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 1, 2013

Harsh Facts, Ecofriendly Economics & July's Animal

Harsh Facts of the Week

 As I write this post, massive wildfires are raging in Arizona. Nineteen firefighters lost their lives yesterday fighting a wildfire in Yarnell, AZ, which earlier this morning had spread across 6,000 acres. In their honor, this week’s “Harsh Facts” will be based around wildfires.

In 2012, there were a total of 67,774 recorded wildfires, which collectively burned 9,326,238 acres of land. To see the totals from other years, click here.

The total cost to suppress 2012’s wildfires came to $1,902,446,000, almost 2 billion dollars. In comparison, $239,943,000 was spent in 1985 on wildfire suppression.

In 2011, one outside fire was reported every forty-six seconds in the United States.

In the United States and Australia, the two most common causes of wildfires are lightning and human activities. On average in the U.S., humans cause six times as many wildfires as natural causes do.  

Wildfires thrive best in hot, dry, and windy conditions. 2012 was the hottest year recorded in the U.S. since records began in 1895. The summer of 2012 was the third warmest summer on record.

On January 17th, 2013, Australia experienced its hottest day in 103 years with a 105˚F average and with the hottest temperature being 118˚F.

While many wildfires are caused naturally, still more are sparked by human carelessness. Also, as human activities continue to warm the global environment, we contribute to creating prime conditions for massive and destructive wildfires. Wildfires cause loss of wildlife, loss of human lives, they can and have destroyed entire communities, and they cost millions and millions of dollars in damage.
Wildfires are just one of endless amounts of reasons why we need to commit to stopping human activities that contribute to global warming. 

Read more about the nineteen perished firefighters here.
Revealing July's Animal of the Month

My dad’s birthday is this month, so I asked him if he would like to pick July’s animal. Dad loves monkeys and gorillas, so I wasn’t surprised when his answer, without hesitation, was the silverback gorilla.

    So, for the month of July, let’s welcome the silverback gorilla (a.k.a the mountain gorilla) onto Viridorari!
    The fur of the mountain gorilla is thicker than the fur of other gorilla species, allowing them to live in colder temperatures. Adult male mountain gorillas, on average, weigh 430 pounds and are 59 inches tall when standing upright. In comparison, adult female mountain gorillas weigh 220 pounds and stand 51 inches tall. Adult males are called silverbacks because of the silver grey hair that develops on their backs and hips with age. The tallest silverback ever recorded stood at six feet and four inches.

    Mountain gorillas are found in Africa, inhabiting the Albertine Rift montane forests and the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes. The forests where they live are highly elevated, and are often cloudy, misty, and cold. The mountain gorilla is diurnal, meaning that it is most active during the day. They forage for food in the morning, rests during the late morning and midday, and then forages again in the afternoon before going to sleep for the night. Each night, they build a new nest from the surrounding vegetation.

    Mountain gorillas are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN’s Red List. They are threatened by poaching, habitat loss, disease, and human warfare. The overall population is estimated to be at least 880 individuals. They are dependent on conservation efforts for survival. The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (developed by the African Wildlife Foundation, World Wide Fund for Nature, and Fauna & Flora International) and the Mountain Gorilla Conservation Fund are currently working to protect and research the remaining population. The African Wildlife Foundation is on! After earning $1.09 over the month of June for the Shark Research Institution, I am now switching over to AFW. If you want to support gorilla conservation this month, choose AFW as your goodsearch benefactor.
Stay tuned! With each post during the month of July, I will provide more information about mountain gorillas and the organizations that support them.
Ecofriendly Economics

Thanks, Dad, for getting me a tube of Project 7 gum! This purchase will fund the planting of one fruit tree back into the earth. To learn more about Project 7, read Viridorari’s second edition of “Ecofriendly Economics.”

Greenware Cups

    The college I am attending this fall is a very environmentally minded community. While I was at freshman orientation, I noticed that a plastic cup I was drinking from was labeled “Greenware: Made from Plants.”

    Manufactured by Fabri-Kal, Greenware plastic cups are made from Ingeo biopolymer, a material derived from plants. Made in the USA, the plants used to make the material are domestically grown and annually renewable. Greenware cups are BPI certified to be compostable in actively managed municipal or industrial facilities (not recommended for backyard composting). They break down much faster than plastic products and are not made from finite resources.
    Greenware products are available for both at home and business use. Click here to learn more about them.

    I can’t find any Greenware retailers online. Greenware plant products are fairly new, and may not be easily available to the public for some time. But if you own a business, or are planning on hosting a large party, I encourage you to check out the order form, which can be found here. You can call Fabri-Kal at 1-800-888-5054 from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Cloth Diapers

    By the time baby is potty trained, you will have changed between 5,000 and 8,000 diapers. All together, baby diapers create 3.5 million tons of waste in U.S. landfills every year.

    Not only do cloth diapers save on waste, but they save on cost too. While expensive to buy at the outset, they pay for themselves over time. The cost of a disposable diaper is about $0.29 (and rising), and at 8-12 diapers a day for newborns and 6-8 a day for older babies, that adds up quickly. Based on the 5,000-8,000 average, that means you will end up spending between $1,450 and $2,320 before your baby is fully potty trained. Also, people who use cloth diapers tend to have less problems with their babies developing diaper rash and other irritations. A more fun benefit: cloth diapers come in all sorts of prints and patterns. Your baby can look fashionable and adorable while taking a big step forward for the environment.

    Not everyone washes their diapers in the same way, but here are the basic steps to washing your cloth diapers:
  1. Remove the excess excrement from the diaper to keep from soiling your wash water.
  2. Run a main hot wash with detergent.
  3. Run a rinse cycle to ensure the detergent has been removed from the diapers.
  4. Dry the diapers (hang them on a clothes line to save energy and be green!)
Grossed out by step one? There are plenty of efficient ways to handle your baby’s cloth diapers without getting excrement on you. Look into using a pail and pail liners (which can be washed with your baby’s diapers). 

Looking for a cloth diaper brand or a detergent? Check out these reviews and links from For further details on how to wash your diapers, and for more detergent reviews, click here.