Viridorari is an environmentally focused blog. The mission of Viridorari is to help you incorporate healthier, "greener" habits into your life, to benefit you, the people around you, and the environment.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Ecofriendly Economics & Harsh Facts: Hurricanes

Harsh Facts

Hurricanes are the most destructive and violent natural weather events on Earth.

Hurricane Katrina flooded 80% of New Orleans, destroyed over 100,000 homes, and took the lives of nearly 2,000 people.

More than a dozen states were affected by Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy in 2012; the cost of the storm amounted to $18.75 billion in insured property losses.

On average, 90 tropical cyclones develop around the world each year. From these, on average, six hurricanes develop each year in the Atlantic, while nine hurricanes form in the Pacific. 

Hurricane season in the Atlantic is from June 1st to November 30th.  The Eastern Pacific season is longer, from May 15th to November 30th.

Typhoon Tip was the largest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded, with a diameter of 1,380 miles. To put that into perspective, here’s a picture comparing Tip to the continental United States:

Recent studies speculate that climate change and global warming will cause hurricanes to become strong and more frequent in the coming years.
 Around the globe, hurricanes are also known as typhoons, cyclones, tropical cyclones, tropical storms, tropical depressions, and cyclonic storms, depending on their location and strength. Australians sometimes call them Willy-willies. No matter what you call them, hurricanes are massive, dangerous, and destructive. They destroy homes, cost billions and billions of dollars, take lives, and tear apart families. Unfortunately, as the global climate warms, extreme weather is becoming more and more common. After Superstorm Sandy came through New York (I actually had a hurricane day at school, rather than a snow day) I can’t imagine hurricanes becoming larger and more frequent, nor do I want them to. I’m sure the feeling is mutual with everyone else in the world.  

Ecofriendly Economics 
Is there a cause you really care about? For me, it’s Bat Conservation International (BCI), because I love bats and I care about their survival. For you, it might be a local dog shelter, tigers, pandas, poverty, child hunger, or any number of things. When you truly care about something, from the bottom of your heart, it feels good to give to that cause. It makes you happy, even.

    So, what better way to feel good on your birthday than give to that cause that tugs on your heart strings, that gets you fired up, that you might even be willing to devote your life to?

    Having a donation birthday will help you give to that cause, and it won’t cost you and your loved ones anymore than a usual birthday. It might even cost them less. When people ask you what you want for your birthday, tell them you would like a donation to be made to your cause in your name or in your honor. Tell them to take the amount of money they would usually spend on a gift for you and donate it instead. If your donation birthday is supporting a dog shelter, an orphanage, a Salvation Army, or anything of the like, you can ask for item donations as well. Often, the items eligible for donation can be found around the house, and family and friends can give you the ones they don’t want any more at no cost to them. When you take all of those items in to donate them, you’ll feel like your heart is going to burst with pride and happiness.

At your party, have fun making a small display with information about the cause you’re supporting. If people understand the cause and why you love it so much, they might be willing to donate more, and even get involved themselves. If you decide to raise money and collect items for a local charity, let them know what you’re doing beforehand. They might make an appearance at your party, if you’re okay with it. My local dog shelter, 2nd Chance Dog Rescue, brings puppies out to donation birthday parties that benefit them. How fun is that? See 2nd Chance's website here.  

    Statistics show that we throw out a whopping 99% of the things we buy within six months of the purchase. Think about all the birthdays and Christmases you had where you opened up a treasure trove of cool, awesome gifts. But, remember how quickly the awesomeness wore off? How many of those gifts were being ignored within a week of receiving them? We’ve all done it.

    Material gifts make us feel good temporarily. A donation birthday will make you feel good for much longer, and chances are your family and even your friends will be proud of you for doing it. Not to mention, the cause you donate to will really appreciate it.

Green Tips

Don’t preheat your oven. Unless you’re baking something that requires a specific temperature, like bread or pastries, skip preheating and put your food in the oven when it first turns on. Also, when checking on your food, use the oven light; don’t open the door. This will save on fuel usage to warm up and maintain the heat of your oven.

Use both sides of the paper. American businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper each year. Be sure to use both sides before throwing it away, and instead of junking it, recycle, recycle, recycle! At my house, if we don’t use an entire sheet, we’ve gotten into the habit of cutting off the blank bottoms and saving it for note paper (we leave notes on the table for each other all the time). Not only does it provide use for paper that would have been wasted, but we don’t have to buy notepads and sticky notes specifically for leaving notes. When your kids ask for more drawing paper, ask them if they’ve used the backside first, and explain why it’s important to do so. If you have a printer capable of this, change the setting to double sided. If your printer doesn’t have the setting, it doesn’t take too much effort to stand there while your document prints and flip the paper around for the other side. Also, you can make new paper with your paper scraps! Learn how here.

Animal of the Month Update
A bronze bust of a mountain gorilla called "The Old Man of Mikeno" by Carl Akeley 

A strange conservation threat, human war has had an influence on mountain gorilla populations. This is because of refugees clearing trees to create homes and farms, increased hunting as a source of meat for displaced people, and gorillas accidentally triggering land mines planted in forests. It is difficult for conservation efforts to made against the effects of war.

    Gorillas appear to have a natural fear of reptiles. Young gorillas naturally chase anything that moves, yet they will often go out of their way to evade chameleons. Koko, a western lowland gorilla that was born in captivity was scared of crocodiles and alligators even though she had never before been exposed to them. They are also afraid of water, and will only cross streams if they can do so without getting wet. 

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