Worms and Bacteria that eat Plastic

Disposable plastics are a major issue for the health of the planet. The problem is that plastic takes an incredibly long time to degrade and we keep producing more and more plastic. The plastic just keeps piling up. Unfortunately, very little of the plastic gets recycled and the plastic bottles that are recycled are often not made into new bottles but rather into clothes or bags.

The plastic just makes keeps adding to landfills and gets into the ocean. It kills animals that eat the plastic and this can have a really bad effect on the ecosystem in the long run. Unfortunately people also don’t seem to be trying too hard to minimize plastic consumption and so the market for disposable plastics is doing very well. Also, some disposable plastic materials are necessary for our modern society. This is really bad news for the planet and all life on it in the long run unless we can figure out a way to destroy the plastic.

It looks like nature already did the hardest part for us. Scientists have discovered that there are worms and bacteria that can actually eat plastic. Part of the reason why plastic takes so long to degrade is that it is such a new and unique material to the earth that scientists think that no bacteria or organism had evolved to break it down yet. Well it looks like those days are over.

In 2016 Japanese researchers said that a bacteria named Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 can break down polyethylene terephthalate, also known as polyester. This is one of the most used plastics in the world. They believe that the bacteria adapted to its environment and evolved to be able to eat plastic. Since then scientists isolated the enzyme that allows the bacteria to do this. They then tried experimenting with it to try and understand how the enzyme evolved and in doing so made the enzyme even better at breaking down plastic!

Scientists plan to try and use this enzyme to break down plastic and make it back into plastic again so that they do not have to keep making more new plastic. This enzyme could even be used to clean up the plastic that is lying around all over the world. Even better than this is that now scientists discovered a worm that can also eat plastic!

Wax moth larvae can actually eat plastic. Just like the accidental strengthening of the enzyme the bacteria uses to break down plastic, it was accidentally discovered that these worms can eat plastic. A scientist and beekeeper had removed a worm infestation in a beehive and placed them into a plastic bag. She tied the bag but when she came back into her house the bag had an opening and the worms had escaped!

In the lab, these worms were confirmed to be able to eat plastic. 100 worms can eat 92 milligrams of plastic in 12 hours. These two discoveries are great news in the battle against climate change and pollution. Nature has provided us with the tools to destroy the plastics around the world and to be able to reuse those plastics instead of making new ones. If a bacteria has evolved to eat plastic and a worm has been discovered to be able to eat plastic, there could be many other bacteria that have evolved or will evolve to eat plastic and there may be many other organisms that can eat it also. This definitely gives some hope for the future since our modern society in some cases cannot and in most cases will not do without the modern invention of disposable plastic.

The information in this article and more can be found at these links:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/24/plastic-munching-worms-could-help-wage-war-on-waste-galleria-mellonella

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/16/scientists-accidentally-create-mutant-enzyme-that-eats-plastic-bottles

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/10/could-a-new-plastic-eating-bacteria-help-combat-this-pollution-scourge

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/24/almost-no-plastic-bottles-get-recycled-into-new-bottles.html

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The Future of Meat

Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940-1945, once said :

“With a greater knowledge of what are called hormones, i.e. the chemical messengers in our blood, it will be possible to control growth. We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”

That day is here. Companies in the United States and around the world are now in the process of creating real meat without the need to raise and slaughter an animal. Memphis Meats from San Francisco, JUST in Northern California, Mosa Meat in the Netherlands, Modern Meadows from Brooklyn, New York, Finless Foods also in Brooklyn, New York and Supermeat from Israel are all startup companies who have created what is called cultured meat in laboratories and are continuing to improve their products. Bill Gates, Richard Branson and agriculture companies like Tyson and Cargill have invested in this new technology. This new technology certainly will revolutionize animal agriculture. Before we get into the science of how cultured meat is produced let’s talk about the negatives of out current animal agricultural system.

The first issue with modern animal agriculture is that it is highly unethical in terms of the treatment of animals, one of which are pigs which are thought to be even more intelligent than dogs. We won’t get into the graphics but we are sure you’ve all seen some videos. It’s an animal holocaust.

The second issue is the amount of resources it consumes in order to produce the animal products purchased and eaten by consumers. Resources such as water, land, food, fuel, medicine and time are all used at absurd levels in order to produce animal products. This is a leading cause of climate change. De-forestation is often done in order to clear land to grow food for animals on farms to eat or to raise the animals. In addition lots of green house gases are released by the animals being raised for consumption. 1 pound of beef requires 38 pounds of food and 1,799 gallons of water. The land used to grow that food and the food and water used to feed the animals could be used to end world hunger.

The third major issue is health risks for people. The animals are crowded so close together that this creates a breeding ground for viruses. This is how the avian flu and swine flu broke out multiple times. The animals are also often very ill because of the conditions and so they are loaded up on antibiotics. Not only does this consume a huge amount of antibiotics that could be used for people and domestic animals, but this also causes the rapid evolution of deadly bacteria. Scientist are afraid that this could lead to incredibly strong bacterial illnesses in the near future that will be unable to be defeated by antibiotics.

These are major issues for our modern world. These will potentially be extinction level issues for the future if we continue animal agriculture in this way. This is because the human population is projected to rise to 9.6 billion people by 2050 and economies around the world are growing which leads to more middle class populations and higher levels of meat consumption. Our modern agricultural practices are not sustainable at our current population level so 9.6 billion people will be an even bigger horror show. There is no way our planet will be able to handle this. Highly unethical slaughter methods will continue, land will be destroyed, ecosystems will be destroyed, and viruses and bacteria will become too strong to be defeated with medicine. Massive extinction of many species will occur, green house gases will rise along with water levels and the human population will suffer greatly from natural disasters, droughts, famines and illnesses.

So yeah, we’re talking an apocalyptic scenario all because of food production. Well cultured meat can stop this. Before we explain how it will stop this, let’s talk about how cultured meat is produced.

The basic science of cultured meat is that there are cells in animal muscle tissue that can self renew. These cells are extracted from the animal and placed in controlled laboratory conditions. They are given the nutrients needed to replicate and grow into the particular muscle tissue that is needed. Eventually the cells grow to become whatever meat it was intended to be. It is called cultured meat because a culture is an artificial medium that provides nutrients for microbial organisms to reproduce. The cells are placed in a controlled environment and given nutrients to reproduce until they become meat. The companies working on cultured meat are also working on creating cultured dairy, sea food and eggs as well. Memphis Meats plans to have their products on the market in 3 years. Of course right now it is pretty expensive but as mass production gets underway the price will go down significantly.

Here is how this new science could help ward off that potential apocalypse we spoke about earlier. First off at a mass production level this new science would eliminate the need to raise and slaughter an animal for meat. Second, an incredible amount of land, food and water would be saved because you wouldn’t need to grow food to feed animals or raise animals. The meat production would be done in buildings. This also means no green house gases being released by farm animals. This would also save fuel because the buildings can be near by the locations in which the meat will be sold. Third, this also conserves anti-biotic usage and staves off the growth of viruses and bacteria into super bugs. The meat will also be much healthier because bacterial contamination would not occur in a clean controlled lab. Most bacterial contamination of foods comes from fecal contamination due to slaughter methods. This is also why cultured meat is sometimes called clean meat. The nutrient content could also be controlled. This would be able to be used to limit fats in the meat and fortify the meat with other essential nutrients people and domesticated animals may need. The prices may even get lower for animal products in the future if cultured meat, sea food, dairy and eggs becomes mass produced because it would take much less resources to create the animal products. Cultured animal products in combination with vertical farming of crops, spoken about in a previous article, could produce healthier food at a rate high enough to end world hunger without harming animals, the environment or people. Everybody wins.

Many people who have tried cultured meat products have said that it tastes just like meat. So yeah, clean cultured meat is coming to the market and it could save the world without making people give up consuming animal products. Let’s hope it does because 2050 doesn’t sound too pretty with 9.6 billion people if we still produce food the same way we do today.

The information here can be found at these links:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/winston-churchill-imagined-lab-grown-hamburger-180967349/

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/23/bill-gates-and-richard-branson-bet-on-lab-grown-meat-startup.html

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Friday The 13th

It’s Friday the 13th!…. Again! We all know how spooked out people get over this day, but why do so many people have superstitions about Friday the 13th?

We all know the many modern day movies surrounding terrible things that occur on a Friday the 13th. In our modern American culture and in many European cultures Friday the 13th is considered a day a dread. Because of this many people have superstitious stress over something bad that may happen on Friday the 13th and this causes self fulfilling prophecies in some cases. Business is often not as good and there are often more car accidents on Friday the 13th. There are probably many other negative occurrences that coincide with Friday the 13th. This may make it seem like there really is something to this superstitious number and day but the truth is that people who are superstitious about this day have more stress on this day. This probably makes them fearful of going out thus hindering business. They are also probably more preoccupied with fear and stress that their focus lacks in many other aspects causing car accidents and other possible negative events.

But who came up with this idea that Friday the 13th was bad luck? Was it the modern movies? Surely, modern movies surrounding this superstition made more people fearful of it but these movies did not invent this superstition. This is superstition that has been around for a while but its origins are mysterious.

The Friday the 13th superstition actually has no record before the 19th century. Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini is the first English writing to mention a Friday the 13th superstition. The 1907 book Friday, the Thirteenth by Thomas W. Lawson may have also helped spread the superstition. However, was there a reason why these authors wrote about Friday the 13th being bad luck?

There are many hypothesis about the origin of the superstition of Friday the 13th. One is that it originated due to the Last Supper and the death of Christ. There were 13 people at the Last Supper and the 13th person, Judas, betrayed Jesus. Jesus was then crucified on what is now called Good Friday. Another hypothesis is that it originated when King Philip IV of France arrested many members of the Knights Templar on Friday October 13, 1307.

Regarding the bad luck of the number 13 specifically, there are many myths and fairy tales from various cultures that depict 13 as a bad luck number. One is the Norse myth of a dinner party in Valhalla in which Loki was the 13th guest who bought bad luck. This myth and other tales could have been adapting plot elements and this superstition that may have originated from the Last Supper. However, there seems to be superstition surrounding this number that predates Christianity. Zoroastrianism was an ancient religion predating even Judaism that believed that the 13 millennium would be bad luck. It is possible that there was some cultural association of bad luck with this number that led to many stories using 13 as a bad luck number. This may have led to books and movies using this same superstition in their plots. These books and movies made more people in modern day superstitious of this number.

Why did ancient cultures have a negative association with the number 13 though? We don’t know for sure but a good inference is that it was because 12 was so often thought of as a complete number and so 11 or 13 would seem incomplete and thus would have a negative connotation to it. So why isn’t Friday the 11th bad luck. Well maybe 13 was unlucky because that was the average time puberty hits. We know many ancient rituals and superstitions surrounded sexuality and Abrahamic religions often shunned sexuality. This combination may have made 13 associated with bad luck. This is plausible but then why Friday the 13th? Well we don’t know but it is certainly possible that 13 had superstitions surrounding it before Christianity but superstitious people learned about the Last Supper and Good Friday and made Friday the 13th superstitious.

There are other days of bad luck for other cultures though. In Spanish speaking countries and Greece Tuesday the 13th is bad luck not Friday the 13th. In Italy, Friday the 17th is bad luck. In some ancient cultures 13 was a lucky number. Clearly there is no objective bad luck number that exists. Different cultures for different reasons associated bad luck with some numbers and some days. Our modern American culture’s superstition about Friday the 13 likely has roots in cultures that associated 13 with bad luck before Christianity for reasons we can only hypothesize about. The Last Supper and Good Friday probably influenced the bad luck day to be Friday but we also don’t know this.

We don’t know exactly why 13 or Friday the 13th were originally thought to be unlucky. The best we have are good inferences. However, our modern knowledge of cultures and science can assure us there is nothing to be superstitious about. If we are less superstitious we will probably see less negative events going on on this day also.

 

 

Vertical Farming

Vertical Farming is an idea that rather than growing our food on land that takes up so much space around the world, we can grow our food in towers. This would be accomplished through the use of artificial environments that would mimic the optimal environments needed for many fruits, veggies and grains to grow. Changing the world’s agricultural practices from land farming to vertical farming would make a huge impact on many of the problems that plague the world.

Vertical farming would take up much less space than conventional farming. This will mean that we will be able to grow much more food. This will also save us from continuing to destroy land through modern day agricultural practices that include the use of so many chemicals.

The fact that we will be able to grow much more food would help the issue of the growing human population. We do not need to worry about whether or not there will be enough food for a few billion more people. It will also help solve world hunger. To be fair we could solve world hunger right now. Unfortunately, many countries are very wasteful. However, vertical farming would produce so much more food that there will certainly be more than plenty to feed the many nutritionally deficient populations of the world. The mass production would make prices go down for a lot of food as well.

Vertical farming would provide the optimal environment for many foods to grow. This would mean that we could have all different types of fruits and veggies in their optimal form all year round. We will not have to wait for certain foods to be in season because the artificial environments would make them always be in season. There would also be no need for pesticides because there would be no bugs or animals to deter.

Vertical farming would be revolutionary. It would make a positive impact in so many ways. It would help combat land destruction and climate change. It would help provide food for many starving populations and the growing human population. It would make prices go down. It would make all fruits and veggies in season all year round. It would even eliminate the need for pesticides. It would even make cities more self sustainable because the city can grow all the food it needs for its’ population. It would not need to import from other places. Vertical farming is the farming of the future. The quicker it is implemented the quicker we will see the positive impacts it will have around the world.

The Keto Diet

The Keto diet is a diet that has been getting a lot more publicity now on social media. This has inspired even more people to try out the diet in their everyday lives also. What is the keto diet though?

The keto diet is a diet in which people consume approximately 70 percent of the calories from fat, 25 percent from protein and 5 percent from carbohydrates. Human beings usually consume most of their calories from carbs and we are often encouraged by nutrition experts to consume approximately 60 percent of our diet from carbs for multiple reasons. The first is that carbs are the easiest source of energy for humans to derive glucose from, which is necessary to power our cells. The second is that too much protein can result in kidney issues. The third is that too much fat can result in blood flow issues. Now this is an oversimplification but that is the simple run down.

The keto diet advocates such low carb intake and high fat intake because of the very reason people turn to the diet. People use the keto diet in order to burn fat as quick as possible. Predominately people looking to loose a lot of fat quickly or bodybuilders looking to get lean quickly will turn to the keto diet. But why do they use the keto diet to do this as opposed to any other diet?

The reason people turn to keto for fast fat burning is because of what the diet is named after. Keto is short for ketogenic. Ketogenic means of ketogenesis. Ketogenesis is the process by which the body creates energy from fat in order to power the cells. This process is much more difficult than deriving glucose from carbs. During ketogenesis, the body creates ketones from fat cells and uses them for energy. The body usually resorts to ketogenesis when it is not getting enough carbs to create the amount of glucose needed. This is the situation that occurs when people are starving. However, the keto diet has figured out a way to not actually starve, but to make the body act as if it is starving in order to more efficiently burn up body fat. It does this by having its adherents consume very high fat and very low carbs. The body will get enough calories but not have enough carbs to create enough glucose. It will have to resort to the fat that is being taken in and the fat that is in the body already to create glucose. This will make the body more efficient at using fat as its main source of energy and so people use it in hopes that it will help them loose fat quicker. This is typically a short term thing and once the goal is reached people usually go off the diet.

But how does one eat a diet 70 percent in fat, 25 percent in protein and 5 percent in carbs? And what foods do people on the keto diet eat?

Well since fruits, veggies and grains are predominately made of carbs, people on a keto diet usually totally avoid grains and have a very minimal amount of vegetables and fruits. When it comes to veggies and fruits avocados are a must since they are a very fatty fruit. They may have a slice of a tomato or onion but other than avocados they will usually stick with a fist worth of leafy greens a couple of times a day to get some carbs,vitamins, minerals and fiber. The predominant foods that are eaten on a keto diet are meats (red, white, sea creatures), eggs, high fat milk and dairy products, nuts, seeds and oils such as olive oil or coconut oil. These foods are high in fat and protein and so it fits the needs of the diet perfectly. When it comes to drinks, water and milk are the only choices.

So besides helping to burn fat quicker, are there other benefits of following a keto diet? There are a few. Because of the high amount of fat and protein that is taken in, people on a keto diet will feel fuller more easily. This makes it easier to stick with the diet because you won’t have an appetite to munch on snacks on the side or have more than your portion. The keto diet has also been found to treat cancer, epilepsy and may treat Alzheimer’s. In the case of cancer, cancer cells thrive on glycogen from carbs and so the low amount of carbs essentially starves cancer cells and stunts or slows their growth. It helps to control epilepsy for some people who suffer from seizures. The diet was originally created to help control epilepsy. The keto diet may help Alzheimer’s patients by slowing the progression of the disease. There seems to be a link between blood sugar glucose and Alzhiemer’s disease. The keto diet makes the body more insulin sensitive because of the low amount of glucose we are receiving from carbs. This would help decrease the blood sugar glucose and maybe slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. However, regarding Alzhiemer’s this is not certain.

Ok so what are the negative aspects of following a keto diet? Unfortunately there are a lot more cons than pros:

  1. The extremely high fat intake will slow blood flow by making the blood thicker.
  2. The extremely high consumption of animal products (meats, sea creatures, eggs, dairy) will raise cholesterol by a lot.
  3. High cholesterol will lead to atherosclerosis if gone on for too long. This is the build up of plaque on the artery walls. This will narrow the blood vessels.
  4. Slower blood flow, higher cholesterol and atherosclerosis will increase risk of heart attack and stroke.
  5. Ketoacidosis could occur. Ketones are released during ketogenesis. Ketones are converted to energy for the cells. Ketones are blood acids. Too many ketones present in the blood can make the blood too acidic and cause ketoacidosis. This happens to diabetics when they cannot process glucose properly. This can be fatal.
  6. Higher cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone. It is released in response to stress. This most likely occurs during a keto diet because the body thinks it is in starvation mode. That’s pretty stressful.
  7. Low fiber because of low grain, fruit and vegetable consumption. This can cause constipation. Constipation can lead to shorter term negative conditions such as hemorrhoids and longer term negative conditions such as diverticulitis.
  8. You may have less energy to perform very intense workouts because of the low levels of carbs. Low carbs means less glycogen to power muscles.
  9. It may be harder to build muscle after being on the diet a while because of the low levels of carbs. Low carbs means less glycogen to fill muscles for recovery.

The keto diet is gaining popularity but that doesn’t mean everyone trying to loose weight or lean out should use it. Ultimately, the choice is up to the individual and that individual should consult a dietician if they feel weary about starting any new dietary program. However, the main plus of a keto diet for the vast majority of people would be fast fat loss. However, being that there are many serious health drawbacks to this diet, it is safer to loose fat the good old fashion way. If someone eats incrementally less calories than they need, they will lose weight. It’s that simple. Eating healthier and exercising are great ways help reduce the calories that are taken in everyday but those are not even necessary for weight loss. No fancy diets are needed either. Less calories in is all that is needed. You can eat carbs, fat, protein, alcohol, grains, nuts, seeds, cookies, veggies, fruits, sodas, meats, junk food, healthy food, sit around or exercise. If your goal is weight loss, all you need is less calories. If your goal is to be healthier and ripped, well then that’s another story. Eating healthy and exercising will be necessary in that case.

Solving The Gun Nightmare

After years of mass shootings throughout the United States and relatively little changes to laws to mitigate such incidents from taking place, we are finally beginning to see some hope for progress that may save countless lives going into the future of our country. Unfortunately, many people needlessly suffered and died in order to push our politicians to take the matter more seriously. The latest horror story came out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On February 14, 2018 Nikolas Cruz, a former student with a history of mental illness, used an AR-15 semi-automatic weapon to murder 17 people. 14 of those people were students and 3 were staff members. The students were 14 year old Alyssa Alhadeff, 14 year old Martin Duque Anguiano, 17 year old Nicholas Dworet, 14 year old Jaime Guttenberg, 14 year old Cara Loughran, 14 year old Gina Montalto, 17 year old Joaquin Oliver, 14 year old Alaina Petty, 18 year old Meadow Pollack, 17 year old Helena Ramsay, 14 year old Alex Schachter, 16 year old Carmen Schentrup, 15 year old Luke Hoyer and 15 year old Peter Wang. The staff members were 35 year old Scott Beigel, 37 year old Aaron Feis and 49 year old Chris Hixon.

These people innocently and needlessly suffered and lost their lives. Their parents, friends and family will never see them again. Their fellow schoolmates are forever traumatized by experiencing a massacre first hand. This is what happens when we as a society fail to protect each other and especially our children, whom look to us to protect them.

Many times in the past, gun violence resulted in deaths but no changes to laws to prevent such events from happening again. However, as alluded to earlier, there are signs of hope for change this time. Students around Florida have arranged rallies to demand change in gun laws to end the violence that was bought upon them. Students have marched to the capitol of Florida and even to the White House to demand change. They demand that this will be the last time such violence can be allowed to occur. This is unlike any response to gun violence that our country has ever seen and it is already showing signs that it will result in successfully changing gun laws and taking steps towards preventing these acts from happening in the future.

President Trump held a listening session on Wednesday where he met with family and friends of gun violence victims around the country to discuss ideas to stop school shootings. The President vowed to students at the meeting to have tougher background checks and mental health screenings for people trying to buy guns. He also would be open to banning bump stocks which allows semi-automatic weapons to act as automatic weapons. He is even considering arming teachers to be the first responders in the event of a school shooting.

These student are making a difference with their protesting. It is wonderful to see that they are influencing the President towards making it harder for people to buy semi-automatic and automatic weapons and taking measure to prevent future shootings like this from happening again. However, as many students have suggested, much more than what has been talked about needs to be done. Here are some ideas that if implemented may make a big difference in preventing future shootings from happening:

  1. Ban the legal selling of semi-automatic and automatic weapons. There is no need for them. These are weapons of war. The Second Amendment was made for civilians to be able to defend themselves. Weapons of war are not necessary for defense.
  2. Extreme vetting must be done for anyone who wants to purchase a legal gun.
  3. Law enforcement around the country must devote much more energy into breaking up the black market weapon business. This will prevent many criminals from getting guns illegally.
  4. Heighten security at schools. There should only be one entrance door. All other doors must be locked from the outside but can serve as emergency exits from the inside. There must be metal detectors and scanners when entering the school. There also must be cameras in the school, around the school and focused on all doors. Security must be watching these cameras at all times while one or two armed security guards trained to defend remain in front of the school entrance all day. One or two security guards should also keep watch and walk around the outside of the school throughout the day. The outside security should not be allowed to come into the school for any reason other than to defend against an attacker and the security guards walking around, guarding in front and watching the cameras must have the ability to wirelessly communicate. There needs to be trained security. Teachers are not police and should not be relied upon to do a police officers job. They do not have the proper training and cannot focus on teaching and potentially being a superhero at the same time. Such security as this can and should also be applied to all public buildings like theaters, museums and hospitals.
  5. All workplace environments including schools, hospitals, and businesses of all sorts must have mandatory training of all members in being able to detect people who may be suffering from a mental illness and may pose a threat to themselves or others. In schools, this includes making students aware of how to detect when someone might not be well and may be a threat also. We need to reach out as a society and provide help to those in need to avoid their suffering and to prevent the possibility of them doing something terrible. When someone suspects something may not be right, they must be trained to report it to the proper authority, be that a psychologist or whoever. Individuals can even reach out to help that person as well just by providing friendship.

These are just some ideas that can help prevent needless suffering and death. There are many more out there but we need to share them so that horrors like this recent school shooting never have to happen again.

The Zero Waste Lifestyle

With anthropomorphic (man-made) climate change rapidly increasing in strength, and politicians being unable to implement the proper responses to help mitigate the effects in many areas of the world, many individuals are turning to themselves to help contribute towards mitigating the destruction of climate change. How are they doing so? By adopting a “zero waste” lifestyle.

Going Zero Waste means trying to eliminate as much unnecessary garbage that comes out of our houses and goes to landfills as possible. The massive amounts of garbage humans produce is a huge contributor to climate change and the destruction of our planet. Much of our garbage goes to landfills, cannot be broken down very quickly if at all and can often be toxic for the Earth to absorb. Cutting our garbage production down as much as possible will be crucial going into the future in order to preserve our planet’s habitability and the many species it nourishes, including ourselves of course.

So how does someone live a zero waste lifestyle? First, it is important for anyone who plans to adopt a new lifestyle to gradually implement whatever it is into their lives. This is the same with going zero waste. If you try to do it over night, you will be highly likely to become stressed, turned off and ultimately fail. The key to successfully leading a zero waste lifestyle and having a zero waste household is to slowly implement changes over the course of months.

When going zero waste you will want to stick towards buying reusable or biodegradable items. Here are some examples of the types of products zero wasters use:

  1. clay, metal or glass kitchenware instead of plastic or paper. (reusable)
  2. bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic toothbrushes. (reusable and biodegradable)
  3. clothes or household materials like bed sheets made from natural fibers like cotton, wool, hemp and bamboo because these materials are biodegradable (reusable and biodegradable)
  4. handkerchiefs and rags instead of tissues, napkins or paper towels. (biodegradable)
  5. soap bars rather than liquid soap to avoid plastic bottles.
  6. metal bottles instead of plastic bottles. (reusable)
  7. metal containers for carrying food instead of plastic bags, paper bags, or tin foil. (reusable)
  8. glass jars for storing food rather than plastic containers. (reusable)

In addition to trying to stick to reusable and biodegradable items, zero wasters also implement these practices into their lives to reduce their carbon footprint:

  1. buying food in bulk
  2. minimizing buying packaged items
  3. minimizing use of electric equipment because of its dependence on gas
  4. minimizing driving and opting for biking and opting for hybrid or electric cars
  5. adopting a plant based or vegan diet
  6. composting trash such as food scraps and some forms of paper because this feeds the soil rather than going to landfills and being wasted
  7. women may opt for a reusable menstrual cup rather than disposable pads
  8. preparing their own food and limiting dining out
  9. creating a small zero waste kit of items to use when at restaurants to avoid using disposable straws or napkins
  10. creating their own soaps, deoderants and toothpaste rather than buying ones with environmentally harmful chemicals in them
  11. using solar energy

Of course going zero waste does not mean completely eliminating all trash in your home or life. It is rather obvious that this will be nearly impossible, if not completely impossible to do. However, slowly adopting as many zero waste practices as possible for you, such as these, will make a big difference in helping to mitigate the growth of climate change strength and the subsequent problems it will bring. If half the population tried going zero waste, the benefits for the planet would be enormous. Individuals inspire other individuals, so don’t discourage yourself from trying simply because most people aren’t. With that mindset nothing will change, and change is needed to respond properly to climate change. If one person tries zero waste, more will be inspired to do so, as is currently happening, and a movement will take place. If you’re Catholic try implementing a zero waste lifestyle starting this Lenten season. You may even save some money along the way!