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Ivory Victory in China

Image source: National Geographic (2016)

It’s with much contentment to announce that China has finally banned ivory. Chinese authorities announced this decision one year ago, promising that by the end of 2017 they would close all ivory business and implement a ban. Now it is officially so!

Elephant populations declined at an alarming rate from 1980 to 1990. What was an estimated population of 1.3 million plummeted to less than half at 600,000. At this time in 1990, international banning of ivory was being established but this did not stop poaching. In fact, poaching continued and new ivory was passed off as “old” when being traded. In 2017, there was an estimated 415,000 African elephants and an estimated 45,000 Asian elephants left in their population.

Poaching and trading decreases when countries take responsibility within their territories regarding how they may contribute to the issues. China has had a large influence with a large industry in ivory dealing. So with that being said, I think this decision will encourage neighboring countries to take the same step towards conservation.

Sources:
Steyn, Paul. African Elephant Numbers Plummet 30 Percent. National Geographic, 31 Aug 2016.
World Wide Fund for Nature. African elephants. 2017.
World Wide Fund for Nature. Asian elephants. 2017.

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Real Trees vs. Artificial Trees

We are officially 20 days away from the Christmas holiday and, of course, the environmental conversation continues. I want to address our thoughts on real Christmas trees versus artificial ones. At first thought, you would think that artificial trees dominate because they can be reused over & over, year after year, but that’s actually wrong. I know it seems daunting but real trees are recyclable… and I’ll tell you why.

A good amount of artificial Christmas trees are made of polyvinyl chloride, in a much simpler term, PVC. And yes, PVC is a plastic. Although we’re already familiar with this plastic, it’s detrimental to the environment. As soon as it has fulfilled its purpose of being your family’s Christmas tree, the tree still has a long life ahead after you’ve trashed it. PVC can only be quickly decomposed by incineration. Not to say that it cannot decompose in other natural ways, but those ways require much more time than we humans have in an average lifespan. The issue with burning polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the toxins that are emitted into the atmosphere. Dioxins are found, carcinogens are found. Both huge health concerns in manufacturing pesticides and cigarette smoking.

I know it doesn’t seem imminent because there aren’t mass piles of artificial Christmas trees everywhere you look. But when thinking sustainably, garbage simply does not exist. The environment encompasses our reality everyday in everything that we do, so everything we do must be in accordance with creating sustainability. If you haven’t put up your tree yet, consider buying a real one. Benefits include a great smelling home now & a greener earth later!

Feel free to leave questions or comments below or email me at alyssablooms@gmail.com.

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Back to Nature

I had an amazing opportunity over this past weekend (which was also my birthday weekend) to go to the mountains in Catskill, NY. I’m a nature lover as it is so I was excited to say the least. I only stood for 3 days and 3 nights but that was more than enough time to realize I’d love to go back again. It also made me realize how important it is to unplug and connect with nature.

From having limited cellphone service to being completely alone within vast natural spaces. I found myself truly mesmerized by the tranquility it provided. Most people would pick a warm climate to vacation but this was totally ideal for me. The crisp mountain air made it all the more inviting, rejuvenating, and peaceful. If my descriptions aren’t enough… here are some photos from the creek where we stood and the pond at Kaaterskill Wild Forest.

This weekend has encouraged me to make more time for outdoor activities in nature. So I’m encouraging you guys to do the same! Not only does it help to alleviate stress and anxiety, it also grounds you. Having a sense of self in a natural environment really connects you to the bigger picture that you’re apart of. Go outside! Go hiking, take a walk by the beach, collect rocks with your kids, meditate on a park bench… whether it’s local or not… connecting to nature has too many benefits to not make time for!

Have any special places that really provide that nature connection?
Share them with us at alyssa@stayblooming.com.

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Starting An Environmental Conversation

Over the last few months, it has become increasingly important to begin an environmental conversation. I always touch on this because the environment is a topic that a lot of people don’t realize is a priority. With politics finally shedding some light on how important it is, from local communities to internationally, I find myself wanting to educate people on the basics of why the environment deserves our attention.

We are witnessing environmental issues within our lives that’s a direct result of the industrial impact on earth.

We are further compromising the state of our environment by making long-term decisions for short-term profit.

How & what we’re doing to confront & deal with issues depends on the issue itself — meaning there will never one fits all kind of solution.

Our success in creating current sustainability may be able to promise future sustainability. 

The most important thing to remember is that environmental problems are multi-faceted issues. There are so many different aspects to consider and majority of them are ever-changing in nature. So solutions & predictions are harder to determine since there are many moving parts.

To start an environmental conversation, we really need to begin to build our understanding of what the environment does for us. That foundational insight can help us realize the powerful relationship between earth and man. We need to learn more about our surroundings, how much it immediately gives to us, and how our behaviors today affect what it will give us in the future. From romantic relationships to friendships and family bonds, all relationships require a specialized attention to the beloved.

So why not the relationship we have with our only home? 💭

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‘A Name’ by Ada Limón

Image source: Kentucky Lex Go

When Eve walked among the animals and named them —
nightingale, red-shouldered hawk,
fiddler crab, fallow deer —
I wonder if she ever wanted them to speak back,
looked into their wide wonderful eyes and whispered,
Name me, name me.”

– Ada Limón (1976)

I found this poem while riding the NYC subway. I was absolutely enraptured by this short poem and wanted to share it with you all. You can visit the MTA Arts & Design site by clicking here to view more poems and past poetry.