Littering is Not The Only Problem

Littering is Not The Only Problem

In our efforts to reduce waste, we have often heard people say that the “real” problem is the people who throw their garbage on the sidewalk and out their car windows. Of course, we agree that we should change this behavior, but the truth is that littering is not the only problem. We need to change the entire system because the plastic and other trash that floats in the world’s oceans actually, some do decompose and release potentially toxic substances into the water. The increasing volume of waste is a major concern for humans and the environment.

The most durable plastic items, such as bottles, disposable nappies and beer holders, can take 450 years to biodegrade – over five times the average life expectancy of a British person. In terms of plastic bottles alone, the UK is generating a gargantuan amount of long-term waste by throwing away an estimated 35 million every year

First, much of the litter items we see—aluminum cans, straws, plastic bags, etc.—are lightweight and easily blow off of garbage trucks, landfills, and off the tops of recycling and trash cans. How often have we seen overflowing bins with trash spilling over onto the sidewalk? These items are also easily transported during rain events, when rain carries them downstream and into watersheds, usually ending up in lakes, rivers, and oceans. Therefore, even items that are properly disposed of find their way into local neighborhoods and critical habitats alike.

Even when plastic trash is properly disposed and goes to its intended destination, it still causes problems. Plastic that is sent to landfills mixes with organic waste, which causes plastic residues to leach into the soil and groundwater. Conversely, plastic that is sent to an incinerator is burned, which emits toxic fumes into the atmosphere and decreases air quality.

We have also had many partners and community members tell us that they do their part for the environment by recycling their plastic. As commendable as recycling is however, it is simply not enough.

The life cycle of disposable products and the harm that comes with it is much more than meets the eye. First, petroleum must be extracted from underground, much of which is located under critical habitats. Then, materials must be hauled in trucks—which emit pollutants and carbon dioxide— to processing plants, which require energy and water to transform the raw materials into products. The finished products are then transported hundreds of miles to their place of use, where they are typically used for about 20 minutes or less before being thrown in the recycling bin. From there, the items must be hauled once again to a recycling facility hundreds or often thousands of miles away to be transformed once again, which requires even more energy and water, before being carried yet again by truck or barge to another destination for use. Even with recycling included in the cycle, the whole process destroys habitats, emits pollutants and greenhouse gases, spends energy, and wastes water.

Pile of harvested sand

Pile of harvested sand

Thus, the issue is not just with certain people and their behavior; the issue is that there are just too many of these plastic items in the first place. By eliminating these items from our daily routine, we curb their profitability and thereby reduce and ultimately stop their production. The surefire way to prevent litter, groundwater contamination, air pollution, and harm to marine life is to get rid of single-use plastics from the start. The best way to deal with this problem is to avoid products that generate waste materials that take more than a year to decompose in landfills.

Purdue Visit Amara

Purdue Visit Amara

We at Amara Conservation believe that a big number of Kenyan children have never seen an elephant before or even the most common of wildlife species due to the associated costs of visiting National Parks in Kenya.  For this reason, Amara, together with Purdue University students arranges free field trips into Tsavo East and West National Parks, while encouraging children to form Wildlife Clubs and embrace their wildlife and environment. We enroll the kids together with the school at wildlife clubs of Kenya; student’s cards can be renewed annually. Seeing wild animals in their own habitats helps the children to understand the vital heritage we have and gives them a strong understanding of the importance of protecting them.

Having Purdue University students visit every year-round is not only a blessing to us as Amara but also a privilege to students in larger Taita-Taveta County. Mariwenyi Primary was the school for this year’s trip.

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last year Purdue group of students had a chance to visit interact with Mrabenyi Secondary School, the group couldn’t help but notice the joy in their faces and eagerness to learn mingle with the university kids. They even performed a traditional Taita traditional song for them. It is a memory forever etched in the Purdue kids, and one they will treasure forever. US students donated the hoes, balls and watering cans to the school.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

We believe that by exposing young school kids to wildlife, they will grow to respect and adore conservation in a positive approach in their lives. We welcome anyone on board as we make this once in a lifetime opportunity to these young generation, and as Amara would like to be able to give every single student in Kenya the opportunity to visit the parks, but it’s an expensive endeavor.

 

 

Trees for the Future

Trees for the Future

Education is the most critically important tool in enabling humankind to survive in all sorts of environments and circumstances. The United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) backs this idea by asking all UN member states to stand firm in supporting children to go to school so that they can become active participants of transformation in their societies. The organization adds that by providing quality, relevant and inclusive education to all human races and ethnicity, the world would arrive at its peak much earlier than expected and provide a binding instrument for a fair living planet.

Also, it has been documented that children learn better when they are surrounded by nature, so enriching their environment with trees and flowers will enable them to become better students.

We at Amara together with Purdue University have been involving kids in tree planting sessions. The project greatly raises awareness on the importance of trees and shrubs. We know that the best way to inspire a love for nature is to start teaching it at a young age. By having students learn every aspect of tree planting and care, from choosing a species to harvesting viable seeds to putting them in the ground and everything in between, it becomes second nature to them.

The kids of Mariwenyi Primary School learned how to plant and care for trees. And now they understand why the practices we taught them are important to our well-being. By having high school students teach what they learned to the preschoolers, they not only become advocates, but, they get to experience the wonder and delight of a child’s view, which strengthens their own experience. Most did not understand why caring for trees before, during, and after they are planted leads to healthy trees. It prompted opportunities for real learning, like explaining that we can’t just throw a tree or shrub in the ground and walk away. We had to emphasize that planting a tree in a dry and settled environment is not the same as a tree growing in a forest and that a tremendous amount of care is needed.

 

Planting trees and gardens at schools helps beautify the community and schools. The newly grown trees will clean the air. They will clean the water runoff from the buildings with their roots. They not only enrich the students and residents’ lives, they enrich the earth that they now inhabit. As the gardens start to flower, they will attract bees, birds, and butterflies — all of which we need to pollinate food gardens in the community.

The scenery will bring an aura of peace to the area. Personally, it eases my soul to watch the birds, insects, and wildlife flit among the trees and flowers. If I feel stress from the outside world, I go into nature to quiet my mind and bring me to a place of serenity. So, I imagine that for the high school students who are under great pressure, bringing nature to them is a relief. To now be surrounded by greenery, singing birds, and blooming flowers than before it was a barren concrete landscape.

One of the most rewarding parts of the project was that even though it was about education, no one had to teach the preschool children to be happy about trees. They understand that to the core of their being. Watching them dance, hug, and sing to the trees was delightful beyond measure. To bear witness that kind of joy and appreciation was the best part of the whole experience.

 

All Animals have Feelings

All Animals have Feelings

Family is strength for each of us. We all need each other whether close relative or close friend. One family cannot live alone without the other families. We all want to live in a place where there is security, unity, freedom of movement and peace. If insecurity arises in an area we will all want to move to a different place. Just as producers need wholesalers, wholesalers need retailers, retailers need consumers, and vice versa, the same synergy applies to animals.

Animals need their families for them to feel strong and happy. Wild animals want to live in a peaceful environment. When they feel insecure they will move to other areas where they feel safer. Animals have feelings just as we do. They need each other as we do. Giraffe need dikdiks, dikdiks need other antelope, antelopes need elephants etc. Multiple species association makes prey species help each other to protect themselves from predators.

Wild animals know their relatives and they know and respect other families. Small animals need big animals to help them open the thick bush. If one member of a family is killed then the whole family will be shaken and unstable. If a mother is killed, how will the calf survive? Some animals live in pairs e.g. dikdiks – if one is killed the other will die because of stress.

Amara is working hard to save the lives of these creatures through providing conservation education to communities living with wildlife close to protected areas. I’m sure no one wants to be in this world alone, we all need each other, this is the same for wild animals. Can you imagine living in a world where its just you and your close relatives? How would it be? We need other families to make our lives better. Africans need Americans, Americans need Asians and so on and so forth, planetwide.

This is why we are trying our best to ensure our wildlife are secure and they live in peaceful protected areas. We educate the entire community so they will not allow anyone from far or from within their areas to do any harm to our wildlife. Please work with us to ensure that these ideas spread far and wide!

 

Trees Are the Lungs of The World

Trees Are the Lungs of The World

Many humans prefer to live in a place close to markets for food, easy access to hospitals when we are sick, and close to banks for money, along with other commodities that we need. We tend to forget a very crucial and natural free gift from God that gives us life.

Trees are often recognized as the ‘lungs of the world’ because they make oxygen from carbon dioxide. However, this is an understatement. If we think along the same line, trees are also the kidneys of the world as they regulate the flow and use of water by intercepting rain and releasing it slowly to the ground where it can either run off into rivers, or enter the groundwater. Other plants can then absorb it for use in photosynthesis. This absorbed water is then transpired back to the atmosphere and blown on the wind until it falls as rain somewhere else.

Our bodies need lungs to be healthy and strong. Look at the work of your lungs, our lungs perform a great job, they give life. A breathing person is alive, and the air to breathe comes directly from trees. Whatever we do to a tree, we are doing to our lungs. When we cut down trees it is like slicing your own lung. Trees help reduce air pollution both by directly removing pollutants and by reducing air temperatures.

Amara involves communities and school children to ensure we protect/conserve the trees that are left for us, and restore those that were destroyed. We are doing this through education, tree planting activities, and tree nursery management training; where we train kids how to establish their own tree nurseries. We encourage the kids to be the champions of this project in school and at home, because conservation needs EVERYONE.

         

 

 

No Trees No Oxygen, No Oxygen No Breathing, No Breathing No Life.