Americans Say They’re Becoming More Environmentally Conscious Each Year And Their Green Changes Are Contagious


In a bid to be more environmentally conscious, 85% of Americans surveyed have made at least one positive change in their lifestyle in the past year.

The great news is that a growing interest in becoming more eco-aware is a movement that’s contagious: Half of those polled said they’ve influenced somebody else to be more environmentally conscious, with the average respondent saying they’ve swayed three of their friends.

While the average American has made at least three positive changes in the past year, 41% of those polled said they’ve made even more than that, according to a new survey of 2,000 adults.

Four in 10 of those polled reported making an environmentally-conscious decision at least once a week, and nearly one in 3 said they do so daily.

And, environmental awareness appears to grow with time and age.

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When asked about the past year, 45% of respondents said they’ve cut down on wasting food and 27% said they’ve made a better effort to buy products with traceability labeling.

One in 3 said they’ve begun recycling more in the past 12 months, while 31% said they’ve cut down on plastic use and nearly 25% have reduced water usage in their homes.

Seven in 10 respondents said the more they age, the more environmentally conscious they become, with a majority (60%) saying they are more environmentally aware now than they were five years ago.

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Nearly seven in 10 of those surveyed said buying food products that are sustainably raised or produced is a priority.

While 4 out of every 5 people said they feel they’re making a difference when they make an environmentally-conscious decision, 80% feel better about themselves in the process.

But the biggest reason cited for their green lifestyle changes is a growing concern for the climate crisis (70%). Sixty-six percent said they care about protecting ecosystems and want to help save animals from extinction.

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Two in three Americans surveyed said they care about sustainable food production because they are worried about what they or their family eat.

“Everyone can take steps—even small steps—to help not only slow the decline of nature globally, but to help rehabilitate our ecosystem as well,” said Michael Wan, Global Manager of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, which sponsored the survey conducted by OnePoll.

TOP 10 LIFESTYLE CHANGES AMERICANS HAVE MADE IN THE PAST YEAR

1. Not wasting food 45%
2. Turning off electronics when I’m not using them 42%
3. Purchasing food that is sustainably raised or produced 37%
4. Recycling more 34%
5. Cutting down on plastic use 31%
6. Buying products with traceability labeling 27%
7. Reducing water usage in my home 25%
8. Using eco-friendly products 25%
9. Composting 24%
10. Fixing broken items instead of throwing them away 24%

Preserve Eco-Positivity By Sharing These Survey Results With Your Friends.

Cuba Eco friendly Travel and Pandemic Safe

Cuba works to be a very safe tourist destination, minister says

Havana, Jun 19 (Prensa Latina) Cuba’s Tourism Minister Juan Carlos Garcia stated that this country’s authorities are working to achieve a renewed and very safe destination, a message issued by the Ministry of Tourism said on Friday.

Garcia spoke on Thursday at the 65th Virtual Meeting of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Commission for the Americas, as reflected in the official statement released during this event.

Despite this, the Cuban tourist system raised high commitments, whose example was to attend British cruise ship MS Braemar with 682 passengers and 381 crew members on board, to facilitate their return to the United Kingdom, a humanitarian operation in which those who participated did not get sick with coronavirus.

During these 100 days (since March 11, when social distancing was decreed due to the disease), 120 hotels remained active, to attend tourists stranded in Cuba and promoting health services in many cases.

The minister recalled that the Cuban tourism opened its doors this Thursday, in a first phase for the national vacationer, and as of July 1 for foreigners who could enjoy in Cayo Santa Maria, Cayo Coco, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Cruz and Cayo Largo).

He stressed that the facilities that reopen their doors must display the tourism certification, agreed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Public Health.

Such certification responds to the protocols stipulated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Cuba’s clean rivers show the benefits of reducing nutrient pollution

For most of the past 60 years, the United States and Cuba have had very limited diplomatic ties. President Barack Obama started the process of normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations, but the Trump administration reversed this policy, sharply reducing interactions between the two countries.

Scientific cooperation is a bright spot in this difficult history. Since the 19th century, U.S. institutions like the Smithsonian and the National Academy of Sciences have worked with Cuban counterparts to understand topics such as vector-borne disease transmission. Although political friction has often made such partnerships challenging, many scientists on both sides believe their countries stand to gain by tackling health and environmental challenges together.

We are geoscientists who study how landscapes change through processes such as erosion. For the past two and a half years, we and our team of U.S. scientists have been working with Cuban geoscientists to understand the environmental and water quality effects of progressive agricultural policies in Cuba.

In a recently published study, we show that Cuban rivers are cleaner than the mighty Mississippi. Why? Because Cuban farmers practice organic farming and conservation agriculture to reduce soil erosion and nutrient loss. In sum, Cuba is doing a better job than the U.S. at keeping farming from hurting its rivers, and its results offer useful lessons.

A test case in sustainable farming
Cuban rivers run from the mountains to the ocean through cow-filled pastures, fields of sugar cane and rice paddies, forests, wetlands and mangroves. Along the way, groundwater seeps into river channels from below. When heavy thunderstorms strike, water pours off the land.

These flows carry soil and dissolved material into streams, which deliver this load to the coast. Cuba’s coastlines have abundant mangrove thickets, underwater seagrass beds and some of the Caribbean’s best-preserved coral reefs.

We became interested in teaming with Cuban scientists because of their nation’s country-wide experiment in organic agriculture dating back to the late 1980s. When the Soviet Union, Cuba’s former trading partner, broke apart, Cuban farmers lost access to fertilizers, pesticides and heavy equipment, and had to adopt a more ecologically based aproach. Could their experience provide a blueprint for more sustainable approaches to feeding the world?

We used the ResearchGate network to find Cuban collaborators. Supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Centro de Estudios Ambientales de Cienfuegos, the research we are doing in Cuba builds on measurements we have done all over the world.

Cuban scientists Aniel Arruebarenna and Victor Perez filter sediment from river water in western Cuba so that elements dissolved in the water can be analyzed accurately. Paul Bierman
Less fertilizer runoff in Cuba
For this study we analyzed water samples from each of 25 rivers in central Cuba, looking for elements from across the periodic table and for bacteria. Our first results show that Cuba’s sustainable agricultural practices minimize the impact of agriculture on river water quality by reducing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer that washes off from fields into local waters.

Cuban farmers use about half as much fertilizer for each acre of farmland than their U.S. counterparts (3 versus 6 tons per square kilometer per year in 2016). As a result, rivers in central Cuba contain much lower concentrations of dissolved nitrogen than the Mississippi River, which drains more than 1 million square miles of America’s agricultural heartland. On average, the Cuban rivers we analyzed contained 0.76 milligrams of nitrogen per liter of water, compared to 1.3 milligrams per liter in the Mississippi River from 2012-2019.

American crop yields per acre are higher than Cuba’s, thanks partly to fertilizer use, but the trade-off is stark. Nutrients that pour off U.S. farm fields and flow down the Mississippi River create the Gulf of Mexico dead zone, a patch of ocean where oxygen levels are so low that almost no marine life survives. The dead zone forms every summer, fed by spring rainfall, and has covered an average of 6,000 square miles in recent years.

Cuba’s rivers do contain other pollutants. We found high levels of bacteria and sediment in most of the rivers we sampled. DNA analysis suggests that at least some of these bacteria were from the guts of cows. We saw many cows during our field work in central Cuba, and those animals had free access to local streams. Simple solutions, like fencing river banks, could greatly lower bacteria levels in surface waters.

We also found naturally high levels of calcium, sodium and magnesium in Cuban river water. These materials come from rocks that are naturally dissolved by rainwater. None of them are hazardous to humans, although they might leave scale in tea kettles and alter the water’s taste.

Limestone cliffs in the Vinales Valley, western Cuba, dissolve in abundant warm rain and add calcium to river water. Paul Bierman, University of Vermont
Enabling more scientific cooperation
Although we’ve done field work on Greenland’s ice sheet and in rice paddies of southwest China, this work in Cuba has been a uniquely valuable experience for us, both professionally and personally. We found Cuban culture to be warm and welcoming, even to Americans whose leaders for the most part have shunned the Cuban people for decades.

Sharing and teamwork are key parts of Cuban culture. When we brought out American snacks during our first visit to Cuba, our collaborators insisted these gifts must be shared with the entire lab staff. In the tropical January sunshine, scientists, technicians, secretaries and directors gathered outside to eat Vermont maple candies and blueberry jam.

We view this project as science diplomacy in action. But our Cuban partners cannot visit us until the United States agrees to grant visas to Cuban scientists. The Trump administration is going in the opposite direction: It has suspended commercial and public charter flights to Cuba from the U.S. and imposed sanctions that are designed to deny Cuba access to hard currency.

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps around the world, scientific cooperation is more important than ever. To us, it doesn’t make sense to increase sanctions against a country that has more doctors per capita than any country on Earth and has responded more successfully than many nations to COVID-19. We believe that science in the U.S. would gain from reopening communication with Cuba and sharing knowledge that could help heal the global community.


National Science Foundation

Alternative Natural Medicine is flourishing in Cuba.

Author: Joseph Nolberts
Photographer: Marlen Vistorte


Last winter, I visited my family in Cuba. I was indeed impressed that Cuba’s health system is robust and an example of cost-effective care despite the U.S.-imposed embargo, which dramatically limits access to a full spectrum of goods and amenities.

My young daughter is in first grade, and she mentioned that healthcare personnel working at research centers often visit her school to teach them about the herbs that are good for their health.


Glass cups with green tea and tea leaves isolated on white.

Research into alternative medicine has increased on the island over the last decade after a resolution passed in 2009 by the Cuban government to set up a legal framework for its development and use. Through the resolution, the Ministry of Public Health has begun to implement the use of alternative medicine through a variety of different programs. The Ecological Research Center for Sierra del Rosario Reserve, located in Las Terrazas, is one such institution.

In the pharmacies, modern drugs are missing, but the section with alternative natural extracts are full of them. A board containing the medicinal characteristics of each extract is available in each pharmacy. The embargo has been helping the health care administration to encourage the development of the alternative natural pharmaceutical industry. It has been proven for a thousand years that herbal medicine as an effective treatment for many diseases, moreover they have no side effects or fewer than new drugs.

Moringa is the essential herb, but they are all critical, as an extract of linden or passionflower help patients with insomnia. The extract of bitter orange is excellent for blood pressure problems. In Cuba, there is a Doctor in every fourth street, called the family doctor. I visited one in Playa Marianao close to the place I was renting, in search of something to help with sleeping, and the Doctor recommended first the alternative extract, and only after that mentioned that Benadryl could also be helpful. She said that typically, Cubans would look for an herbal cure and only after that visit their family doctor.

In order to keep up with demand at polyclinics and pharmacies of alternative medicine, government-owns farmlands dedicated not only to the production of food but also of medicinal plants to be refined for consumption. Production at these farms has been expanded to include common medicinal plants like oregano, aloe vera, mint, and moringa.

In tropical areas like Cuba, illnesses like the flu, stomach problems, or diarrhea are common. In turn, many different plants are cultivated to treat these ailments that doctors and civilians try to utilize before resorting to pills or other forms of modern medicine.

Cuba’s investment in the future of alternative medicine is the backbone of its healthcare system. Sadly, older patients have faith in herbal medicine, while many young people do not want to know anything about it. This is the main reason why healthcare personnel often visit schools to teach children as younger as seven years old.

There is another community on the island that is heavily invested in the uses of alternative medicine. Followers of Santeria, a religion that dates back to Cuba’s colonial past and blends Spanish Catholicism with Yoruba traditions, incorporate alternative medicine into their practices for both medicinal and spiritual benefits.

Cuba’s expertise with alternative medicine and its reputation in using it effectively is gaining the attention of foreign medical students, principally Africans, where modern medicine does not exist yet.

There are thousands of students at the medical school, and they are from all over the world. Cuba has developed a smartphone app compiling names and uses of medicinal plants. The app is one example of how alternative medicine has taken an essential place in Cuba’s culture.


OdesLink Media Group

USA News: Top 5 Countries for Green Living

Top 5 Countries for Green Living

Healthy environments help contribute to healthy people. The concept of individual health being tied to the surrounding environment is increasingly being embraced. Data sets such as the Environmental Performance Index, developed by Yale University, evaluate the impact government policies have on environmental health affects on people and the vitality of a nation’s ecosystem.

The 2020 Best Countries for Green Living ranking draws from the results of a global perceptions-based survey, and countries are ranked based on a compilation of three country attributes: caresing about the environment, being health conscious and being innovative.

Here are the Best Countries for Green Living in 2020

Sweden
Switzerland
Finland
Japan
Norway
Denmark

UNESCO calls to create an ecological sustainable future


Paris, May 22 (Prensa Latina) On occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay called on Friday to build a more ecologically sustainable future.

This year, at a time when an unprecedented pandemic has been affecting the world for several weeks, this celebration is an opportunity to remember once again that only with a transversal and ambitious approach, we can progress in that direction, Azoulay stressed in a message.

Regarding the date, the official pointed out that UNESCO is celebrating three important dates, to examine together the systemic pillars of climate change: International Day for Biological Diversity this Friday, World Environment Day on June 5 and World Oceans Day on June 8.

According to the Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, published in 2019 by a UNESCO specialized intergovernmental platform, the main factors driving the loss of biodiversity are climate change, invasive species, over-exploitation of natural resources, pollution and urbanization.


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The 10 most eco-friendly cities for green living

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen has been voted the most eco-friendly city in the world several times because of its commitment to developing green ways of living and sustainability. Biking is incredibly popular in this town, and it aims to have half of its people cycling to work or school this year.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is progressive and green in more ways than its famous “coffee shops.” It’s notorious for being the city where there are more bikes than people (bikes are literally piled over each other in the streets!), and holds the title of the most bicycle-friendly capital city in the world. Not only does biking ensure a healthier population, but it reduces carbon emissions and pollution significantly.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is cleaner than any city I’ve ever visited. Litter rarely lines the sidewalk; the streets are always well-maintained, and the air is clear, crisp, and bright. Stockholm is famous for its cleanliness, lack of heavy industry/pollution, and an amazing public transportation system. Not to mention the Swedish countryside… it’s breathtakingly beautiful.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is a crazy, wild town but it’s also known for its alternative view on keeping things green. Berlin ties green spaces beautifully into the urban landscape, and has more parks than any other city in Europe. Check out the Alternative Berlin Green Tour to learn about all the ways Berlin’s communities are passionate about recycling, resourcing, and creating a sustainable environment.

Portland, Oregon

Portland isn’t just about beautiful views and great coffee shops; it’s also a bustling town filled with environmentalists, hippies, and people who love nature and all things earth-friendly. As a result, it has grown to become one of the greenest places to live in the world, offering 92,000 acres of green space in and 74 miles of hiking and running trails.

San Francisco, California

It’s hard to not be aware of nature when you’re living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Surrounded by blue waters, a clear blue sky, and miles of California’s natural parks and forests, San Francisco is one of the greenest cities in the U.S. Half of its population either walks, bikes, or uses public transportation to get to work. As one of the most progressive, tolerant, and forward-thinking towns on the West Coast, San Francisco is a good leader in the environmental movement for the rest of America.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is taking the lead for the entire continent of Africa by making major environmental strides, like using energy from South Africa’s first commercial wind farm, transforming the city to provide for bike routes, and supporting farmers markets.

Helsinki, Finland

Leave it to Scandinavia to be the cleanest (and happiest) place in the world. Helsinki also makes it to this list because like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, the city makes it easy for its commuters to cycle through the city and use public transportation which reduces air pollution.

Vancouver, Canada

People flock to Vancouver for its proximity to the mountains and nature, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most environmentally-minded places in the world. Vancouver scores well with regards to C02 emissions and quality of air, and is considered the hometown of Greenpeace.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland often seems like something out of a fairytale: utopic and beautiful and pure. But it’s also one of the cleanest places in the world. Reykjavik has hydrogen buses in its streets, and all of its heat and electricity comes from renewable geothermal and hydropower sources (like the rest of the country!) To learn more about where you should go during a trip to Iceland, read this.


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What is ecotourism (green)?

Ecotourism is now defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”

Offering market-linked long-term solutions, ecotourism provides effective economic incentives for conserving and enhancing bio-cultural diversity and helps protect the natural and cultural heritage of our beautiful planet.

By increasing local capacity building and employment opportunities, ecotourism is an effective vehicle for empowering local communities around the world to fight against poverty and to achieve sustainable development.

With an emphasis on enriching personal experiences and environmental awareness through interpretation, ecotourism promotes greater understanding and appreciation for nature, local society, and culture.

Principles of Ecotourism

Ecotourism is about uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel. This means that those who implement, participate in and market ecotourism activities should adopt the following ecotourism principles:

Minimize physical, social, behavioral, and psychological impacts.
Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect.
Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts.
Provide direct financial benefits for conservation.
Generate financial benefits for both local people and private industry.
Deliver memorable interpretative experiences to visitors that help raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climates.
Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.political, environmental, and social climates.
Design, construct and operate low-impact facilities.
Recognize the rights and spiritual beliefs of the Indigenous People in your community and work in partnership with them to create empowerment.

Coronavirus highlights the need for open green spaces in cities

In times of social distancing, green areas are more important than ever

Ensuring nature access for the public should be a fundamental strategy of cities when coping with this crisis
Nature offers a way to deal with and counteract stressors of everyday life, while still allowing for social distancing.

Contact with nature offers a way to deal with and counteract stressors of everyday life, while still allowing for social distancing. Provided people are allowed outdoors, of course.

Nature contact provides a host of positive well-being effects while still allowing for social distancing.

Although increased greenery in cities will not happen during the current pandemic crisis, it can insights for future planning.

Coronavirus could help push us into a greener way of life For all its horror, the pandemic may change our habits

By the time this horror ends, it might have changed our way of life. Already, the coronavirus has achieved something that government policies and moral awakening couldn’t: it is pushing us into green living.

The nature of work, commuting and shopping changed this month. If that transformation sticks, then one day we’ll have happier and more productive societies, and we’ll look back on December 2019 as the all-time peak in global carbon emissions.

First of all, the pandemic may show that offices are an outdated way to organise work. This is something I have suspected since my three-year office experience in the 1990s. I was amazed at the inefficiency of the set-up: people spent much of the day distracting each other by gossiping, flirting, bitching about the boss or complaining about that morning’s commute. I’ve worked happily alone for 22 years now.

Offices exist largely so that bosses can check whether workers are doing the work (or at least putting in face-time). But nowadays, data can do much of the monitoring. Meanwhile, improved workplace software such as Slack and Zoom lets employees collaborate from home.

The tech may actually outperform real life: a professor who has hurriedly learnt Zoom told me he liked the way the software can instantly create small break-out groups of students to work on a problem. In an auditorium, everyone has to pack their bags, find a room and grab a coffee on the way.

Now that entire countries are learning to work from their bedrooms, many employers may end up concluding that they can ditch expensive office space. That wouldn’t merely reduce emissions, and liberate metropolitan workers from ghastly commutes (the daily round trip averages well over an hour in cities such as New York, Chicago and London).

The shift would also reduce urban house prices, as some offices get converted into homes, and some workers are freed to leave the city. In the next year or two, virtual-reality software will let the boss (or at least the boss’s avatar) step into underlings’ home-offices to root out shirking.

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In short, work could follow dating, shopping and game-playing in going virtual. That would make life greener but also more isolated. To compensate, neighbourhoods will need more communal spaces. Already the death of bricks-and-mortar retail has allowed coffee shops and co-working spaces to take over high streets. But we’ll also have to build more playgrounds (with some for adults), community centres and parks.

Another benefit: the pandemic may help stop the decades-long rise in business travel. I discovered last week that each time a trip was cancelled, I mostly felt relief. I know the benefits of business travel: the two books I’m currently writing both came out of meeting someone while at a conference. So did my previous book.

However, most trips probably cause a net loss of productivity. While you search for the one or two useful people to talk to amid the 300 carbon-emitting duds at a disappointing conference, you’re missing work at home. Moreover, most conferences feature a lot more wannabe sellers than buyers.

Nowadays it’s quicker to find the perfect counterpart on LinkedIn. As for content, well-made virtual conferences could be as compelling to watch as good TED talks or TV — and more so than the endless panels of executives talking their own books.

As for shopping, even before the coronavirus we were shifting towards a world where the shop comes to you. That movement just accelerated, possibly for ever. It’s much greener for a supermarket to send an electric van (or a cargo-bike) to 100 homes in a neighbourhood than for all those people to drive to the supermarket. Some could ditch their cars.

Even in the very short term, the green lining to this pandemic is surprisingly large. Air pollution kills about 1.1 million people in China alone every year. The fall in pollution during the country’s lockdown in January and February “likely saved 20 times more lives in China than have currently been lost due to infection with the virus in that country”, calculates Marshall Burke of Stanford University’s Department of Earth System Science. He adds: “The fact that disruption of this magnitude could actually lead to some large (partial) benefits suggests that our normal way of doing things might need disrupting.”

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That’s particularly true since climate change makes pandemics more likely. It expands the natural habitat of infectious insects such as mosquitoes, while reducing the habitat of animals, with the effect of pushing both into closer contact with humans.

Governments need to make good use of the current pandemic. Many states are preparing a fiscal stimulus. Donald Trump wants to bestow much of it on the carbon emitters that could go bust in the incipient recession: airlines, cruise ships, oil producers and his beloved hotel industry (which lives off travellers’ emissions). Forward-looking governments will instead prioritise green industries, while helping workers who lose their fossil-fuel jobs.

It turns out that developed countries (except possibly the US) can still do collective government-led wartime-style mobilisation. It’s a muscle we’re going to need.

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