Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough has made so many documentaries that many will recognize his voice out of thousands. He has brought the natural world into our homes and by doing so he has also inspired many to protect it. For more than 60 years he has been describing wildlife on all continents, but since the turn of the millennium he has also warned us about climate change.

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Band aids

Most band-aids are made of plastic. The adhesive sheet of a band-aid is usually made from either PVC, polyethylene, or polyurethane. It is a single-use plastic item, but unlike other single-use plastics, band-aids can’t be replaced by a reusable item. Polyurethane is, like all plastics, petroleum-based and is the same toxic compound found in chemical-laden mattresses.

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Cigarettes

We have seen on the news and most probably also in real life how single-use plastics pollute our earth. But did you know that cigarette butts are the single greatest source of ocean pollution? Every year trillions of cigarettes are tossed out in parks, on streets, in oceans and on beaches. The impact on the environment of these filters is not the only impact on the environment though, this impact starts at the production process of cigarettes.

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Candles

Candles go a long way back and different cultures around the world developed them independently. The ancient Roman, Chinese and Japanese made wicked candles by dipping some sort of paper in melted tallow (animal fat), sperm whale fat or wax from tree nuts. These candles were used to light their homes, to help travelers at night, and in religious ceremonies.

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Milo Cress

In 2011, when he was only 9 years old, Milo Cress started to convince restaurants to stop automatically bringing a straw with every drink. His project, Be Straw Free, not only focuses on restaurants but also motivates consumers to order their drinks without a straw whenever they don’t want or need to use one. Straws are items that in most cases are not needed, so not serving them is not only a cost saver for restaurants, but it also made customers more aware of plastic they use and eventually throw away.

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Leather vs faux leather

Faux leather (also pleather or vegan leather) is often used as an alternative to genuine leather, because of animal welfare issues. But is it also better for the environment? Some people might argue that animal leather is natural and thus more environmentally friendly. But the animal´s skin needs to be treated in a chemical process called tanning to make leather.

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Batteries

As people use more portable power-consuming devices, the demand for batteries increases. Think cell phones, (video) cameras, , laptops, (remote controlled) toys and electric cars. Worldwide billions of batteries are thrown away each year and all of these contain toxic and corrosive materials, like cadmium, mercury, lead and lithium. The production, transportation and distribution of batteries uses up natural resources, contributing to an accelerating depletion of natural resources.

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A Circular Economy

The problem of plastic pollution has been gaining more attention lately and more and more people have come to realize that recycling will just not be enough to stop or even reduce the enormous amounts of plastics entering the environment. The problem of plastic pollution starts long before it reaches our oceans, rivers and beaches. Too many barrels of oil are turned into plastic, and plastic packaging is designed without fully considering what happens to it after it’s used.

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Shawn Heinrichs

Shawn Heinrichs, born in Durban, South Africa, is an artist and Emmy-award winning cinematographer, photographer and marine conservationist and one of the co-creators of the documentary Racing Extinction. He is also the founder of Blue Sphere Media, a production company specializing in underwater, adventure and conservation films. Art is his passion and he uses his photography skills as a tool to contribute to help protect the oceans most threatened species and habitats.

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Milk

Many of us can remember that we were told as kids that milk was good for us. We had to drink it to get our daily intake of calcium so we would have strong and healthy bones. But several studies have shown that consuming more dairy doesn't result in less osteoporosis. On the contrary, a study conducted in Sweden in 2014 has shown that too much milk (three or more glasses a day) was associated with increased mortality and a higher risk of fracture. 

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Good news

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great break and that you have started the new year with some sustainable resolutions. In 2018 several positive things happened around the world and I thought I´d share some of this good news with you to start the new year on a positive note.

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Cereals

Most people see breakfast cereals as a healthy way to start their own or their kids´ day. And why wouldn’t they? Producers boast health claims like “low-fat, nutrient-dense food with many essential vitamins and minerals”. But the recent news about chemicals found in many breakfast cereals has made people question these claims and think about how healthy these cereals actually are.

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Dorothy Stang

Sister Dorothy Stang was born in Dayton, Ohio, one of nine children. She was raised on a farm in a traditional Catholic family and decided early on that she would give her life to God. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur community in 1948 and professed final vows in 1956.

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Real vs fake Christmas trees

As Christmas is coming closer you might be asking yourself which is a better option in terms of the impact on the environment: a real Christmas tree or a fake one? To be able to answer this question, there are a number of factors that need to be considered, such as how far the tree has traveled, how much energy went into producing it and how it is recycled.

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Honey bees

Honey bees (Apis Mellifera) have been in the news quite a lot recently. Honey bees are vanishing at an alarming rate and since the 1970´s already almost 60% of honey bee colonies have disappeared, mostly due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Nobody really knows what causes CCD, but many experts believe CCD can be attributed to a variety of factors: increased use of pesticides, a virus-harboring parasite, inadequate/poor nutrition and bee management stress.

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Toiletpaper

You might be surprised by how much toilet paper is being used every year, but our need for fluffy, extra soft toilet tissue accounts for approximately 15% of our world’s deforestation. It is a single-use paper product that mostly comes from virgin wood. According to environmental research organization Worldwatch Institute, citing the World Wildlife Foundation, global toilet paper production uses about 27,000 trees per day, resulting in almost 9 million trees per year.

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Anne Marieke Eveleens, Saskia Studer and Francis Zoet

Anne Marieke Eveleens, Saskia Studer and Francis Zoet (who became friends teaching sailing classes at the same sailing school) were continuously confronted with plastic debris while on the water. They wanted to come up with a solution to stop plastic from entering the oceans without blocking the continuous ship traffic or fish migration. The solutions that already existed only caught floating debris while a huge part of waste travels lower.

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Fur vs faux fur

Anti-fur protesters have had their impact on the world of fashion. The last London Fashion Week was the first main fashion week in which none of the designers used fur in their shows. This comes many years after fur farming was banned in the UK in 2003 (the import of animal fur remained and is still legal). During the past year big fashion names like Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Furla, John Galliano and Donna Karan have claimed to go fur-free.

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Recycling in the EU

Much of what we consider as trash and throw away in the bin can actually be recycled. Recycling is better for the environment by sending less waste to landfills and by providing materials for new products. Unfortunately, recycling rates are not as high as could be. In Europe recycling rates differ much between countries.

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Balloons

Although balloon releases look beautiful, the effects are devastating to animals and the environment. When balloons land back on earth (sometimes after having traveled thousands of miles and reaching even the most remote places) they litter the land, oceans or rivers and it is basically the same as littering any other kind of trash. Balloons can be mistaken for food and eaten by animals, such as sea turtles, dolphins, whales, fish and birds, and ribbons and strings can lead to entanglement, causing death (all of these animals have been found with balloons in their stomachs).

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