What Can You Do to Help Keep Our Oceans Healthy?

While environmental threats to our planet can sometimes seem overwhelming, it’s important to keep in mind that each and every person can help in their own way. Don’t underestimate the power you have to make a difference. Our oceans are necessary to sustain life here on earth, and there are many ways you can help keep them healthy and thriving. Consider these 6 ideas to help keep our oceans protected.

Use Less Plastic and Create Less Trash

Disposable products like plastic water bottles can often end up in the ocean, entangling marine life. Try using a reusable water bottle instead. Bring your own reusable canvas bags to the grocery store instead of using their plastic bags. Canvas is stronger and will allow you to carry more at once anyway – it’s a win-win!

Help Keep Your Beaches Clean

When you’re spending time on the beach, make sure to clean up after yourself. Have a little extra time to kill? Take a nice evening walk along the coast and pick up any debris you might see on the way.

Be Conscientious of Your Carbon Footprint

Make yourself aware of your own carbon footprint. Try walking, biking or taking public transportation to work as opposed to driving. Carpooling is also a good option! If you usually take the elevator at work or in your apartment building, consider using the stairs from now on. You’ll get a little extra workout as well!

Make Smart Seafood Choices

With increase in demand and loss of habitat, global fish populations are decreasing. If you’re an avid seafood eater, educate yourself on the most environmentally friendly options. When eating out or picking up seafood from the store, know where the product is coming from.

Influence Change

Look into organizations that support your cause. What can you do to help? Influence change in your community by only shopping for seafood or eating out at restaurants that serve sustainable seafood options. Simply opening up conversation with your peers about your concerns can create a wave of movement as well.

Stay Educated

The more you know, the more you’ll be able to and want to help. Do plenty of research on global threats as well as local. Share your knowledge with your friends and family, and you can truly help spark a change for the better.


How You Can Help Fight Against Climate Change

When considering the huge impact climate change can and will have on our world, it can be an incredibly scary thing. Scientists have warned against the drastic effects climate change will have for years, and ours is the first generation to experience it first-hand. While climate change could have quite the negative impact on the earth, the good news is that there are many ways we can work together to slow the process and even put an end to the threat. Check out these 6 ways you can participate at home to help fight against climate change.

  1. Drive Less, Bike More

Carbon dioxide is a huge contributor of climate change in our world, and more than half comes from vehicles. Do what you can to drive less. Take public transport if you have that capability in your town or city. If trains and buses aren’t availability to you, consider carpooling or vanpooling with coworkers or friends. Better yet, why not get a little exercise while also helping save the planet? Consider biking to school or work – your body and the world will thank you for it!

  1. Bring Your Own Bags & Use Your Own Containers

Reusable bags are generally much stronger than plastic or paper; so don’t forget these when you’re headed out to the store. Whether you’re grabbing a long grocery list or just a couple of things, keep reusable bags with you at all times just in case! If you’re buying things in bulk – like dried beans or rice – or even a cup of coffee, bring your own containers.

  1. Compost & Recycle

Most of us know that recycling is so easy. With climate change and a more mindful attitude toward the globe, it’s becoming even more convenient to recycle. If you have a yard, composting is an awesome option to eliminate waste altogether. You can provide your garden with nutrients by putting that food right back into the earth.

  1. Weatherproof Your Home

This will save you money by also conserving energy. It’s a win-win. You can actually reduce the cost of heating and cooling by 20% with a properly insulated home. Install weather stripping around doors and caulk around windows. Keep your curtains closed at night to hold in the heat or air.

  1. Shorten Your Showers

Really focus on keeping your showers nice and quick. Can you do it in 5 minutes? It might sound crazy at first, but think about how much time you’ll save and get to spend on other things by bring your shower time down a notch.

  1. Plant Trees & Vegetation

Trees use the carbon dioxide they absorb to give off oxygen. They also provide really great mediators from the wind, so if they’re placed properly around your home, they could save you costs on heating.

earth day

Earth Day: Do Your Part, Get Involved


Since April 22, 1970, Earth Day has been an annual celebration and a reminder to continue to strive to make improvements on behalf of our environment. Earth Day is the perfect example of a group of people who wanted to make and see a change and in order to do that, they needed to take action. On the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans demonstrated from coast-to-coast, in efforts to raise awareness about the changes that needed to be made to stop further damage from pollution and in order to improve the environment overall.


Almost fifty years later, millions of people across the world believe in Earth Day and vow to make changes to better the state of our planet. While Earth Day should (in fact) be everyday, April 22 is a day to remind, motivate, and inspire everyone to be a more mindful and environmentally conscious citizen. Want to get involved this Earth Day? Here are some ideas:

Not Just Earth Day: Change Your Daily Routine


If you commit to making a few changes in your daily routine, on Earth Day, you may realize that they are easy to do and you may be inspired to do them year round.


  • Bring Your Own Bags: If you’re still using bags from the grocery store, you may be a little behind. While a paper bag may come in handy from time to time, plastic bags should be avoided (some stores have banned them). Some stores charge shoppers if they need a bag for their groceries. If you bring a reusable bag you will be helping the environment and you may even get a discount for bringing your own bag. Bonus: Reusable bags are often much stronger than store bags, so you can load up your bag and not worry about losing your groceries.


  • Use Your Own Container: Whether you are buying in bulk (ie. dried beans, rice, or spices) or grabbing a cup of coffee at your local coffeehouse, if you bring your own container you may get a discount. If not, you’re being eco-friendly. It’s a win-win.


  • Compost & Recycle: If you aren’t recycling, there’s no good excuse not to. If you’re out in public and don’t see an appropriate receptacle for recycling, stash that bottle in your purse and recycle it at home. If you want to be more mindful about your waste, composting is a perfect way to cut down on your trash. In may seem overwhelming, but there are so many options for composting and it’s easy.



  • Shorten Your Showers: Who doesn’t love a long and hot shower? However, those luxurious showers are wasting gallons of water. Here’s a challenge: Take a five minute shower. Might take some getting used to, but think of all the extra time you’ll have in your day!
  • Alternate Transportation: If you love your car, be inspired by Earth Day to walk, ride a bike, carpool, or take public transportation.



Get Involved With Others


A great way to celebrate and recognize Earth Day is by getting involved with others. Attend a local celebration. Take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and plant trees, plants, or flowers in a park, at a school, or in someone’s yard.


Organize or take part in a trash pick-up. After the snow has melted, streets, grassy areas, and ditches are always filled with debris. Encourage passersby to lend a helping hand or get your family involved, you’re never too old or too young to get involved.


Plastic Microbeads: Scrubbing Your Skin, Polluting Your Planet

The next time you reach for that new skin care product, you should probably think again. That fresh face may come with a big price tag. Microbead awareness is about to have its moment, but at the moment, most people aren’t aware that many popular cleaning and skin care products are extremely hazardous, filled with tiny little plastic pieces which pollute the world’s water and may pose significant problems we’re yet to find. Activists, scientists, environmentalists, and public health experts the world over are currently pushing for bans on these deceptively dangerous little balls of plastic. And, so far, their push appears to be working.

What are Plastic Microbeads?

Plastic microbeads are the tiny little spheres of plastics, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, which are found in lots of cleaning produces. Manufacturers sell them to public based on their exfoliating properties; those teeny dots are intended to reach into your pores, scrub out the gunk, and leave your face looking bright and fresh. And, apparently, it works. But there’s a price to pay.

Microbeads and Water

That price is big one. According to a report recently published in Nature, American water habitats are flooded with eight trillion beads every day. Eight. Trillion. Every day. In Lake Ontario, researchers found 1.1 million beads per square mile.  While many of these beads are supposedly caught by water treatment plants, they still make it into the larger world, being sprayed onto crops and eventually trickling into the water system anyways, according to Nature. Then they get eaten by local wildlife. That’s when things get nasty.

Microbeads and Wildlife

Microbeads look like plankton. Plankton is an important source of nutrition for much of the world’s wildlife population. The world’s wildlife, being unaware of what polypropylene is, gobble this plastic caviar by the mouthful. Shrimp and other little creatures eat a particularly large amount of these beads. These animals are, in turn, eaten by larger animals. Which we eat. If we are what we eat, then we get closer every day to become mannequins, it seems. This is a new enough problem that the research is still out, but it can’t be good more massive portions of the American population to be eating polypropylene regularly.  

What’s Being Done

Luckily, environmentalists around North America have been raising the alarm, and lawmakers have been taking notice. In California, lawmakers recently sent a proposal governor Jerry Brown describing a law that would phase out plastic microbeads of a certain size by 2020. In Illinois, the push to get them banned by 2017. A bipartisan bill by Michigan and New Jersey lawmakers is pushing for a 2018 ban. The same thing is happening in Europe.
These laws appear to be receiving popular support. Activists should appreciate the rare ease they are having getting this issue noticed. While the damage being done is serious, and the lawmakers will take a few years to get these bills through, it seems clear that the government is doing the right thing here.    

earth day

Climate Change – What We Can Do

A recent study brought clarity to the issue of climate change, as reported by the Washington Post. Global warming does not necessarily cause any single weather event, such as Hurricane Katrina, heat waves or extreme winter weather as experienced in the eastern region of the country. What changes in climate does do is make the numbers of these events much more frequent. This Swiss study found data that showed that 18% of the earth’s extremes in rainfall, now, and 75% of extreme heat are made much more possible due to global climate change.

A single person can feel helpless and unable to effect a positive change. There are important actions you can take, and urge your family, friends and neighbors to make, that can make a difference. According to the EPA, (Environmental Protection Agency) some of the most important actions individual citizens can take include:

Use lightbulbs that draw less power

The best bulbs now available now are LED. Although more expensive, they last longer, emit less heat, and don’t have the dangers of mercury contamination as are found in compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs must be recycled, and are dangerous if broken as they will emit toxic mercury that could endanger you. Not only will your electricity bill be lower, you reduce your home’s power draw, and the emissions created in the electricity production.

Get your home insulated

The cost of heating a poorly insulated home are far higher than a well-insulated home. The EPA advises you get rid of air leaks by adding caulking or weather stripping. Your home will remain much warmer or cooler, and can reduce the costs of heating and cooling by up to 20%.


You may not like the inconvenience of carrying your own bags when shopping, but reducing paper and plastic in the environment can make a big difference. Landfills produce greenhouse gases, and you can make a difference by reducing your own consumption. Be part of the solution rather than collecting and throwing away huge piles of paper and plastic bags.

Restrict water usage

The highest water usage is actually a toilet, not the shower or dishwasher. Replace your home’s toilet with a water-efficient model and save significantly on your water bill and overconsumption. Get leaks repaired immediately. Only water your yard after sunset, rather than during the day.

Kick the bottled water habit

Rather than buying bottled water, get a water bottle that is BPA-free and refill it. Don’t like the taste of tap water? Get a filter system on your faucet, or get a delivery service for your water that provides bottles of water that are used again and again.

The future of the planet is uncertain, but current research clearly indicates that climate change is very real and more extreme weather is on the horizon. Your individual actions make a difference. Share your knowledge. Pass on the positive changes you have made to your friends, family and neighbors.

Bacteria Found in Recreational Water

With high temperatures on the horizon, it’s tempting to want to go for a swim in order to beat the heat. It’s a great way to get exercise and keep the kids entertained. But if you enjoy making trips to the beach or nearby lakes and rivers, there is a possibility of facing potential health risks. Recently, 90 people became ill after swimming in a Rhode Island lake, which tested positive for shigella.

Dangerous Bacteria Found in Recreational Water

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) names the following bacteria as some of the top causes for recreational water outbreaks.

  • Shigella – This type of bacteria is typically passed from person to person and originates from infected stool. Shigella can cause the shigellosis disease, which causes stomach cramps, fever and diarrhea. People sickened by shigellosis usually recover on their own, although antibiotics may be used for severe cases.
  • Leptospira – This bacteria can be transmitted to people through contact with the urine of infected animals. Leptospirosis can live in the soil or water for several months. Signs of the bacterial disease include: diarrhea, muscle aches, chills, red eyes, jaundice, fever, rash and vomiting. Treatment typically involves antibiotics.
  • Escherichia Coli – Often known by E. coli, this bacteria has several strains that can be harmful to humans. E. coli that cause disease are often known as ETEC. This is usually found in water infected with stool. Symptoms of e. coli can include diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, nausea, aches and chills. Antibiotics are usually not necessary, unless it is a very severe case. It is recommended that infected individuals get a lot of rest and drink plenty of fluids to keep from becoming dehydrated.

Steps To Avoid These Water-Borne Illnesses

The CDC recommends that you check out local beach information provided by the EPA. You can find out about bacteria levels and learn if the water is safe for swimming. If you do become sick shortly after swimming in a lake, ocean or river, be sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible.

The Effects of Mold Exposure

If you happen to live in an area that gets a lot of rain, it’s important to keep an eye out for leaks and standing water. Mold spores typically thrive in moist, dark areas, which can have an adverse effect on your health. Spending time in humid places with poor ventilation can increase your chances of developing mold-related illnesses, which include allergy-like symptoms such as skin rashes and respiratory problems.

What Health Problems Are Caused By Mold Inhalation?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the symptoms associated with mold exposure can vary significantly. Individuals who are sensitive to molds may develop more severe reactions, some of which are found at the bottom of the list below.

  • Upper Respiratory Infections
  • Skin Irritation
  • Wheezing or Congestion
  • Asthmatic Symptoms in Children or Individuals with Asthma
  • Fever
  • Pneumonitis

What Places Often Have A High Rate of Mold Exposure?

The CDC lists several places that can be potential breeding grounds for mold spores. Saunas, farms, mills and construction sites are just a few such areas. Interestingly enough, summer cottages are another place that can have high levels of mold. If you have a place you visit in the summer, be sure to check thoroughly for signs of mold growth. The CDC recommends that you turn on your air conditioner during summer months or open windows to rooms that don’t get a lot of ventilation.

What Type of Treatment Is Involved?

If you have developed the symptoms above, tell your doctor when you developed symptoms, where you were when they occurred and when the symptoms were at their worst. According to the Mayo Clinic, if the doctor suspects a mold allergy he or she may offer you a skin prick test or a blood test. When your doctor has confirmed a mold allergy, he or she may prescribe one of the following treatments:

  • Antihistamines
  • Nasal corticosteroids
  • Oral Decongestants
  • Nasal Decongestant Sprays
  • Immunotherapy

Warmer Weather Brings Out Ticks

If you enjoy hiking and spending time doing outdoor activities, you’ve probably experienced a tick bite at some point in time. Ticks are commonly found throughout the United States and have been known to carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. If you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors this summer, know the symptoms of tick-related illnesses.

Tick Borne Diseases

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several species of ticks found within the United States that can transmit the following diseases. Though many of the symptoms are similar across illnesses, it is important to contact a doctor immediately if you recognize these signs.

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Spotty skin rash, muscle aches, headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting are commonly associated with RMSF. This illness can be very serious and even result in fatality.
  • Tularemia: According to the Mayo Clinic, tularemia is indicated by a skin ulcer at the site of the tick bite. Lethargy and weakness, aches, fever and swollen lymph glands are other signs of the disease.
  • Lyme Disease: A circular red rash surrounded by a red ring that can spread several inches in diameter is often found at the site of the tick bite. Joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, fever and exhaustion are other signs of the disease. If untreated, more severe problems can develop that include: facial droop, shooting pain, heart racing, meningitis, severe joint swelling.
  • Anaplasmosis: Symptoms include: headache, muscle aches, chills and fever, nausea, lethargy and confusion.
  • Babesiosis: People often do not develop symptoms of this disease, which attacks the body’s red blood cells. Symptoms do vary in severity and include: fever, aches, loss of appetite, tiredness, nausea, jaundice, dark urine. It can be fatal in people with weak immune systems.
  • STARI: Also known as southern tick associated rash illness can cause a large red rash surrounded by a red ring, tiredness, aches and fever.
  • Ehrlichiosis tularemia: Aches, fever and tiredness.

It is common for these diseases to develop several days or even weeks after the initial bite.

Reduce Your Likelihood of Getting Bitten by Ticks

Here are a few easy reminders that can help keep ticks away.

  • Keep the grass in your front lawn and backyard cut short.
  • Check yourself thoroughly after doing outdoor activities, including scalp.
  • Check clothing and shoes for ticks before going in your house.
  • Cut back overhanging branches or bushes that are close to your home or patio.
  • Wear light-colored clothing if you’re going through heavily-wooded areas.
  • If you have outdoor pets, treat them with anti-tick medication.
  • Check your pets for ticks after going to the park.

Common Summer Time Injuries

summer injuriesThe summer is often full of relaxation for many people, but it’s also a time when the majority of injuries and accidents occur. To stay protected, educate yourself about the common summer injuries and how you can play a role in preventing them. Before losing all your worries in summer bliss, take a few precautions to ensure that the good times will keep on rolling without any major incidents spoiling your fun.

 Slip and Falls

Slip and falls are some of the leading reasons for emergency room visits every single year. They are a major cause of accidental injuries and death for both the home and the work environment. Slip and falls can happen on any surface or at any time of year, so it’s important to always be aware of the risk these injuries represent. Summertime is a time for fun in the sun, as well as for cooling off by the pool. Spills and wet surfaces, such as the deck of a pool, can be extremely dangerous for both children and adults during the summer. Those enjoying the summer on a boat or yacht should also inform all passengers about safety procedures and how to reduce accidents while on the watercraft. Particularly when summer thunderclouds bring torrential rain, accident and personal injury can be imminent disasters. Awareness and precaution can go a long way in reducing these accidents.

 Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Especially if you are working in an outdoor environment, heat stroke is much more common than you think. It’s very important to stay hydrated during the hot summer months in order to reduce the likelihood of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Try to limit physical activities to early mornings or late evenings when the temperatures are cooler, always drink plenty of water to stay fully hydrated, and wear loose fitting clothing to reduce the impacts of heat exhaustion. Keep an eye on children to see if they are showing signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion, and make sure that all parties are properly protected with sunblock throughout the course of a hot day.

 Bites From Insects

Since many people tend to spend the majority of their summertime outdoors, there’s an increased exposure to all outside elements, including bugs. Insect bites are some of the most common injuries associated with summer for both children and adults. Besides using insect repellent, it can help to wear long sleeved clothing if you know you’ll be in an area where insects run rampant. Be aware of poisonous insects that are prevalent in your area, and always keep a watchful eye. If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately, even if the bite seems minor at first glance. Insect bites can be deadly if left untreated.

 Auto Accidents

Summer is the ideal season for everyone who owns a motorcycle. Motorcycles are always associated with an increased risk for accidents; this danger is especially enhanced by increase traffic during holidays such as Memorial Day through Labor Day. More pedestrians and bicyclists are also enjoying the summer weather, so drivers should be aware of these additional modes of transportation. Make sure to keep a watchful eye for pedestrians and cyclists, and remember it is a social responsibility to share the road. Drivers should always remain aware of their own surroundings and proceed at a safe speed. It also helps to be able to identify reckless driving behavior in others, and report it to the authorities to get these drivers off the road. It is easy to get carried away in the summer fun and have one too many cocktails. This can endanger your life and the lives of others around you. Always make responsible decisions in regards to drinking and driving. Automobile accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death.

Make the most of your summer by staying safe.As the cliche saying goes: “Hair gets lighter, Skin gets darker, Water gets warmer, Drinks get colder, Music gets louder, Nights get longer, Life gets better-IT’S SUMMER!”