What Is Recycling

reduce, reuse and recycle symbol

A growing number of people are beginning to take interest in recycling. This is partially due to rising concerns about pollution risks on public health, resource security, and climate change.

Recycling effectively prevents certain items from ending up in landfills or incinerators and makes them suitable for reuse. This process not only reduces the amount of waste produced but also provides materials for manufacturers and corporations to use. Providing manufacturers with an untapped resource could decrease the need to collect and forge new materials.

Reduced waste has far reaching implications for energy use, production, transportation and water use. The aim of recycling is to promote environmental sustainability by replacing new and unused materials with the preexisting ones.

What Can Be Recycled?

Everyone should know which items are recyclable and which aren’t. Generally, clean (plastic and glass) bottles, tires, cans, cartons and other various containers are appropriate items for recycling bins. Cardboards and paper materials are among the most recycled items. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) car parts, nails, steel products, aluminum products and carpeting can be recycled at virtually any recycling center.

Some materials, like oil, metal tanks (and most other scrap metals), batteries, electronics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals (cleaners, pesticides, paint thinners) and certain kinds of light fixtures contain potentially hazardous components, and therefore should be dropped off to specialized recycling facilities so that they may be safely sorted and repurposed. Its important for your recycled goods to be cleaned because liquids and organic wastes can not be recycled in the same way that solids can.

What Can’t Be Recycled?

Items that can’t be recycled include but are not limited to: plastic (bags, gloves, wraps), disposable masks, disposable wipes, diapers, food, aerosol cans, clothes, Styrofoam, coffee pods, bagged recyclables, broken ceramics and broken mirrors. Goods that can not be recycled should be reused as much as reasonably possible. Reusing items that can’t be recycled helps reduce the demand for increasing production.

Recycle Center Near Me

Curbside recycling is a waste collection service provided by either government or private institutions. Once the recyclable waste is collected, it is transported to an facility for proper recycling. Alternatively, individuals can deliver their recyclable waste to drop-off sites. Drop-off locations handle recycling as well, but do not collect. Most drop-off locations have unique lists of the items that they are able to accept and convert.

Population Growth

Chicago park lake

In ecology, a population is a group of individual organisms belonging to the same single species which inhabit a specific area. The chimpanzees of Uganda’s Congo River are a population. So are the chimpanzees of western Tanzania. Though both of these groups belong to the same species, they should be considered separate populations because they do not inhabit the same specific area.

When surveying the populations of an ecosystem, researchers may be motivated to answer questions such as: what is the average population size? How does the average population size change over time?

To understand how population sizes vary through time, four relevant factors should be kept in mind: 1) the birth rate of the individual organisms, 2) their death rates 3) the introduction of nonnative individuals that have migrated from a separate population, 4) the removal of individuals that migrate out of the population being observed. Using these four measures provides insight into the rate of change within a population.

Populations may have a steady rate of growth, grow exponentially or even grow exponentially up until a certain point. A population’s growth may slow, or be halted completely by environmental factors, such as the presence of predator species or the lack of resources necessary for survival.

How Does Climate Affect the Ocean

A new study by researchers Katie E. Lotterhos, Áki J. Láruson & Li-Qing Jiang quantifies changes in ocean climates between the years 2000 and 2100.

Research Method and Design

To predict how ocean climates change in the future from greenhouse gases, researchers implemented the Representative Concentrations Pathway (RCP). The RCP predictions model different climate change outcomes for the near future (until the year 2100). Each RCP scenario estimates a different future temperature depending on the levels of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The RCP scenario estimates assume that temperature is linearly related to the cumulative total of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Some scenarios are optimistic, in that they predict future emissions to be much lower than they are today. The worst-case scenarios, on the other hand, are pathways which have the highest estimated future greenhouse gas emissions; and therefore the highest temperatures.

Katie E. Lotterhos, the study’s lead researchers

Lotterhos and her colleagues used pathways RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5. RCP 4.5 is a future scenario in which human beings curb their greenhouse gas emissions and moderate our warming trajectories. RCP 8.5, sometimes considered the ‘business as usual scenario’, is a future scenario in which humans do not reduce their emissions statistics and greenhouse gases are emitted at current rates throughout the 21st century.

RCP 8.5 has the highest global mean temperature increases of all pathway scenarios. The sea water near and along the ocean’s surface heats in response to the warming atmosphere above. Airborne gases like carbon dioxide and methane are absorbed by ocean water at depths hundreds of feet down below the surface. The buildup of atmospheric greenhouse gases inevitably increases average ocean surface temperatures.

In Conclusion

Researchers used the RCP models to quantify ocean surface climates. Ocean climates are defined by temperature, pH acidity and carbonate chemistry. The temperature and chemistry models the years between 1800, and project out to the year 2100. Of the climates that were analyzed, no novel extremes of global ocean surface temperature were judged to have occurred until the year 2000. In the RCP 4.5 scenario, 35.6 percent of sea surface climates may be lost by 2100. On the other hand, the RCP 8.5 scenario is projected to lose 95 percent of surface level climates.

Lotterhos and colleagues concluded that aquatic lifeforms may survive climatological changes by “dispersing” themselves. ‘Dispersal’ is the process by which organisms relocate. Organisms that do not disperse into a suitable area or adapt in some other way will face population declines. As carbon dioxide increases, the number of suitable climates for these organisms decreases. The loss of these climate zones effectively contributes to the loss of marine biodiversity.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg is a prominent 18 year old environmental activist and climate change communicator. The Swedish-born activist is generally well-known for her fearlessly forthright speeches, and her “skolstrejk för klimatet” School Strike for Climate. Greta Thunberg has just made a public video post claiming that the United Kingdom’s (UK) claims about climate change mitigation are lies. If Britain is in fact guilty of “creative carbon accounting”, then its future emissions sanctions could be too lenient.

Why Greta Thunberg Accuses UK of Lying

Greta Thunberg begins her UNICEF video post by plainly stating that “there is a lie that the UK is a world climate leader and that they have reduced their carbon emissions by 44% since 1944, or whatever”. Thunberg’s post follows an announcement, made by Boris Johnson, that the UK has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions “by about 42 percent on 1990 levels”. British politicians have a long history of proclaiming that the UK is the world’s gold standard with respect to climate change mitigation. This may be partly because the UK is the first country to enact legally permitted reduction targets for carbon emissions. The United Kingdom was also the first country to pass a net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions law (2019) to be achieved by 2050.

To paraphrase, Thunberg goes on to say that all emissions have to be included in GHG assessments; otherwise, your carbon emissions count come out to be “much nicer”. Thunberg is suggesting that the UK has not been accounting for all of its emissions, rendering its assessments ultimately inaccurate. Presenting false climate credentials is a serious charge, especially considering the emerging pertinence of climate crisis. Greta Thunberg says that if you include “aviation, shipping, outsourcing, imports of consumption and the burning of biomass, it [emissions reduction statistics] doesn’t really look that good”.

What Is Carbon Accounting?

Carbon accounting is the quantification of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions statistics that organizations use to set goals for future reduction targets. Emissions statistics help organizations track their Paris Agreement-compliance. The Paris Agreement is a binding treaty agreement between the 196 parties that volunteered to take part in 2015 at the first United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21. With COP26 (2021) around the corner, Thunberg’s announcement may serve as a warning for us all to be scrupulous of the emission data that organizations and governments report.


cow with tagged ears
dairy cow

The 2014 documentary Cowspiracy illuminates the connection between the global climate crisis and modern farming techniques. The hour and a half film follows an environmentalist, Kip Anderson, on his search for answers regarding the most pressing environmental issues. His research leads him to stumble upon a scientific consensus: the use of animals in agriculture is among the leading factors that influence environmental degradation, including ocean dead zones, rapid species extinctions, habitat loss, Amazon rainforest destruction, water overconsumption and land misuse.

However, Anderson grows frustrated as he discovers that some environmental organizations and other conservationists (Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, Rainforest Action Network, and Oceana) refuse to be truthful about the role of animal agriculture in climate change.

Animal agriculture, like any other form of farming requires generous amounts of land, water and chemical additives to produce human consumable foods. However, Cowspiracy depicts agriculture as the most resource intensive form of farming, and argues that it uses up more land space and freshwater than its worth. If true, this would suggest that animal agriculture contributes to deforestation more than other forms of farming. When forests are cut down and burned, much of the carbon stored in trees and plants is released back into the atmosphere again as carbon dioxide (CO2).

Raising livestock for human consumption also results in greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock ruminants like cows decompose and ferment plant foods and produce methane, a prominent greenhouse gas, as a by-product.

Sierra Club

Bruce Hamilton of the Sierra Club describes the present rate of greenhouse gas proliferation as exceeding levels ever before seen or estimated. This is hardly news. However, during his terse interview, Bruce Hamilton declared that other sources of methane and carbon dioxide should be prioritized above agriculture farming. Is Hamilton suggesting that some other economic sector has greater overall emissions than agriculture does? Doe he know agriculture’s impact estimates should include transport and energy generation? The Sierra Club is an organization that partly focuses promoting sustainable energy and limiting global warming. As the Deputy Executive Director of the Sierra Club, Bruce Hamilton should know.

Natural Resources Defense Counsil

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s Ann Notthoff says that energy production and transportation are the major sources of environmental degradation. The woman then laughs when pressed about livestock’s contribution. She jokingly says, “that’s cow farts… I think that’s what that is”.


Dr. Chad Nelson of Surfrider notes that heavy metals from automated vehicles and herbicides and pesticides as sources of ocean pollution. When Kip Anderson questions Dr. Nelson about the influence of animal agriculture on oceanic pollution, Nelson simply remarks that California’s research teams do not see much evidence of it. A pattern is made apparent for the Cowspiracy audience. Environmental organizations do not wish to point the finger directly at factory farming.

The Cost of Speaking Up

Cowspiracy references the tragic assassination of Sister Dorothy Stang, an American nun who was murdered in 2005 for her activism against cattle ranching. According to the film, more than 1,100 environmental campaigners were killed over a 20 year period in Brazil for animal activism. Journalist Will Potter, who was featured briefly in the film, believes that environmentalists are treated as terrorists by the FBI.

Activism comes at a cost. In some cases, the cost is lost revenue or a reputation blow. The fact is, agriculture corporations are powerfully influential due to the amount of profit that they reap and the jobs that they supply, meaning that they sometimes have enough influence to silence their critics. Speaking up could result in funding loss, loss of business, alienation or worse.

Earthquake In Haiti

Port-au-Prince and the radius of earthquake impact

Haiti’s latest earthquake to date struck its Saint-Louis du Sud region at about 8:30 a.m on August 14th less than 80 miles from the capital, Port-au-Prince. This is especially bad news considering the presence of COVID-19 and the recent assassination of president Jovenel Moïse. President Moïse’s assassination, which took place in July 2021, has likely delayed rescue efforts due to the loss of leadership.

Earthquake response teams have reported at least 1,200 fatalities. More than 5,000 people have been injured. Infrastructure damages and rubble continue to trouble those who’ve survived the initial wreckage. Overcrowded hospitals, overwhelmed respond teams and mass evacuations have generated international attention for Haiti. United States president, Joe Biden has authorized USAID to assess Haiti’s damages, assist in rescue and aid in rebuilding. Argentina, Chile and even the Vatican gave offered humanitarian intervention for Haiti’s citizens.

Southwestern Haiti was forced to reckon with the brunt of the earthquake. Most sources describe Les Cayes, also known as Aux Cayes (housing a population of roughly 125,000 people), is Haiti’s major southern port. In the city of Les Cayes, corpses remained buried in churches, hotels, hospitals and schools rubble and fallen property for hours. Another city, Jeremie (population of approximately 97,000 people), experienced hospital swells passed full capacity. Doctors in the city of Jeremie were reportedly forced to treat patients outside of hospitals, underneath trees or any convenient convenient space they could as healthcare facilities ran out of rooms.

Haiti’s Prime Minister and neurosurgeon, Ariel Henry has just announced a one-month state of emergency. As late as I am writing this, August 15, 2021; 9:35 pm, reports continue to surface regarding the total fatality count. Early today, the death toll was estimated to be a little more than 700. However, as rescue teams have recovered considerably more bodies from the rubble of destroyed architecture, the amount of lives lost has nearly doubled.

IPCC Report

flags in wind

August 9, 2021, the United Nations’ official climate experts committee released an updated report on climate change’s physical evidence and a list of solutions for policy makers. Since the International Panel on Climate Change’s last report, the AR5 (released in 2014), UN experts have made modifications in their modeling techniques and data analysis regarding anthropogenic climate change.

IPCC 6th Assessment Report Summary

The AR6 Working Group 1 reports, with varying degrees of confidence, that the last few decades have been marked by increasing average surface temperature (0.8°C to 1.3°C for the years 1850-1900 to the years 2010-2019), increasing precipitation levels, melting ice sheets in the Antarctic and Greenland, rising upper-ocean temperatures (depth of 0-700 meters) and rises in global sea levels. UN climate experts believe that human influence has contributed to some long-term weather changes.

Researchers also provide reconstructed data that simulates the mean surface temperature over the last 100,000 years. It is within the last 2,000 years that an unprecedented spike occurs in surface temperatures. Climate models suggest that rises in greenhouse gas levels, land use, ozone use, and other human activities help explain the rise in average global surface temperatures. The concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane exceed natural multi-millennial levels; these natural gases happen to be some of the primary products of human industrial activities, such as agriculture, organic waste, and energy production.

What Is Biodiversity?

A group of same species fish

Biodiversity (biological diversity) research is an emerging field of study aimed at assessing the variance of Earth’s biomass. Measurements of biodiversity take place at three distinct levels: genes, species and ecosystems. Biodiversity encompasses the continually evolving and interconnected complexities between organisms and their environment.


As organisms evolve over time, their genetics change to fit their survival needs and lifestyles. Genes are the molecular units that determine the proteins and growth functions of an organism’s cells. If an organism survives long enough and reproduces, then some of its genetic material can be passed on to its offspring.


Organisms that have the most genetic material in common and that can interbreed are considered to be of the same species. A species is a ranking class that ecologists use to group like organisms.

Ecologists are most often interested in species richness (the number of different species in an area), and species abundance (the number of individuals per species in an area), when measuring a region’s biodiversity. Researchers also use population distributions between different species to assess diversity in an area.


Ecosystems are characterized by the interactions between physical qualities and the life embedded in those conditions. Ecosystem diversity takes into consideration the range of different types of habitats that belong to a single area. If one region contains a tropical habitat and grasslands, then it would be more diverse than a region that merely contains freshwater habitats.

Species tend to occupy regions that fit the conditions necessary for their survival. In other words, the environment that a species can inhabit is determined by the conditions of the environment, both biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living). Abiotic conditions include weather and the availability of water, while abiotic factors could be the presence of predators or competition from other organisms for resources.

UN Experts Will Release Landmark Report On Climate Change

AR6 2021 landmark report with official UN logo

The impacts of climate change are already happening in many parts of the world. Floods in Europe and wildfires in western American states could be a preview of what we can expect from future climate shifts. The world’s leading climate scientists and experts are expected to release a landmark report before COP26, which will take place in Glasgow beginning November 1st, 2021.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations environment and climate organization will conduct the landmark report. Once published, the report is expected to be the most comprehensive and up-to-date analysis of the science of global warming since the IPCC’s 2013 report. This latest report will outline large-scale climate action solutions to reduce emissions to limit global warming to about 2 degrees Celsius compared to that of preindustrial levels. The energy and agriculture sectors have to be the first to institute major changes, particularly in developed countries, such as the United States, China, and India.

Research conducted by the IPCC confirms that if we can limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (compared to that of preindustrial levels), some of the worst effects of climate change can still be avoided, including tipping points. Tipping points are the estimated climatological thresholds that have far-reaching, and in some cases, irreversible results once exceeded.

Are Penguins Affected by Climate Change

Researchers have reasoned that sea-ice loss and glacial calving have been accelerated do to anthropogenic climate change. As a result, survival rates for certain species have declined.

Species like the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), which occupy icy territories, have had their habitats threatened by changing climatological conditions. A study, conducted by Global Change Biology and the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) asserts that emperor penguins should receive extra defense under the Endangered Species Act because their environments are undergoing shifts that directly affect their survival.

NOAAClimate.gov visual representation of Antarctica

Research Method and Design

The study simulates the effects that extreme climate events have on penguin populations. The evidence for the modeled simulations is derived from observational data captured by satellite records.

Emperor penguins live on Antarctica’s coastlines, which are especially sensitive to temperature changes. Mature emperor penguins rely on sea ice shelves for rest, as a refuge from aquatic predators, and as breeding grounds. Emperor penguins also require sufficient amounts of sea ice to raise their young. Declines in sea ice may be the reason that emperor penguins have been disappearing in various regions of Antarctica.

In Conclusion

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, emperor penguin populations were subjected to breakages in sea ice that occurred before young chicks were prepared to swim. This unfortunately caused young emperor penguins to drown in both Halley Bay and Cape Crozier. Research on greenhouse gas emissions suggests that shrinkage in icy environments is expected to increase in the future. Penguin communities will continue to suffer as a result. The close relationship between emperor penguins and their environments is a quintessential example of how species are adversely impacted by a heating planet.