By the way: cats kill over four million birds in the U. S. every day and more than 20 percent of the animals treated in wildlife hospitals have been caught by a cat.
This morning I pulled a California Quail chick from the mouth of a family member’s cat, luckily there is a wildlife hospital specializing in rescuing and rehabilitating injured wild birds nearby. I was able to drop the baby quail off, free of charge and even given a check-in number to call back and monitor the progress of my little birds road to recovery.
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When one speaks of Thailand, often images of elephants are conjured up. Images of elephants are everywhere, from temples and shrines to logos and even the name of their beer (Chang, which means Elephant in Thai). The Thai people seem to have a deep reverence for these magnificent creatures, however, there is a darker almost contradictory side to this appearance.
Almost all of the domesticated elephants (those used for work and human contact) have been subjected to a ‘breaking of the spirit’ in a device called the Phajaan.
Squeezed into a cage only large enough to contain the baby elephant, they are chained into place, beat with sticks of bamboo and poked with sharp devices with hooks and nails. For 6 days or even longer, these elephants as young as 4 are subjected to this brutality without food, water or shelter. This is usually the time they are permanently separated from their mother and family, to begin their life of servitude.
Elephants have largely played a working role in Thailand. Used as war machines by Alexander the Great, they have been used as working animals for logging and farming for generations. With Thailand’s dwindling forests, and now a ban on logging, these elephants are finding themselves out of work and in trouble. Many elephant owners and mahouts (elephant keepers or drivers) have adapted to the tourist industry by using their elephants for jungle treks and walks. Others have used brutal torture techniques to train their elephants to perform tricks or paint. Often in cities around Thailand, you will see elephants begging in the streets for their mahouts, which generate a great deal of income for the owner at a great expense to the elephant.
With all of this brutality and pain, there is a ray of light. The Elephant Nature Park along with its founder, Sangduen Chailert, known as ‘Lek’, have created a sanctuary for these retired and abused elephants and is educating people around the world about the plight of these Asian Elephants. › Continue reading
A while back, we had a piece introducing the Mirimichi, the first American golf course to be declared a certified Audubon International Classic Sanctuary. An eco-friendly golf course, backed up by the good name of a popular celebrity. There are of course other golf courses that hold the distinction of being considered as eco-friendly in one way or another across the United States and internationally, and an eco-friendly golf course would strike anybody as a great idea, but what about all those people who want to play but don’t intend to fly to Tennessee or the few select locations that boast their connection to the environment? It can’t be expected that every game be played at a location that meets some picky qualifications, and it needn’t be so.
Biodegradable golf balls and tees made from recycled material give people the ability to at least make an individual effort towards the same ends. With tees that biodegrade within a year or so, and aren’t made of wood, an individual effort can be made to the preservation of trees. And balls that quickly biodegrade in water, instead of leading to the deaths of sea-animals that mistake them for something a little more edible, go a long way to the preservation of marine wildlife. What follows than are a few resources for the avid golfer to upgrade his/her collection: › Continue reading
Beverage cups at Mariner’s baseball games, parfait cups at the University of Washington, and cold or hot coffee cups, everywhere I turn the Cedar Grove Composting label seems to be there as well. Now it’s become a fun game to point out every label I see.
Cedar Grove is a leading organic recycling company in the Pacific Northwest which started way back in 1938. They even proudly state that Cedar Grove Composting has grown to become the largest single dedicated yard waste composting facility in the United States. They provide 100% natural soil amendments, soil blends, and mulches. Also, the cups I’ve been seeing everywhere are 100% compostable and will break down into quality compost. Cedar Grove also provides recycled paper sandwich bags, cutlery, straws, and cold or hot food containers. On July 1st, Seattle will require that all single-use service ware be either recyclable or compostable. Cedar Grove is assisting this movement 100% and will make it easier to save money on waste costs going to a landfill and protect the environment by enriching the soil with nutrients from food and service-ware waste.
Is the day after this Earth Day called Green Friday as opposed to Black Friday? Either way, I learned a lot on Thursday while at the University of Washington’s Earth Day fair on the HUB lawn. With many booths, people, and brochures, the Earth Day event was definitely an educational success. The event included signing up for contests and giveaways, planting a small plant, trying to guess what a typical garbage bin has accumulated and many friendly people to share ideas with about how to live green. Here are some of the companies and groups I got the pleasure to learn more about on our sunny Earth Day!
This group is involved with many different projects around UW including the Climate Action Plan which is an institutional plan toward becoming neutral towards our climate. Some other projects they are involved in are the CFL Exchange Project to exchange all incandescent light bulbs on the Seattle campus with energy savings CFL bulbs, Earth Club at UW, and Project Earth at UW Tacoma. Their website also includes great information on what you can do to reduce your footprint on the Earth. At their booth on Earth Day they handed me a Greenlite light bulb which uses 75% less energy, saves $68 in energy costs, and 1 Greenlite = 12 standard bulbs!
If you haven’t been up on surfboard technology, things have changed. In 2005, Clark Foam, the largest foam blank supplier closed its doors citing new environmental regulations which would have crippled its business. The standard for surfboards since the late 50′s when polyurethane foam and fiberglass-resin boards replaced wood boards, had come to an end.
Opening up the market to new innovations and materials, San Diego based Firewire Surfboards was ready with their new carbon and bamboo creation. Lighter, stronger and more flexible, Firewire’s boards are also more eco friendly emitting only 2 percent of volatile organic compounds and are 50 times less toxic to the environment than polyurethane foam. No masks are needed around this stuff, and you can walk into any of their factories without getting an instant headache.
Using an environmental sensitive laminating process, the Rapidfire line uses basic cooler type EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) foam inlaid with carbon rods for flex and topped with finished bamboo for strength and stiffness, replacing the standard wood stringer. All excess EPS foam is recycled at the end of the building process. They even won the coveted EuroSIMA Environmental Product of the Year Award in 2005.
Seattle is such a walkable city, scenic parks, paths and trails are abound. I love to go for short runs and walks in and around the city, so I decided to compile a list – the top 5 best walks in and around Seattle, Washington. Whether you are a resident or visiting, they are definitely worth a stroll.
1. Discovery Park
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One of my all time favorite walks, this 2.8 mile long main trail loops you through sweeping ocean vistas and beautiful lush forest. Its pretty amazing to think that you are only minutes from Seattle’s downtown on this walk as it really is quite a contrast from the hustle and bustle of the city. The main path is a narrow dirt trail winding through forest and ocean bluffs with a few historical coast guard quarters scattered about. There is a great little side hike down to the light house point along the beach, which can be even more exciting during those extra low tides.
How often do you think about your sporting goods and how they impact the environment? Well, you may not have really had a choice – but now you do! Fair Trade Sports brings North America the first line of sports balls (soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, rugby and more) certified fair trade and green.
Also available in Australia through Etiko Sports and UK and Europe through Fair Deal Trading, these products are made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified all natural vegan rubber and hand stitched by Union workers who are paid a living wage. Fair wages and healthy sweatshop-free working conditions for adult workers are used for their apparel as well (hint hint Nike). › Continue reading
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