The most important forests you’ve never heard of

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Mangroves, Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia (Photo by author)

Around the world, forests are being burnt and cut to make room for soy farms, palm oil plantations, logging operations, and cattle ranches. It’s come to a point where articles about it have become commonplace in many publications and there are even world records for greatest deforestation. Yet, there is one kind of forest that is notably absent from most discussions: mangrove forests. Found at the intersection of land and sea in tropical and subtropical regions, they provide a wealth of services to both humans and the environment. This includes:

  • serving as a sink for carbon and pollutants


Here are some things to watch out for if you want it to be

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Photo by the author

There are people out there that despise vegans enough that there is now a term to describe them: vegaphobes. These people surely rejoice every time an article or a study comes out that points out a potential health issue linked to veganism. It’s not helped by the number of articles and blogs exploring the benefits of a vegan diet, often without acknowledging the potential risks associated with it.

A more grounded, middle-of-the-road approach is probably to acknowledge that veganism isn’t inherently healthy. One could easily start eating Oreo cookies and Pringles chips for a month and call themselves vegan. A vegan diet means that animal products are a no-go, not that you suddenly eat more reasonable amounts of food with a well-balanced diet.


Carbon trading is big business, but its sustainable benefits are questionable

Hand painted green, holding a small plant.
Hand painted green, holding a small plant.
Photo by Alena Koval from Pexels

It’s easy to see why there is a large debate around the idea of carbon offsetting. You can continue to drive your car, but now you feel good because ‘someone’ is planting a tree. You can go on holiday by plane, but now wind turbines will be built somewhere. Companies continue with their carbon emissions, but can now buy the right to emit more through the Clean Development Mechanism (CMD). A lot of it looks and sounds so similar to some of the greenwashing hogwash that companies throw our way all the time that it’s hard to take carbon offsetting seriously. …


At least not for the time being

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Photo by Ralph Hutter on Unsplash

Electric vehicles (EV) are all the rage right now. Tesla keeps breaking sales records and making a lot of rich people richer, large car manufacturers are all jumping aboard the (electric) bandwagon, and even motorcycle brands usually known for their loud engines are releasing electric models. Along with this, reduced emissions targets and financial incentives are pushing more and more people to consider electric vehicles. In 2021, we are expected to see EV sales represent up to 15% of all sales in Europe. This transition has a lot of room to grow and happen faster, too. …


A few companies have built an oligopoly using science as a resource

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A paper that does not have references is like a child without an escort walking at night in a big city it does not know: isolated, lost, anything may happen to it.

Bruno Latour, 1987

This quote, from famous anthropologist Bruno Latour, serves as a good insight into how knowledge is built. See, science doesn’t work in isolation. Someone working to develop new batteries today is using knowledge from yesterday. The scientists developing COVID-19 vaccines are standing on the shoulders of previous scientists. The students putting together their thesis are using previous works to justify their findings and opinions. Everyone in the scientific community uses knowledge from the past to decide what to research next, to confirm or contradict findings, to justify their research, and to give credence to what they are saying. Science is born, so to speak, from the collection of papers usually found in scientific journals. …


It’s good for you, it’s good for others, and it’s good for the environment

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Photo by Bit Cloud on Unsplash

Cars are so ubiquitous these days that it’s hard to imagine what it was like a century ago when this wasn’t the case. In fact, with the average driver clocking in around 50 kilometres per day in both Europe and the United States, it’s hard to fully grasp how much society has changed because of automobiles. A broken promise of freedom of movement, we have become slaves to machines that were supposed to make our lives easier.

I wrote about the impact of parking spaces on cities before, but it’s worth mentioning that, at any given time, an average of 30% of traffic in cities is composed of people looking for parking. Speaking of traffic, it has gotten so bad in some areas that American commuters tend to rank traffic as one of their top concerns, right alongside education and crime. Some studies estimate we spend hundreds of hours a year in traffic jams. We are spending more time than ever in our cars, and we’re none the better for it. It doesn’t have to be this way. An Australian survey found that up to 60% of all trips by car were for less than five kilometres, a distance easily covered by bike for most people. So, this week, let’s look at why you should consider ditching your car for at least some of these trips, and why you should want more bicycles on the road. …


Why your plants may have a more negative impact than you expected, and how to fix it.

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Domestic gardens are great. Whether you grow plants in the back garden of your home or on the window bench of your apartment, there are countless benefits to adding plants to your everyday life. They look good and help brighten up any living space. They can feed you and be used for aromatic purposes. They can even help boost your productivity levels. As you may have deduced from the title of this article, however, we’re not here to go over all the benefits of gardening, but rather to see how we can lessen some of the environmental impacts it may have, and perhaps even transform some of these into net positives. From the soil used when replanting to the water usage, there are some pitfalls that are not immediately obvious when making decisions regarding our plants. …


The cost of fast fashion doesn’t stop with the price tag

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Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

Quick, without checking, how many sets of clothes do you have in your wardrobe? The odds are, you don’t really know, do you? In 1930, the average American woman had nine outfits stashed away in her closet. 90 years later, that number has jumped to 30, with many having thousands upon thousands of dollars of clothes. It’s not just an American trend either, with women in the United Kingdom buying the equivalent of half their weight in clothes every single year, despite having an average of 22 items in their closet that have never been worn. Or limited to one gender, with men in the UK outspending women by a large margin. With clothes worn more than once or twice now often being considered old, it seems this trend is set to continue going forward, and the fashion industry is more than happy to continue churning out more than 80 billion pieces of clothing a year. The fashion industry already has an environmental impact that, in many ways, is bigger than the aviation and shipping industries combined. …


This is the story of how your ice cream might be hurting the environment.

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Photo by Dev Benjamin on Unsplash

You would be forgiven for not knowing what a refrigerant is. For many of us, things like air conditioning, freezers, and refrigerators are just boxes that make things cold. Yet, on the inside happens a bit of magic, where a fluid we call a refrigerant absorbs heat on the side we don’t want it and expels it on the other side. Unfortunately, the impact on global warming between one type of refrigerant and another may as well be compared to the difference between buying an old diesel and a new electric vehicle. Unlike with cars, however, we have readily available replacements that are much more environmentally friendly. Despite this, many countries still haven’t signed on to the 2016 Kigali Amendment, whose main goal is to phase out refrigerants that cause global warming. …


Can online shopping be environmentally and economically sustainable?

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping was growing at an incredible pace in many countries. And why wouldn’t it, as ordering online is fabulous in so many ways. You can quickly browse through item catalogues, compare prices, look up reviews, and even find items that may not available in your area. In many places, you can even get your package delivered the same or the following day. Now that everyone is locked inside, it’s only natural that many turned to the internet to order what they need, leading to record high demand for package deliveries. …

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Alex Hureau

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