Paul Nicklen, a wildlife photographer, and his team from the Sea Legacy recently posted a heartbreaking video of a starving polar bear. The animal was weak and going through the garbage on the iceless land. He was barely alive and when he couldn’t find anything in the Inuit trashcans, the bear collapsed.
This video was made in Canada's Buffin Islands, where it's illegal to feed the white polar bears. Although, doing it anyway wouldn't make any difference since the animal was already in his dying minutes. All Nickel and his team could do was to film everything to the very end and show to the world the state our environment.
Polar bears and their suffering are one of the many faces of climate changes. These animals live in the Arctic regions and warming temperatures had this excruciating impact on their habitats and numbers. The National Snow and Ice Data Centre has recorded constant declines of sea ice coverage and, according to the predictions, it will only get worse.
The effects of global warming are experienced all over the world. Catastrophic weather conditions have taken many human and animal lives, as well as endangered many others by destroying homes and land. There are still things we can all do to help the planet and life on it. It may seem small and insignificant, but it will be beneficial for the long run. The more people start changing their habits, the sooner the environment will start recovering.
Our homes are the perfect places to begin the fight for the survival of all life on Earth. On the other hand, living in the sustainable and energy efficient home will have immediate benefits for the homeowner. Here is some advice how to be a part of the continually growing movement to save the world – starting from your home.
Solar panels provide clean and renewable energy. They harvest the sun power and turn it into electricity for your home. Although expensive at the beginning, the long-term benefits include lower energy bills and a better environment. Before installing them, make sure that you choose an appropriate location. This is important because you want to get the maximum exposure for more energy.
If you are worried about the installation cost, many governments give incentives to their citizens who want to go green. This support is monetary and includes tax concessions, as well as funding from the grants. Many countries even have programmes intended to educate the population on the use of solar energy and its benefits. This is a great way to share knowledge and provide expert help to those still unacquainted with this type of technology.
Geothermal energy is more complex and expensive due to the process of extracting it. Namely, this is the energy directly coming from inside the Earth. However, this is not something unheard of. People used geothermal energy for hot water and heating since the ancient Rome. Due to the scientific advancements in this area, the range of geothermal sources has expanded.
This is also another eco-friendly solution supported by the governments and institutions. At first, using geothermal energy was expensive and only those determined enough chose it. Since the number of consumers was nearly enough to make any change, this became one of the government-assisted industries. Today, it costs less than before and its users are growing by the day.
Every home consists of walls, windows and doors. But the type and construction is a distinguishable element. This means that if insulation is not properly installed, then your home will be leaking energy out. Namely, when it’s cold, the heat will escape out, and when it’s warm, you won’t be able to cool the house. Consequently, you will use less energy for heating and air-conditioning.
In addition, checking sealants on the windows and doors will do the trick. However, if you think to replace them, choose energy efficient windows. These carry a label “Energy Star” and are the newest among the home furnishing products. These measures will help you downsize the use of energy, and emitting gases into the atmosphere like CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs which deplete the ozone layer.
Even the simplest of things like everyday shopping can help the environment. By reducing, reusing and recycling you can become the part of the much-extended global community of recyclers. These three principles of responsible behaviour will help to eliminate toxic and damaging components. Also, hopefully, this will decrease the size of landfills and garbage in the oceans, rivers and land.
You can be a part of this if you reuse the materials such as wood. Many furniture companies today abide by sustainable manufacturing and make pieces out of the recycled materials. Similarly, more and more investors opt for the green home building. They use recycled glass, tiles, plastic and reclaimed lumber in their business.
Energy efficient devices
Energy efficient devices are today widely available. They are popular among the consumers due to its properties to use less energy for the same operations as ordinary devices. Less energy means lower bills and decreased impact on the warming of the atmosphere.
Just like the abovementioned windows, these devices will also wear an “Energy Star” label. Currently, the devices are still labelled from G (lowest efficiency) to A+++ (highest efficiency). Some states are working on the simpler system, like European Commission which adopted Energy Labelling Regulation in July 2017. Some devices go as far as to have eco-friendly functions, for example, to save water during operation.
Sustainable building materials
Sustainable building materials include a myriad of products which can have a positive effect on the modern construction practices. With eco-friendly products, construction companies are able to build green homes and influence the real estate market. This way, the environment is spared from the first foundation to the last executed works.
Besides recycled and reclaimed materials, natural products like bamboo are also present in the construction. This creates a resource-efficient process which will help protect the future occupants’ health, reduce waste and prevent environmental degradation. By doing this, the planet has an opportunity to replenish its forests, recuperate and normalize weather conditions.
If you have a garden, then you probably use a lot of water for irrigation. This often creates the water shortage in the summer period and endangers the ecosystems depending on the watercourse levels. Installing a rainwater harvesting system will resolve this issue. Water collected in this manner is perfect for gardening purposes. People who use this solution reported as much as 50% reduction of their water bills.
Rainwater harvesting is an excellent way to create a backup supply system. During the water shortages or major repairs, you can use this system for laundry, dishes, toilets and other purposes. Another plus side is that this practice will save the groundwater which is in decline.
Indoor LED lights save energy and last longer than classic light bulbs. Although they cost more than the ordinary lights, the benefits of using them are significant. Firstly, they will lower the consumption of electricity and consequently the bill. Secondly, they will save you the money you’d spend on numerous classic bulbs which easily break.
They are also great as outside lights, especially when they have to stay on all night. They come in all sizes and strengths, as well as lumens. This technology is constantly advancing and the variety of LED lights is increasing rapidly.
We reap what we sow. For generations, we have exploited the natural resources of our planet, destroyed its waters decimated its forests and bring extinction to many animal species. This is our home above all homes and we shouldn’t stand by while it’s suffering. Starting from something as simple as solar panels or rainwater harvesting can make the difference.
Importantly, it can also serve as an example to others and inspire them to do the same. Just like polar bears, other species are in imminent danger. One of them being humans.