What is your trash worth?

Every day, thousands and thousands of pounds of trash end up on the streets.

Recycling is important and can diminish the aftermath of all that trash to almost zero, and we all know that, but how the government and the general population can incentivize this practice?

Many organizations, governments and communities have well-structured plans to incentivize recycling. Here are some cool examples to share:

Recycle More, Pay Less (Brazil):

Brazil recently launched a program called “Recycle More, Pay Less”. The initiative, developed by AES Eletropaulo (a local energy supplier), allows you to pay for your electricity bill by delivering your recyclables to a pre-registered place. Everyone who does that receives a punctuation card, and what you delivered is priced according to a local chart. Later on, that value you’ve earned for the trash you were previously just going to throw away , is deducted from your electricity bill, making it cheaper (or even free)!

A little effort Brazilians can do for the planet, and for their own pockets! Cool!

Ready, Set, Recycle (United States):

In the US, specifically in California, the Ready, Set, Recycle contest engages schools into participating in the contest with the main objective of reducing our carbon footprint through recycling.

In their website, tips onto how to separate the trash properly, how to make your own recycling and composting signs and interactive games also help children (and all other who want to participate in the contest) learn more about the importance of recycling for our planet.

Good idea!

Recicle Maniacs (Canada and United States):

The Recycle Mania Tournament  is also a competition between schools and universities aiming to augment the amount of recycling in universities (instead of having the residues going into the “normal pile”). All universities and schools participating complete a Scoreboard containing all of their recycling efforts, and the one with better results, wins!

 

It is nice to know that we are able to do things for our planet in a fun, or even financially rewarding, way. Do you know any other challenges or cool initiatives about recycling?

Share them on Twitter using the hashtag #yourlifeyourplanet

 

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10 reasons why you should plant a tree this weekend!

According to Prodes (Amazon Forest Satelite Monitoring Project), 1625 km² were deforested in the Amazon Forest in Brazil from August 2013 to January 2014*.

The numbers are lower than the same period in the previous year (good news), but are still alarming.

If we scale that into the size of our planet, we can only imagine how many trees were put down last year alone.

Thankfully, a lot of institutions, organizations and human beings are concerned about that. A simple glimpse of my apartment’s view in Toronto shows that some Canadians are in fact tree lovers.

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To keep it that way and “green up” our planet, why not enjoy the weekend  and plant a tree?

Here are 10 reasons why you should do it:

  1. Trees produce clean water
  2. Tress help filter the air
  3. Trees produce oxygen
  4. Trees help control noise pollution (by standing in the way of the sound)
  5. Forests help regulate the climate
  6. Around rivers, trees help prevent pollution
  7. Trees prevent soil erosion
  8. Trees give you a nice place to cool down in a summer day
  9. Trees may be anything you want (a swing, a house, a proof of love)
  10. Trees bring your house value up

If you do not have the space to plant a tree yourself, some institutions accept donations to reforest spaces in need:

Remember: all we need is a little effort! Planting a tree is easy, and it means a lot.

Do you know any other institutions or cool efforts trying to reforest the planet? Share your ideas!

 

*Source: http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ambiente/2014/02/1415734-dados-do-governo-mostram-tendencia-de-queda-no-desmatamento-na-amazonia.shtml

Into the wild! 7 cool places to be in touch with nature!

For those who love to spend time outdoors, being in touch with nature is essential.

Our planet is huge, and there are tons of places to be outside and explore.

 Here is a list of 7 cool places to meet if you like to explore nature:

São Joaquim – Brazil

My dear hometown, birth place and favourite place in the world, São Joaquim is known to be the coldest city of Brazil. With a unique landscape of canyons, waterfalls and great picturesque small neighbourhoods, it is worth a visit for those to love to be outdoors.

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(Photo: My backyard, my dog and my mom S2)

 

The Highlands – Scotland

Up in the mountains of Scotland, the Highlands are so beautiful it is hard describing them. It is the famous “you had to be there”. Mountains, lakes and a spot of the famous Highland Cows (the ones with bangs) complete your ride outdoors. Apart from that, ancient castle ruins give you the impression of being inside a fairy tale.

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Connemara – Ireland

The green fields of Connemara give you the unique experience of traveling in time.

There is absolutely nothing around you for miles, apart from lakes and sheep. Nice to be adventurous and explore!

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Omis – Croacia

It is a city in the middle of the stone mountains! A bunch of trails and small roads take you to the top of the mountain to enjoy the view. On the way down, the cool and refreshing Mediterranean awaits… Exploring and swimming, who doesn’t like that?

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Florianópolis – Brazil

With 42 different beaches to explore, Florianopolis is a small Island located in the southern region of Brazil. My home for almost 10 years, it is locally known as Floripa and it is a hot spot for surfing or just to relax

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(Photo: Lagoa da Conceição, 2012).

 

Heidiland – Switzerland

Up in the Alps – a small village known to be the landscape inspiring the Swiss child story Heidi – is open for visitation (and its surroundings are incredible). You can even feed the goats!

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Perast – Montenegro

The ocean is cool, refreshing and right in the middle of the mountains. It will be hard to resist going for a swim. The relaxing atmosphere and the breathtaking view makes you miss being in touch with nature every day!

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It only takes a little effort to preserve our favourite places on earth… Let’s not forget that!

What are your favourite places to be in the wild?

Add your favourite spot to our comments, and let’s explore!

 

 

Walk for power!

Energy is a challenge.

Many resources are not renewable and will be over within time. Gladly, as already stated before in this blog, many initiatives are being developed around the world to find alternative energy sources we can use in our daily lives without worrying about it running out, or about the negative aftermath of it.

One of them is this initiative from the 15 years old Angelo Casimiro.

According to him, an average human walks about 7000 steps a day. So why not use that as energy for our portable devices?

With that idea in mind, he developed a device – presented at the Google Science Fair 2014  – that charges his smartphone while he walks around.

Great idea for changing the way we see and consume electricity and, with time, if well applied in the future, it could mean a big deal for people who do not have access to electricity.

See how he explains the project the in this video and share the idea!

Feel pretty, don’t feel bad!

According to Cruelty Free International, “over 80% of the world allows animals to be used in cruel and unnecessary cosmetics tests and these animal tested cosmetics can be purchased in every country across the globe”.

Many governments, however, are giving some thoughts about the fact that there are alternatives for cosmetic testing and the use of animals, in this specific case, is unnecessary.

The European Union, Israel and India, for example, already have laws written to forbid animal testing for cosmetics research, and ban commercialization of any cosmetics not following the rules.

Brazil, Korea, ASEAN countries such as Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Singapore, the US and Canada are also making strides toward ending cosmetics testing on animals (to be clear, we are talking only about cosmetics here, it is not applicable for all kinds of animal testing ).

If your country still allows animal testing for cosmetics and you do not feel comfortable buying or using these products, PETA has a special section on their website where you can browse for that information before making a purchase: http://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/index.aspx

The list of cruelty free cosmetic companies is increasing significantly, but unfortunately, we still have a long way to go.

The next time you buy your cosmetics, think about that.

If there is a choice, it means we can make an effort.

Feel pretty, don’t feel bad! Buy cruelty free cosmetics!

Let’s give Polar Bears a hand

All we need is a little effort!

Into the wild

I don’t know what is it about Polar bears, but feel they represent the true essence of nature: they are beautiful, they are strong, they are brutal and yet they are delicate.

There is no other animal, anywhere, that has had such an impact on me when face to face with it. So today, before you go crazy on the weekend and spend a fortune on gin tonics, I’d like you to visit: Polars Bears International and check it out. You can donate, buy gifts or adopt.

We are destroying the ice sheet and soon there will be nothing but water where there was ice. Soon there will be no life where there were polar bears.

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What’s your energy?

It has been known for some time that the sources chosen by a country to provide energy for it’s population are really important to measure the level of commitment this country has with the environment.

Various aspects are taken in consideration to make that decision possible, but the natural resources available and the amount of money available for investment in research and change are the decision factors of what kind of energy to use.

Renewable energy sources

A lot of research has been made over the past years to find alternative, renewable and less poluttant sources to provide energy for the community.

There are a lot of renewable energy resources out there, such as solar energy, wind energy, hydroeletric energy and biogas.

The great biogas!

Biogas is an alternative energy source that basicaly uses organic matter as fuel.

A great way to use our disposals and bring something back to the planet.

This video shows an iniciative from Nepal. They are using Biogas to create energy to poor families living in small communities, all using what they can find in their own backyards:

Do you know any other cool examples of biogas usage and research that has been done lately? Share that with us!

 

Clean up your rivers!

According to Blacksmith Institute, Green Cross. “The World’s Worst Pollution Problems: The Top Ten of the Toxic Twenty.”, each year 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, storm water, and industrial waste are dumped into U.S. water alone.

And, once that is done, depolluting can be expensive and take forever!

For our luck and for the sake of the planet, new technologies are developed all the time, trying to mitigate that.

A great example is an ecological system created in England that connects depollution and preservation of the natural/original landscape of its surroundings. The system is called Biomatrix, and it is a floating device that can be installed in mainstreams, reservatories, lakes, etc.

See how it works:

The device can be adapted and used for other purposes while in use, which makes it better immersed in the environment.

check out these before and after photo! Quite impressive, don’t you think?

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(Photo credits: Biomatrix Facebook Page)

Do you know any other creative ways developed towards the objective of cleaning rivers? Share that on the commentaries or on Twitter using the hashtag #yourlifeyourplanet

11 reasons why you should adopt a cat today!

Animal rights activists are always encouraging everyone to adopt animals, not buy them.

It is a simple idea, and it can really help the animal cause.

According to PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, each year, 7 to 8 million dogs and cats are taken to animal shelters in the U.S. alone.

So why not adopt instead of buying a dog or cat?

I myself adopted a cat in Brazil two years ago. Best decision I ever made!

My friends say Mali won the lottery by finding a home, but I say I am the one winning the lottery from finding her.  I not only gained a best friend and companion (cats are too funny to begin with), but I also learned how to be a better person, and to love and respect the animals even more.

To make sure you will be making a good decision by adopting a cat, here are 11 reasons why you should adopt a cat today!

1. They are self-sufficient (I just found her like that in a cold winter night)

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2. They are the ultimate creativity package (tell me again, why do you humans use blankets?)

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3. Working with your computer is always a challenge, but it is always more fun!

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4. Watching TV can also be a challenge…

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5. Unless they really like what’s on!

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6. They are going to love any toy you give them.

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7. They are terrible at selfies (but who isn’t?)

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8. They never let your guests sleep properly (perfect for when you don’t want them to stay too long).

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9. Sometimes they don’t want to be bothered (which is understandable with all the stress they go through every day).

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10. And sometimes they will ruin your furniture and act like this (it is inevitable).

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11. But you’ll love them anyway!

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* All photo credits go to Mali, my favourite model and best animal friend.

Adopting is a rewarding experience!

Do you have your own adoption stories to share? Post them in the comments and share your story with us on Twitter using the hashtag #yourlifeyourplanet

Water power! Meet the LifeSaver, an instant water filter that makes filthy water drinkable!

We all know the importance of water in our lives.

According to the UN, “though the world met the MDG (millennium development goal) target for drinking-water, 768 million people do not use an improved source of drinking-water. In developing regions, 87% of the population uses an improved source of drinking-water while 2.5 billion people, or almost one third of the population, do not use improved sanitation”. (read more here).

During environmental disasters, water shortage becomes a problem not only for those living in critical conditions, but to all affected by it.

This conditions inspire a lot of research all over the world. Michael Pritchard is an expert in water treatment who decided to do something for the population of Asia after the Tsunami, as well as for the population of the U.S, after hurricane Katrina.

He saw people desperate to find water, drinking contaminated water to survive or having to walk long distances to be able to find decent water for consumption.

After months of research, he finally developed the LifeSaver, a bottle capable of filtering all water, no matter how dirty or contaminated it is.

Great effort for great results!  The idea is so great it even has a “sister bottle” option, making sure that for every bottle you buy, another one goes to a community in need.

See more about the project on the video below:

Ideas like this are worth sharing!