classify it.
 

The Narwhal

 
Narwhals may be the strangest looking of all whales – often referred to as ‘unicorn whales’ due to the single long tusk protruding from the male’s heads. Narwhals are Odontocete whales and belong to the family Monodontidae along with the beluga whale. In the past, their tusks have been sold on the black market as mythical unicorn horns, and there is still a growing trade for their ‘ivory’. Narwhals live only in cold Arctic waters and are only up to five metres long while their tusks can grow two to three metres long – half the length of their body. The function of the tusk has long been debated, with some believing it to be a sensory organ. However, some males have been spotted using them to fight over females.
 

whales
Photo credit: Paul Nicklen

Learn More

 
♣ Download our mobile game app, World of the Wild! Click here to download.

♣ Register your interest in My Green World’s Kids Corner education program.

♣ Sign up for My Green World’s newsletter here.

♣ Follow us on Facebook here.
 


World of the Wild is donating to Borneo Orangutan Survival

World of the Wild is donating to Borneo Orangutan Survival

This coming August, My Green World will be donating 50% of the proceeds generated from our mobile game app, World of the Wild, directly to our partner charity, Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia. This means, that half of the revenue generated in World of the Wild throughout the month of August (through in-app purchases and upgrades) will be donated directly to BOS Australia.

World of the Wild is donating to Borneo Orangutan Survival

 

Download My Green World’s mobile game app, World of the Wild, to support Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia (BOSA). This August, World of the Wild will be donating 50% of its revenue to BOS Australia. That means, for every in-app purchase you make in World of the Wild, BOSA will receive half!
 

About World of the Wild

 

World of the Wild is an educational mobile game app that encourages young people to participate in virtual wildlife and environmental conservation scenarios. The app represents and profiles 18 charities from around the world, and each charity supports a particular species, which users are then able to rescue and rehabilitate. World of the Wild offers educational pop quizzes, interactive games and opportunities for users to build their own world, meet some of the world’s most endangered species, connect with other players, and address real-life threats, such as poachers and oil spills.

World of the World gamifies the concept of wildlife conservation while expanding education outcomes, and is committed to preparing today’s youth with the knowledge, experience and tools to meet the challenges that will define their generation. World of the Wild is the first game app that allows children to participate in virtual wildlife conservation while having a real-world impact. The app is currently free to download in the iTunes App Store. Download by clicking here.
 

World of the Wild is donating to Borneo Orangutan Survival

 

About Borneo Orangutan Survival (Australia)

 
Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia (BOSA) is a volunteer organisation raising funds for rescued orangutans since 2001.They work to save the orangutan by rescuing and rehabilitating them, with an ultimate goal of releasing them back to the forest where they will be safe from human development, poaching and farming. BOSA is totally dependent on support from adoptions, sales of their merchandise and donations to help save the orangutan and the rainforest. As a volunteer organisation, they ensure a very high percentage of donor dollars getting to where they are most needed – to the orangutans in Indonesia.
 

Orangutans need our help

 
They are an endangered species, with an estimated 50,000 left in the wild. The greatest threat to their survival is the extensive destruction of the rainforest. Some experts say about 6,000 orangutans are disappearing every year and without our collective help orangutans could be extinct in the wild within our lifetime.

Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia (BOSA) work to save the orangutan by rescuing and rehabilitating them, with an ultimate goal of releasing them back to the forest where they will be safe from human development, poaching and farming.
 

Get Involved

 
♣ Download My Green World’s mobile game app, World of the Wild and leave a review! Click here to download.

♣ Donate to Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia by clicking here.

♣ Sign up for My Green World’s newsletter here.
 


Protecting Dolphins and Whales from Fishing Nets

protecting dolphins and whales

My Green World’s partner charity, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), has launched an important campaign dedicated to protecting dolphins and whales (and porpoises) from fishing nets in UK seas.

Protecting Dolphins and Whales from Fishing Nets

 

The Issue

Accidental entanglement in fishing nets or gear (known as ‘bycatch’) is the biggest global threat to dolphins, porpoises and whales. Hundreds of thousands die this way every year – thousands in UK seas.

It is a horrific way to die. Like us, dolphins, porpoises and whales can’t breathe under water. Trapped in a net, they panic and can sustain terrible wounds and broken bones in their struggle to escape. When they can’t struggle anymore, they will close their blowhole and suffocate.

More than 28 species of dolphins, porpoises and whales make their homes in UK seas. Yet, tragically thousands of individuals die in fishing nets and gear every year in these waters. Most of the protection they have comes from the EU and those regulations are under review. WDC needs you to join their call for the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments to put strong laws in place, after Britain leaves the EU, to prevent these needless deaths.
 

WDC’s Campaign

 
 

Protecting Dolphins and Whales
Image credit: WDC

 

Recent Statistics

 
♣ Estimates show that 250 common dolphins and between 1250 and 1500 porpoises died in static nets in UK waters in 2016.

♣ As many as 100,000 common dolphins are believed to have died in the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay in the last 20 years.

♣Almost 50% of minke whales who strand around the Scottish coastline show signs of entanglement.

 

Get Involved

 

♣ Join WDC’s petition by clicking here.

♣ Watch WDC’s campaign video by clicking here.

♣ Read more on protecting dolphins and whales by clicking here.

♣ Follow WDC on Facebook by clicking here.

♣ Download My Green World’s mobile game app, World of the Wild! Click here to download.

♣ Register your interest in My Green World’s Kids Corner education program.

♣ Sign up for My Green World’s newsletter here.
 


Cottoning onto the Environmental Impact of Fashion

Environmental Impact of Fashion

 

The word “fashion” can conjure up many different images and feelings. Take a moment to think about what springs to your mind. Do you think of glossy magazines and catwalks? Or do you immediately think about your favourite jeans and perhaps a cosy cable knit jumper? Maybe the word makes you roll your eyes. Whether you like fashion or not, we are all affected by it, we all consume it. In fact, chances are high that either you or someone you know has a job in the textile industry, and it is worth assessing the environmental impact of fashion.

 

The Environmental Impact of Fashion

 

Guest post by Fiona Murphy

The process to create a single t-shirt is a complex series of steps, which is captured in the report Pulse of the Fashion Industry:

“There is not a standard path for the cotton produced in one country, spun in another, dyed and processed in a different one and converted into a garment in a factory far away from the store.”

Because of this segmentation of labour, some 60 million people are employed by the industry. It also means that the impact of textile creation is happening in all corners of the world. Fashion has been described as the second-largest polluter after the oil industry. This $2.2 trillion industry has experienced exponential growth because of disposable fashion. The USA tosses 10.5million tonnes of clothes into landfill each year. Australians buy on average 27kg of textiles, including new clothes, each year. This is almost twice the global average.

Fast fashion giant H&M admits that the clothes manufacturing is having a devastating impact on the environment. The brand, which produces 600 million garments annually, launched the Conscious Exclusive Collection in 2012. It looked like a signal the fashion industry was starting to redeem itself.

The cornerstone of the first collection was to provide consumers with clothes made from organic cotton. H&M’s move to organic cotton appeared to be a huge win. Standard cotton production is one of the largest sources of pollution in most countries. According to the World Wildlife Fund cotton agriculture accounts for 24% of the annual worldwide sales of insecticides. Organic cotton would have an immediate impact on reducing the amount of toxins released into an ecosystem.
 

Cotton; the Thirsty Crop

 
However, cotton is a thirsty crop. It takes 2700 litres of water to produce one t-shirt. In fact, the textile industry is the third largest consumer of water. Water diverted for agriculture causes enormous environmental strain. The fourth largest lake in the world, the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, has been rapidly shrinking due to irrigation projects. With only 1% of the earth’s fresh drinking water, readily accessible, cultivating cotton is an unsustainable option for manufacturing clothes. We need to be conserving water. For more information about why conserving water is so important, check out our article ‘Blue Gold: What does investing in water mean for the planet?’

Thankfully producing clothes made from organic cotton is no longer the focus of H&M’s sustainability strategy. In their sixth Conscious Collection they have started producing clothes made from Bionic Yarn, which is made from plastic bottles and bags recovered from waterways and shorelines.

This new approach to sustainability could be because as of April 2017, the brand joined Climate Savers — a climate leadership program for businesses developed by the World Wildlife Fund. While H&M has only committed to the program until 2020, in the next three years the company plans to focus on tightening up on emissions in its entire value chain. H&M have pledged that this is part of a longer-term strategy to become:

“climate positive by 2040 throughout the entire value chain – all the way from raw material extraction to products’ end of life. This means we will go beyond minimising the negative consequences of our business to create a positive impact on climate.”

H&M is the first fashion brand to join Climate Savers, hopefully, more textile businesses follow suit. One of the key features of the partnership between H&M and WWF is the “strategic dialogue” they are having about creating sustainability. According to the WWF they “will explore H&M’s and the textile industry’s broader sustainability challenges and possibilities. This could involve topics like a renewable materials or circular fashion models, aiming to bring sustainable and science-based solutions to both H&M and the fashion industry.”

This open conversation between industry and conservationists is crucial for fashion to make responsible, informed decisions. As opposed to solutions, like organic cotton, which sounds great in theory but in practice contribute to wide-scale environmental destruction.

As consumers of fashion, we need to follow suit. We fuel the growth of fashion. What we choose to buy informs the decision makers of an industry. By choosing sustainable clothing, we can fast-track positive change. We can do this by being conscious consumers and becoming educated about alternative fibres to cotton. Here are some options to consider:
 

Nettle Fibre

 
You will not forget the burning sensation if you accidentally brush past a stinging nettle. You also will not forget how incredible soft clothing made from nettles can be. Unlike cotton, nettles grow rampant in even the most challenging environments. Nettle plants enrich the soil that it grows in and boosts an area’s biodiversity by attracting wildlife.
 

Linen

 
Linen is derived from the flax. Flax requires far less water to cultivate than cotton. It also doesn’t require any chemical fertilisers. As a textile, linen is extremely quick-drying making it ideal for travelling. It is one of the strongest plant fibres so clothing made out of linen can last for years. It gets even better — linen gets softer with every wash. Just make sure you use earth-friendly soap-nuts in your machine.
 

Hemp

 
Hemp is a hardy plant; it is naturally disease resistant so it does not need nasty chemicals to thrive. Hemp clothing is ideal for hot and humid environments as not only does it breathe well, it resists damp and bacteria. The only problem is that it is illegal to grow hemp in many countries. Here in Australia Tasmania have led the charge allowing farmers to produce commercial hemp in the early 1990s. NSW followed suit in 2008.

 

Learn More

 
♣ Download our mobile game app, World of the Wild! Click here to download.

♣ Register your interest in My Green World’s Kids Corner education program.

♣ Sign up for My Green World’s newsletter here.

♣ Follow us on Facebook here.


Wild Lives: Leading Conservationists on the Animals and the Planet They Love

Wild Lives: Leading Conservationists

Lori Robinson and Janie Chodosh’s latest book, ‘Wild Lives: Leading Conservationists on the Animals and the Planet They Love’ shares the stories of 20 conservation experts across the globe who are working tirelessly to preserve our planet for future generations.

 

‘Wild Lives: Leading Conservationists on the Animals and the Planet They Love’

Book Review

 
Lori Robinson’s new book, ‘Wild Lives: Leading Conservationists on the Animals and the Planet They Love,’ is a captivating and moving exploration into the lives of some of the most passionate, fearless and inspiring wildlife conservationists, scientists, and ‘superhero’ humans in the world. In the face of such devastating atrocities being committed against the natural world, Robinson, and co-author, Janie Chodosh, seamlessly weave the tales of, arguably, the world’s most extraordinary people, into an uplifting foray into the contributions of humankind; illustrating the lengths that these people will go to save wildlife and protect the natural world. These stories are a beautiful fusion of inspiration and melancholy; highlighting Planet Earth’s perilous trajectory and the remarkable people that have dedicated their lives to saving it.

Wild Lives: Leading Conservationists Robinson’s new book follows on from the success of her first book, ‘Saving Wild: Inspiration from 50 Leading Conservationists, which featured My Green World Founder, Natalie Kyriacou, as well as high-profile conservationists such as, Daphne Sheldrick, Founder of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Ric O’ Barry, Founder of The Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project, and Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Drawing on themes from ‘Saving Wild’, Robinson’s new book delves further into the challenges facing current wildlife conservationists, offering unique perspectives and inspiring – sometimes, heart-wrenching – stories, from pioneering conservationists such as Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder of Cheetah Conservation Fund, Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, the man who coined the phrase ‘biological diversity’ and Beverly and Dereck Joubert, documentary filmmakers and National Geographic explorers and conservationists.

As Robinson notes, “Some of the people in Wild Lives have been thrown in jail and thrown out of countries, are hated by hunters and hunted by rebels. They work in some of the remotest areas in the world, in all kinds of weather. They have used sea ice for a pillow, been charged by elephants, bitten by snakes, and chased by rhino.”

 

Wild Lives: Leading Conservationists
From left to right: Conservationist Farwiza Farhan with Leonardo DiCaprio. Photo Credit: Paul Hilton Photography | Dr Steven Amstrup, Polar Bears International | Dr Megan Parker with Pepin, credit: Dave Hammam

Wild Lives is devoted to the notion that conservation can, does, and will work, and is for everybody who has a passion for saving wildlife and wild places.

As Beverly and Dereck Joubert comment, “Now isn’t the time to be complacent. We’re losing animals at an alarming rate. The facts are disturbing, yet we can’t hide from them.”

This sentiment is reinforced, though in different ways, by the 20 other conservationists profiled.

Dr Marker notes, “the most important thing we adults can teach our children is to be aware of how our actions and our choices impact the world around us. From a tiny insect or plant, to a magnificent elephant or whale, there are a myriad of living organisms that depend on one another, and ultimately, that depend on us, humans, just as we depend on them. It is our responsibility, as adults, to teach our kids the importance of healthy ecosystems, of maintaining biodiversity”.

Lori Robinson and Janie Chodosh’s ‘Wild Lives: Leading Conservationists on the Animals and the Planet They Love’ is due for release on April 18, 2017 and is available for pre-order now. You can also purchase her first book,‘Saving Wild: Inspiration from 50 Leading Conservationists’, on Amazon.

 

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Water Scarcity and its Impact on Planet Earth

Water Scarcity

According to the United Nations, over 700 million people worldwide lack access to safe and clean water. More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.  Over 300,000 children under 5 years old die every year from diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. Today, humanity uses the equivalent of 1.6 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste

 

Water Scarcity and its Impact on Planet Earth

 
The world is currently running out of precious, clean drinking water. Water is vital for all known forms of life. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.
 

How Much Water Do We Have?

 
Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface. 96.5% of all the Earth’s water is contained within the oceans as salt water. If salt water makes up 96.5% of all the water on earth, it means there should be 3.5% which is fresh. Although it’s technically true, close to 69 percent of the freshwater is frozen in glaciers and ice caps.

Where surface water, such as lakes and rivers, are scarce or inaccessible, groundwater supplies many of the hydrologic needs of people around the world. Aquifers are underground layers of rock that are saturated with water that can be brought to the surface through natural springs or by pumping. The groundwater contained in aquifers is one of the most important sources of water on Earth. Aquifers provide us freshwater that makes up for surface water lost from drought-depleted lakes, rivers, and reservoirs.

Despite the fact that water makes up almost three-quarters of the Earth’s surface, our planet is lacking sufficient available water resources to meet the needs of all of the planet’s inhabitants.

Our dependence on underground aquifers can have significant environmental and social impacts, such as groundwater quality degradation, damages to infrastructure from land subsidence, and loss of habitat to groundwater dependent streams and wetlands. Added to this, in 2015, NASA revealed that 21 of the world’s 37 largest aquifers had passed their sustainability tipping points – meaning more water is being removed than replaced from these vital underground reservoirs. Underground aquifers supply 35 percent of the water used by humans worldwide.
 

Human Activity and Water Crisis

 
Human activity is responsible for global water scarcity, with animal agriculture being the primary source of water depletion. It is estimated that just one pound of beef requires over 1,000 gallons of water, which includes irrigation of the grains and grasses in feed, plus water for drinking and processing.
 

A Sustainable Future

 
Ancient civilisations started trying to improve the quality of their water over 4,000 years ago, and people today are sampling various techniques, such as desalination and rainwater harvesting, with the hope that they can meet the world’s demand for water.

However, in order to address global water shortages and protect planet Earth, a fundamental change will be required, particularly within the industrial and developmental sectors.

Water is essential for promoting inclusive sustainable development, supporting communities, protecting ecosystems, and ensuring economic development.

It is imperative that individuals make increasingly ethical consumer choices, while also encouraging corporations, industries and governments to establish comprehensive institutional frameworks that ensure sustainable development and water management.
 

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Palm Oil Production Is Crushing Wildlife

Palm Oil Production

As more plantations replace virgin rainforest to feed the world’s insatiable appetite for palm oil, wildlife lands are disappearing.

 

Palm Oil Production Is Crushing Wildlife, Humans & The Environment

 

Guest Post by Amber Kingsley

According to a recent edition of National Geographic, there are now fewer than 2,500 Bengal tigers left on our planet. In a previous post, it was revealed over 1,200 rhinos are being killed by poachers every year; and it’s heart wrenching to think about these majestic creatures on the verge of extinction simply because of greed.

But it’s not just trapping, hunting and poaching that’s causing wildlife numbers to greatly diminish. The clearing of rainforest for the production of palm oil, found in a multitude of different cosmetic and food products, is now threatening the population of elephants, orangutans and other animals in some parts of the world, especially around Indonesia.

As more of these plantations are popping up to feed the world’s insatiable appetite for more palm oil, wildlife lands are disappearing. It’s not just wildlife that’s suffering, humans are also getting caught in the crossfire, with fire being the operative word in what’s happening with this type of production. To clear space for palm oil plantations, the most popular method for this type of construction is the burning of forested regions of peatlands.
 

What Exactly IS Happening?

 
Palm oil plantations in Indonesia is the driving force behind the largest amount of deforestation occurring inside this region. Once they’re operational, the wastewater ponds are releasing immense amounts of methane gas into the atmosphere, which is 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The smoke from these burning peatlands contains 28 times more carbon dioxide than found in a rainforest. The resulting aftermath causes a hazardous haze that drifts and spreads to neighbouring areas like Malaysia and Singapore. In 2013, this filthy fog set all-time records for air pollution and was responsible for sending tens of thousands of people to the hospital.

Palm Oil Production
via EPA

 

Igniting Problems And Controversy

 
Although the former president of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, apologised to neighbouring countries for the massive health problems it faced, it didn’t stop the spread of fires, which continues to ravage Indonesia to clear more peatlands for future palm oil plantations. Following another round of burning, these additional fires sent another 50,000 Sumatrans to seek care for lung problems, itchy, burning eyes and other health issues.

In 2010, Norway offered Indonesia $10 million dollars to keep their forests intact, however, this effort did nothing to halt plantations from continuing to scar the earth; injuring and killing countless species and driving many forms of wildlife towards the point of extinction. Singapore recently began imposing fines of up to $2 billion dollars for companies contributing to the fires, and yet they still burn.
 

Supply And Demand

 
Sadly, whether or not the health of human beings, the destruction of our planet and the obliteration of endangered species is at stake, the almighty dollar seems to win out over common sense and the preservation of our world is therefore threatened.

In 2013, the amount of palm oil consumed around the world was around 55 million metric tonnes, four times what it was twenty years previously.

Palm Oil Production
The proboscis monkey is endemic to the southeast Asian island of Borneo.

 

What’s the Alternative?

 
According to Jill Kauffman Johnson, the director of a California-based company, Solazyme that creates oils that can replace the demand for those found from palm plants, there are other solutions.

“Our goal is to try and help alleviate the pressure on the equatorial tropics,” offers Jill.

“Since Solazyme’s algae grow wherever the company places its tanks, Solazyme can site its plants where they are most convenient to customers, partners and feedstocks, thus shortening supply chains. The company just opened a 100,000-metric-ton plant in Brazil that uses sugarcane.”

“Our technology is capable of ramping up very quickly,” Kauffman Johnson says. Solutions are there, we just have to embrace them instead of continuing down harmful paths.
 

The Palm Oil Dilemma

 
Producing 35 million tonnes a year, Indonesia accounts for 45% of the world’s palm oil supply. According to Amnesty International, around three million Indonesians work in the sector, accounting for at least a third of the global palm oil workforce. Indonesia generally has strong labour laws but weak enforcement of these laws has led to companies being able to get away with systemic abuses of workers in palm oil plantations.
 

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10 Amazing Orangutan Facts.

 


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