Last week while reading a poster promoting the use of polystyrene (Styrofoam) cups instead of paper cups I suddenly realized just how wasteful we can be. It’s not like I never noticed how much waste there was before, I just didn’t realize how much goes into items that are destined to be thrown away. The poster focused on the amount of water used in the production of paper cups and the difficulty in recycling paper versus polystyrene. The truth is that both are recycled less than they should be but there is no reason why they need to be produced in such mass amounts in the first place. I guess reading the poster did affect me, maybe not in the way the writer intended but it made me think about my own habits. I went out and bought two re-useable mugs; one for hot, one for cold. The first thing that I noticed was that I was actually paying less now for coffee and other drinks by getting refills. I also didn’t have to search for a garbage can or recycling bin and I found myself making my own coffee more often as it is easier to carry around a mug that has a lid. There is one downside though; you have to wash your mug! Just try to make sure you use as little water as possible when you do so. Maybe one mug at a time we can save our worlds forest and water resources and save a little money in the process. Just a little wishful optimism…
Monday, 7 November 2011
When you think of a swamp, marsh, or bog, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it full of diverse and unique wildlife or a breeding ground for mosquito's and insects? Does it have clean filtered water or dirty waste water? It could be argued that all of this is present in a wetland system; the good and the bad, which is exactly why these systems need to be protected. Wetlands are often the least respected ecosystem, without a second thought, bulldozers make their way onto wetlands and fill is brought in to level the land for development. Here are 4 reasons why current views, opinions and actions need to be changed.
1. Water filtration
Don't judge a book by its cover! The green mat covering many wetlands is actually plant life; it may look like muggy green water from afar, but there is a vast network of organisms at work making both the air and water cleaner. Wetland plants such as cattails will actually filter out harmful chemicals making the water cleaner.
2. They’re a Hidden Gem
Wetlands don’t take up a lot of space in the big scheme of things considering how much there is to appreciate in a single stroll along a marsh or swamp. If you go during the day you can see the wildlife in its natural setting and get a glimpse of the variety of plant life. At night it will come to life with the sound of the frogs and crickets and the moon glaring off of the still water.
There is a lot more going on in there than you may think! There are birds, frogs, fish, reptiles, large mammals and small mammals that live in wetlands and we need to make sure that we do not destroy their habitats.
4. Mosquito truth
Mosquito’s are not the only insects that breed in small water bodies. There are thousands of insects that live in and around wetlands and many of them actually eat mosquitos which results in a lower number of mosquitos overall. Small pools of water in driveways or potholes, back yards or anywhere else water may collect are probably more of a mosquito threat than any wetland that is well kept. Click here to see what you can do to prevent mosquitos.