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This year’s theme is “Our Solution is in Nature”.

This means, we must understand the importance of nature – “The environment is important because it supports the survival of human beings, is the source of natural resources, supports biodiversity and offers remarkable beauty. Moreover, the environment is responsible for air purification and disaster control.”

Secondly, we must understand the environmental problems such as environmental accidents, resource use, pollution and climate change. Understanding these problems, we can eliminate them by recycling, reducing carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and using and finding alternative energy solutions by harnessing the power of nature by using renewable energy technologies like large-scale wind power, solar thermal water heating, and geothermal heat pumps.

Let’s celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity!

 

 

Photo by Hossein Zeinali
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Year 2020 marks the 50th year of Earth Day. This year’s theme is climate action:

“The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.”

It all began in 1970. It was a unified response to an environmental crisis at the time — oil spills, smog and other pollution. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest. To this day, Earth day is recognized as an environmental movement and as the planet’s largest civic event.

“On Earth Day 2020, we seize all the tools and actions that we have, big and small, to change our lives and change our world, not for one day, but forever. While the coronavirus may force us to keep our distance, it will not force us to keep our voices down. The only thing that will change the world is a bold and unified demand for a new way forward.”

Let’s celebrate Earth Day!

 

Photo by Vasily Lakovlev

 

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BlueGreenEarth awards Nikybwd Winner of 2019 Winter Nature Photo Contest for photo “Wild Horses”.

It’s a stunning Winter Nature Photo.

Congratulations Nikybwd!

Thanks to all who entered the 2019 Winter Nature Photo Contest!

Stay tuned for more Nature Photo Contests!

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March 21st is World Forestry Day or International Day of Forests. The Day is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of forests, and not only forests, but all types of forests. This year, the theme is Forests and Biodiversity.

“Forests are home to about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.”

“More than a billion people depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy and income.”

“Forests also act as important carbon sinks, absorbing about 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.”

There are three main types of forests: tropical, temperate and boreal. There are also plantations and seasonal or moonsoon forests.

Tropical forests have the highest species diversity in the world (millions of different species). They grow around the equator. Broadleaf trees, mosses, ferns, palms, and orchids are common in the tropical forests. Common animals are monkeys, snakes, frogs, lizards, and small mammals.

Temperate forests occur in North America, northeastern Asia and Europe. Common tree species are oak, beech, maple, elm, birch, willow, and hickory trees. Common animals are squirrels, rabbits, birds, deer, wolves, foxes, and bears.

Boreal forests, also called taiga, are found in areas of Siberia, Scandinavia, Alaska, and Canada. Pine, fir, and spruce trees live here. Common animals are moose, bears, lynx, wolf, deer, wolverines, caribou, bats, small mammals, and birds.

World Forestry Day encourages all countries to organize tree planting campaigns and activities.

Let’s celebrate World Forestry Day!

Photo by Sierra Walsh
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February 12th is International Darwin Day. It is celebrated to ‘inspire people throughout the globe to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin’. (Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist. He is best known for his contributions to science of evolution.)

International Darwin Day started with three Darwin enthusiasts: Dr. Robert Stephens, Prof. Massimo Pigliucci and Amanda Chesworth. Formerly called Darwin Day Program, it was reincorporated in 2002 as the Darwin Day Celebration, a ‘nonprofit educational corporation promoting public education about science—and encouraging the celebration of science and humanity throughout the global community’.

Darwin Day is observed by the United Nations.

Let’s celebrate International Darwin Day!

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Nature First: How To Be A Good Nature Photographer

Being a good photographer is one thing. Being a good nature photographer is another thing. The first is much simpler; the latter requires more creativity, energy, caution and most of all, good practices.

When you ask the question: ‘How do I become a good nature photographer?’, you also ask the question: ‘How do I become good to the environment?’. This is true. Besides having the proper equipment, you’ll need your best behaviour and discipline to capture your best nature photos.

Nature Is First And Photography Second

1. Having the proper equipment, but minimizing – means bring only what you need so that you do not pollute and harm the wildlife and environment.

2. Stay focused with good practices – means if you plan to stay out for a long period of time, plan to use environmental-friendly stuff like wearing environmental-friendly clothes, using reusable water bottle instead of plastic bottles and using compostable materials.

3. Bring your best behaviour – means being mindful and cautious about the wildlife and environment when walking, hiking, climbing, exploring, etc.

Being a good nature photographer is not easy. Every shot you take with your camera is crucial. It requires discipline and good practices. And always remember that your best moments and best photos come when you’re not harming the wildlife and environment.

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BlueGreenEarth awards Elif Koyutürk as the Winner of BlueGreenEarth 2019 Spring-Summer-Fall Nature Photo Contest for her “Landscape” Photo.

“Our greatest story is inside us, it blooms when we look inward – the greatest eye to your story is your heart that manifests, I create from that manifestation.“

Elif Koyutürk, born in Istanbul 1993, is a dedicated photographer, director. After graduating from TED College Istanbul, she continued her education at Istanbul Bilgi University and UEM Madrid. There, she studied Television Reporting & Programming and Marketing, Multimedia & Cinema.

In 2014, she participated in the program “Youth on the Move” initiated by Amsterdam University for Applied Sciences, University of Oslo and Akershus, Stuttgart Media University and Bilgi University Istanbul. Even though she is very young, she worked with global brands such as Red Bull Media House, Sony, KISKA GmbH, KTM, MINI.

In 2015 she received the title “Commended Photographer” by World Sony Photography Awards and was featured in Travel and Leisure’s “100 Stunning Photos of the World”.

In 2017 her short movie “Details in Nature” selected as “Semi- Finalist” in Miami Epic Film Festival and her short movie “Good Morning Luise” selected as the “Film of the Week” by Awardeo Company. Austrian Consulate of Istanbul hosted her first solo film and photo exhibition in 2016 “Eternity of Nature and Soul”. The exhibition became a focus cultural point for Austrian-Turkish artists. Istanbul Museum of Photography hosted her second solo exhibition for a year at the museum. This exhibition was a mix of her works, including her series from “Thunder Birds” “Syrian Benjamin Button” and “Eternity of Nature and Soul”.

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August 12th is the inaugural World Elephant Day. It is launched to bring attention the threats to both African and Asian elephants: ‘escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity’.

The African and Asian elephants need extensive land to survive.

World Elephant Day is about experiencing elephants in non-exploitive and sustainable environments, where there is no illegal poaching and trade of ivory, better treatment and conserving elephant habitats so that the elephants can thrive under care and protection.

Support World Elephant Day!

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Why Is Energy Conservation Important?

It is important because we need to reduce its demand and to protect and replenish supplies. We also need to develop and use alternative energy sources (i.e solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, etc.) and clean up prior energy damages.

Ways of Energy Conservation

There are a lot of ways to conserve energy:

  1. Turning the lights off and using daylight.
  2. Using CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs – they last 12 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs.
  3. Walk more when travelling.
  4. Switching off lights and appliances when they are not in use.
  5. Using energy efficient appliances.
  6. Lowering room temperature.
  7. Fixing air leaks.
  8. Installing energy efficient windows.

Impact Of Energy Conservation

We can save ten times more energy by using energy efficiently and renewable resources. We can also increase productivity especially by being less harmful to our environment.

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There are numerous plants you can grow in your garden to attract pollinators. Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, wasps, ants, flies and midges are very important part of nature. They move pollen from one flower to another which helps to bring about fertilization.

Bergamot (Bee Balm)
It’s a beautiful and attractive daisy-like flower with petals in red, pink, purple and white colors. It welcomes Hummingbirds, butterflies, and honey bees.

Lantana
It’s a colourful plant that has a lot of small flowers and also called Red Sage, Wild Sage, Yellow Sage, and Shrub Verbena. It welcomes butterflies.

Butterfly Bush
It’s a beautiful and fast-growing shrub with colourful flowers usually lavender-pink, white and dark purple colors . It welcomes butterflies and bees.

Black-eyed Susan
It is a daisy-like flower and perennial climbing plant that grows up to 8 feet in length. Its beautiful flowering vines welcome bees and butterflies.

Milkweed
It’s a beautiful flower that attracts Monarch butterflies. Monarchs are the only butterflies that can feed on the sap of milkweeds.

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The chief tributary of the St. Lawrence River, Ottawa River runs a total course of 790 miles (1,270 km). It flows swiftly westward from the Laurentian Plateau of western Quebec to Lake Timiskaming and then southeastward with its course forming the Quebec–Ontario provincial border, and then joins the St. Lawrence west of Montreal.

The river’s diverse ecosystems are home to rich plants such as speckled alder, silky dogwood and sweet gale, and animals including muskellunge, sturgeon, longnose gar, largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, walleye, northern pike and American shad.

Environmental Concerns

Contamination of the river with untreated sewage from the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau and water pollution from industrial and urban sources have been major concerns.

Environmental Conservation and Organizations

People have made significant efforts to protect the river. A significant progress has been made on the issues from the city of Ottawa. As part of the Ottawa River Action Plan, the intallation of real-time monitoring and remote-control systems ‘achieved an 80 per cent reduction in combined sewer overflows into the Ottawa’.

Ottawa Riverkeeper, a member organization of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, is working ‘to protect aquatic life and water quality, while ensuring the river remains accessible to the public. It also campaigns on environmental issues and responds to citizen complaints’.

‘The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a federal-provincial-territorial partnership that works to protect rivers of natural, cultural and recreational importance.’ Following the CHRS management plan, in collaboration with other organizations, ‘a section of the Ottawa River is regularly monitored by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’.

Algonquin First Nations is working ‘to protect their traditional lands and wildlife in the region, especially to help restore populations of the American eel to the Ottawa River. (The American eel — or Kichisippi Pimisi — is listed as threatened in Canada and is sacred to the Algonquin.)’

Celebrating Canadian Rivers Day

(Texts from Ottawa River https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/ottawa-river)

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World Oceans Day was declared an International Day in 2008 to educate and address the world on issues of concern about our oceans and also to celebrate and reinforce our achievements as humans. In June 2017, during the UN Ocean Conference, a special event was held on June 8th to mark its celebration. The Ocean Conference was convened ‘to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.’ 1

The focus for 2019 is Gender and the Ocean. The goal is ‘to build greater ocean and gender literacy, and to discover possible ways to promote gender equality in ocean-related activities such as marine scientific research, fisheries, labour at sea, migration by sea and human trafficking, as well as policy-making and management. The importance of gender equality — in particular for the effective conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources.’ 2

What It Means For The Rest Of The World

Besides gender equality and the ocean, we must strive to save our oceans:

(1) Beat plastic pollution – this means that we must take responsibility for our actions by using reusable bottles instead of plastic bottles, straws and bags and avoid polluting our oceans. Plastics are very harmful for our oceans.

(2) Beat other pollution such as oil, dirt, farms, septic tanks, etc… – this means to be responsible and avoid polluting our oceans with land based sources pollution and contamination.

(3) Overfishing and Ghostfishing – this means we must try not to overfish and to stop hunting marine animals.

(4) Beat air pollution which causes acidification – this means we must avoid polluting our atmosphere and stop burning fossil fuels.

(5) Keeping coral reefs healthy and protecting them. This is very important for the marine life.

Let’s celebrate World Oceans Day!

1 Oceans and the Sustainable Development Goals https://www.un.org/en/events/oceansday/
2 Focus for 2019: Gender and the Ocean https://www.un.org/en/events/oceansday/

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Happy World Environment Day!

What it means:

Spending Time With The Environment

Being with nature, exploring nature, learning more about nature, being together with nature and feeling togetherness, harmony and peace with nature and knowing its value and importance

Protecting The Environment

Recycling, composting, clearing garbages and wastes off our environment and not harming it

Beating Air Pollution

Planting flowers and plants in your gardens and trees in the forests and conserving nature for breathable air

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Hawksbills have existed for the ‘last 100 million years’. They are known for their narrow pointed beaks and beautiful patterned shells. They live in the warm, tropical oceans – Atlantic Ocean, Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Hawksbills are omnivorous. Toxic to other animals, coral reef sponges are their primary source of food. With their pointed beaks, they can reach into the small cracks of the coral reefs to extract and feed on sponges. With this type of feeding, Hawksbills provide service to other marine life and are an important part of the ecosystem. They contribute to the health of coral reefs and other marine life.

Sadly, Hawksbills are one of the most endangered species on the planet. Research suggests: “There are only 5 populations world-wide, made up of around 8,000 turtles in total, and with only 1,000 females nesting annually.”

In addition, Hawksbills are hunted by humans. Their ‘gold and brown patterned shells’ are sold illegally on the black market for making ornament and jewelry.

What To Do to Protect Them

There are a number of ways we can do to protect them:

1. Stop hunting and stop making ornaments and jewelry with their “tortoiseshells”.
2. Stop polluting the sea.
3. Stop polluting the beach so they can nest and lay eggs.

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The Tongass-Environmentally Rich The Tongass National Forest Alaska is not only the largest national forest in the US but also the world’s largest old-growth temperate rainforest that is remaining. There are a number of features that are specific to it which makes it unique; it is a coastal temperate rainforest meaning the forest is located where the land and the sea meet. As such, the forest supports one of the largest salmon populations in the world. The salmons have provided for the local’s livelihood for many years. Other than the salmon, the forest is also dense with a canopy which provides a habitat for a variety of animal species including wolves, brown bears, bald eagles among other species of birds.

Economically, Tongass National forest is known to attract hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Most of them visit around the summer months in the hopes of seeing the famous spruces that are over two hundred and fifty feet tall or the 500-year-old cedars. For the lucky tourists, one may be privileged to see a brown bear lurking near a stream in hope of getting a salmon for its next meal. The lush ferns on fallen trees give the forest an ambiance of freshness and coolness that is hard to get anywhere else. This forest plays a critical role in maintaining eco-balance in the surrounding areas of its vast expanse.

Clear Cutting Threat

In recent years, the Forest overseeing board, the US Forest services, has continually offered up great tracts of the forest for intensive logging. Already, some proportions of the forest have already been privatized and logged and there is mounting pressure on the Congress to give up more of the forest to private hands. This will without a doubt deal a heavy blow to the tourism industry and the locals who rely on the forest’s healthy fishing industry.

On August 2, 2018, US forest service announced a signed agreement with the state of Alaska that would see the Roadless rule being lifted. This will pave way for road construction within the forest to allow for the extraction of Timber from old-growth logging. The Roadless rule had been instituted over two decades ago to protect fish and wildlife habitats on federal lands. it also protected the watering points of wildlife, recreational facilities and the business opportunities that arise from preserving these places. Lifting this rule will only result in environmental degradation and the destruction of ecosystems not to mention people’s livelihoods.

The Way Forward

Despite the glaring threats, Alaska conservation foundation still believes that there is hope for the forest if people support their efforts and those of the partners who are conscious of immediate and long-term threats to the forest. There is a need to have a bigger picture of the forest and to support the foundation’s proactive approaches that will see the communities and a healthy environment coexisting peacefully.

It is for this reason why the foundation is proud to be a primary funder of the Sustainable southeast partnership which builds trust and seeks to a common ground for cultural and environmental balance for economic prosperity for both the forest and the community. Their other partners in this noble quest include The Nature Conservancy, Renewable Energy Alaska Project, Southeast Alaska conservation council among others.

It is the hope of the foundation, their partners and other like-minded organizations that their efforts will not be in vain. If you wish to be part of these efforts, you can donate to the foundation to help protect the Tongass National Forest and, in extension, the economic vibrancy of Southeast Alaska.

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“Compost, crumbly mass of rotted organic matter made from decomposed plant material, used in gardening and agriculture.” – Britannica

Making a compost at home for your backyard is always a good idea. First of all, it will reduce the amount of garbage you send to the landfills by recycling kitchen and yard waste. Secondly, compost adds nutrient-rich humus to your garden and makes a rich fertilizer for your flowers and vegetables. It means bigger plants and prettier and healthier garden. It’s good for the environment as a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers. It’s also an effective way of minimizing your gardening cost.

There are two types of composting: Hot Composting and Cold Composting.

Hot Composting is a faster way of making a rich organic compost (around 30 – 90 days). However, it requires more attention, as it requires optimum ratio of Carbon and Nitrogen. Aside from a faster compost system, Hot Composting has some benefits over Cold Composting. (1) The system works all year round. (2) It will have less issues. (3) It kills weed seeds faster. (4) It kills unwelcome bacteria. (5) It has lesser bad odour.

Cold Composting requires lesser effort. But it takes about a year or two to produce an organic compost for your garden. With Cold Composting, you simply gather your waste in a pile and then wait. Although it takes longer time, it produces much exactly the same result overtime and effective natural fertilizer for your garden.

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There’s no doubt that the United States is a place of irrevocable beauty; there’s something for everyone here, in one of the most culturally and geographically diverse places on the planet. From sun-soaked deserts to lush verdant forests, you can find it all right here. But no matter your preference, there is one special place in southern Missouri that visitors never forget — the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Featuring the United States’s highest concentration of springs in one location (seven, to be exact!), two rivers, and three cave systems, it’s easy to see why people flock here by the thousands; unfortunately, the Ozark riverways are facing a pollution crisis, that if left unchecked, could wipe this national treasure from the face of the planet.

The park surrounding the riverways was established in 1964 by Congress in an effort to protect the water, the land, and the area’s diverse wildlife. Since then, it’s been a popular tourist destination — and also a place of concern to locals, as pollution levels are continually rising, particularly in the water. The rising pollution levels are due to an increased amount of traffic in the area in recent years (with 1.3 million visits annually), the increased use of recreational water vehicles, and trash that is improperly disposed of; these initially became issues in 2002 when the National Park Service and the Forest Service began a project aimed at developing more river recreation areas. If no additional measures are taken to reduce the amount of pollution released into the water annually, America could soon face the loss of one of its most beautiful destinations, along with the wildlife that calls it home.

Local environmental activists have rallied the support and signatures of countless residents statewide, and they aren’t giving up anytime soon — in fact, they have submitted over 5,000 formal petitions to the National Park Service in the hopes that restrictions to limit pollution will be put in effect. Local residents claim that excessive horseback riding is contaminating the riverways with E. Coli, and overuse of recreational vehicles is contributing to air and water pollution via fossil fuels. Tests ran on water samples confirms both claims, but the National Park Service has not yet proposed a solution or even acknowledged the problem, which is growing with every passing day.

Passionate statewide environmental coalitions are suggesting an easy fix — they want the National Park Service to restrict river access to the public. Horseback riding is a popular tourist activity in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, with several tours running daily, and each tour consisting of up to 50 riders. This has become a safety issue, due to the fact that horse waste contains the dangerous bacteria E. Coli, which is now leaching into the riverways and posing a threat to swimmers. Additionally, illegal roads are giving tourists and citizens easy access to the water in unsupervised areas; this has led to a rise in water pollution by means of litter and exhaust fumes from water recreation vehicles. In the petitions sent to the National Park Service, citizens requested that recreational river access be restricted by limiting horseback tours to trails only and blockading or filling in illegal roads; their goal is to eliminate the presence of E. Coli and toxic chemicals from the water, making it safe for recreational use. One thing is for certain; if we want to enjoy the beauty of nature tomorrow, we have to preserve it today.

Restricting the number of contaminants being released into the air and water is the easiest way to begin reducing pollution, especially in places like the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, where contaminants are being released into the environment in staggering amounts. However, pollution is a worldwide epidemic; if we don’t begin the fight on pollution now, in a cooperative effort, we may lose more than our national parks.

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