Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Deforestation - The Sustainable Souls Project October 2017

Hello and Welcome to The Sustainable Souls Project October Post.

The Sustainable Souls Project is a monthly artist collaboration inspired by sustainability issues, concerns, ideas, and thoughts.  Each month, we will pick a sustainability topic and create awareness through art, using the monthly theme as inspiration.  Projects may include art-journaling, mixed media, assemblage and more. The idea is to create awareness around Sustainability through art, one paint stroke at a time!  We hope to educate, entertain, and share pretty things for both humans and the earth.
October's theme is all about Deforestation and environmental degradation.  Deforestation is defined as the following:

Clear a forest of trees....those are strong, powerful words.  


Forests cover 31% of the land area on our planet. They produce vital oxygen and provide homes for people and wildlife. Many of the world’s most threatened and endangered animals live in forests, and 1.6 billion people rely on benefits forests offer, including food, fresh water, clothing, traditional medicine and shelter.

But forests around the world are under threat from deforestation, jeopardizing these benefits. Deforestation comes in many forms, including fires, clear-cutting for agriculture, ranching and development, unsustainable logging for timber, and degradation due to climate change. This impacts people’s livelihoods and threatens a wide range of plant and animal species. Some 46-58 thousand square miles of forest are lost each year—equivalent to 48 football fields every minute.


Forests play a critical role in mitigating climate change because they act as a carbon sink—soaking up carbon dioxide that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere and contribute to ongoing changes in climate patterns. Deforestation undermines this important carbon sink function. It is estimated that 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation.

(source wwf.org

Modern Day Plague

Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale, often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but swaths half the size of England are lost each year.
The world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation.
The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Often, small farmers will clear a few acres by cutting down trees and burning them in a process known as slash and burn agriculture.
Logging operations, which provide the world’s wood and paper products, also cut countless trees each year. Loggers, some of them acting illegally, also build roads to access more and more remote forests—which leads to further deforestation. Forests are also cut as a result of growing urban sprawl as land is developed for dwellings.
Not all deforestation is intentional. Some is caused by a combination of human and natural factors like wildfires and subsequent overgrazing, which may prevent the growth of young trees.



Effects of Deforestation


Deforestation can have a negative impact on the environment. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.
Deforestation also drives climate change. Forest soils are moist, but without protection from sun-blocking tree cover, they quickly dry out. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water vapor to the atmosphere. Without trees to fill these roles, many former forest lands can quickly become barren deserts.
Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day, and holds in heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that can be harmful to plants and animals.
Trees also play a critical role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere—and increased speed and severity of global warming.
The most feasible solution to deforestation is to carefully manage forest resources by eliminating clear-cutting to make sure forest environments remain intact. The cutting that does occur should be balanced by planting young trees to replace older trees felled. The number of new tree plantations is growing each year, but their total still equals a tiny fraction of the Earth’s forested land.

(source NationalGeographic.com)


What can you do to help stop deforestation?

1. Begin by hugging a tree. It’s that easy. This is the quickest way to appreciate the important part it plays in your life.

2. And start planting trees. That’s the sum of the domestic campaign so far. Soon, all the neighbors will be carbon copying each other.

3. Also stop printing and go paperless. Whether at home or at work, many of us still have that nasty, lazy habit of not learning to utilize computer files and folders properly. So instead, we print. And, you know what; many of us do this when we think others are not looking. So, there you go. You know it’s wrong.

4. When shopping, move towards buying recycled products mainly. Most recycled items do not derive from areas that have been cleared of natural and rainforests.

5. When at home, recycle as much as possible. By extension, you are continuing with your proactive exercise in diverting the demand for clearing land.

6. In the kitchen, cut down on your meat intake and eat as many vegetarian meals as possible. It’s a best practice and a healthy one on top of it too. Because it remains problematic and time-consuming trying to source meat products that are entirely devoid of being harvested on land that once brimmed with trees.

7. Speaking of meat, do not buy meat products sourced from land where forests have been cleared. At this stage, if you’re prepared to go the whole hog, if you will, you’ll need to spend extra care and time perusing the product’s labels. Also, you’re going to need to extend your knowledge on the multinational companies that produce these pre-packaged supermarket items.

8. To get these things right, your shopping for recycled and sustainable products and your meat products, vigorously check the labels of each item you pick up. A much safer alternative and time-saving effort entails simply buying organic products instead. But avoid the multinationals that have pretentiously jumped onto the organic bandwagon, mainly to drive sales.

9. Palm oil is a type of edible vegetable oil that is derived from the palm fruit, grown on the African oil palm tree. According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared each hour to make way for palm oil production. About 85% of all palm oil globally produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia; but most of the time not using sustainable measures. Unless there’s concrete proof that it’s been sustainably produced, do not buy palm oil at all.

10. Do not use firewood to heat up your fireplaces. It takes few hours to burn the firewood but takes years to grow a single tree. Live in such a way that your activities cause minimum impact on the environment.

11. Encourage people to live in a way that doesn’t hurt environment. Try to bring in more people in your community and let them know about how trees are being destroyed at an alarming rate and what steps we need to take to minimize our carbon footprint on the environment.

12. Returning to the meat and grocery shopping list, do not buy anything from large, multinationals that are actively or indirectly involved or responsible for the clearing of forest land. Shortly we’ll be emphasizing the importance of broadening your knowledge on which companies are guilty. You will be surprised to learn that within a matter of minutes, you’ll unmask them. Globally, active campaigners and NGO’s have already published on the internet which companies are still responsible for clearing forests. They’ll also enlighten you on the progress being made to reverse this.

(source conserve-energy-future.com)


We asked the Sustainable Souls to create, using this theme as an inspiration point and as a point to share what deforestation means to them.  I think you will be amazed at how each artist interpreted the theme and how they shared their message.
Let's see how 'Deforestation' was transformed into art.
(Click names for links to the artist blog post)
Camille McCoy
 

Laura Roberts aka Hasty Pearl
Sydney Drake Hole-Huffaker


Tina Walker




Aren't they simply stunning and fabulous?
What an incredible collection of art!  I personally love the unique characteristics of each piece and what Deforestation means to each person.  

Thank you to each and every artist who took time to create with us this month. 

Want to know more about deforestation? Here's a short video that will explain the details.
Want to support The Sustainable Souls Project?  Grab our badge, located to the right. --- >
Share it, wear it, display it.  ♥

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Fossil Fuels - The Sustainable Souls Project September 2017

Hello and Welcome to The Sustainable Souls Project September Post.

The Sustainable Souls Project is a monthly artist collaboration inspired by sustainability issues, concerns, ideas, and thoughts.  Each month, we will pick a sustainability topic and create awareness through art, using the monthly theme as inspiration.  Projects may include art-journaling, mixed media, assemblage and more. The idea is to create awareness around Sustainability through art, one paint stroke at a time!  We hope to educate, entertain, and share pretty things for both humans and the earth.
September's theme is all about Fossil Fuels, how they are used and how they can be disruptive to the environment.  Fossil energy sources, including oilcoal and natural gas, are non-renewable resources that formed when prehistoric plants and animals died and were gradually buried by layers of rock. Over millions of years, different types of fossil fuels formed -- depending on what combination of organic matter was present, how long it was buried and what temperature and pressure conditions existed as time passed. Today, fossil fuel industries drill or mine for these energy sources, burn them to produce electricity, or refine them for use as fuel for heating or transportation. Over the past 20 years, nearly three-fourths of human-caused emissions came from the burning of fossil fuels.

(source Energy.gov)


Fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, are currently the world's primary energy source. Formed from organic material over the course of millions of years, fossil fuels have fueled U.S. and global economic development over the past century. Yet fossil fuels are finite resources and they can also irreparably harm the environment. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the burning of fossil fuels was responsible for 79 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. These gases insulate the planet, and could lead to potentially catastrophic changes in the earth’s climate. Technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) may help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions generated by fossil fuels, and nuclear energy can be a zero-carbon alternative for electricity generation. But other, more sustainable solutions exist: energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Despite current U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, several options exist to begin the necessary transition away from a harmful fossil fuel economy. Improving the energy efficiency of buildings, vehicles, industrial processes, appliances and equipment is the most immediate and cost effective way to reduce energy use. Planning communities where people can safely and conveniently use public transit, walk, or bike, instead of using private vehicles, also reduces energy demand. Finally, there are several alternative resources that can supply clean, renewable energy to replace fossil fuels, including water, biomass, wind, geothermal, and solar energy.

(source eesi.org)


Crude oil, which is in its most basic form, mineral deposits formed deep in the earth or under the sea bed, has been discovered and exploited all around the world for just over 150 years. It is transformed into oil, which is then refined into petrol or petroleum products (plastic is a petroleum derivative, for example), and is produced at the rate of several million barrels a day. This is often described as the energy of the world. Without a doubt, despite obfuscation by several countries, oil production the world over is now peaking, as each oilfield has been mined and depleted - simply, we are running out of oil supplies. Technologies are highly advanced in scanning for potential new seams of oil, but there are fewer and fewer places to look.

However they are obtained, whether through traditional or new methods such as fracking, burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas results in the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which cause global warming. This is a stark truth, but the scientific facts point to significant warming, indicated by sea levels rising, hotter temperatures and freakish storm weather patterns, like tsunami's and hurricanes, becoming more and more regular.

Many campaigners might argue that we should worry least about the impact that the depletion of resources will have on humans, but maybe we should look at this impact first. Oil has been the cause of many wars - the debate continues about the US/UK military presence in Iraq, and as it becomes scarcer, so may oil-hungry nations become ever more desperate and willing to fight for it. In the last fifty years, we in the richer hemisphere have become so dependent on oil for our luxurious lifestyles, based on possessions and travel that our political systems and livelihoods often completely depend on the fuels we need to run them. However, this crisis we are in,could also become the technological turning point, away from reliance on precious natural resources, and utilising renewable resources. Sun, wind, and renewable crops (to make bio-fuel, in this instance) are the major resources that are already being used, but more needs to be done in the fields of research and development to make a transition across to the energy gained from these. At the same time, the realisation needs to spread throughout the world how our lifestyles must change - how our blind dependency upon fossil fuel must halt.

Find out for yourself what you can do to change your lifestyles, starting with your houses - making some of the changes highlighted on our site, using less fuel, flying less, considering changing over to solar and/or wind power, and above all, to keep engaged with the issue.

(source sustainablebuild.co.uk)


We asked the Sustainable Souls to create, using this theme as an inspiration point and as a point to share what Fossil Fuels means to them.  I think you will be amazed at how each artist interpreted the theme and how they shared their message.
Let's see how 'Fossil Fuels' was transformed into art.
(Click names for links to the artist blog post)
Camille McCoy

Melissa Johnson


Susan Davison


Tina Walker


Tracy Krueger


Aren't they simply stunning and fabulous?
What an incredible collection of art!  I personally love the unique characteristics of each piece and what Fossil Fuels means to each person.  
Thank you to each and every artist who took time to create with us this month. 
Will fossil fuels run out?  Here's a short video that explain fossil fuels and what is in our future.
Want to support The Sustainable Souls Project?  Grab our badge, located to the right. --- >
Share it, wear it, display it.  ♥

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Green Space - The Sustainable Souls Project August 2017

Hello and Welcome to The Sustainable Souls Project August Post.

The Sustainable Souls Project is a monthly artist collaboration inspired by sustainability issues, concerns, ideas, and thoughts.  Each month, we will pick a sustainability topic and create awareness through art, using the monthly theme as inspiration.  Projects may include art-journaling, mixed media, assemblage and more. The idea is to create awareness around Sustainability through art, one paint stroke at a time!  We hope to educate, entertain, and share pretty things for both humans and the earth.
August's theme is all about how to use and enhance your natural and artificial habitat for a sustainable life.  Green Space, Natural Ventilation, Trees, Plants, and Air Purification are all connected in the search for a Sustainable Future and represent a fundamental component of any eco-system.

"Green spaces such as parks and sports fields as well as woods and natural meadows, wetlands or other ecosystems, represent a fundamental component of any urban ecosystem. Green urban areas facilitate physical activity and relaxation, and form a refuge from noise. Trees produce oxygen, and help filter out harmful air pollution, including airborne particulate matter. Water spots, from lakes to rivers and fountains, moderate temperatures.
Urban parks and gardens play a critical role in cooling cities, and also provide safe routes for walking and cycling for transport purposes as well as sites for physical activity, social interaction and for recreation. Recent estimates show that physical inactivity, linked to poor walkability and lack of access to recreational areas, accounts for 3.3% of global deaths.
Green spaces also are important to mental health. Having access to green spaces can reduce health inequalities, improve well-being, and aid in treatment of mental illness. Some analysis suggests that physical activity in a natural environment can help remedy mild depression and reduce physiological stress indicators."



Besides the enviromental benefits of green space, it can enhance your mood and happiness levels.  This Time article has more details.  


How can you improve your own personal Greenspace?

1. Take care of your grass. While this may seem like an obvious piece of advice, it’s often overlooked. Taking care of your own front yard is a good first step toward protecting and maintaining your green space. Lawns play a major role in protecting ground water by reducing runoff, thus preventing soil erosion, maintaining soil permeability and conserving water. Lawns also provide an extension of your overall living space, and for many families they become an enjoyable private oasis.

2. Choose flowers and plants that suit your area’s climate. It’s imperative to choose plants and flowers that tolerate your area’s climate. Choosing the correct plants will ensure a beautiful garden year after year and make the job of caring for your plants much easier. Having a beautiful green space has also been known to lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension, improve attention spans and reduce feelings of fear and aggression.

3. Prune, prune, prune. Pruning is important to maintain your flowers, plants and shrubs year after year, but it also needs to be done correctly. Improper pruning can actually be more harmful than neglecting to prune completely. Proper pruning will produce better blooms, maintain a plant’s desired size, and can even rejuvenate an older shrub. Having well-maintained flowers and shrubs will not only make your green space more attractive, but it will also provide a protective habitat for birds and other creatures that serve to enhance the natural beauty of your outdoor living space.

4. Enrich your soil with a compost pile. Who knew those old coffee grounds, filters and dryer lint could be the golden ticket to creating a beautiful green space? These types of materials, combined with yard clippings, wood chips and leaves, regenerate your soil. The breakdown of these materials creates humus, which is a nutrient-filled material, helping the soil to retain moisture. Compost can also cut down on plant disease and repel pests that are damaging to your yard. Creating a compost pile will not only provide rich nutrients that your soil needs, but it also helps the environment by cutting back on landfill waste, thus extending the life of the landfill.

5. Plant a tree. Planting a tree is one of the most simple and effective activities you can perform to improve your green space. In areas of new construction, many neighborhoods start out virtually treeless. The results include high cooling costs, less oxygen and more pollutants. There are many trees that are inexpensive and fast-growing. In fact, some can grow up to 12’ per year, quickly reversing the effects of new construction. Trees not only help to keep the heat out of the house, but they also cool the outside temperature around your home as well. A study in Huntsville, Ala. showed a 31-degree difference between the shaded and unshaded areas of a parking lot. By using trees to modify temperatures, the amount of fossil fuels used for cooling and heating is reduced.



We asked the Sustainable Souls to create, using this theme as an inspiration point and as a point to share what Green Space means to them.  I think you will be amazed at how each artist interpreted the theme and how they shared their message.
Let's see how 'Green Space' was transformed into art.
(Click names for links to the artist blog post)
Camille McCoy


Melissa Johnson



Tina Walker


Tracy Krueger

In addition this month, we have TWO very special Guest Artists who are Sustainable Souls at heart and fully embrace Green Space and saving our planet!  ♥
First up, please welcome Catherine Scanlon!  Catherine is a wonderful artist and human!  We are so happy and thrilled that she is joining us this month!
Let's see how she was inspired by the theme.....

 Next up is Roxanne Evans Stout.  Roxanne is a fabulous teacher and spirit and we are so excited that she has joined us this month.  


Aren't they simply stunning and fabulous?
I'd like to say a special THANK YOU to each of our Guest Artists.  We appreciate you taking the time to create with us this month and for embracing the importance of Sustainability.

What an incredible collection of art!  I personally love the unique characteristics of each piece and what Green Space means to each person.  

Thank you to each and every artist who took time to create with us this month. 

Do you want to know what Cities are currently doing to create more Urban Green?  Here is a fantastic video by WWF International.


Want to support The Sustainable Souls Project?  Grab our badge, located to the right. --- >
Share it, wear it, display it.  ♥

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Save the Honey Bees - The Sustainable Souls Project July 2017

Hello and Welcome to The Sustainable Souls Project July Post.

The Sustainable Souls Project is a monthly artist collaboration inspired by sustainability issues, concerns, ideas, and thoughts.  Each month, we will pick a sustainability topic and create awareness through art, using the monthly theme as inspiration.  Projects may include art-journaling, mixed media, assemblage and more. The idea is to create awareness around Sustainability through art, one paint stroke at a time!  We hope to educate, entertain, and share pretty things for both humans and the earth.
July's theme is a very important theme.  Honey Bees are crucial to the environment and aide in the pollination and growth of many of our food products.  

"Honey bees — wild and domestic — perform about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. Grains are primarily pollinated by the wind, but fruits, nuts and vegetables are pollinated by bees. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops — which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition — are pollinated by bees.

Biologists have found more than 150 different chemical residues in bee pollen, a deadly “pesticide cocktail” according to University of California apiculturist Eric Mussen. The chemical companies Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow, DuPont and Monsanto shrug their shoulders at the systemic complexity, as if the mystery were too complicated. They advocate no change in pesticide policy. After all, selling poisons to the world’s farmers is profitable.
Furthermore, wild bee habitat shrinks every year as industrial agribusiness converts grasslands and forest into mono-culture farms, which are then contaminated with pesticides. To reverse the world bee decline, we need to fix our dysfunctional and destructive agricultural system."



What can you do to save the Honey Bee?  The Honey Bee Conservancy has several ways to help.




You can reduce or eliminate the amount of pesticides you use.  Explore organic ways to grow plants, such as using compost for healthy soil and controlling pests with homemade remedies and bio-controls such as ladybugs.


We asked the Sustainable Souls to create, using this theme as an inspiration point and as a point to share what Save the Honey Bees means to them.  I think you will be amazed at how each artist interpreted the theme and how they shared their message.
Let's see how 'Save the Honey Bees' was transformed into art.
(Click names for links to the artist blog post)

Camille McCoy




Laura Mooney


Kristie Taylor


Melissa Johnson






Aren't they fabulous?

What an incredible collection of art!  I personally love the unique characteristics of each piece and what Saving the Bees means to each person.
Thank you to each and every artist who took time to create with us this month.  
Want to learn more about bees and what you can do to help save them?  Here's a short video that may answer your questions.
Want to support The Sustainable Souls Project?  Grab our badge, located to the right. --- >
Share it, wear it, display it.  ♥

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Carbon Footprint - The Sustainable Souls Project June 2017

Hello and Welcome to The Sustainable Souls Project June Post.

The Sustainable Souls Project is a monthly artist collaboration inspired by sustainability issues, concerns, ideas, and thoughts.  Each month, we will pick a sustainability topic and create awareness through art, using the monthly theme as inspiration.  Projects may include art-journaling, mixed media, assemblage and more. The idea is to create awareness around Sustainability through art, one paint stroke at a time!  We hope to educate, entertain, and share pretty things for both humans and the earth.
June's theme is an interesting concept, Carbon Footprint.  What is your Carbon Footprint?  Let's start with a definition.


Where did the concept of your Carbon Footprint come from?
The carbon footprint concept took hold at a 1979 U.S. Senate energy committee discussion about the “environmental footprint” of government operations in Yosemite National Park. Tom Rawls, chief environmental officer for Green Mountain, is largely credited with the first quoted use of “carbon footprint” in a Seattle Times article, “Carbon Count: Forests Enlisted in Global Warming War,” published November 18, 2000. From there, the term gained wider use through a 2005 British Petroleum advertising campaign.
While a host of greenhouse gases cause climate change, scientists identify carbon dioxide as the largest source. The U.S. Energy Information Administration found that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels accounted for 82 percent of the greenhouse gas released in 2006. Power plants, factories and transportation generate the majority of fossil fuel usage. Personally, the way your travel, the electricity you use, the products you buy and the food you eat all contribute to your carbon emissions.
The main way to reduce your carbon footprint is to decrease your energy consumption. For travel, use public transportation or low-emission vehicles. Insulate your home, use energy-efficient products and reuse or recycle as much as possible. You can also compensate for the effects of your carbon footprint through carbon offsetting. The Nature Conservancy and other organizations provide carbon offset programs that invest donations toward protecting land and planting trees, both proven ways to reduce greenhouse gases.
(source livestrong.com)

On average, U.S. household food consumption emits 8.1 metric tons of CO2e each year. The production of food accounts for 83% of emissions, while its transportation accounts for 11%.
The emissions associated with food production consist mainly of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (NO2), which result primarily from agricultural practices.
Meat products have larger carbon footprints per calorie than grain or vegetable products because of the inefficient transformation of plant energy to animal energy.
Ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats produced 164 million metric tons (mmt) in CO2e of methane in the U.S. in 2014 through enteric fermentation (digestion).
Eating all locally grown food for one year could save the GHG equivalent of driving 1,000 miles, while eating a vegetarian meal one day a week could save the equivalent of driving 1,160 miles.
 A vegetarian diet greatly reduces an individual’s carbon footprint, but switching between different types of meat can have a major impact as well.  For example, replacing all beef consumption with chicken for one year leads to an annual carbon footprint reduction of 882 pounds CO2e.
Organic food typically requires 30-50% less energy during production but requires one-third more hours of human labor compared to typical farming practices, making it more expensive


Iinterested in what your Carbon Footprint is and where you can reduce it?  There are many Carbon Footprint calulators on-line, but here a FREE carbon footprint calculator from nature.org.
We asked the Sustainable Souls to create, using this theme as an inspiration point and as a point to share what Carbon Footprint means to them.  I think you will be amazed at how each artist interpreted the theme and how they shared their message.
Let's see how 'Carbon Footprint' was transformed into art.
(Click names for links to the artist blog post)

Camille McCoy


Michele Kosciolek


In addition this month, we have a very special Guest Artist who is a fellow Sustainable Soul, Deb Weiers.  I fell in love with Deb's 'human' art and thought she would be a perfect guest to join us this month.  We are happy and thrilled that she is joining us this month!


 Aren't they fabulous?
I'd like to say a special THANK YOU to our Guest Artist.  We appreciate you taking the time to create with us this month and for embracing the importance of Sustainability.
What an incredible collection of art!  I personally love the unique characteristics of each piece and what Carbon Footprint means to each person.
Thank you to each and every artist who took time to create with us this month.  

Want to know what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint?  Here's a short video that shows easy ways to make an impact.
Want to support The Sustainable Souls Project?  Grab our badge, located to the right. --- >
Share it, wear it, display it.  ♥