Monday, June 5, 2017

World Environment Day reconnects you to nature


Just go outside and show us that you’re #WithNature. Breathe in the beauty and remember that by keeping our planet healthy, we keep ourselves healthy too.

Connecting people to nature is the theme for 2017. From your backyard to your favorite park, nature is closer than you think. It’s time to get out and enjoy it.

World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organized many thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests.

Our personal transportation choices have a huge impact on air quality. What we drive and how we drive impacts the environment. Motor vehicles give off more than half of all carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions in many cities. These emissions, including microscopic particles, can contribute to breathing and heart problems along with an elevated risk of cancer.

Since most pollution from cars and trucks is due to the burning of fuel, you can reduce pollution from these sources by burning less fuel, burning fuel cleaner and burning cleaner fuel.
  • Next time you purchase a vehicle, buy the most fuel efficient vehicle that meets your average daily needs. 
  • Use transit and car- or van-pool as often as you can. Doing so three times a week can reduce your fuel consumption up to 50%.
  • Bike or walk to avoid fuel use entirely.
  • Telecommute (working from a home-based location via phone or Internet) to reduce driving
  • Minimize driving by working and playing closer to home.
  • Plan errands to avoid unnecessary driving.
  • Accelerate gradually — a smooth start uses less fuel
  • Burn fuel cleaner

Here's another set of guidelines from experts.
  • Keep your vehicle well-tuned and tires inflated properly to reduce exhaust emissions.
  • Combine errands into one trip — cars pollute less when they are warmed up.
  • Avoid idling — idling exhaust contains more pollutants than running exhaust.
  • If you purchase a new car, look for a low emission vehicle or LEV (see under-hood sticker) 
  • Low-sulfur gasoline reduces pollutants by 10-15%
  • 85% ethanol fuel (E85) can be used in flexible fuel vehicles.
  • Other alternative transportation fuels such as natural gas or bio-diesel are most practical for fleets of vehicles.

In recent decades, scientific advances as well as growing environmental problems such as global warming are helping us to understand the countless ways in which natural systems support our own prosperity and well-being.

For example, the world’s oceans, forests and soils act as vast stores for greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane; farmers and fisher-folk harness nature on land and under water to provide us with food; scientists develop medicines using genetic material drawn from the millions of species that make up Earth’s astounding biological diversity.

Billions of rural people around the world spend every working day ‘connected to nature’ and appreciate full well their dependence on natural water supplies and how nature provides their livelihoods in the form of fertile soil. They are among the first to suffer when ecosystems are threatened, whether by pollution, climate change or over-exploitation.

Nature’s gifts are often hard to value in monetary terms. Like clean air, they are often taken for granted, at least until they become scarce. However, economists are developing ways to measure the multi-trillion-dollar worth of many so-called ‘ecosystem services’, from insects pollinating fruit trees in the orchards of California to the leisure, health and spiritual benefits of a hike up a Himalayan valley.

Wherever you are, you could vow to pick up 10 (or 100) pieces of trash, or take inspiration from the citizens of Mumbai and organize a mass beach clean-up.

In the age of asphalt and smartphones and among the distractions of modern life, connections with nature can be fleeting. But with your help, we can make it clearer than ever that we need harmony between humanity and nature so that both are able to thrive.

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