Animals and plants are being driven to extinction at unprecedented rates by animal agriculture. Animal farming has affected the environment and wildlife in detrimental ways. Our demand for meat has led to the loss of large numbers of animals, caused massive water and land pollution, and has been a major contributor to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
With world population coming close to 10 billion by 2050, it is predicted that meat production, which has already tripled in the last 30 years, will double by 2050. Livestock farming has already taken up about 25% of the Earth’s land area, with 70% of farmlands used for rearing animals. Each passing minute lands about the size of seven football fields are cleared for the use of livestock production.
Every day an alarming number of plants and animals are lost to extinction. Researchers agree we are undergoing massive life extinction, the first mass extinction as a result of human explosive growth and voracious eating habits. Meat production has now become the biggest threat to animal life, as well as the ecosystem.
The animals used to meet our dietary demands account for 20% of the entire animal population. In the United States alone, animals raised for food are at about 10 billion; equivalent to 32 animals per person every year. On a per capita basis, Americans are the largest consumer of meat. A single individual consumes 203 pounds every year. And the unsustainable American diet is spreading globally.
If all Americans cut out meat from their meals for just one night, the emissions saved would equal the emissions that 40 million cars give off in a year. If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 30%, the greenhouse gas reduction would be equivalent to driving a car over 2,700 miles, and 340,667 gallons of water would be saved each year – per person.
Throughout the world, animal species like deer, elk and pronghorn are killed in huge numbers just to make room for providing more grazing land for cattle. Environmentally critical animals like beavers and prairie dogs are also killed in huge numbers because livestock managers consider them disruptive.
Public lands and funds are being hijacked. Over 175 endangered species are being threatened by livestock farming on American public lands alone, where livestock grazing is promoted and protected. 270 million acres of United States lands have been set aside for raising livestock on federal property. 80% of arable lands in the U.S. are already used for rearing of animals and farming. This is almost equivalent to the total land mass of the lower 48 states.
Over half of the grains grown in the country are used for feeding livestock, while more than 50% of water is used for livestock production. Government agencies, such as Wildlife Services, kill millions of animals each year to provide more grazing land for cows and animals raised on ranches.
“Predator control” programs, which are meant to provide protection to the livestock industry, have only succeeded in driving predator species into extinction. The livestock industry has become an obstacle to efforts of recovering endangered species. As the demand for meat continues to rise, livestock managers are increasing their production. Predators that are left with no other choice but to prey on livestock are killed.
Meat production has contributed immensely to raising the temperatures of the planet, which has in turn led to drought and food shortage. Research has shown that meat production has contributed up to 51% of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity. In the United States for instance, meat production has been responsible for 20% of the total methane produced by the country.
Livestock is responsible for 500 million tons of manure produced every year. These pollutants find their way into water bodies. Farm pollutants contaminate underground water, wetlands, rivers, lakes and oceans. A massive amount of antibiotics and pesticides used in the production of meat also pollutes the planet.
Cattle grazing wreaks havoc to vegetation and destroys the soil. Excessive grazing has destroyed many forests, caused erosion and stream sedimentation, and destroyed countless habitats.
Livestock grazing is one of the biggest threats to endangered species, affecting 14% of endangered animals and 33% of plants. Livestock grazing has wiped out large numbers of wildlife. Wildlife occupying public lands are the most threatened. Despite the huge amount of money it costs to graze livestock, governments still continue to sponsor it. Activities like vegetation destruction ruins the habitat and disrupts the natural balance of the ecosystem. In the end, endangered species are displaced because their homes have been taken away from them.
If you care about helping wildlife and protecting the planet, the most effective action you can take is to reduce or eliminate the amount of meat you consume. A plant based diet will go a long way in sustaining the ecosystem.
Deciding to recycle items is just the first step, you also want to make sure the items are recycled correctly. Below you will find common recyclables and the best options to recycle them.
Paper makes up nearly 30 percent of all wastes Americans throw away each year, more than any other material. Americans recycle over 60 percent of the paper they use. This recovered paper is used to make new paper products, saving trees and other natural resources. Most community or office recycling programs accept paper and paper products. Check what your community or office program accepts before you put it in the bin. When you go shopping, look for products that are made from recycled paper.
Some batteries contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel; therefore, many communities do not allow them to be thrown away with your regular trash. Recycling is always the best option for disposing of used batteries.
Lead-Acid Car Batteries can be returned to almost any store that sells car batteries. The lead and plastics from the batteries can then be recycled and used to manufacture new products. About 99 percent of lead-acid car batteries are recycled.
Dry-Cell Batteries are used in a variety of electronics and include alkaline and carbon zinc (9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA), mercuric-oxide (button, some cylindrical and rectangular), silver-oxide and zinc-air (button), and lithium (9-volt, C, AA, coin, button, rechargeable) batteries. Look for in-store recycling bins or community collection events to dispose of these batteries.
Americans generate over 30 million tons of plastics each year, about 13 percent of the waste stream. Only about nine percent of plastics are recycled. Some types of plastics are recycled much more than others. Most community recycling programs accept some, but not all, types of plastics. Look for products made from recycled plastic materials.
What do the symbols mean on the bottom of plastic bottles and containers? These symbols were created by plastic manufacturers to help people identify the kind of plastic resin used to make the container. This can help you determine if the container can be accepted by your local recycling program. The resin number is contained in a triangle, which looks very similar to the recycling symbol, but this does not necessarily mean it can be collected for recycling in your community.
1 - PET - Polyethylene Terephthalate
2 - HDPE - High-density Polyethylene
3 - Vinyl
4 - LDPE - Low-density Polyethylene
5 - PP - Polypropylene
6 - PS - Polystyrene
7 - Other - Mixed Plastics
Glass, especially glass food and beverage containers, can be recycled over and over again. Americans generate over 11 million tons of glass each year, about 27 percent of which is recovered for recycling. Making new glass from recycled glass is typically cheaper than using raw materials. Most curbside community recycling programs accept different glass colors and types mixed together, and then glass is sorted at the recovery facility. Check with your local program to see if you need to separate your glass or if it can be mixed together.
Never dump your used motor oil down the drain — the used oil from one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water. By recycling your used oil you not only help keep our water supply clean, but help reduce dependence on foreign oil. It takes 42 gallons of crude oil, but only one gallon of used oil, to produce 2.5 quarts of new motor oil. Many garages and auto-supply stores that sell motor oil also accept oil for recycling.
Household Hazardous Waste Recycling
Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be household hazardous waste (HHW). Products such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care when you dispose of them. HHW may be dangerous to people or bad for the environment if poured down the drain, dumped on the ground, or thrown out with regular trash.
What you can do:
- Try to reduce your purchases of these products and look for alternative, non-hazardous products.
- When you do need to dispose of these products, look for special collection events in your community or permanent collection centers. Sometimes businesses that sell these products will also accept them for recycling.
- If you have to dispose of HHW, first check with your local waste management agency to see what rules apply in your community.
Disease-carrying pests such as rodents may live in tire piles. Tire piles can also catch on fire. Most garages are required to accept and recycle your used tires when you have new ones installed. You may be able to return used tires to either a tire retailer or a local recycling facility that accepts tires. Some communities will hold collection events for used tires.
Overpopulation is not what's bringing about ecological catastrophe; overconsumption is. Overconsumption is the state where consumption surpasses the planet’s natural replenishing capabilities.
Living and consuming are interconnected activities. You can’t live without consuming. Water, food and air are consumed to support life. But we also consume much more than essentials, including goods and services such as electronics, furniture, appliances, cars, books, entertainment, and travel. There seems to be no end to the list of items and services we can’t live without.
Nowadays, we buy mainly to draw emotional satisfaction rather than meeting our actual needs. Advertising creates virtual problems and triggers negative feelings about them; then, it conveniently presents you with a solution. This cycle results in a deterioration of the quality of life, overworking, and overconsuming, which also damages the environment significantly.
Corporations manipulate consumers. They promise us privileges, connection, and happiness, which makes us keep buying more and more. The message’s effectiveness is so high that, despite being left in debt, overstressed, and buried under tons of possessions, we continue wanting more. But, worse of all, our overconsumption is based on our society’s reliance on it. The modern Western economy relies on us consuming more, so it focuses on fueling our wants and desires, and encourages us to upgrade more, buy more, waste more and pollute more.
Consuming Consequences To The Environment
This unrelenting consumption does not come free of charge. The natural world provides everything we consume, through mining, extraction, farming, and forestry – and there is a limit on the planet’s resources. As we keep consuming more and more, pursuing an elusive “comfortable” life, the planet is overstressed by this over-exploitation of soil, water, minerals, forests, fish, etc. As a result, species, habitats, and even entire ecosystems are collapsing. What’s more, with increased consumption comes more waste and pollution, compromising the quality of life’s very basic elements: air, water and land.
Consumption Consequences For Societies
Wealthier nations consume the biggest share of the Earth’s resources, depriving others of their fair share. 80 percent of the planet’s resources are consumed by a mere 17 percent of the total population. Valuable resources flow from the Earth’s South to the North. We exploit and use these resources to create services and goods for a small percentage of the population, instead of utilizing them to ensure that the rest of the world also has access to the essentials for life, such as water, food, health and sanitation. To satisfy the virtual needs of the rich, valuable resources are used up to produce meaningless items of luxury, further increasing the gap with the poor.
An Ecological Footprint measures the impact of a person or community on the environment, expressed as the amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources. Natural resources provide the materials for everything we use for our day to day activities and needs. The Eco-Footprint, calculated in acres or hectares, expresses how much bio-productive space a defined population needs to sustain its current levels of life and consumption.
The following resources are factored into the measurement:
Arable Land Required: how much land is needed for growing crops for fiber, food, animal feed, etc.
Forest Resources: the resources required for furniture, fuel, houses, etc., and for ensuring the ecosystems are secured from climate change and erosion.
Ocean Resources: water required for fish and related products.
Pasture Land Required: how much land is needed to raise animals for meat, dairy production, hides, etc.
Energy Costs: the amount of land needed to absorb carbon dioxide emissions and other waste products.
Infrastructure Needed: how much land is required for transportation and creating factories, houses, etc.
Land, water and air pollution, and species extinction, are not yet factored in for the calculation of this Eco-footprint.
The planet has a biocapacity of about 4.7 acres (1.9 hectares) per individual. On a global scale, we currently use 5.4 acres (2.2 hectares) per individual. This means that we have surpassed the Earth’s sustainable biocapacity by 15 percent, a deficit of 1 acre (0.3 hectares) per individual. This deficit is self-evident by the cascading failure of the natural ecosystems –oceans, forests, fisheries, rivers, coral reefs, water, soil, global warming, etc.
It is possible to estimate the Eco-Footprint for a single person, a city, a region, a country, and the whole world. Several countries are in the “red zone”, meaning they have a larger Ecological Footprint than their ecosystems’ biocapacity, putting them into an “ecological deficit.” Conversely, countries that feature a smaller Eco-Footprint than their ecosystems’ biocapacity are in “ecological reserve.”
Cities, states, and nations are put in ecological deficits by abolishing their natural resources, for example, by overfishing, with resource imports from elsewhere and by surpassing their ecosystem’s natural capacity of carbon dioxide absorption.
Overshoot is the phenomenon of the entire planet being put in an ecological deficit. Overshoot and ecological deficit are the same from a global point of view because it is impossible to import new resources to the planet.
Currently, our planet needs 1.5 years to replenish the resources we use in one year. We keep this overshoot by abolishing the planet’s resources. We have not taken seriously how big of a threat overshoot is to humanity’s future, and have not begun to address it properly.
Earth’s Ecological Limits
In contrast to the growing populations, economies and resource demands, Earth’s size doesn’t change. It is only possible to sustain an overshoot for a small window of time, after which ecosystems start degrading and collapse. Ecological overconsumption is becoming increasingly apparent in the form of desertification, deforestation, water shortages, soil erosion, reduced crop production, overgrazing, rapid extinction of species, fish declines, coral reefs collapse, and increased carbon levels in the atmosphere.
Data from the Global Footprint Network reveal that if our current level of demand remains the same, we would need a second Earth by the year 2030. Consuming at this same rate will endanger the future of large portions of the planet’s inhabitants.
It's Time To Move Beyond Recycling
Everyone must work together to reduce consumption — public and private sectors, poor and rich, men, women, and children. The one thing we all have in common is the planet we live on. However, the larger burden of responsibility to shift behaviors lies with the wealthier nations, which have to move beyond just separating metal, glass and plastic to not consuming so much of them in the first place.
More than 30 percent of the total waste in the world is produced in America, by less than 5 percent of the total population of the planet. Since we create most of the problem, we are burdened with a higher responsibility to change our behavioral pattern. If every person on the planet adopted the lifestyle of the average American, we would need five Earths.
We must rethink what consumption is, and do our best to reduce it. The planet is being destroyed by the way societies function right now. It’s not just about recycling anymore; it’s about how to stop feeding the cycle altogether.
Environmentalism is an integration of the ideology and philosophy of protecting the health of the environment and the social movement resulting from it. Issues such as conservation, preservation, ecosystem restoration, and improvement of the natural environment are foremost on the agenda of environmentalists. Concerns and threats involving the Earth's biodiversity and ecology feature at the top of the list.
To be an environmentalist, follow the simple steps given below.
1. Choose Your Cause
Discover what you are passionate about and do some research. There are a variety of environmental issues that will pique your interest. Protection of endangered species, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, avoiding wastage of natural resources, restoration of age-old landscapes, protecting forests, and encouraging recycling are some of the causes environmentalists support. Learning about environmental issues in your own locality, and taking a part in solving them, is a good way to get involved.
2. Use Your Talents
Take measure of your talents. Are you an extrovert and like to communicate verbally with people? Are you introverted and more inclined towards writing than to speaking? Do you like to communicate and spread your thoughts in words through correspondences? Are you someone who likes being out in nature? Can you play an instrument, sing, bake, paint or juggle? Your unique talents can contribute to bringing attention to, and raising funds for, environmental efforts. Consider getting involved in events, fundraisers and campaigns for conservation issues.
3. Educate Yourself, Then Educate Others
Get yourself acquainted with how the Earth works and how human activities are affecting it. To make sense out of the multitude of environmental issues and the science behind it, read magazines, books and articles, watch documentaries, and browse websites relating to nature. Share what you learn with family, friends, coworkers and associates. Use social media to spread the word on environmental issues.
4. Get Connected
Get in touch with other like-minded people or experts in the field. Getting connected with people, especially experts on the environment, is an important step on the way to becoming an environmentalist. Conduct searches on the web for people and organizations who share your thoughts and concerns. Join organizations, groups, websites and social media channels that promote your cause – or create your own. Learn from the experts and help make a bigger impact by joining forces with other people, groups and nonprofits who share your passion for environmentalism.
5. Clean Up Litter
Pick up litter wherever you go and whenever you can. Litter not only dirties roads, parks and public spaces, it also pollutes the environment. It harms wildlife that comes into contact with it. You can pickup litter on your own in your spare time, or join or organize groups to clean up large areas.
6. Go Outside
Visit places like wildlife sanctuaries, nature preserves, and parks. Support their efforts. Volunteer. Enjoy the natural beauty of these places, observe animals and their behavior, and encourage others to do the same. Communicate to people in your social circles why these protected places are important.
7. Go Native
Grow native plants in your backyard. Invasive species wreak havoc on ecosystems. Native plants are better adapted to the area where you live and need minimum caring. They are less vulnerable to pests and will benefit birds, insects and other wildlife endemic to your locality.
8. Plant Trees
The more trees you plant the more you help the environment. Trees absorb harmful CO2, prevent their emission and alleviate global warming. They provide food and shelter for wild animals. Plant trees on your property, and help plant trees in your community.
9. Go Organic
Consuming organic food and using organic gardening methods contributes towards a safer, healthier environment. Minimizing the use of pesticides and fertilizers stimulates beneficial soil organisms and results in less polluted waste-water flowing out of your garden. Moreover, it creates a much healthier environment for wildlife, your children and your companion animals.
10. Go Green
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink. Reduce the amount of materials you use, which reduces the amount of waste you create. Reuse materials when possible. Recycle whenever possible. Rethink the materials you use and those you throw away. By thinking about what we're using and how to reduce the wast we produce, we can help create a cleaner, healthier environment.
11. Go Without
Cut back your consumption. Water, food and air are consumed to support life. But we also consume much more than essentials, and far more than we should. There seems to be no end to the list of items and services we can’t live without. We must rethink what consumption is, and do our best to reduce it. The planet is being destroyed by the way societies function right now. It’s not just about recycling anymore; it’s about how to stop feeding the cycle altogether.
12. Eat More Veggies
Animal agriculture emits more greenhouse gases than aircrafts, automobiles and trains combined. Forests are being cleared at alarming rates to feed grains to livestock that could feed the entire human race. Less trees means less impediments to CO2 being released into the air and thus more pollution. Animal waste is producing massive amounts of toxic levels of methane and ammonia, which leads to climate change as well as acid rain. Animal agriculture is also destroying our waterways and using up our valuable water supplies. Hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals run off into rivers, lakes, streams and our drinkable water. These practices cause dead zones in the oceans, rivers and lakes. Animal farming is the leading cause of the catastrophic reduction of critical wildlife habitat, and the problem is escalating at a disturbing pace. Meat production is slated to double in another four decades. Remove or reduce meat, dairy and eggs from your diet.
Electronics donation and recycling is a great way to help conserve resources and natural materials. It is important to make sure you are donating and/or recycling electronics safely and correctly.
Why Recycle Electronic Products?
Electronic products are made from valuable resources and materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, all of which require energy to mine and manufacture. Donating or recycling consumer electronics conserves our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions that are caused by manufacturing virgin materials.
For example: Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year. For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.
Before Donating or Recycling Your Used Electronics
- For your computer or laptop, consider upgrading the hardware or software instead of buying a brand new product.
- Delete all personal information from your electronics.
- Remove any batteries from your electronics, they may need to be recycled separately.
- Check to see what requirements exist in your state Exit or community.
Where to Donate or Recycle
Manufacturers and retailers offer several options to donate or recycle electronics. Search for Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Electronics Challenge participants.
While there are many lifestyle changes you can make to help the environment, no other lifestyle decision can compare with the positive environmental impacts of veganism.
Veganism is a compassionate lifestyle of daily decisions that reject the exploitation and harm of animals. Vegans do not consume food that is derived from animal sources, do not purchase products made from animal sources, do not use services in which animals are harmed, and do not involve themselves in activities that cause intentional harm or exploitation of living beings. Vegans attempt, as much as possible, to live their lives free from all forms of animal exploitation. It is a humane, responsible and healthy choice.
And not only does veganism help animals, it helps the planet – in a big way. Becoming a vegan is the single, most effective action you can take to help the environment. Adopting a compassionate lifestyle can have a profound impact not only on you and your family, but also on the planet. Our fragile environment benefits immensely by your vegan choices.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution. It is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry. Factory farms are a primary driver of topsoil erosion, rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss and ocean dead zones. Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water and causes immense animal suffering.
It takes 12 times as much land, 13 times more fuel and 15 times more water to make a pound of animal protein than to make a pound of plant protein. Adopting a vegan diet saves 20 pounds of CO2 equivalent, 45 pounds of grain, 1,100 gallons of water, 30 square feet of forest land, and one animal every day!
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF VEGANISM
Vegans save more than farm animals. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, habitat destruction and wildlife culling. Each year the USDA kills millions of wild animals.
Vegans help save aquatic animals and ecosystems. Commercial fishing methods often clear the ocean floor of all life and destroy coral reefs. Thousands of dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and other “bycatch” animals are killed each year. Fish farms release antibiotics, feces, parasites, and non-native fish into aquatic ecosystems, and farmed fish are often fed massive amounts of wild-caught fish.
Vegans reduce the adverse impact of climate change. Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation industry combined. A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. Methane (CH4) emissions have over 20 times the global warming potential of CO2.
Vegans reduce the destruction of forests. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation. Up to 91% of Amazon Rainforest destruction is caused by animal agriculture. One of the main crops grown in the rainforest is soybeans used specifically for animal feed. Plant-based diets require 20 times less land than animal-based diets.
Vegans reduce pollution caused by animal breeding, animal processing and food processing. Deforestation for animal grazing and feed crops is estimated to emit 2.4 billion tons of CO2 each year. Burning fossil fuels to produce fertilizers for animal agriculture may emit 41 million metric tons of CO2 each year. Animal agriculture contributes to air pollution by releasing compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, methane and ammonia.
Agriculture animals produce many times more excrement than does human population – a staggering 500 million tons of manure each year in the US alone. There are no animal sewage processing plants; most of the sewage is stored in waste “lagoons” or sprayed into the air.
To prevent disease in crowded, filthy conditions and to promote faster growth, farm animals are fed numerous antibiotics. Around 75 percent of these antibiotics end up undigested. These antibiotics can contaminate crops and waterways through urine and manure, and can ultimately be ingested by humans.
Vegans save and protect precious water resources. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of all fresh water pollution, the leading cause of ocean dead zones, and the leading cause of Great Barrier Reef die-off. Bacteria and viruses can be carried by runoff and contaminate groundwater. Runoff is one of the leading causes of pollution in rivers and lakes.
Animal agriculture is responsible for 55% of US water consumption. It takes 683 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of milk, and more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. 1 pound of tofu requires only 244 gallons of water to produce. Every vegan saves approximately 219,000 gallons of water every year.
Veganism feeds more people and could end world hunger. Animal agriculture contributes to world hunger. Livestock consumes up to 50% of all grains produced each year. 45% of the earth's entire ice free land is used for animal agriculture.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF VEGANISM
While going vegan helps us help nature, nature rewards our efforts with a bounty of health benefits. You can reduce the risk of many diseases by modifying your diet habits and becoming a vegan.
A plant based diet reduces the risk of cancer as carcinogens and other harmful chemicals are used in growing, processing and storing animal based food products.
Vegans have less risk of heart disease and high blood pressure as most plant foods do not add bad cholesterol to your body and clog your blood vessels. Animal foods saturated with excessively high amounts of fat and other enzymes have an adverse impact on the natural body processes.
Veganism can help prevent the onset of diabetes as most plant based foods tone up the glucose handling mechanism of your body, adding strength and boosting the natural metabolic process without the harmful enzymes and secretions you normally get with animal based foods.
Vegans have less chance of getting rheumatoid arthritis as plant based foods do not create toxins in your body during their natural metabolism.
A vegan lifestyle helps animals, the environment and you. By opting for plant based foods and products, you are choosing compassion, health and responsible living. And choosing to go vegan really could save the world.
If you need a new light bulb, you have a hard decision to make. There are several kinds of light bulbs to choose from. What are they? Does it make a difference?
Lights use a lot of electricity, so it's important to use the most efficient ones. Efficient bulbs use less electricity to make light. Using less electricity in turn creates less pollution and saves you money. It's better for everyone.
So what are the different kinds of light bulbs? The most common light bulbs you can find at the store are incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL), light emitting diodes (LED), fluorescent, and halogen. It can feel overwhelming. Let's look at each one individually.
If you think about a regular light bulb, you're most likely picturing an incandescent bulb. They have the classic tear-drop shape. You can see the little piece of metal inside the glass that creates the light. This is an old design. These bulbs make a lot of heat when they're turned on. That heat is wasted electricity. For that reason, incandescent bulbs aren't very energy efficient.
Compact fluorescent bulbs are a newer design. They sometimes are shaped like a coil. These are very energy efficient. They don't create as much heat as incandescent bulbs do. They also last much longer. But CFL bulbs have mercury in them. This is a dangerous element, so CFL bulbs need to be treated with care. You can't throw them in the trash like other bulbs. They need to be recycled. You can take unbroken bulbs to special recycling centers.
Fluorescent lights are the bigger version of CFLs. These are the lights that lots of office buildings and businesses use. They create a lot of light for big areas. Just like CFLs they have mercury in them. They need to be treated with care.
Light emitting diodes are another newer design for lighting. They create a lot of light with very little electricity. They're very energy efficient. And they last a very long time - even longer than a CFL. And unlike CFLs, they don't have mercury. That means they're better for the environment. They don't need to be specially recycled. The only problem is that LEDs are much more expensive than other bulbs. But many people would say they are worth it.
Some light sockets use halogen bulbs. These work about the same way as incandescent bulbs. They create a lot of heat, but are a little more efficient than incandescent lights. They last for about one year, and they don't contain mercury. These bulbs are usually used for recessed lights like ones set into the ceiling in homes.
Forest are great storehouses of natural life. Nearly half of our forest are now gone. We must act now to save the earth's forest. You can help by reducing, reusing, recycling & refusing to purchase paper and wood products that that are not ecologically responsible.
Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees, 4100 kilowatts of electricity, 7000 gallons of water and 90 cubic feet of landfill space.
1. Volunteer for tree-planting projects.
2. Buy firewood from "downed wood" sources
3. Purchase wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
4. Shop for FSC-certified products on the web at www.CertifiedProducts.org
5. Use only FSC-Certified products
6. Use recycled wood for remodeling and repairs
7. Avoid chlorine bleached paper
8. Buy recycled paper products and avoid products with excessive paper packaging
9. Use both sides of paper and save scraps for notes
Turtles and tortoises are the favorite animals of many people. These attractive, often seemingly helpless creatures continue to beat incredible odds to survive in today's world of increasing trade (particularly for the pet industry) and shrinking habitat. Here are some suggestions on how you can help turtles and tortoises in your own neighborhood and around the world:
1. Help stop the Asian turtle crisis.
The majority of Asian turtle populations have been critically diminished by over-collection, particularly for delicacies in restaurants and live animal markets. Dealers are now targeting turtle populations elsewhere, such as in the United States and Europe, to meet the Asian demand. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified this as the "Asian turtle crisis," and it has spearheaded efforts to protect turtles from the trade.
2. Get turtles out of U.S. live animal markets.
Turtles are among the most popular offerings at live animal markets in the United States. They suffer terrible abuse in filthy, neglectful conditions, and they are slaughtered by being cut apart while conscious. The vast majority of market turtles are taken from the wild, contributing to declining U.S. turtle populations. Tell state wildlife agencies that you're concerned about the increasing collection of wild turtles and tortoises to supply animal markets in the United States and abroad. If wildlife is being sold for food in a live animal market in your state, contact your local and state legislators, asking that they ban the practice. You may also find it effective to contact state and local health departments (check the Centers for Disease Control web site for listings), which are responsible for sanitary conditions at live animal markets. Finally, contact state wildlife agencies about the dangers that non-native and diseased market animals may pose to local wildlife if released.
3. Don't pollute or litter.
Pollution makes its way into bodies of water and wild areas, poisoning turtles and tortoises and destroying their habitats. Always properly dispose of any hazardous materials such as paint or oil. Garbage, such as plastic bags, kills many pond turtles and sea turtles who either ingest it or become entangled in it. Reduce the amount of garbage you produce and dispose of it properly.
4. Protect turtle and tortoise habitat.
Become active in your local conservation commission or parks and recreation department, and work to preserve turtle habitat.
5. Stop turtle and tortoise exploitation.
Avoid activities such as turtle races. They involve taking turtles out of their natural habitats and exposing them to many dangers, not to mention an enormous amount of stress. Races can harm individual turtles as well as entire local wild populations.
6. Give them a brake.
If you see a turtle or tortoise crossing a road, gently pick him up and carry him across in the direction he was headed. (Be watchful for cars in the process.) If the turtle is a large one, or a snapping turtle, use a stick to nudge him gently across the road without getting too close.
7. Enjoy turtles and tortoises in the wild.
Never keep wild turtles or tortoises as pets or buy them from a pet store. The trade in reptiles as pets is responsible for tremendous animal suffering and serious damage to turtle and tortoise populations. Learn to enjoy these animals by observing them in their natural habitat, where they belong. If turtles or tortoises live in your yard, why not keep them happy by building a pond and by landscaping with plants that provide protection and food? Edible plants such as tropical hibiscus, dandelion, geraniums, and Chinese lantern can be quite appetizing. (Make sure that your plants are free of pesticide and herbicide residue.) Piles of leaves, vines, and downed trees make perfect hiding places.
8. Do not disturb.
Steer clear of the beach at night during the summer. Your presence will frighten nesting sea turtles back into the sea, preventing them from laying eggs and jeopardizing any eggs they have laid.
9. Turn out the lights.
Do not shine bright lights on the beach at night. Oppose coastal development such as condominiums, houses, resorts, and hotels; they tend to expose beaches to excessive artificial lighting, which discourages female turtles from approaching the beach to lay eggs. The light also draws hatchlings away from the ocean, disorients them, and exposes them to predation and deadly dehydration.
10. Report crimes.
Tell local authorities if you see any person harassing or poaching a sea turtle, her eggs, hatchlings, or nests -- or those of any other endangered turtles and tortoises. These activities are violations of U.S. state and federal laws.
11. See what you can do.
Several groups are involved in research, conservation and advocacy work to protect turtles and tortoises. Join one of these groups to stay informed.
12. Spread the word.
Educate others about the importance of protecting turtles and tortoises from commercial exploitation and abuse in your community and throughout the world. Be a voice for turtles.
Gardens yield tasty and healthful produce three out of four seasons a year. Examples of the many types of produce you can grow in your home or community garden include: fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lima beans, green beans, watermelons, pumpkins, cantaloupes, peppers, carrots, squash, zucchini, broccoli, herbs, as well as ornamental plantings including sunflowers, pumpkins and gourds.
How much will a garden cost? The annual cost to maintain a garden is approximately $100-$200. This includes costs for seed, fertilizer, and crop protection products. But the fresh produce yielded from gardens help to offset grocery costs and help increase overall savings on money that would otherwise be spent on purchasing food.
Gardening organizations and Cooperative Extension offices can assist you with getting back into gardening. In addition to educational resources and workshops, you may gain access to garden plots, seeds, plants, tools and plowing services.
Tips For a Successful Garden
Select a well-drained site that receives direct sunlight. You can overcome the lack of a well-drained site through the use of raised beds.
Conduct a soil fertility test by taking random soil samples from the site and having them analyzed by your Cooperative Extension office or garden organization. Approximately one pint of soil is adequate for a soil test.
Prepare a good quality seed bed by tilling soil until no soil particles exceed a one-half inch diameter. Soil tillage should only occur when conditions are dry enough to allow breakup of soil.
Plan for your family’s tastes, nutritional needs, and availability of space. Some plants, like watermelons, consume a large surface area whereas a properly staked tomato utilizes more height than surface area.
Plant seeds and transplants under appropriate weather conditions for their growing behaviors. For example, broccoli, onions, and potatoes are early spring crops. Tomato transplants should not be in the garden until early May, and summer squash can be planted after the risk of last frost.
Make additional plantings to keep the garden producing throughout the summer. By planting two or three yellow squash every three weeks through August 1, a family should have fresh squash available from early June through October.
Consider conserving finances by sharing seed packets and larger quantities of transplants with others in your community. Store leftover seed in a cool, dry place to preserve germination.
Interested in making a difference for the planet and the animals that inhabit it? One of the best places to volunteer may be right near you:
an animal shelter
animal protection organization
Whether you walk dogs at your shelter, stuff envelopes for an educational mailing, clean cages or assist with a fundraising event, you can make a difference in the lives of animals.
VolunteerMatch helps good people and good causes connect. Its online service, www.volunteermatch.org, makes it easy to find a way to make a difference by location, expertise, or availability. The online network features thousands of volunteer listings. And each day, new listings are added. There’s something for everyone. Just enter your zip code and interest area, and VolunteerMatch will provide you with a list of opportunities in your community. See something that interests you? Click on it to read more. Another click contacts the organization. It's that simple.
HOW TO FIND YOUR LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER OR RESCUE
The easiest place to start your search for your local animal shelter is online at:
You can enter your zip code and find a list of animal shelters, animal control agencies, and other animal care organizations in your community. In addition, these sites feature animals available for adoption, low-cost spay/neuter services, and volunteer opportunities.
You may also want to look in your phone book or search online. Animal shelters are called by a variety of names, so search for "animal shelter," "humane society," or "animal control." Public animal care and control agencies are often listed under the city or county health department or police department in phone books.
VOLUNTEER FOR WILDLIFE
Volunteering to participate in wildlife conservation is a great way to get involved in scientific research, promote environmental education, and gain experience working with animals.
Today, there are many volunteer opportunities available, both locally and internationally. These opportunities range from volunteering at your nearby forest preserve to traveling to a distant country to participate in a long-term research project.
To find volunteer work, research the various animal protection organizations and decide which would best suit your philosophical position, talents and capabilities.
The WAN Directory is a good starting point for research (particularly if you follow links to the websites of different organizations). You can search the WAN Directory geographically or by activity at www.worldanimal.net.
VOLUNTEER AT AN ANIMAL SANCTUARY
Volunteer to do the dirty work at an animal sanctuary. Usually, by policy, there will not be interaction with the animals, especially if the animals involved are wildlife. But there are always areas to be mucked, mowed, cleaned, repaired, landscaped, constructed, painted and inspected; food to be prepared; items to be washed; files to be organized; data to be entered; mail to be opened, email to be answered and more. Depending on your skills, you can also offer to do a youtube video, write and submit articles for publicity, do plumbing, or complete some electrical wiring. In other words, whatever your skills, a sanctuary can probably use them. Find a sanctuary through Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and American Sanctuary Association.
MORE WAYS TO HELP
Write to producers and networks of television programs in which animals are abused or ridiculed.
Write to thank producers and publishers for animal-friendly messages in print and on television.
Write letters to companies that conduct animal experiments.
Write letters to companies that use real wild and exotic animals in their commercials.
Write letters to the editor on earth and animal issues.
Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper that allows ads for fur, circuses or rodeos.
Write and call legislators to ask them to support animal-friendly legislation and thank them for past support.
Call the sponsors of upcoming entertainment events that use animals and ask them not to sponsor animal entertainment.
Encourage radio and television talk shows to discuss animal issues.
Record a pro animal/environment message on your voice mail.
Include a flyer or fact sheet with every bill you pay.
Ask your child’s teacher to stop keeping animals in the classroom.
Ask your child's school to stop requiring students to dissect animals.
Offer to walk a tethered neighbor dog and provide the dog with food, fresh water and toys.
Turn your backyard into a wildlife sanctuary.
Deal with wildlife problems humanely.
I.D. your companion animals and encourage others to do the same.
Prepare disaster kits for your companion animals.
Post flyers and fact sheets on work bulletin boards.
Donate to organizations that legitimately help animals and the environment. Expose greenwash organizations to coworkers so they can make more informed decisions regarding their donations.
Encourage coworkers to donate to organizations that do not test on animals.
Make cruelty-free and environmentally responsible investments.
Buy cruelty-free and green supplies for your office.
Use a coffee mug with a pro animal or pro earth message at work.
Take vegan dishes to office parties.
Encourage your workplace to implement dog-friendly policies.
Hold a volunteer work party to write letters, help out at an animal shelter, or make banners or signs for a demonstration.
IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Donate pro earth and animal books to your local library.
Setup a library display with a poster, flyers and appropriate books.
Donate pro earth and animal DVDs to your local video rental store.
Wear clothes and buttons with earth and animal statements.
Post and distribute WAF flyers and fact sheets around your town.
Setup an information table in a busy area of town to distribute flyers and fact sheets.
Offer to show videos and host seminars.
Take vegan meals to community functions and share the recipes.
Show your hairdresser products that aren’t tested on animals.
Encourage local pet stores to stop selling animals and to work with local animal groups to offer adoptions instead.
Organize a low cost spay and neuter event in your community.
Work to get local universities and schools to stop requiring dissection and to add vegan options to their menu.
Help feral cats in your neighborhood with Trap-Neuter-Return.
Ask for vegan options at local restaurants and grocery stores.
Suggest an earth or animal themed book for your next book club meeting.
Work to engage your place of worship with animal and environmental issues.
Register to vote.
Determine which elected officials represent you at local, state and federal levels.
Encourage local officials to find long-lasting, nonlethal solutions to conflicts with wildlife.
Attend town meetings to urge officials to support animal and environmental issues.
Work for the passage of local ordinances in your community.
Engage kids and teens with humane education activities and lesson plans.
Learn what animal and environmental legislation is now pending in Congress, and contact your federal and state legislators.
Organize a demonstration to help the earth and animals - holding posters and passing out flyers.
Promote earth and animal issues on cable-access television.
Speak at your club or church about earth and animal issues.
Host an earth and animal dinner party.
Teach a college or community education course on earth and animal issues.
Speak, or sponsor a speaker, at local schools, universities and civic clubs.
Find a local wildlife rescuer to help stop cruel trapping and killing of animals in your community.
Find free advertising space in your town for earth and animal issues.
Organize a litter cleanup in your town.
Follow World Animal Foundation on Facebook. Help spread the word about animal issues by sharing our posts, links and photos.
Include a link to WorldAnimalFoundation.org in your e-mail signature.
Add a link to WorldAnimalFoundation.org to your website, blog or social networking page.
Sign online earth and animal petitions.
Place earth and animal banners on your blog or website.
Host a fundraising party at home to raise donations for WAF.
Host a fundraising event in your community to raise donations for WAF.
Make a personal annual or monthly donation to WAF.
Donate a percentage of your online sales to WAF.
Donate a percentage of your business profits to WAF.
Make a memorial gift in honor of a friend or companion animal.
Include WAF as a beneficiary in your will.
Adopt an animal from a local animal shelter or rescue group.
Purchase eco-friendly and cruelty-free cosmetics, clothing and household products.
Provide for your animals’ future in case you can’t care for them.
Wear pro earth and pro animal t-shirts.
Display a bumper sticker on your car.
Display earth and animal stickers and magnets on yourself and your stuff.
Reduce or eliminate animal products from your diet.
Increasingly today, corporations and apartment complex owners are planting lawns only in the areas around their buildings. They are leaving the outer areas of their property woodsy and natural, with tall grasses, wildflowers, evergreens, hedgerows, and bushes to provide cover and homes to wildlife. Homeowners can follow these examples on a smaller scale within their own yards.
Plant a mix of shrubs, trees, and flowers that will provide nuts, berries, seeds, and nectar to creatures throughout the year, and that will attract birds, nature's best insect controllers. Foster hollies, for instance, provide winter berries, for food, winter foliage for cover, and places to raise young. A butterfly bush (buddleia davidji) is irresistible to butterflies. Your local garden supply company is a good source of information.
Rocks and leaf and brush piles also provide cover and places to raise young.
A pond with shallow ends for birds makes a good water supply. You might want to locate it so you can watch the wildlife activity from a window throughout the year.
A window-box planter containing marigolds, zinnias, or red salvia can attract hummingbirds and butterflies to a sunny window. Hummingbirds are attracted to almost anything red.
DEAD WOOD FOR NEW LIFE
For birds and small mammals, snags (dead trees) and stumps are ecological gold. More than 150 species of creatures nest in them and feed on their insect tenants. Included are nuthatches, woodpeckers, squirrels, raccoons, bluebirds, owls, chickadees, wood ducks, and wrens.
Saving snags and stumps is crucial to kicking our pesticide habit and solving the dilemma of pesticide resistance.
Top off--don't chop down--snags 12 inches or more in diameter and away from the house. The thicker the better. Remember to check for nests and dens first. Big dead logs and underbrush away from the house are also desirable. Mosquitoes will disappear from your yard as elegant, snag-nesting swallows, swifts, and purple martins sweep through the air.
Huge great-granddaddy den trees can be homes for peregrine falcons, barn owls, and ivory-billed woodpeckers.
It’s a common phenomenon around the world: when humans observe wildlife in their neighborhood that they consider a nuisance they call wildlife officials to have the animal removed and transported elsewhere, often great distances away. It makes people happy to think they are ridding themselves of a potential problem without killing the animal.
What they don’t know is they may be killing the animal after all, and it can be a long, slow death.
Human-animal conflicts happen everywhere, but translocation of the animals should be the last option considered. It should only be used if it has been proven to work. Research shows it does not work for most animals.
Relocation of wildlife appears to be successful with only a few species, including some larger mammals and tortoises. It doesn’t work for snakes and it does not appear to be very successful with many other small animals.
Most wild animals know their home range really well, so if they are dropped off someplace else they take off and make all sorts of unusual movements that are not typical of their normal behavior. The more they move, the less time they spend eating, reproducing and finding hiding places. Movement is a good indication of how well the animals are doing, and relocated animals move a lot and do not do well.
Many relocated animals are killed by other animals or run over by vehicles. Some just give up and die a slow death from stress.
Long-distance translocation is clearly not the answer. A short-distance relocation to the nearest natural habitat, which may be as close as 20 yards away and probably no farther than 500 yards away, is a more humane solution. That way the animal does not become completely separated from its home range.
Most short-distance relocated animals are likely never to be seen again, since they prefer to avoid people.
There is a widespread notion that translocation works. People want to save the animal, take it away from the area and put it in a pristine environment. But it’s not that simple. Individual animals are tied to their home range. Make the humane choice and only relocate animals near their natural habitat.
More than 205,000 new drugs are marketed worldwide every year, most after undergoing the most archaic and unreliable testing methods still in use: animal studies. The current system of drug testing places consumers in a dangerous predicament. According to the General Accounting Office, more than half of the prescription drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 1976 and 1985 caused serious side effects that later caused the drugs to be either relabeled or removed from the market. Drugs approved for children were twice as likely to have serious post-approval risks as other medications.
Many physicians and researchers publicly speak out against these outdated studies. They point out that unreliable animal tests not only allow dangerous drugs to be marketed to the public, but may also prevent potentially useful ones from being made available. Penicillin would not be in use today if it had been tested on guinea pigs--common laboratory subjects--because penicillin kills guinea pigs. Likewise, aspirin kills cats, while morphine, a depressant to humans, is a stimulant to cats, goats, and horses.
Human reactions to drugs cannot be predicted by tests on animals because different species (and even individuals within the same species) react differently to drugs. Britain's health department estimates that only one in four toxic side effects that occur in animals actually occur in humans. Practolol, a drug for heart disorders that "passed" animal tests, causes blindness in humans and was pulled off the market. Arsenic, which is toxic and carcinogenic to humans, has not caused cancer in other species. Chlomiphene decreases fertility in animals but induces human ovulation. The anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone breaks down nine times faster in humans than in rhesus monkeys.
Diethylstilbestrol (DES), an animal-tested drug that prevents miscarriages, caused cancer and birth defects in humans before its use was restricted. Many arthritis drugs that passed animal tests, including Feldene, and Flosint, have been pulled from the market because they caused severe reactions or even death in human beings.
Experimenters involved in a 1993 test of a hepatitis drug that led to five deaths were exonerated by a panel from the Institute of Medicine, which directly conflicts with the findings of the FDA. During the trials of fiauluridine (FIAU), the FDA contended that the scientists and their sponsors had committed numerous violations of federal rules governing clinical trials, including not spotting and reporting adverse reactions quickly enough. Dr. Morton Swartz, chairman of the Institute of Medicine committee, and a professor at Harvard Medical School said, "[F]indings from previous animal . . . tests using different doses and lengths of time didn't expose this drug's life-threatening side effects."
Experimenters using animals are less apt to notice symptoms like emotional changes, dizziness, nausea, and other important but less obvious conditions. Animals are unable to tell experimenters how they feel, information that is necessary to help determine whether a drug can be tolerated by human patients.
The British journal Nature reports that 520 of 800 chemicals (65 percent) tested on rats and mice caused cancer in the animals but not in humans. The same report illustrated different results between rats and mice used to test the same substance. It costs about $2 million to test a single chemical on rats and mice. Billions more are spent regulating the use and disposal of chemicals "proved" to be dangerous in animal tests -- chemicals which may actually present little or no risk to humans.
Unfavorable animal test results do not prevent a drug from being marketed for human use. So much evidence has accumulated about differences in the effects chemicals have on animals and humans, that government and industry officials often do not act on findings from animal studies. The acne drug Accutane was marketed despite the fact that it caused birth defects in rats. A small warning label was placed on the prescription. In this case, the animal tests did reflect human reactions, and now hundreds of children have been born with birth defects caused by Accutane.
Drug companies are in business to make money. That is done by marketing large numbers of drugs, many of which are copies of drugs already on the shelves. A report by Health Action International found that "out of 546 products on the market for coughs and colds in five areas of the world, 456 are irrational combinations. Three-quarters of the 356 analgesics on the market should not be recommended for use because they are dangerous, ineffective, irrational, or needlessly expensive." Of the millions of drugs on the market, only 200 are considered essential by the World Health Organization. According to the FDA, 84% of the new drugs produced by the 25 biggest drug companies had little or no potential for improving patient care. Only 3% were considered significant advances.
As long as the pharmaceutical industry cranks out thousands of new drugs every year, the public must push for the implementation of reliable, non-animal testing methods to ensure the safety of these drugs. Sophisticated non-animal testing methods exist. According to Dallas Pratt, M.D., "[M]any systems using either animal or human cell or organ cultures, as well as plant materials and microorganisms, have been created with emphasis on those which are rapid, inexpensive, and can discriminate between those chemicals whose properties represent a high toxicity risk and those which are relatively innocuous." Highly complex mathematical and computer models can be used to further define the specific problems a product may cause in human use.
Despite the inaccuracies of animal tests, and the many cases of dangerous drugs having to be withdrawn from the market after passing animal tests with flying colors, the FDA continues to require animal studies before a drug can be marketed in the United States.
Today we have the knowledge to prevent much illness and human suffering, often by avoiding the hormone and chemical-laden meat and dairy-based diet common in the United States, by regulating against pollutants and dangerous pesticides, and by avoiding tobacco and other known carcinogens. As John A. McDougall, M.D., points out, "The present modes of treatment fail to result in a cure or even significant improvement in most cases because they fail to deal with the cause. The harmful components of [a meat-based] diet and lifestyle ... promote disease and thus the disease progresses unchecked. Present modes of therapy are intended to cover up symptoms and signs rather than relieve the cause of disease."
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Concerned people should write to their congressional representatives and demand an end to wasteful and inaccurate animal studies in favor of human-based research and treatments that actually help people. The National Institutes of Health, the world's largest funder of research, must be pushed to fund more preventive programs and human-based research. Meanwhile, avoid purchasing any drug unless absolutely necessary. Remember, the manufacture and sale of pharmaceuticals is big business. If you must take a drug, ask your doctor what clinical studies, not animal tests, reveal about the drug.
Sea turtles, air-breathing reptiles with streamlined bodies and large flippers, are well adapted to life in the marine environment. They inhabit tropical and subtropical ocean waters throughout the world.
Of the 7 species of sea turtles, 6 are found in U.S. waters: green, hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley. The 7th species, the flatback sea turtle, is found only in Australia.
Although sea turtles live most of their lives in the ocean, adult females must return to beaches on land to lay their eggs. They often migrate long distances between foraging grounds and nesting beaches.
All marine turtles occurring in U.S. waters are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and are under the joint jurisdiction of NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Green turtles and olive ridley turtles have breeding populations that were listed separately under the ESA, and therefore, have more than one ESA status.
In 1977, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly administer the Endangered Species Act with respect to marine turtles. NOAA Fisheries has the lead responsibility for the conservation and recovery of sea turtles in the marine environment and USFWS has the lead for the conservation and recovery of sea turtles on nesting beaches.
Major threats to sea turtles in the U.S. include, but are not limited to: destruction and alteration of nesting and foraging habitats; incidental capture in commercial and recreational fisheries; entanglement in marine debris; and vessel strikes. To reduce the incidental capture of sea turtles in commercial fisheries, NOAA Fisheries has enacted regulations to restrict certain U.S. commercial fishing gears (gillnets, longlines, pound nets, and trawls) that have known, significant bycatch of sea turtles. To effectively address all threats to marine turtles, NOAA Fisheries and the USFWS have developed recovery plans to direct research and management efforts for each sea turtle species.
The tourist trade is the main reason why turtle numbers are in decline. Tourism poses the greatest threat to turtles for a number of reasons. Turtles migrate huge distances but during certain times of the year they congregate in shallow waters to breed. Females go ashore to lay clutches of up to 150 eggs. Two months later, tiny hatchlings emerge from the sand and make their way to the sea. But many of the tropical and sub-tropical beaches that turtles have used for millions of years are now inhabited by tourists.
Many females will not lay their eggs if there is too much noise or lighting from local resorts. Also, nests can be damaged by sunbathers and newly hatched turtles can become disoriented by beachfront developments and may never reach the sea. In the Mediterranean, the nesting period of the loggerhead and green turtle coincide almost exactly with the peak tourist season (May to August).
Speedboats can be deadly, especially during the mating season when turtles spend long periods of time close to the surface. Turtles are still killed for their shells, which are made into souvenirs such as combs and ashtrays.
The conservation and recovery of sea turtles requires multi-lateral cooperation and agreements to ensure the survival of these highly migratory animals. NOAA Fisheries has a broad national and international program for the conservation and recovery of marine turtles. The Office of Protected Resources works closely with 2 international environmental agreements that deal exclusively with sea turtle conservation.
Chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than they are to gorillas. Chimpanzees and humans share 99 percent of their genetic composition. Chimpanzees are highly intelligent, probably more so than human-based tests are able to measure. They make and use tools, cooperate with and learn from each other, and can learn various forms of expression and communication, including American Sign Language and computer symbols. Chimpanzees also have good memories.
HABITATS BEING DESTROYED
Fewer than 250,000 chimpanzees still exist in western and central Africa. Chimpanzees now occupy only a fraction of their former territory. Chimpanzee habitats, already small and isolated, are being further destroyed by increased commercial and agricultural development. In Africa, both species of chimpanzees--pan paniscus and pan troglodytes--are considered endangered. The U.S. Department of the Interior also lists them as endangered.
There are approximately 2,000 captive chimpanzees in the United States. About 300 are in zoos, and the remaining 1,700 were bred for medical research. Many are the offspring of chimpanzees captured in the wild before 1973, when the United States agreed to abide by an international treaty prohibiting the capture and importation of wild chimpanzees.
An estimated 106,000 chimpanzees live in a range of wooded habitats in the wild. They live in 21 African countries and are most concentrated in rainforest areas. They live in social groups, with numbers ranging from just a few to over 60.
Chimpanzee meat is no longer exclusively the food of the forest peoples, but is now commercially available in urban areas too. Bushmeat, including chimpanzee flesh, is also eaten by people in logging camps. The Jane Goodall Institute has very real concerns about the bushmeat trade. They say: "The large-scale commercial bushmeat trade could eradicate all great apes within 10 to 15 years."
CITES prohibits chimpanzees caught in the wild being used in circuses, but in countries where CITES has not been ratified or where it cannot be enforced, chimpanzees may be taken from the wild as infants, which often means the killing of the adults in their group.
Chimpanzees have been used in brain and skull research and in social deprivation studies. Chimpanzees are now popular subjects for AIDS research, although their immune system does not succumb to the virus. Chimpanzees are also used in painful cancer, hepatitis, and psychological tests, as well as for research into artificial insemination and birth control methods, blood diseases, organ transplants and experimental surgery. Their use in military experiments is suspected, but such information is kept secret and is hard to verify. Because they are in short supply, captive chimps are often subjected to multiple experiments, each of which can last an average of two to four years.
Chimpanzees are highly active and very socially oriented. When kept isolated in laboratories with no regular physical contact with either humans or other chimps, they quickly become psychotic.
Because adult chimpanzees are strong and often unmanageable, and because infected chimpanzees cannot be placed in zoos or existing sanctuaries, many chimpanzees are killed before the age of 10. (The normal lifespan of a chimpanzee is 40 to 50 years.) Others, perhaps not as lucky, are kept in tiny cages for decades.
Any increased use of chimpanzees in U.S. laboratories must rely on captive breeding. However, chimpanzees who are taken from their mothers before the age of four or five years seldom develop the social skills necessary for normal breeding. Female chimpanzees do not begin breeding until they are about 12 years old, and thereafter do not breed at all during each baby's four-to six-year infancy. Artificial insemination has increased breeding only slightly. Chimpanzees infected with AIDS, hepatitis or other diseases usually cannot be used for breeding. Unwanted chimpanzees from zoos and circuses are sometimes sold to laboratories.
Chimpanzees are still captured in the wild by poachers who shoot chimpanzee mothers and then take their infants. Many of the captured baby chimpanzees die before they reach a laboratory. Because the adults protect the infants, several adults are sometimes killed to obtain one baby.
CHIMPANZEE MANAGEMENT PLAN
During the late 1980s, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed its so-called "National Chimpanzee Management Plan." This plan is, in reality, was just a funding mechanism for five breeding colonies to maintain a steady supply of chimpanzees for vivisectors. Under a series of grants, the plan established breeding colonies of chimps at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, the University of Texas in Bastrop, the Primate Foundation of Arizona in Tempe, the University of Southwestern Louisiana in New Iberia, and New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Alamogordo.
The Chimpanzee Management Plan (CMP) also established chimpanzee-related research bases at Yerkes and the University of Texas, as well as at Texas A&M in College Station and at the University of Pittsburgh. The International Species Inventory System monitors the status of all the captive chimps.
In 2013, under intense pressure from organizations and the public, the National Institutes of Health announced it would retain, but not breed, a colony of up to 50 chimpanzees for potential use. The remainder of the chimps would be designated for retirement into the Federal Sanctuary System.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Write to your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators and tell them that you do not want your tax dollars spent on animal experimentation. Write to The Honorable __________, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510; The Honorable __________, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515.
Do not patronize zoos and other forms of animal entertainment.
We can all take notice of our environment. We can learn how our planet works. We can learn how to live on it without making a mess of it. We can help to keep it magnificent for ourselves, our children and grandchildren, and other living things besides us.
You can help by growing your own vegetables and fruits. You can help by planting a tree. Your new plants and trees will help to remove the greenhouse gas CO2 from the air. If you grow some of your own food, you will also help to prevent more CO2 from entering the air from the fossil-fuel-burning trucks, planes, and ships that transport your food to you from far away.
How can I reduce my "carbon footprint"?
Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air because of your own energy needs. You need transportation, electricity, food, clothing, and other goods. Your choices can make a difference.
Swap old incandescent light bulbs for the new compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). They use only 25% as much electricity to give the same light. They last ten times longer.
Turn off lights, TVs, computers, when you do not need them.
Unplug! Any electronic gadget you can turn on with a remote (TV, DVD player, Nintendo, Xbox) uses power even when it is "off." Appliances with a digital clock (like a coffee maker) or a power adapter (like a laptop computer) also suck power like a sneaky vampire. Plug these kinds of things into a surge protector or power strip that has an on/off switch. Then you can shut off all the power without unplugging each gadget. There are even power strips that glow to show you how much power is going through them, and power strips you can control from your computer or iPhone.
Turn up the thermostat on the air conditioning when it's hot. Use fans if you're still hot. They use much less power.
Turn down the thermostat on the heating when it's cold. Sweaters, blankets, and socks are good for you and better for the planet.
Walk or ride your bike instead of taking a car everywhere, or carpool. Even a 2-mile car trip puts 2 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. Bikes are a great form of green transportation. Sometimes, in the big city with lots of traffic, they are even faster than cars.
Stay out of the drive thru! When you go to a fast-food place, ask your driver to park the car and let you walk inside, rather than sitting in a line of cars with the engine running and polluting.
How can I reduce my trash pile?
Use reusable grocery bags.
Recycle everything you can. If your city does not pick up recycled materials, find out who you can talk to about starting this service. You should be recycling paper, aluminum cans, cardboard, food cans, plastic, glass, newspapers, magazines, junk mail, phone books, and anything else made of paper.
Shop thrift stores.
"BYOM" (Bring Your Own Mug.)
Use less paper whenever possible. Save the trees.
Drink tap water—filtered—instead of bottled water. Carry your drinking water in a reusable bottle. Plastic water bottles are an environmental disaster.
Use fewer containers. Buy the product that uses less packaging material. Even if you recycle packaging materials, it takes energy to create them in the first place and energy to remake them into something else.
Do I need to save water too?
People and animals in many parts of the world do not have clean, safe water to drink. As many more regions are hit by drought, this problem will become even more serious. The sooner we start conserving water, the better off we all will be. Be aware of how much water you use.
Imagine you live in a recreational vehicle (RV), and your water tank holds only 50 gallons. Every time you turn on the water, the noisy electric water pump has to turn on too, sucking up your RV's battery power. Would you keep the water running while you brush your teeth? Would you spend 15 minutes in the shower using up all the water in the tank and depleting the battery? Would you plant a thirsty lawn in front of your RV if you were parked in the desert?
How can I make a real difference?
Go vegan. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution. It is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation industry. Factory farms are a primary driver of topsoil erosion, rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss and ocean dead zones. Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water and causes immense animal suffering.