Just a couple of weeks ago I was told by my friends ‘let’s go an attend an evening event at the beach all about the local dunes - there is also a moonlight walk planned’.
Okay, who wouldn’t fall for that? Let’s forget an evening of Netflix and chill and out we embark on an exploration about the local dunes...
Extreme climate events are becoming the norm these days, with red warnings for extreme heat being emitted for most of Central Europe just a few weeks ago (45.9 °C in Paris!).
One of the issues with such ‘extremes’ is that, while isolated and easily dismissed as 'just an event', they can cause damage to the environment, causing mass mortality of sensitive species. Let's not forget that we are also 'animals' and these extremes can have negative influences for human health, especially when they occur so early in the season as they have had this year. I would like to remark this last part. Time. And you may frown your brows and ask: Why does timing matter? If you bare with me, everything will come, hopefully, a little more clear. And don't worry, you don't have to have a bachelor in Biology to understand this post...
I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass--
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!
I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all--
o wind, a-blowing all day long,
o wind, that sings so loud a song!
o you that are so strong and cold,
o blower, are you young or old?
are you a beast of field and tree,
or just a stronger child than me?
o wind, a-blowing all day long,
o wind, that sings so loud a song!
I have lived in pretty windy places over the last 10 years, from South West England, to Northern Ireland and the coast of the Netherlands. As someone who loves sailing and surfing, both sports that rely on winds (and waves, which wouldn't exist without winds), it may come as a surprise that I am a bit fed up of the frequent wind storms.. They can be quite annoying, causing public transport delays and making it difficult to cycle to places. And more than that, they can be dangerous when storms occur in densily inhabited areas, where objects can fly, and things can fall. If we remember the strong storms that have happened this year, when many trees fell in and around many cities in Europe (for example in Italy).
Let's not forget the beast from the east...
Maybe it is just that I am a little fed up of these strong weather events persisting well beyond winter, with 'orange warnings' being still around in mid-June, but I have a feeling that these are indeed becoming more frequent.
And it turns out that windy days are a result of climate change
How? And everywhere the same?
As a marine biologist working on animal-environment interactions,and focused on environmental changes driven by human activities that modify conditions for economic or societal benefit, I was surprised and intrigued to find out about bivalve gardening.
First things first:
What is bivalve gardening?
If you split the words you have your explanation. It refers to the gardening (= growing for personal use) of bivalve species, which are those marine animals with two (=bi) shell halves (=valves). Mussels, oysters, scallops, cockles..all form part of the big bivalve class.
Great news for environmentalists and animalists alike : people are eating less meat and embracing more plant based products in their diets.
Great for animals, as less production means better welfare. Great for the planet as we reduce emissions. Great for health as we reduce saturated fats..
So it seems like it is great news and I should leave it at that.
But I would like to dig deeper instead and ask this question : what are we replacing meat with?
And the answer is not fresh produces and pulses (which to me are the base of healthy meat free diets). The correct answer is: artificial and processed meat substitutes.
So what are the problems with these products ?
A) they are processed, and contain way too many ingredients some of which you don’t need. And the processing will require industries which are also not great for the environment
B) proteins have been extracted - so instead of eating whole soya beans you eat something that has been extracted following heavy processing . And you may only get part of what nature intended..
C) other processes to create things like Quorn involve making a fungus - making new foods which are not necessarily safe (they are maybe too new to fully understand their complications)
D) they often contain hidden fats, and those fats may be terrible for the environment
E) cultivation of soy requires s lot of water and land - which also brings to deforestation
Basically, what I am saying is that while eating less meat is a good thing we shouldn’t try to substitute it for something similar but instead try and cook from scratch as much as possible with basic and simple whole ingredients...
Today we have a special guest post
Last week my friend working in conservation in Fiji asked me if I ever heard of seagrass removal projects.. I said "no, I normally hear about seagrass restoration..but removal..never!". Turned out this particular resort was doing some quite illegal actions, which might be easier in some countries compared to other. So I decided that the least I could do was to give some space on my blog for her and her colleagues to explain. So here we go:
My name is Anastasha Savura and I am publicly releasing my CV to ensure the public knows that I am a Marine Scientist and I need assistance to ensure the Warwick Answers and Apologies for this Incident!
I am the Founder of the page Ocean Guardians Fiji on FB and would like to use social media bring people together to bridge this massive gap between science and policy in the biggest Economical Industries in Fiji. The goal is to develop an umbrella of frame works and guidelines to present to Fiji Tourism and Hospitality Association and other associated bodies so that this never happens again!
Although young and still an ocean of knowledge still to swim through, I clearly understand through education, working experience and volunteer efforts. THE ACTIONS OF WARWICK RESORT and THE ASSOSIATED DIVE SHOP on 25th October, 2018 was an Injustice to the Environment. How much Injustice? I am unsure about as they have not bothered to contact us to correct us otherwise.
In the link below you will find the incident report of that particular day and the events that follow!
On 25th October
On 26th October till date
And we slept on the matter and realized that we had to do something about this because it was wrong. One of the reasons given by the Dive shop owners for firing us was that “we should have handled the situation in a more diplomatic manner instead of sitting in the water to make the digger stop”,
…So on 29th October we both wrote letters:
Other Parties Letter here
We included a presentation I prepared to the Regional Director, a Mr. Sahaan who was on property and asked him to contact us so we could sit and discuss the matter.
We also included a copy of the Regulation of Surfing Areas Decree (which states that Warwick authorized a possibly Illegal activity)
We asked him to contact us so we could sit and discuss the matter.
It is 11:58pm, 1st November, 2018 now as I type this, we have not heard anything from the Warwick however the Associated Dive Shop has contacted us with a SHOCKING EMAIL
(We are now seeking Legal Advice… ) We now have an issue of job security in the diving industry for expats and local marine scientists and Dive Professionals. (How will this be addressed in the future?- Anyone?) Who do we count on to report such PADI dive shops?)
The Only people who care to engage and raise this issue are members of the public and ocean advocates from all around the world therefore your opinion and support will decide our next PLAN of ACTION.
We already are working on a way to ensure that the tourism industry is not affected by the emotion and detrimental social media posts already online by concerned guests by ensuring them that we will work on a way to ensure that this will never happen in any other resort but WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
I am only 1 person and now have the support of WWF, Baby Pandas South Pacific and passionate advocates around the world. If you would like to support this cause, please support Ocean Guardians Fiji on FB https://www.facebook.com/oceanguardiansfiji/ and oceanguardiansfiji on instagram https://www.instagram.com/oceanguardiansfiji/ to help with the cause. Every bit of "talanoa" around this matter would help.
Vinaka with high hopes and crossed fingers, Anastasha Savura
Next time you are in a crowded place (city, shop, train. Whatever counts as crowded for you) please take a look around with the aim to observe. Do you also see what I see? Not only we are becoming fatter and child obesity has become a big problem, but people don’t seem to care about each other and surroundings anymore either. We have sedentary jobs, we eat overly processed things and we are generally out of touch with our environment. Some of us follow diets (which then become lifestyles) that are meant to bring us back to our prehistoric selves ( think of the paleo diet or raw food trends), then kill themselves st the gym because that is what our bodies are meant to do.
I do somewhat agree that eating natural and unprocessed as much as feasibly possible (sorry I cannot give up cheese...), but I also think that we should change our general lifestyle little by littleto get closer to nature, understand it again, and find our sync.
While not all of us can yet afford to give up our jobs to get into full time agriculture and country life (a world entirely without cities would be weird and utopic right now), small changes can be done to fit our current way of life. How about skipping the gym to grow your own veg instead ( depending on the size of the land you get you will get to move your body how it was meant to move for sure!). Go on a fishing trip, or if you are s fun, go hunting ( responsibly). You can even find some local farms where you can go picking your own fruit and veg.
What are the benefits of this? Not just a return to what our bodies are designed to eat and do, gaining general well-being, but also could bring societal benefits too. Firstly you might get a good feeling, having ‘caught’ (or grown) something for yourself, and we all know that happy people are general better people! The fresh air might also help you want to be outside more, making you healthier and removing pressures on health systems, also being outside makes us less stressed which also makes us less prone to chronic illnesses. Further, you may start to notice nature rhythms, seasonality, notice the insects or plant timing, notice what the rain does and what are the consequences of extreme temperatures. So we may start to care more, which may lead to better choices in other areas of our lifestyles. Overall a win-win situation...
Let's be honest: it has happened to even the most advanced zero wasters to have to shop at a supermarket at some point or another.
Whatever the reason: busy week, finished too late for the organic or farm store opening times, away during the weekly farmers market, emergency shop..
If this is you, whether just once in a while or more often, firstly take a deep breath and forgive yourself. These things happen!
Then you can consider making your shop the more zero waste friendly as possible following some simple steps, and if you have more I would love to hear them
Environmentalists who take actions are often either viewed as violent protesters or ‘all talk and no action’.
And this should not be the case. Apart from the fact that boxing people and ideas is rarely useful,I know many environmentalists who don’t fall into these categories.
But there is some truth in it, perhaps. Some scientists love to talk and talk, and do experiments, then more experiments. But nature is complex, models seldom model reality, experiments often raise more questions and scientists are somewhat afraid to make too bold statements that might affect their career and future (the academic system is to blame in my opinion here)... so we go to meetings, we present gloom and doom scenarios amongst other scientists, we are a bit afraid that the news will pick it up the wrong way so we choose our words carefully when speaking to journalists, and here we stop. Hoping someone will translate our papers into some actions..
Bloggers, and I will include myself, also have a bit of this no action attitude. Yes I believe that I am trying to educate, hopefully reaching a wide audience and show them easy steps to be more sustainable in an easy lifestyle way. But am I? Sometimes I believe that maybe with all of these social media filtering I am just getting to the usual people who already are plenty aware of the problems...
On the other end of the spectrum there are many activists that feel like they have to take a more active approach and end up taking disruptive actions. And here I would also like to include some big organisations and conservation societies. So I don’t blame the public which thinks ‘oh no, other tree huggers’.
But here comes some positive: you can make your voice be heard without being violent. But we can only do that by collective actions. Start writing to companies: you don’t like that a certain place doesn’t have recycling? Write to them. You don’t like that a certain shop doesn’t sell local options? Write to them! Too much packaging in that brand? Stop buying, and write to them. Perhaps one message won’t make them do anything, but if we all collectively start complaining actively but peacefully (and always respectfully) something will go through! At least I hope.
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