When biodiversity is concerned, we usually think that we are powerless and that our action will not change the course of events. But “small brooks make the big rivers”! You are not alone : today, millions of people worldwide act on a daily basis to preserve biodiversity & ecosystems. Each of us can make the difference. Then, why don’t you join us?
Here are some suggestions to be implemented, whenever you want, simple things in order to change our lives and to protect our planet! And think that every day, which begins, is the opportunity to do better than the day before!
SAVE THE WATER !
Water is precious for life. Rich countries benefit both from drinking and tap water. The world production of industrial agriculture - which is mainly intended for rich countries - gobbles up 96,4 % of the fresh water (pumped from lakes, rivers, reservoirs and aquifers) while 2,7 billion people - a third of the world population - live in regions knowing a serious water shortage and have no access to drinking water …The climate change makes us painfully understand that it is time to pay attention to what we consider as a due: the water.
Then, in order to respect water, we should neither waste nor pollute it.
Here are some simple reflexes on an everyday life basis:
➢ I turn off the tap while I brush my teeth: it can save an entire swimming pool of water per person per year ! The same when I shave.
➢ I prefer a short shower to a bath;
➢ I do the dishes without wasting water; ;
➢ I use my homemade cleaning products with all-naturel environmental-friendly ingredients : white vinegar to decalcify, baking soda to clean up, Marseille soap to do the laundry, lemon to disinfect… These products are natural and their degradation does not affect the environment the way manufactured cleaning products usually do. And especially, I have “a light hand” to avoid the overdose!
To know more about it : http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/hom..., http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2013...
... Up to you ! But be careful with some “false” natural cleaning products sold as if they were “Green” but that content oil palm under its numerous namings...
➢ I water plants with rainwater, when it is possible and rather at the end of the day to avoid evaporation. If you have a garden, you can recycle rainwater in a tank, and even recycle grey waters (water of dishes, the bath, the shore) for the supply of the toilet flush and the cleaning of grounds and even, after filtration, for the watering.
CONSUME LESS AND BETTER
Before our birth, we are considered as consumers, it is time to become consum’ Actors!
It seems that we recently became aware that the planet had limited resources - yes, indeed!
But we are 8 billion human beings to live on Earth. The Western paradigme according to which it is necessary to boost the consumption to insure the economic growth and the full employment lasted long. We see where it has led us. Each of us has to be responsible and review the way he / she consumes.
Our food : we are what we eat. According to numerous experts, it is because of the food that civilisations collapse… Let us try to find solutions!
➢ I EAT LOCAL means that I choose local food producers with short distribution network when it is possible ;
- I prefer food that is produced near my place, with short transport deliveries: I limit the discharge of carbon in the atmosphere. The CO2 is the N°1 greenhouse gas of anthropological origin that is increasing and causing the global warming and the climate change.
- It involves that I consume seasonal fruits and vegetables, that are very often of better gustative quality, especially if they arise from the organic farming, from the biodynamic, from the permaculture …, while their international equivalents need big quantifies of fertilizers and chemical pesticides and pollution transportation.
- De facto, from an economic point of view, I support the producers of my region.
- I subscribe to an “organic basket” and, actually, I adhere to a philosophy of global ecology, with fruits and vegetables of local and seasonal production (not much preservation, few transport), with a reduced packaging. To read more about AMAP and La Ruche qui dit oui!
- And I avoid wasting food! On average every French throws away around 20kg of food per year, i.e. between 100 and 160€ per year ... or 12 to 20 billion euros/year are thrown to the rubbish dumps in France ! http://www.consoglobe.com/qui-jette...
-➢ I PREFER RESPONSIBLE CAUGHT FISH
- to limit overfishing : during the periods of capture (sometimes at the peak of the season of reproduction), certain fishing methods destroy the seabed and count numerous by-catches among juveniles and adults that are not of the targeted species. These methods put in danger the renewal of the fish population. I choose responsible caught fish, that is handled with care and can be tracked right from a sustainable source.
- to preserve the oceans : I choose fish and shellfishes that are not vulnerable species, caught by local fisheries or having the Mr. Goodfish labelling. To get more info: http://www.mrgoodfish.fr/fr/index.html.
➢ I REDUCE MY MEAT CONSUMPTION
- It is good for my health: eating too much meat can provoke hypercholesterolemia, cancer, diabetes... . Several times a week I replace meat by plant proteins such as lentils, beans,…
- to avoid deforestation: the breeding of cattle requires space for animals and also huge agriculture surfaces for forage crops that are taken on forests!
- to avoid pollution and exhaustion of ground waters: forage crops need a lot of water and pesticides;
- to limit the production of methane: the 2nd anthropogenic greenhouse gas after the CO2, having a power of warming 28 times upper to this one. During the digestion, the ruminants produce methane, especially when they are fed of protein crops as soya. The breeding of ruminants is the 3rd source of production of methane after the combustion of the fossil fuels and the rubbish dumps. In France, cattle is fed at 70% with soymeal production coming from Brazil: the Amazonian forest is destroyed, being a unique habitat for autochthones Indians, and an amazing fauna and flora…Anyway, does it worth the destruction of the Amazonian forest to grow soya that is going to travel on thousands km to feed French cows?Who is standing to benefit the most from it ?? Not the cows nor consumers, but rather all the intermediaries …
➢ I MAKE SURE THAT THE MEAT AND THE EGGS RESULT FROM BREEDING WHERE ANIMALS ARE CORRECTLY HANDLED
- Ethically: I buy eggs of free-range hen (in France these eggs are marked with a code 0 or 1) because 90 % of eggs are still produced in battery (code 2 or 3), where the surface dedicated for every hen is the one of a paper sheet A4, the light is artificial and cages are on 3 up to 6 floors...http://www.lanutrition.fr/bien-dans...
- Out of curiosity and to educate people: at the restaurant, at the market, at the supermarket, I question the storekeepers about the origin of products they sell. It takes time, and often they even do not know the answer, but it is necessary to wonder about the consequences of our consomption.
➢ I BOYCOTT PRODUCTS WITH PALM OIL
- To fight against deforestation: in order to plant oil palm trees, numerous forests have been devastated, and then the endangered fauna’s habitat destroyed. Most well-known victims are orang-utans, gibbons, gorillas, tigers, lions, rhinos, elephants….and all the others.
- For my health: we do not know the consequences of the long-term palm oil ingestion on our health. Those who defend it assure that we have no proof of its harmfulness... Is it a new approach of the “precautionary principle” ?
- Don’t be fooled ! : Organic palm oil does NOT exist! !! This kind of labelling has been created by powerful industrial groups, sometimes with the support of environmental NGOs… but facts are as follows: forests have been destroyed and are still destroyed every day, and it is difficult to believe that oil palm plantations can be now considered as being organic after 40 years of use of fertilizers and pesticides, even if less fertilizers are used today…
➢ I PREFER GLASS CONTENTS
- [to fight against plastics] that pollute oceans, I prefer glass bottles that I recycle or that I can bring back to a deposit. The glass is recyclable infinitely.
- to filter the tap water, I use one stick of coal in a glass bottle.
...And other consumption!
➢ I LIMIT MY CONSUMPTION OF MEDICINE THE REJECTIONS OF WHICH GO DIRECTLY TO THE NATURE
- We eliminate in toilet a wide part of the active ingredients of medicine that we take. They reedit the waste water treatment in water-treatment plants, and they find their way in rivers and seas, where they act on the aquatic and marine flora and fauna. Their effects are still badly known but fish exposed to these active ingredients undergo transformations bound to the presence of endocrine disruptors in numerous pollutants of our activities: http://www.sciencesetavenir.fr/natu..., http://www.elwatan.com/impact-journ...
- I take medicine only when it is really necessary (antibiotics are of no use in case of viral infection) and I bring back to the pharmacy the medicine that are not used or for which the best before date has passed; you should not throw them away to the trashcan or into the toilets!
➢ I PREFER ORGANIC COSMETICS
- For my heath and for nature : most of the current cosmetics contain chemicals (conservatives, flavors of synthesis, surfactants, endocrine disruptors ...), which are not biodegradable and are thus harmful for the biodiversity, in particular for the aquatic ecosystems, in which they are transported by waste water. To learn more: synthesis of endocrine disruptors
- For the pleasure of making it by yourself and the pleasure of offering: I adopt organic cosmetics! I wash myself with Marseille soap (attention: numerous marks make it with by-products of palm oil …), I feed my skin with vegetable oil perfumed with drops of essential oil (lavender, ylang-ylang, vetiver ..), I “cook” my own skin and hair masks; I clean my skin with a decoction of camomile or cornflower, I make an exfoliating scrub with the wheat bran or the oat or the coffee grounds collected and perfumed with essential oil, I do my own toothpaste: it’s child’s play! http://r.email.slow-cosmetique.com/19fbvfbksw387f.html
➢ I USE MINERAL SOLAR CREAMS
- To avoid the hormonal imbalance of the fauna and the flora : Most of the sunscreens contain allergenic chemical UV filters. Finding themselves in seas, lakes, rivers, they cause hormonal imbalance to animals - the man including! - and are partially responsible for the whitening of corals.
- Because they are less toxic: Certain places of interest, such the water park Xel-Há in Mexico, took the threat seriously: only the mineral sunscreens are authorized there from now on. They spread out a little less well and sometimes leave white tracks because of their mineral filters but they are effective and especially less toxic, for you as for the nature. http://mag.beautistas.com/actualite... ; Here is a selection of sunscreens.
- Another solution: I wear a T-shirt or a thin suit to swim.
➢ I FAVOR THE ORGANIC COTTON
- To withhold the use of powerful insecticides : lThe intensive farming of the traditional cotton uses 25 % of insecticides sold in the world! Exhaustion of grounds, deforestation, massive irrigation, pollution of ground waters, exposure of agricultural workers and the local species in toxic matter: it is particularly harmful for the environment and people.
- For a softer cotton fibber, which does not spoil the grounds : the extensive farming of organic cotton is made with natural fertilizers and pesticides, asks for less water, protects the fertility of the ground (because alternated with other cultures) and gives a cotton with softer and more resistant fibbers.
- For my health: untreated chemically between its production till its processing in garment, the organic cotton is hypoallergenic..
- Before buying I ask to myself: do I really need a new pair of fashionable jeans or this cotton garrment?
➢ I DON’T BUY CLOTHES TO BE DRY-CLEANED
- To protect the environment and the aquatic ecosystems in particular: most of dry cleaning use perchloroethylene (or tetrachloroethylene). This solvent is toxic for those who manipulate it; it is irritating for the skin and the mucous membranes, causes nausea, headaches and losses of consciousness, it accumulates in the body and is probably carcinogenic. Normally it is used in closed circuit, but it finds its way into the ground waters and rivers.
- To avoid the chlorinated compounds existing since the 50s: they destroy the ozone layer and participate in the global warming. The protocol of Copenhagen forbade them in 1992; however, these products are still found in the nature today. Ecological dry cleaning uses only biodegradable products (water in particular) and is still rare.
- The solution: I do not buy any clothes or linen, which requires dry cleaning!
➢ I GO BY FOOT, BY BIKE, USING COMMON TRANSPORT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
- To limit the production of CO2 : our activities put life on Earth in danger. Deserts extend, glaciers decline, the level of seas rises ... The CO2 produced by all kind of vehicules is the 1st greenhouse gas, responsible for the global warming and the climate changes. Whole ecosystems are disrupted. In Copenhagen, 67 % of the population walk or ride their bike or use public transportation: we should be able to make as well, shouldn’t we?
- For a healthier city : walking, biking, using public transportation create link between citizens, and make the city healthier for all. And for yours too!
➢ I MAKE WORKS / I GARDEN WITH ECOLOGICAL, NATURAL, SUSTAINABLE, RECYCLED PRODUCTS, IF POSSIBLE OF LOCAL ORIGIN.
- To change the decoration of my apartment I visit recycling shops (Emmaüs, flea markets…): http://co-recyclage.com
- I repair my devices rather than throwing them : http://repaircafe.org/fr/
- I choose paintings without heavy metals;
- My apartment is equipped with low-consumption devices;
- I choose ecological insolation materials, such as wooden wool, hemp, linen, cork, absorbent cotton of cellulose... They arise from plants production of which does not entail pollution for the environment. They are developed according to processes requiring low energy expenditure, receive not toxic mineral additions such as silicates intended to protect them from insects, mushrooms, rodents and risks of the fire. Namely: the manufacturing of the absorbent cotton of cellulose consumes 3 times less energy than that some polystyrene!
In the garden and/or in the countryside:
- I fit out in the surrounding nature crossing points for animals, I let the flora and fauna colonize the ponds of thunderstorm.
- I protect the earthworms, which are an essential link of the food chain. They recycle ceaselessly the organic matter, such as the dead leaves and other plants in decomposition. In this way, they collaborante in the production of a good humus and guarantee the fertility of the ground where grow fruits and vegetables that we consume. Besides, their galleries loosen the ground, what allows the roots to develop well and in the water to infiltrate quickly and profoundly, where vegetables can absorb it. It also limits the phenomena of streaming and erosion during heavy rain. To protect them, I use no fertilizer or chemical pesticide To protect them, I use no fertilizer or chemical pesticide.
➢ I THROW NO WASTE ON THE GROUND
- I collect at least a waste a day which does not belong to me: everything that is thrown away in the street or on the ground, in town or in nature, is catastrophic for the environment and the consequences are disastrous : 90 % of what is thrown on the ground is ending at sea and is responsible of the death of millions of marine animals.
- Certain waste has an immediate impact:Cigarette butts and chewing-gum, for example, poison or suffocate animals, that ingest them ; small mammals and amphibiens are trapped in bottles and soda cans ; pieces of broken glass hurt bigger animals and, by an effect of magnifying glass, provoke fires.
- Others have a longer impact such as plastics that need hundreds of years to degrade while releasing toxic products or batteries that are made off heavy metals..
➢ I DO NOT FEED «CONTINENTS OF WASTE» IN OPEN SEA
- Under the effects of sea currents the floating waste converge and accumulate, forming “continents of waste”. («The Great Pacific Garbage Patch») is 3.5 million km2, the size of India or six times the size of France. These “new continents” are mainly made off plastic. Plastic does not degrade, but under the effect of the waves it erodes in microparticles, and releases numerous toxic products.
- The ingestion of the biggest pieces of plastic suffocates fish, turtles, birds and marine mammals that take them for preys.
- Scientific research demonstrated that the ingestion of micro-particles of plastics generates transformations at the level of male and female genital organs in only few generations http://www.greenfacts.org/highlight...
- What can I do? I don’t use anymore plastic bags, I throw nothing in the nature, even far from the sea. I do speak around me of these continents of waste that are often still little known.
➢ I AVOID THE USELESS PACKAGINGS
- I run errands with my own bags.
- I ask to the storekeepers to use my own packagings when it is possible.
- I sort out and I prefer products with deposit.
➢ I RECYCLE WHAT CAN BE RECYCLED
- My old clothes, household linen, fibers of which can be reused.http://www.lafibredutri.fr
- The devices that I do not use anymore, that can be repaired or used as spare parts http://repaircafe.org/fr/
- Batteries, bulbs, ink cartridges…in crashcans dedicated for these kinds of waste. Conclusion : A GOOD WASTE IS THE ONE WHICH DOES NOT EXIST !!!! : https://unkolibri.com/zerodechet/
➢ I COMPOST!
- There are systems of composting to be installed on a balcony, even inside the apartment: a way to recycle my peels of vegetables and fruits, and credit note of the compost for my plants! Pay attention to the fact that the compost is alive; if I often go away, I can suggest to the people of my building to set up a common compost ; I can also suggest to my municipality to organize a pick-up of material to be composted on a regular basis?
➢ I LIMIT THE LIGHT POLLUTION OUTSIDE
In the countryside as in the city, the lighting of roads, streets and gardens allows some people to extend their activities at night. But the artificial light perturbes numerous species: animals with a night vision such as owls, bats, toads and others have difficulty in seing obstacles, preys or predators.
- > Migratory birds are disorientated: the young birds, which take their first flight, are sensitive to bright points. Deceived by the urban lightings, they run aground on the ground. Deprived of their headland, they cannot then take off again and die of dehydration or predation, sometimes just from crushing.
- > Moths fly around lampposts until exhaustion.
- > The male fireflies do not perceive any more the light signals of females and cannot thus reproduce.
- Then, to light my garden, my terrace, my step door, I prefer non-brilliant lamps and turn them downward. I switch them off as soon as I do not need light outside.
➢ I REDUCE MY CONSUMPTION OF PAPER, CARDBOARD, ENERGY
- I use less paper and cardboard to protect forests; I limit energy and water consumption needed for their production … and automatically I produce less waste paper.
- I print my documents both sides; I use the virgin backs as sheets of draft ; I reuse the envelopes to note my shopping lists, my messages. -* When available, I opt for recycler or certifier FSC or PEFC paper for my exercice books, wallpapers, tissues, towels, bags, toilet paper, etc.
- I choose to receive my administrative documents by Internet.
- Once read, I lend my books and newspapers to other potential readers. I recycle my waste papers, newspapers, magazines and cardboards.
- I avoid cardboard plates, flatware and cups when I am at the office, on holidays, outside for a picnic.
- I pay attention on the energy consumption of the equipment of my accommodation.
➢ I USE MY MOBILE AS LONG AS POSSIBLE
- The manufacturing of games consoles, computers and mobile phones requires various ores (copper, cobalt, lead, coltan, etc..) for which the request does not stop growing. The mines from which they result are almost everywhere situated on Earth, and their exploitation has a huge impact on environment.
- Rare earth elements qualify a set of 17 chemical elements endowed with exceptional properties. It is thanks to these rare earth elements that the colours of our computer screens are so brilliant, that our mobile phones have touch-sensitive screens and that wind turbines can produce electricity. The other side of the coin is that their extraction and their transformation pollute, produce radioactive waste and distort the landscapes. .http://future.arte.tv/fr/terres-rares For instance, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the coltan is extraite, the extraordinaire biodiversity of Kivu is endangered because of the illégal hunting for bush meat to feed the minors (with gorillas, okapis, even elephants…), because of the massive deforestation to supply them with some lumber and heating and enlarge mines, because of the erosion and soil, water & air pollution, due to the extraction itself,... without mentioning armed conflicts! Then, before buying a new telephone or laptop, think of it!
➢ I CONNECT ONLY ONE ELECTRONIC DEVICE AT THE SAME TIME AND I LEARN TO LIVE WITHOUT BEING CONNECTED !!!
A study dated July, 2014, demonstrated that the surfing on the Web consumes a lot of energy, not only because of the data centres, but mainly because of the design of Web sites and habits of the Internet users. About 25 years after the birth of Web, its growth is such that it is going to raise severe energy challenges, up to the point that some people already predict its collapse in a few years only.
- As Internet user I can however limit the energy consomption of Web by switching off devices connected with Internet when they are not used (at night in particular) ;
- By reducing the use of the “clouds” that are so popular and allow to store on-line photos, videos ;
- By cleaning regularly my e-mail boxes to avoid keeping too important archives ;
- By avoiding watching TV via Web sites ;
- By choosing my search engine (they are not all equivalent from the point of view of energy consumption), and the sites, which I frequent. Source : notre-planete.info, http://www.notre-planete.info/actua...
➢ WHAT DOES MY BANK DO WITH MY SAVINGS ?
- By moving my money to one of these ethical banks, I can be sure that my savings are going to be used to create positive social or environmental impact, whilst also generating a healthy return in a safe place for my money. Find out more about the main examples of banks in this category below: (in French) http://financeresponsable.org and also http://moveyourmoney.org.uk/institution-types/ethical-banks/
- I support financially some sustainable micro-projets through dedicated crowdfunding platforms
➢ I OFFER TO MY FRIENDS, RELATIVES, COLLEAGUES… GIFTS LINKED TO THE BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
- I choose gifts, in connexion with biodiversity and the necessity to protect it. For instance, I offer to a handyman a manuel worker on the natural paintings, to a globe-trotter a eco-tourism guide, to a naturalist a pair of binoculars; with a soap of Aleppo, I evoke the interest to use natural cleaners; with a box of organic chocolates, I remind the problem of the culture of oil palm trees in Indonesia and Malaysia (and of the threat it is for apes)...
- Finally, I can also offer an adhesion to an environmental NGO!
➢ I DISCOVER AND I PROTECT THE NATURE IN TOWN.
- Contrary to what we could believe, biotopes can be highly varied in town: public gardens, private gardens, ponds, parks, forests, streets and raised avenues, pieces of waste ground, fallow lands, accesses of railroads, banks of brooks ... without speaking green roofs and terraces, facades and flowery balconies. The slightest cracks at the edge of pavements, at the foot of buildings or on walls are colonized by a multitude of wild plants! But this biodiversity is vulnerable: it does not weigh very heavy in front of cement mixers and in front of steamrollers ...
- I plant flowers (or vegetables!) at the foot of the trees of my street!
➢ I WELCOME BIODIVERSITY AT HOME
- During a construction or during a renovation, I think of integrating shelters for the local fauna with a breeding ground, a puddle, a flowery meadow ……
- I inquire about the species that can neast near my place and what are the species I can welcome and how? I make the necessary arrangements for solitary bees, for bats, birds...
- I feed birds and give them water during winter time.
- I plant flowers to attract bees.
➢ I RESPECT NATURE OUTSIDE
- When I walk in the nature, I remain as discret as possible by making least possible noise: it allows me to make surprising encounters with the local fauna.
- I collect or pick only what can be.
- I participate in programs of participative sciences: observations of ecosystems or specific species to help the research.
THE COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: ACT IN SYNERGY
➢ I ORGANIZE A SPRING CLEANING OF THE DISTRICT
- With my neighbours, and the support of local authorities, I organize a cleaning of my street, or of the neigbouring public garden from street waste : plastic bags trapped into trees, soda cans, bottles, cigarettes butts...
- In the countryside the cleaning also concerns roadsides, banks of rivers, undergrowth often transformed into uncontrolled dump sites for the old television screens, the tires and other cans of paint... I sort out them and bring them to the waste reception center.
- So, I limit the pollution of ecosystems such as streams or fallow lands. And I avoid in animals many dangers, as injure itself by walking on the broken glass or to suffocate with pieces of plastic, which they would have taken for the food.
➢ I INCITE MY MUNICIPALITY TO ORGANIC GARDENING, TO COMPOST, TO SWITCH OFF THE STREET LIGHTING!
- Some municipalities make efforts in the plantation and the management of roadsides and flowerbeds to promote the biodiversity. If it is not still the case in yours, suggest to the compétent department these few principles easy to apply: by planning only local species, by replacent pesticides and artificial fertilizers by their biological equivalents, by using mulches and plants convers ground to limit the appearance of unwanted plants and by decreasing the waterings, by composting the plant waste and using the compost obtained to feed the soil, ...
- By switching off the street lighting not to disturb migratoire birds and other nocturnal animals.
➢ I CREATE A NATURAL REFUGE FOR THE BIODIVERSITY
- I transform a garden - mine, that of the school of my children, that of my company - into natural refuge for the biodiversity at first by banishing the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
- I let settle down the spontaneous vegetation in a corner of the garden: it is excellent for insects and thus for birds!
- I adopt the late reaping: it allows the reproduction and the diversification of botanical species, while sheltering a lot of animals.
- I fit out a puddle and keep a dead tree, in the welcoming cavities for the cave animals, a heap of logs and one of stones for the small mammals, amphibians and diverse invertebrates.
- I diversify the hedge with native species.
➢ I AM WARY OF GREENWASHING
Certain companies, the car manufacturers in particular, do not hesitate to prise the “ecological” virtues of products that are absolutely not “green”. Others need “to re-turn green” their image because their activities are very polluting or harmful in the biodiversity (production of greenhouse gas, clearing of a ground to build an extension, an use of waters of river to cool the machinery).
Don’t let yourself get stampeded by their too-green-to-be-true advertising campaigns! Sign petitions to denounce their greenwashing!
➢ I ADHERE TO AN ASSOCIATION OF NATURE CONSERVATION.
- It is a public-spirited and personal commitment. I pay attention that the money of my membership is fine to concrete projects. The projects of environmental protection are made on the long term: I try not to forget to renew every year my support.
- I put my skills and\or my availability in the service of the NGO (s) which I chose.
- I meet new people with whom I share a number of values.
Finally, maybe you have already registered some of these gestures in your habits? Bravo! Otherwise, it is never too late to put itself in it!
Protecting biodiversity means emissions savings. Yet, reducing is often lived as a loss, a lack. We suggest you to live it as the adventure of a New World to be built! Come and join us for a responsible wolrd !