Earth Day 2023

Every year on April 22 it’s Earth Day. This is an international event to raise awareness for the environmental problems we face. On Earth Day people are called to action to help our planet. This Earth Day I want to talk about waste. Just for a moment, really think about this question:

What happens to your stuff when you throw it away?

Yes, some things can be recycled. But a huge part of our waste ends in the ocean or in landfills. There are already millions tons of plastic in the ocean. And sadly it can take 500 years before plastic breaks down. Landfills are also a problem. They produce toxic gas and leak chemicals. These are just a couple of reasons why we should try to create less waste. You can start small. By using a refillable bottle, you already prevent a lot of plastic bottles from becoming waste. Bring your own bags when shopping, so you don’t have to use plastic bags.

If you want to know more about this, I recommend:

  • The TEDx Talk The Non-Disposable Life by Lindsay Miles is a great one for starters. Just like me Lindsay thought she was doing the right thing by recycling. But she realized it’s even better to create less waste or no waste at all.
  • The podcast Sustainainable Minimalists is also interesting. They give tips to live more eco-friendly with less stuff. Especially the episode Fantasy v. Reality was a good one. It’s about how fortunate people make unwanted stuff someone else’s problem. People think they are doing a good deed by donating old clothes to developing countries. But the huge amounts literally pile up. I was quite shocked after listening to this episode.

Non-fiction Books on My TBR-list for Earth Day 2022

Today is Earth Day! It’s an international yearly event to make people aware of ecological problems. The goal is to make people come in action. Read more about Earth Day on this website.

I post about Earth Day every year. Here you can find all my posts. I already wrote several times about books in which nature or the environment plays a role. But all those books were fiction. This time I decided to make a small list with non-fiction books about the climate I want to read. All of them are written by people that inspire me. On my TBR-list are:

No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
It’s amazing what Greta does! I admire her courage to stand up for the climate. At her age I certainly didn’t have the determination and the guts to go on strike or talk to world leaders. This book is a collection of Greta’s climate action speeches. I hope it will inspire me.

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson
I first heard about Ayana Elizabeth Jonhson in the podcast Ologies. In the episode Oceanology she tells about the beauty of the ocean and talks about how the ocean’s health is getting worse. It made me again realize how important it is that we have to do something about climate change. Later I found out that Ayana Elizabeth Jonhson edited a book with poems and essays about the climate crisis. This book with a diversity of contributors seems a great read!

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times by Jane Goodall & Douglas Carlton Abrams
Jane Goodall is an anthropologist famous for the research she did on chimpanzees. She is an outspoken advocate for animal rights and the environment. Jane Goodall is an inspiring woman, and I really want to read one of her books. The Book of Hope sounds like something we all need. It’s about how we can stay hopeful when everything seems hopeless.

Have you read any of these books? Share your thoughts in the comments. I also love getting book recommendations!

Three podcasts to listen on Earth Day

On April 22 it’s Earth Day. Today we celebrate our planet! It’s an international event to make people aware of ecological problems and to do something about it. You can even do small things to help! For example eating less meat and trying to use less plastic. Read more on this website.

I write a blog post about Earth Day every year (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020). Every time I choose a different topic. This year I decided to share some podcast episodes that focus on nature.

BBC Earth Podcast
This podcast has the most beautiful stories about nature. Some of my favourite episodes feature singing wolves (When wolves sing), animals in suburban London (Big hairy neighbours) and a flying rhino (The rhino that flew 10,000 miles).

This is Love
In this podcast you come across all forms of love. There are episodes about romantic love and friendships, and especially interesting on Earth Day: some episodes express a great love for our planet. Three episodes I love in this category are a beautiful encounter with something wild (Episode 2: Something Large and Wild), a love story between two wolves (Episode 19: The Wolves) and an explorer who went into a huge iceberg (Episode 23: Into the Ice).

Solarpunk the Future on Imaginary Worlds
Imaginary Worlds is actually a podcast about science fiction and fantasy. But I’d like to mention one specific episode about solarpunk. This is a subgenre of science fiction. Rather than the past, it takes a hopeful future as inspiration. In solarpunk do it yourself environmental sustainability plays a major role. It’s an interesting subgenre if you’re interested in solutions for the current evironmental problems. I haven’t really explored solarpunk yet, but this podcast episode piqued my interest.

Earth Day & five fun environmental movies

Today is Earth Day, the international celebration of our planet! It’s a yearly event to make people aware of ecological problems and take action. This is a special Earth Day, because it’s the 50th one! The theme of this year is climate action. Everyone can do something to take better care of the Earth. Small things like eating less meat and recycling already help. Click here to find more things you can do from home. I also want to inspire you with a couple of fun movies about the environment. Even if you already watched them, this is a great moment for a rewatch!

Avatar (2009)

Avatar gif

This is a beautiful made animated movie set in the far future. The Earth’s natural resources have become scarce. A valuable mineral can be found on Pandora. This planet is inhabited by the Na’vi, blue-skinned human-like creatures that live in harmony with nature. With the help of avatars humans try colonize the planet to mine the mineral. The movie does a great job in exploring ecology and imperialism. At the same time it’s an adventurous story that I really enjoyed watching.

Wall-E (2008)

Wall-E gif

A Disney classic! Wall-E is an old robot who presses together junk on an abandoned Earth. His only companion is a cockroach. Humans fled, because our planet became uninhabitable due to all the garbage. One day another robot arrives on Earth, looking for a sign of life. The movie is quite slow-paced, but it’s so much fun to watch. It’s amazing how the movie makers were able to make us sympathise with a small robot that barely talks.

Bee movie (2007)

Bee movie gif

I think this movie brilliantly shows the importance of bees for the environment. The main character is Barry B. (Bee) Benson. He just graduated and is now looking for a job in the hive. He accidentally gets into the house of two humans: Vanessa and Ken. While Ken tries to squash him, Vanessa saves his life. Barry and Vanessa become friends. When he is with her in the supermarket, Barry is shocked to learn that humans eat and steal honey from the bees.

Happy Feet (2006)

Happy Feet gif

This movie is all about penguins! Emperor penguins find their soul mates through song, but Mumble can’t sing. He does have a talent for tap dancing. Most of the other penguins ridicule him, but this doesn’t stop Mumble from dancing. The main message of the movie is that it’s okay to be different, but environmental issues like overfishing and plastic in the ocean play a role too.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

The Day After Tomorrow gif

This movie isn’t “fun”like the others, but I had to include a disaster movie! It shows the catastrophic effects of global warning. In the movie the North Atlantic Ocean circulation is disrupted. The consequence is extreme weather like storms and a global cooling down. It’s an exciting movie that could definitively serve as a kind of warning.

Woods in books on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. This is an international event on which many people take action to help our planet. They march, plant trees or join clean ups. Everyone can do something to protect the Earth! Even small things can help. For example using a reusable bottle instead of plastic ones and eating less meat. Here is a list with more tips. Every year Earth Day has a different theme. The theme of 2019 is ‘Protect Our Species‘. Due to human activities like deforestation, pollution and unsustainable agriculture lots of animals are endangered. Think about bees, black rhinos and elephants.

In celebration of Earth Day I made a list with four books in which forests play an important role. May the books inspire you to protect real forests! 😊

Woods in books on Earth Day

1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The forest in this book is evil and powerful. It takes people who enter it. The ones who survive, come out different and just as dangerous as the forest itself. Agnieszka lives in a village close to this forest. Her people rely on a wizard known as the Dragon to protect them. Once every ten years the Dragon demands a young woman to serve him.

2. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
This book is clearly inspired by Alice in Wonderland. It has the same aesthetics and the main character even has the same name. One day Alice’s mother is kidnapped. She left behind a message: ‘Stay away from the Hazel Wood’. This the secret estate of Alice’s grandmother, a woman Alice has never met. The Hazel Wood is of course the place Alice has to find.

3. City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende
The forest in this story is one that actually exists: the Amazon. Alexander joins his grandmother on an International Geographic expedition to this rain forest. Their mission is to find the Beasts, legendary ancient animals.

4. Wildwood by Colin Meloy
This is a children’s story about Prue and Collin. Prue’s baby brother is kidnapped by crows and brought to Wildwood. The two children go to the forest to save him. Wildwood is a magical forest in the middle of Portland. It is inhabited by all kinds of talking animals. I loved the world building and the illustrations in this book. But the plot didn’t always make sense to me.

Earth day & three books about the consequences of climate change

I am quite busy, but I did make time to pay some attention to Earth Day. This day was created to make people aware of ecological concerns and to take action. The theme of this year is ‘End plastic pollution’. Most plastics degrade very slowly. So if someone throws plastic on the ground, it takes dozen years before it decomposes in the environment. In the meantime animals accidentally eat the plastic or it ends up in the ocean. Reason enough to reduce the amount of plastic you use! Before I move on to the books, first some tips:

  • Use a re-usable bottle instead of buying new plastic bottles every time you want to drink water.
  • Always bring you own bag, so you don’t have to buy plastic bags.
  • Buy a bamboo toothbrush instead of a plastic one.

Now I want to recommend some science fiction books about the consquences of climate change. I read the first two books myself, and I really want to read the third book.

Earth day & three books about the consequences of climate change

Exodus by Julie Bertagna
In the year 2100 big parts of the earth has flooded due to global warming. The island of Mara is also drowning. She may be able to save the inhabitants, but their journey only begins when they find a city in the middle of the sea. Although this book is a dystopia, it all felt very realistic.

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
In a far future the earth is bare landscape. To search for the remaining resources, cities have got caterpillar tracks. London is hiding to avoid bigger and faster cities. Tom is one of the inhabitants of London. One day he tumbles down the waste chute and finds himself in the Out-Country.

Want by Cindy Pon
This book is set in a future where the place Taipei is plagued by pollution. Rich people can wear special suits, but the rest gets sick and dies early. The main character, Jason Zhou, will do everything to change this. Want sounds so exciting, it is on top of my TBR-list!

I would love to read more books in which the enviroment plays a role! Do you have recommendations for me? And did you read any of these books?

Climate change 101

Today is an important day: Earth Day. This is a day on which thousands of people take action for the environment. You may not have heard of Earth Day, but I am quite sure you are aware of climate change. You probably know it has something to do with higher temperatures, droughts and floods. Maybe you also heard about the Paris Climate Conference in 2015. Perhaps you already know climate change is an important subject. But you may not know why. Or you just want to learn more about it. Than this post is for you! I have collected some interesting stuff about climate change. I hope this will help you understand why it is important and how you can help to save our earth!

Before the Flood (2016)
In this epic documentary Leonardo DiCaprio goes on a journey to witness climate change firsthand. Everything is very well-explained, and Leonardo DiCarpio also gives solutions that could help to stop it. Before the Flood shows the threat of global warming, but also gives hope for the future. It is one of my all time favourite documentaries!

Screenshot Before the Flood
Screenshot from Before the Flood

TED talk – The case for optimism on climate change | Al Gore
It is important that influential people like Al Gore battle climate change. As a politician he talked a lot about the subject, made two movies about it and is vegan himself. In this informative TED talk he explains why we have to change and that this is totally possible.

TED talk – How we’re growing baby corals to rebuild reefs | Kristen Marhaver
I love TED talks, because you can learn so much in only 20 minutes. Especially the videos about lesser known subjects are interesting, like this one about coral reefs. Kirsten Marhaver told me about a consequence of global warming I wasn’t aware of.

Sustainable baby steps
This website already helped me a lot, and still does. It is the place to be for people who want to live a more sustainable live, but do not know where to start. The site explains why it is important and which steps you can take. It can be as easy as buying a reusable water bottle!

Reduce Footprints
This blog gives simple ideas to reduce your ecological footprint. It is no longer updated, but still has a big list with challenge to live a greener live. The footprint they are talking about measures the quantity of nature that is needed to support you. The problem is that humanity uses more natural capital than Earth can renew. You can measure your own ecological footprint with the Footprint Calculator.

Happy Earth Day! And remember:

“It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can do little.
Do what you can.”
– Sydney Smit

The importance of Earth Day

The importance of Earth Day

Did you know today is Earth Day? I wish I did not have to ask this question. A day on which people take action against environmental issues should be far more important. Not only deserves our planet its own day, it is also necessary. Here is why: climate change is real, it is probably caused by humans and proceeds at a very high rate. Without doubt you have heard about the consequences: higher temperatures, rise of the sea level, melting of sea ice and glaciers, and more extreme weather. But these consequences are not only something for the future. They are happening right now. On photos you can actually see how a lot of glaciers have melted in the last hundred years.

One of the most important actions taken against climate change was the conference held in Paris last December. 195 countries adopted an international climate agreement. Today most of these countries will be represented in New York to sign the Paris Agreement. One of the key goals is to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius between now and 2100. This goal can only be reached if all countries work together, and every one of them will significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

For a long time I asked myself: What difference will make a reduction of my own greenhouse gas emissions? Of course I cannot limit global warming on my own. But I believe every individual can make a difference. By making a change, you can be an inspiration for other people to make the same change, who in their turn can inspire more people. I think it was Mahatma  Gandhi who said:

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Here are some things you can do to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Eat less meat and dairy products. Livestock is responsible for half of all human-related emissions. Cows produce methane that is far more destructive than carbon dioxide. Furthermore, for the land that is necessary to cultivate animal food, thousands of acres of rain forests are destroyed. If everyone would have only one meatless day per week in the United States, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.
  • Choose more often for public transport or your bike instead of your car. Or use an electric car. The burning of gasoline releases carbon dioxide, after all.
  • Buy more organic and sustainable products. Companies make products largely based on the wishes of their consumers. So if more people ask for products that are environment friendly produced, I believe companies will act according to this wish. By buying sustainable products, you also reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. If you buy, for example, a recyclable bag, less materials need to be transported and processed to make new bags.
  • Choose green energy, like wind power or solar panels. Renewable sources of energy produce less carbon dioxide.