WHY THE OCEAN MATTERS?

The ocean is critically important to life on Earth accounting for 97% of the Earth’s water and playing an essential role in sustaining life on the planet.  The ocean covers approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface, and is home to a vast number of the Earth’s living creatures, not to mention that the ocean is a vital part of the water cycle that supplies rain to crops, forest and provides drinking water for our survival.

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But most importantly the ocean contributes 50-85% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere that are generated from the tiny ocean plants called phytoplankton living near the water surface.  As we all know plants photosynthesize, meaning they use sunlight and carbon dioxide to make food.  Oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis and provides food and other vital resources in which humans depend upon.

Worth noting is that the role of the ocean is far reached, because it is so vast and deep the ocean absorbs much of the heat and light that comes from the sun.  The ocean’s average depth is 13,000 feet with a maximum depth of 36,198 feet. Continuously distributing heat, carbon, oxygen, nutrients and water throughout the planet through the process of absorption and retention, slowly releasing and redistributing heat, the ocean also acts as a sink that aids in mitigating global warming. The current in the ocean together with atmospheric forces are also constantly at work causing the warm and cold water to more in complex patterns that control how the heat from the sun gets redistributed around the planet. This redistribution of heat in the upper ocean causes large changes in the global atmospheric circulation, which causes changes in the weather. Basically the ocean is the support system of this planet and it is in danger as a result of human inconsiderate development.

  • Refer to previous post – Carbon Cycle to read about the Ocean acting as as sink in mitigating global warming as it removes carbon from the atmosphere and bury it deep in the ocean.

The overall health of the ocean according to National Geographic matters because water returns to the ocean for renewal and purification to support life on earth, it also means a beautiful coast and vibrant ocean wildlife, but more so it supplies clean air for us to breathe, the food we consume and water we drink, if the ocean is polluted and unhealthy so are we.

quotescover-JPG-26So why do we continue to pollute the ocean? This is in part the result of industrialization and rapid advancement but more so because we are of the view that the ocean resources are infinite, and that human beings are entitled to plunder and pollute the natural world in the name of our so call progress in recent years and all the years to come, it will become increasingly and abundantly clear that pollution, burning of fossil fuels, and over-fishing could potentially destroy the resources we depend on, and the complex web of life that sustains us.

Little do we know the ocean plays a significantly important role in the overall well-being of all living things. The ocean provides millions of jobs, did you know that ocean based transport account for 98% of our commerce between nations.

According to International Maritime Organization, over one million seafarers work on approximately 50,000 merchant ships which trade internationally, generating over US$380 billion in freight rates or about 5% of the world’s economy.

Cruise Lines International Association reported that the cruise line industry also reported passengers in 2008 spent $19 billion directly and $40 billion indirectly and hires 357,000 employees who earns $16 billion in salaries and wages and according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization there are 45 million fishers and fish farmers combined in the world with a production of 140 million tonnes annually this included 90 million of capture fisheries and 50 million tonnes in aquaculture.  Can I stress the importance of the ocean anymore?

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The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization expressed concerns that within the next couple of years the physiology of fish will be adversely impacted because of the rapidly increasing temperature oxygen  transport to their tissue will be hampered.  I am yet to mention the impact of marine species are experiencing a major decline in some cases of 90% loses and heading to extinction due mainly to human activities.

In closing there are potential for renewable energy power generation from ocean waves, current and thermal energy, tidal stream and river hydro-kinetic technologies, but are yet to be explored and proven. We must know that failing to protect the ocean and its resources will have adverse consequences, consequences that we are not prepared for even though our sustainability depends on the continuous equilibrium of the ocean and its species.

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Recycling…. The Modern Day Self Regulation

The effects of landfills has caused increased challenges of Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) and made it one of the most pressing environmental issue at a local, national, regional and international level, MSWM is a very costly and complex process usually under the guidance of the local governments who may sometimes lack the expertise, tools and manpower necessary to meet targets and implement national strategies. T.V. Sivanandan of The Hindu states that effective MSWM requires an ongoing commitment from central government, adequate budget allowances and a highly motivated workforce.

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In the Caribbean and Latin America over the last decade a significant increase in landfills has been reported. Land filling is usually the main treatment for municipal solid waste (MSW), mainly because it’s cost effective and accommodates all types of waste, but is far more potent than any other method because of its adverse environmental impact, which includes methane gas emission, pollution of groundwater and surface waters and leachate that represents one of the main sources of environmental problems linked to land filling waste not to mention taking up valuable space.

The Ground Water Foundation claims that the waste generated in a country is closely linked to its economic activities, the wealthier an economy the more waste is produced.  Waste management have become a critical issue in the Caribbean because of limited land mass and decreasing resources along with a rapidly growing population and recent boosts in the tourism industry making MSWM an issue needing urgent attention in this region.

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Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company Limited studies have shown that 80% in Trinidad and 70% in Tobago of total waste generated are recyclable but currently land filled, the current and only method of final MSW disposal along with inappropriate dumping employed by residents to dispose of uncollected waste causing recurring floods countrywide as a result of blocked drains along with other adverse effects to the environment, with average waste generated per person in T&T is 4lbs per day,  resulting in 1000 tonnes of waste taken to landfills daily,  there are four landfills located in Trinidad and Tobago all of which was developed in the 1980’s and are either near or have exceed lifespan.

The main landfill is the Beetham Landfill reaching its capacity in a few years, the Government of the Republic of T&T now seeks an alternative methods or another landfill site for final disposal of MSW in this small twin island Republic, hence the increasing need for us to introduce recycling, there are still a great deal of waste that could be recycled ending up in landfill sites. Recycling is one of the best things we can personally do for the environment and is an excellent way of protecting our precious natural resources, cutting global warming and conserving the environment through water and energy conservation.  The fact is we cannot stop global warming, deforestation and all the other ills of the earth without each citizen taking an active step to implement the waste hierarchy of prevention, reuse, recycling and treatment of waste in our daily life.

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The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is now taking active steps to encourage and initiate reduce, reuse and recycle mechanism, this is pending the establishment of a Waste Recycling management Authority, which would facilitate Plastikeep’s transition into a large waste recovery and recycling programme to be instituted by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), an Authority created in 1996 to provide a comprehensive and integrated framework for protecting, conserving and enhancing the environment of Trinidad and Tobago. This will alleviate the existing burden on landfills and revolutionize citizen’s approach to waste disposal as this arrangement would provide a efficient and cost effective implementation of an integrated system for recycling material such as waste tyres, construction, plastic, glass, paper, metal, electronic waste.

This initiative will begin the process of residents taking responsibility for the way waste is viewed in Trinidad and Tobago, in a modern manner.

6 EXCELLENT AND SUPER EASY WAYS TO DEVELOP SUSTAINABLE HABITS

One of the most powerful habits we can adopt is the ability to be sustainable as citizen of this awesome planet. As the population grows the world gets smaller and smaller, as our future becomes increasingly connected. The people, businesses, organizations and NGOs we are all citizens of one planet, and this linkage places an increasing responsibility on each one of us to not only take ownership for our actions, but also share in our appreciation for this planet. Long-term sustainability hinges on our mutual collaboration.

However, over time, mostly as a result of globalization, creating cheap and readily available consumer goods and services, we have developed many bad habits resulting in over consumption and rapidly increasing energy use. We have also accepted the idea of  having and doing whatever we want, when we want. But as the world’s population expands we are facing a critical breaking point in our future.

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The only way sustainable living is possible in this constantly evolving consumer world is through our ability to change habits, until those little behavioural changes becomes habits we will never become successful on the climate change fight, posing a number of challenging to our well-being. An individual is based on needs and values, and we should be developing new practices every single day, which should create a brighter future for our family.

A sustainable world will require commitment and support from each of us, we need each other to live a satisfying life, a big part of sustainable living is the idea of giving back. A life that is deeply satisfying, fulfilling and appealing because it is socially, environmentally and economically responsible. This should be about making changes and informed decisions, which seeks to improve the quality of life for our future generations. There is truly no one fit all definition for sustainable living since it’s about making decisions which gives an individual unique leverage to drive positive change.

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Multinational corporations like Unilever and Nestle who have implemented sustainable living as part of their operations by developing and implementing new business practices. These two companies understand that our world is changing and climate change is here, especially in a world where profitability is no longer good enough, consumers are placing increasing pressure on these companies to become active marshals of planet Earth. Honestly they are forced to create a sustainable environment because the availability of their raw materials depends on the cooperation of the environment.

“Just as leaders can be identified by their actions, corporations can exhibit actions that demonstrate their dedication to sustainability.” 

                                                                                                                           Neil Hawkins

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan aims to double the size of their business while reducing their environmental footprint, creating positive social impact. By working in partnerships with governments and organization to help change the world these initiatives includes deforestation and climate change; water, sanitation and hygiene; and sustainable agriculture and smallholder farmers.

According to Neil Hawkins the three components of the triple bottom line which are people, planet and profit they must be clear and consistently present for companies to sustain their pursuits over the long-term, hence the advancing interest of organizations in the environment.

We are faced with rising temperatures, water shortages, scarce food supply being further strained by rapidly expanding cities and unprecedented population growth also resulting in a challenge for basic sanitation and hygiene. Let us just say that climate change is disrupting our lives, business and economies for example water shortage in Guyana and United States, flash flooding in India and  the list goes on, so why not follow in the footsteps of companies like Unilever and Nestle and develop habits that would sustain us in the long haul.

So here are the top tips for developing sustainable habits:

  • Set realistic and achievable goals – what this does is allow you to appreciate and measures your progress, helping you to feel a sense of accomplishment. By setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation according to Mind Tools, which would better equip you to focus on acquisition of appropriate knowledge, as it helps you to organize your time and resources so that you can make the most of your life. 

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.

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  • Organize your life – I know this could be quite difficult because it often feels like there’s not enough hours in the day, but do you know that by organizing your life you can get back those hours you lose, cluster is most often the result of indecision some of the most organized people make list and set realistic goals. Clear out every thing and work one area at a time, remember to set small task that would lead to accomplishing the overall goal.  It is understood that life can be so hectic these days, so by adopting a number of tactics that works well with your lifestyle can make a big difference. KeepinSpring states that keeping a to do lists and other information written somewhere allows you to look back at it anytime.
  • Take time to reflect on your day – You should reflect on all the good things that happened during the day and all of the things you accomplished during that day, be proud of your self every small step is a step closer to developing sustainable habits. This help you to learn from your mistakes, if we do not reflect on our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them, but by reflecting on those mistakes and recognizing what went wrong, so you can develop strategies to fix it.
  • Get rid of junk – Do not feel bad about purging your life. Ask your self these key questions, do I need this? When was the last time I used this item? Will I use this item in the next year? If your answers sound like this No, No, and No then it is time to toss that item out. Be honest with yourself and do not forget to recycle.
  • Educate yourself and find support –  keep up the research while you focus on achieving your goals. There are many amazing organizations and people out there working towards the same goals as you. Find them and support them, while they teach and support you, consider joining a social group can be very rewarding, others that went before can teach you from their mistakes, forums, blogs and local groups consist of a very interactive group of people who are making a collective effort to educate their peers and make positive change. A group of people is significantly more powerful than an individual.
  • Make yourself accountable – If you have not been accomplishing as much as you know you should lately then you should continue reading, when a person is accountable to someone else, they tend to get thing done and reach their goals. This is called social expectation.

R. J. Rummel Social Behavior Expert states that we live within a structure of social expectations, of belief, awareness, and apprehension of how others will react to our behavior, respond to our acts, play their roles in this human theater.

Simply talking about our goals are not good enough but instead we need to commit to specific actions that will move our goals forward and make an agreement with someone to hold us accountable for these actions to bring sustainable habits in our everyday life.

5 WAYS TO PERMANENTLY ERADICATE CRAVINGS

Are you trying to cut off that unhealthy food craving? Do you constantly have a longing for something sweet? Do you grab a bar of chocolate to boost your low energy afternoons? If your answer is yes to any one, you are not alone in these cravings. So how can you fight off these overwhelming urges without going into starvation mode scroll down to explore 5 tricks to winning the war on unhealthy cravings.

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Even the most health conscious people still have to develop strategies to cope with the carvings as they come around. Ask yourself how often during the day do you have that overcoming desire to consume a candy bar or cheeseburger? or better ask anyone your husband or co-worker what foods they desire frequently and without a hesitation they will rattle off more than one unhealthy choices.  To avoid these mindless eating habits you must first determine what causes your cravings and then develop unique strategies based on your needs and desires.

Cravings are frequently associated with and resulting from emotions and that time of the month but that is not necessarily true, the truth is cravings are weaknesses and your body’s way of telling you something. This is usually a lack of key nutrients needed by the body to function properly, Mind Body Green states that your body is extremely sensitive and if you are not consuming enough of the right things, your body will signal you to consume foods high in fat and calories because it perceives that there is shortage of food. So here are the five tips:

1.    Eat a Balance Diet 

Starving yourself of foods that contain nutrients the body needs can cause you to crave unhealthy foods and drinks. Even though junk food taste good they are very low in nutritional value and would just leave you craving more sugar and salt. To ensure all your meals are balanced, incorporate into your lifestyle a meal prep regime, Eat and Exercise By Amber has a brilliant guide you can follow, updates, weekly tip and tricks to eating healthy.  Remember the moment on your lips results in forever on your hips.

2.     Eat every 3-4 hours 

Our cravings are highest when our blood sugar levels are extremely low caused as a result of stress or hunger, our bodies send signals to the brain requesting an emergency source of energy to boost blood levels and get the body out of a rut, causing the body to crave candy and chocolate.  Clinical psychologist and author of Eat. Q. Susan Albers states that there are different levels of hunger, leading us to make bad food choices, which results in us choosing junk that gives us fatigue, sugar spikes, brain fog, weight gain and other health issues.

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3.     Get rid of temptation 

Do not purchase junk food when you go grocery shopping, yes I know easier said than done, but think about it most of us crave junk foods when we are either emotional or stressed if there is no chocolate, soda or chips in the pantry then we would seek an alternative, that just might be healthier than a candy bar, learn to trick your body. Remember chocolate is a pleasure food but there are healthy alternatives like fresh fruit, raisins and nuts according to Healthy Secrets.

4.     Stop snacking 

The idea is to help your body to burn fat this would help you feel better and reduce unnecessary cravings, also helping  you to have constant energy flow and not sudden burst by unstable blood sugar levels. When we snack we lose the ability to make energy last and the ability to enjoy our meals leaving us unfulfilled. My mother always told me do not snack before meals because you will ruin it. Muscle and Fitness claims that the key is choosing the right foods in the right amounts would keep our metabolism revved up causing us to reduce cravings and burn fat.

5.     Indulge yourself

The trick to indulging is to only have one serving at a time do not purchase a family size, just have enough to get rid of the cravings, which is usually one serving if you are unsure consult the nutrition facts at the back of the label.

Everything has gotten bigger and bigger starts to seem like the norm, misleading how and what we think are the serving size or right amount.  Food makes us feel safe and secure, but food should not  be therapy.

Permanently eradicating cravings may seem far-fetch but it is possible, remember no two people are exactly the same and what may work for one may not for the other the point is to get a plan, it may take some trial and error before you stumble upon the one that is just right for your lifestyle and overall health and well-being.

You are stronger than your cravings.