Saturday, 23 April 2016

Inspiration and Earth Day

What inspires me to care about our most gorgeous planet,
Is part the logical, scientific reasoning; that we humans are reliant upon it for our resources,
and is part the profound beauty that can be found in it.

Just through exploring, we can glimpse the intricacies of ecosystems, habitats and relationships- something I have grown to love through learning biology. We can understand how our own existence is reliant on these organisms, just through watching a bee pollinate a flower, for we need pollinators to make all of our fruits.

There are no "Do Not Touch" signs in the wild, we are free to navigate the textures of nature's sculptures at our own risk. There are so many more intricacies and patterns, so many subtle hues and colours that we could not begin to replicate.

With this in mind, happy belated earth day (In NZ),
Go celebrate and take yourself exploring.
Jacques Cousteau said people protect what they love.
So go fall in love with out planet.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Humans will be humans.

Humans don't suck.

There is a state you can easily fall into whilst becoming more educated about current issues, both environmental and otherwise.
Learning about Climate change for the first time, as well as the refugee situation, briefly put me into this way of thinking, 
That's the: Humans Suck mindset. 

Symptoms are: becoming despondent, losing all faith in humanity, and resigning yourself to a life of misery and woe and powerlessness.

Fear not, my friends, there is still hope.
We are but humans.

We have done some terrible and wonderful things.
We're not great at being long-sighted, but I like to think we're working on it.
We experiment and we build,
We break and we smash,
We create art and music,
We create wars and bombs.
We love and we hate.
We make mistakes.

And we have opportunities to fix them
And if we don't amend them now,
Maybe we won't have the chance to ever be humans again.

In short, we are neither good or bad,
but what we choose to be.

Thanks for reading,

Hey everyone, I'm really sorry for the inactivity recently,  I've been a bit overwhelmed with life, but I'm back now.

I've noticed that photos on some earlier posts aren't loading properly; I'll try fix that. 
I apologise for my lack of witty Donald Trump joke in this post. 
Photo: Google Images

Monday, 15 February 2016

Climate change... The elephant in our room.

Climate change. 

The short version:  
Ever since the industrial revolution, when humans began burning coal in higher quantities -to fuel the increasing demand for electricity in factories and the likes, as well as a cheap way to heat homes- carbon dioxide has been created in increasing quantities*. 

Carbon Dioxide or CO2, is a harmless gas in small quantities, it is colourless, odourless, and all animals produce it as a waste product of life processes. 

What's the big deal? You just said it's harmless, and don't plants recycle it to create oxygen? 
I hear you say. 

You are right, plants do use it to create oxygen through a process called photosynthesis** which we all know is crucial for human and animal survival (thank you plants). 

the big deal is the amount of carbon dioxide being produced, through the use of cars and unsustainable methods of electricity production as well as numerous other human activities and machines, has reached a level where plants are unable to recycle all of it. 

So being a gas, the remaining CO2 skedaddles up into a thin layer of gasses called the atmosphere. The huge amounts of CO2 being produced then begins to thicken the atmosphere, causing radiation from the sun to be trapped within our atmosphere, instead of escaping or rebounding off. 

Due to the effect of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, the earth's overall temperature is increasing. 

This can be upsetting to lots of weather and climate patterns, causing them to change drastically in a relatively short space of time. Funnily enough, in some places the temperature has been getting cooler, as the weather patterns begin to change. 

The Arctic and Antarctica are not. 

I'm sure you're very familiar with the poster child of Climate Change. 
Polar Bears directly rely on sea ice for hunting their prey, and as the earth warms up, the sea ice melts faster every year, giving the bears less time to hunt.
Meaning that the chance of a successful catch decreases.
As do the numbers of polar bears.  

The maps here show the world as it is now, with only one difference: All the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea, raising it 216 feet (aprox 66 meters) and creating new shorelines for our continents and inland seas - exert from National Geographic. 

I know that if these state of events continues, my house would be completely underwater.

A bit overwhelming isn't it? 

It would be if you tried to tackle this immense problem all in one go by yourself.
Luckily there are so many other passionate, conscientious people also making a difference.

Environmentalists, anthropologists, biologists, chemists, physicists, teachers, parents, children, students, scientists are all working together on this problem.

But like the the problem, no solution is isolated.
We are going to need all the help we can get.

The first thing we can do is to stop relying so heavily on fossil fuels and to start using our feet, bicycles or public transport. You could make that decision right now.

We can increase public awareness by holding conventions and seminars, even just by sharing this blog, or by talking about this stuff in everyday conversation.

We can plant trees to reduce our carbon footprint.

In short, there is a lot we can do.

The question is will you?

Thanks for reading,

P.S Next week I will be doing a much, much lighter post.

*This is because of combustion. Combustion is the burning of a fuel to produce energy and light. Carbon dioxide and water are always products of combustion.  The way coal plants work is that the heat from burning fossil fuels was used to evaporate water. The steam would then turn turbines producing energy.

** Ahh, my old friend photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the conversion of carbon dioxide and water, catalysed by light, into glucose (plant food) and oxygen.
The chemical equation reads as such: 6CO+ 6H2O ------> C6H12O+ 6O2  

Polar bear photo:

Monday, 1 February 2016

Get out there, go volunteering.

There is a rather vicious rumour going around that volunteers receive nothing for giving up their time.

This is most certainly untrue.

This was me, yesterday, volunteering at Sustainable Coastlines' building: The Flagship, in Wynyard Quarter, The Viaduct.

The sign is made completely out of rubbish collected from Ponui island in the Hauraki gulf. 30 people collected a whopping 6 bags full rubbish bags of trash along the beach, in less than four hours. It reads; Pirates of Ponui

The sign, along with a timelapse of it being created, will be used in a new Sustainable Coastlines promo video.

I was there for eight hours, and man, did I get a lot back from that day.

I mean, how flipping cool is that sign? And I got to help make it! In fact, everyone who walked through got to. And I even got to teach some people about marine conservation and marine trash, two things I am very passionate about.

I am also a regular volunteer at Motutapu island. Myself and some friends head there once a fortnight, spend most of the time working, some of the time bickering, and the remainder eating free sausages and relaxing on a beautiful island knowing we've done our bit for today.

That's a pretty good deal, in my eyes.

Whatever your cause is, whether it is marine litter and conservation (like myself), or scientific research like a few of my friends, or human rights, there is always something out there to do, someone to help, somewhere to volunteer.

Now that I think about it, that sign is a good metaphor for volunteer work:
Every little bottle cap glued to that piece of ply helps makes the message more impactful.

In the same way, every person, no matter who they are, when they go volunteering, has the ability to make an impact; every action makes a difference.

Get out there.

Thanks for reading, 

Google is your friend when it comes to volunteering.

Check Department of Conservation and Council sites for volunteer opportunities.

You can volunteer at some of the islands in the hauraki gulf, such as Tiri Tiri Matangi, Motuihe and of course Motutapu.

Check out:

And finally, Sustainable Coastlines runs events all year round, or you can make your own.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Waste minimisation and alliteration.

Over the last four days I have been attending a leadership programme called MAD marine.

It was truly inspiring, educating and empowering. 
I learnt a few more interesting things about waste, water, and people. 

The most intriguing thing I learnt was about recycling, and how not all plastics are recycled, some, instead are burnt as fuel. 

Okay, so everyone knows about the three R's. 
Reduce, reuse, recycle. The alliteration sensation for waste minimisation. 
Jack Johnson even wrote a song about them (video directly below)

However, recycling is  NOT the answer for protecting our oceans from marine litter, it is more the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, the sticking plaster on the amputated leg, so on and so forth. 
Glass, aluminium and some metals are all great to be recycled, and most plastics too. 

Plastics however, become of a lesser and lesser quality the more they are recycled. In some cases, the plastics are sold overseas to other countries where they are burned as fuel. 
Below is an amazing video called the story of stuff. 
It is an excellent video to watch, as it explains where our trash comes from, where it goes, as well as the concept of materialism. 

On a final note, there is a new addition to the waste minimisation alliteration sensation called refuse. 
It is the best way to decrease the amount of rubbish you put to landfill. 
Simply say no. No to plastic bags and single use items like straws, lollipop sticks, polystyrene cups, coffee cup lids, rappers, cling film, the list goes on and on and on. 

So, when you're out there shopping at a supermarket, to bring your reusable bags and minimise the use of the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. 

Thanks for reading, 

Shout out to any MAD participants reading this. 
You guys rock. 

Sunday, 10 January 2016


Bats are seriously misunderstood creatures. 

When I say bat, you say: Vampires! Blood! Scary! 
When I say bat, I think: 

Long tailed bats and short tailed bats are the only land mammals native to New Zealand.
They roost in small crevices and holes, in trees and some urban structures. When the bats go to sleep, they will not wake up until nightfall, as the bats descend into a type of trance. Even if they are shaken out of their roosts, they will simply fall to the ground, where they can be trodden on, or eaten by stoats and other introduced pests.
Due to a number of threats such as habitat loss and predation from pests, these particularly vulnerable fuzzballs are classed as critically endangered.

Bats are far more interesting than they appear to be; underneath their stereotype of being vicious, scary blood thirsty creatures (which is ridiculous when you consider there are perhaps as many as 1,200 species of bat, and only 3 have blood as a part of their diet) they are actually very fascinating, spunky creatures.

So, just because animals may look one way, or have a bad rap, like bats, doesn't mean that we shouldn't protect them, or spend time and money researching them.

In fact, National Geographic's latest issue (January 2016) has a section on the importance of vultures for the wellbeing of the Saharan ecological system! I don't know any animal with a more repulsive reputation than that, yet this article explains how important they are in stopping infection that could be otherwise passed on by rotten carcasses.

It is my opinion that every animal has a key role in the ecosystem, if it is not blaring the apparent in the present, we can be sure it will be some time in the future.
Aesthetics or reputation do not negate the importance of an individual, or their interestingness.
The same can be said for humans!

With this idea in mind, always keep an eye out for some unusual and unique species. You never know what you might find.

Thanks for reading,

Photo of bat from NZ DoC website

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Say what? Mermaids cry plastic.

It's summer weather, which means it is beach weather.
At least it is in down under the down under. 

If you happen to be enjoying the beautiful weather on a beach, I'd like you to keep an eye out for mermaid's tears. 
That may sound like a cryptic ingredient out of some sort of fantasy movie,
But mermaids tears, AKA Nurdles (hahahaha, nurdles) are real round balls of plastic that are about 1/4 of the size of your pinky nail.
And are no laughing matter. 


Mermaid's tears can be found on practically every beach in the world. They are shipped across the world so that they can be melted down to form bigger pieces of plastic, as well as being used for packaging other items, in the way that polystyrene balls do. 

So, no big deal right? They're only small beads... 

That look really similar to fish eggs.

Fish eggs are consumed by numerous species of marine animals, as they are rich in nutrients.

Mermaid's tears do not biodegrade, or break down, because it is made of plastic*. In this way, the mermaid's tears can accumulate within the digestive system of marine animals, eventually poisoning them.

So, keep an eye out for these tears, pick them up if you can, and tell other people about them.
Disclaimer: Mermaid's Tears are not made by mermaids, but by the human race. It is unfair that we blame the pollution of the ocean on mermaids.

Thanks for reading,

*This is because of the type of bonding that occurs between the monomers of polypropene or polyethene, The monomers are made up of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Due to the long carbon chain length of polymers (which are comprised of many monomers joined together in a large chain), a lot of energy is required to break the bonds, as the long carbon chain length means that the forces of attraction between the monomers is very strong. Thus, plastic does not biodegrade easily as the sun's energy is not enough to separate the monomers.
If you wish to know more about the subject, I suggest Google, or taking chemistry.