Finn the Fortunate Tiger Shark

Be the Change books are set to be a collection of four books, each with an animal protagonist. The first book sees a little tiger shark called Finn lead the way. His tale shows the impact of plastic in the ocean and paints a rather grave picture of the reality for marine wildlife. While the story has a wonderfully positive ending, its message really connects with the reader. The beautiful illustrations are also sure to draw in any young person.

It’s really positive to see people like Stevens trying to make a change. Books like these are a fantastic way to engage and interest youngsters, especially if they become part of the school curriculum.

100% of the profits from this book will be split between the organizations: “GREENPEACE” and “SOCIAL PLASTIC”.

Find out more about Be the Change books and support her initiative by buying the new Finn the fortunate Tiger Shark book from Amazon.

See original article here: https://www.virgin.com/virgin-unite/how-finn-fortunate-tiger-shark-helping-save-ocean-plastic-waste

Parachutes for the Planet

To raise awareness of people living sustainable lives and affected by climate change, Mother Earth Project is encouraging individuals, schools, and communities around the world to create PARACHUTES FOR THE PLANET!

So why go with parachutes? Saving the environment is vital to our health, safety and future, and parachutes are a metaphor for this process. Parachutes are safety nets and when held by groups during demonstrations or collectively displayed in large numbers, they transform into powerful messages of strength, hope and communal determination.

In the 1990s, thousands of HIV/AIDS Quilts (blankets) were exhibited in Washington, DC, to bring attention to a disease that was previously not understood. The result of this exhibition was dramatic – people became more aware and governments began to fund research to find a cure. Using artwork and text displayed on parachutes, the Mother Earth Project hopes to accomplish similar goals for saving the environment.

Display your parachute in your local community to raise awareness about sustainability (for example your school, company, city government, neighborhood, or on your car). Also, please encourage two other schools/clubs to create a parachute, as spreading awareness is the central theme of this project!

Why is Plastic Non-biodegradable?

Most plastic is manufactured from petroleum the end product of a few million years of natural decay of once-living organisms. Petroleum’s main components come from lipids that were first assembled long ago in those organisms’ cells. So the question is, if petroleum-derived plastic comes from biomaterial, why doesn’t it biodegrade?

A crucial manufacturing step turns petroleum into a material unrecognized by the organisms that normally break organic matter down.

Most plastics are derived from propylene, a simple chemical component of petroleum. When heated up in the presence of a catalyst, individual chemical units monomers of propylene link together by forming extremely strong carbon-carbon bonds with each other. This results in polymers long chains of monomers called polypropylene.

“Nature doesn’t make things like that,” said Kenneth Peters, an organic geochemist at Stanford University, “so organisms have never seen that before.”

The organisms that decompose organic matter the ones that start turning your apple brown the instant you cut it open “have evolved over billions of years to attack certain types of bonds that are common in nature,” Peters told Life’s Little Mysteries.

“For example, they can very quickly break down polysaccharides to get sugar. They can chew up wood. But they see a polypropylene with all its carbon-carbon bonds, and they don’t normally break something like that down so there aren’t metabolic pathways to do it,” he said.

But if all you have to do to make propylene subunits turn into polypropylene is heat them up, why doesn’t nature ever build polypropylene molecules?

According to Peters, it’s because the carbon-carbon bonds in polypropylene require too much energy to make, so nature chooses other alternatives for holding together large molecules. “It’s easier for organisms to synthesize peptide bonds than carbon-carbon bonds,” he said. Peptide bonds, which link carbon to nitrogen, are found in proteins and many other organic molecules.

Environmentalists might wonder why plastic manufacturers don’t use peptide bonds to build polymers rather than carbon-carbon bonds, so that they’ll biodegrade rather than lasting forever in a landfill . Unfortunately, while peptide bonds would produce plastics that biodegrade, they would also have a very short shelf life. “It’s an issue of ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it too,'” said Jim Coleman, chief scientist at the US Geological Survey Energy Resources Program. “When you buy a plastic jar of mayonnaise, you want [the jar] to last a few months.” You don’t want it to start decomposing before you’ve finished the mayo inside.

For the original article visit livescience.com!

[Photo Credit: Antonio Oquias | Dreamstime]

Mental Health and Climate

Here is an excerpt from the 2017 APA Mental Health on Climate white-paper:

MENTAL HEALTH
The ability to process information and make decisions
without being disabled by extreme emotional responses is
threatened by climate change. Some emotional response is
normal, and even negative emotions are a necessary part of
a fulfilling life. In the extreme case, however, they can interfere
with our ability to think rationally, plan our behavior, and
consider alternative actions. An extreme weather event can
be a source of trauma, and the experience can cause
disabling emotions. More subtle and indirect effects of
climate change can add stress to people’s lives in varying
degrees. Whether experienced indirectly or directly, stressors
to our climate translate into impaired mental health that can
result in depression and anxiety (USGCRP, 2016). Although
everyone is able to cope with a certain amount of stress,
the accumulated effects of compound stress can tip a
person from mentally healthy to mentally ill. Even uncertainty
can be a source of stress and a risk factor for psychological
distress (Greco & Roger, 2003). People can be negatively
affected by hearing about the negative experiences of
others, and by fears—founded or unfounded—about their
own potential vulnerability.
PHYSICAL HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH
Compromised physical health can be a source of stress
that threatens psychological well-being. Conversely, mental
health problems can also threaten physical health, for
example, by changing patterns of sleep, eating, or exercise
and by reducing immune system function.
COMMUNITY HEALTH
Although residents’ mental and physical health affect
communities, the impacts of climate on community health
can have a particularly strong effect on community fabric
and interpersonal relationships. Altered environmental
conditions due to climate change can shift the opportunities
people have for social interaction, the ways in which they
relate to each other, and their connections to the
natural world.

Link to article: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/03/mental-health-climate.pdf

Aclima

Until now. Beginning in 2015, a pair of Google Street View cars, equipped with high tech “mobile labs” developed by San Francisco–based startup Aclima, crisscrossed the streets of West Oakland taking second-by-second samples of the area’s air. They tested for nitrogen dioxide and a type of pollution known as black carbon (bad for your heart and lungs, not to mention the planet), as well as nitric oxide. The cars hit every stretch of pavement, from tiny cul-de-sacs to truck-choked Peralta Street, multiple times, taking millions of measurements.

There are three stationary air pollution monitors for all of Oakland, which reveal the city’s air quality as a whole. But the Street View cars can tell you what the air is like at, say, the corner of Market Street and Grand Avenue—basically anywhere you can drive a Street View car. They can even tell you how the air varies from one end of a single block to the other for a truly hi-res view of the problem.The result: one of the largest and most granular data sets of urban air pollution ever assembled in the world.

Quoting Google’s interview on Aclima: “We visited each block on between 20 and 50 different days over the course of a year,” says Joshua Apte, an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin. In the process, they were able to identify patterns they wouldn’t have otherwise seen. “If pollution spikes for an instant, it may or may not be such a bad thing. But if pollution is consistently high, that’s something we really should care about.”

Imagine what difference awareness on air pollution can make when this information becomes more accessible!

Visit https://aclima.io/ for more information!

Project AWARE: Dive Against Debris

Project AWARE (non-profit organization) is a global movement of scuba divers protecting our ocean planet – one dive at a time. Focused on the critical issues of Sharks in Peril and Marine Debris, Project AWARE empowers thousands to work together for a clean, healthy and abundant ocean planet.

Also,  check out the conservation tools on their website which helps you get connected with other divers, fundraising, info on marine life and marine debris. Dive Against Debris “want(s) to empower you – scuba divers, instructors and ocean enthusiasts – to take action for ocean protection!” On their website you’ll find free downloads, educational resources, tool kits and more.

“Don’t let your dives go to waste! Grab your mesh bag, scuba gear and data card to make every dive a Dive Against Debris” (-Dive Against Debris)

Check out their site here!