Beautiful Bio-Plastics for a cleaner world!

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In recent years, we’ve all become aware of the problems caused by plastic pollution. Petroleum-based plastics, which can take literally hundreds of years to disintegrate, fill up our landfills and cause huge problems in the ocean.

Thankfully, some ingenious inventors are busy developing alternatives to traditional plastics, called “bioplastics”. These alternatives aim to have the same uses as traditional plastics, but be much more environment-friendly than fossil fuel based substances. To do this, they’re using unexpected things like seaweed, sugar, and…bugs? Yep!

An inventor from Chile named Margarita Talep has created a bioplastic made from seaweed. Red algae, which grows naturally in marine environments, contains an important jelly-like substance called agar. Talep uses agar to make a plastic alternative made entirely of natural materials that breaks down in a few months. She has even experimented with coloring the bioplastic with natural vegetable colors for more packaging versatility.

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The makers of Lego toys have begun to use an interesting plastic alternative, made from sustainably sourced sugar cane. They have even partnered with the World Wildlife Fund and other organizations to promote bioplastics and ensure that they are sustainably sourced. The bioplastic is currently being used for the tree and plant pieces, and they plan to have all Lego blocks made from it by 2030. Very cool! šŸ™‚

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One of the strangest materials used in bioplastics comes from Aagje Hoekstra, who created a new plastic made from, of all things, insects! The bugs, called darkling beetles, are the adult stage of the mealworm, a grub that is commonly farmed as animal feed. Normally the beetles die after laying eggs and are simply discarded, but Hoekstra discovered that their shells can be collected and pressed into a waterproof sheet. Personally I don’t see this being very popular as *food* packaging, but it could have some less gross applications! šŸ˜‰

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Another interesting alternative comes from Jeongwon Ji, who has designed a plastic alternative from the shells of invasive crabs. Chinese mitten crabs are an invasive species that have been taking over waterways in the UK. Ji found a way to use these pests as a resource, by combining the chitin in the shells with glycerin to make a bioplastic called Crustic. Unlike the others, this bioplastic warps as it dries, creating interesting artistic shapes.

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One pair of designers,Ā  Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros, have created an algae-based bioplastic that can be used in 3D printers! They plan to establish a network of printing stations called the “3D Bakery”, where anyone can print objects they need from bioplastic.

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It’s inspiring to see these plastic alternatives being developed! Plastic packaging is very useful for keeping our food and water fresh, but it’s sad to see the damage it does after it is thrown away. With these alternatives, we can have the same uses as plastic, but with the added benefits of being sustainable and biodegradable!

I’m excited for the future, how about you? šŸ˜€

Check out these articles from Dezeen.com for more detail on these cool inventions!

Lego blocksCrusticBeetlesAlgae3D Bakery10 Bioplastics

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New Video – Affirmations for the New Year!

Time for the first video of 2019! These affirmations will help get you in the right mindset to have a successful and enjoyable year ahead. I have a feeling it’s going to be a great one! šŸ™‚

 

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Good Things that Happened in 2018!

According to the news, the world is going to hell in a handbasket, getting worse and worse every day. But that’s rarely the truth — the news wants us to be stressed and worried, because they think we’ll tune in more and buy more from their advertisers.

In reality, good things happen every day! In a lot of ways, 2018 was a rough year, but it was also a year when we made a lot of progress in multiple areas.

Check out this great article from Future Crunch:99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About, with a list of almost 100 great things that happened in the past year.

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This article from Good News Network lists advancements made on the environmental and conservation front: “The Best Environmental News of 2018”

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And this cute article from BoredPanda shows artist Mauro Gatti’s cute illustrations of some positive news stories: “Iā€™m Honestly Fed Up With All The Bad News So I Illustrated The Best News Of 2018”

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Despite some of the tumultuous stories we hear, the world is getting better and better in a lot of ways. Don’t let the bad news get you down; focus on all of the good news instead! šŸ™‚

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Emerging from the Acorn

I’ve been listening to old episodes of the Consciously Speaking podcast, and a point from one of the interviews stood out to me. In episode 307, while discussing his Emergence theory, teacher Derek Rydall says:

“Our whole idea of how we’re meant to grow and unfold is backwards. The oak is already in the acorn. The acorn doesn’t go out and achieve an oak or attract an oak or become worthy of an oak. And the acorn itself isn’t an inadequate oak tree, it’s a perfect acorn, it just has a lot more potential. When the conditions are right, that potential naturally emerges out of the seed.”

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I love this analogy! We tend to believe that we start as an empty blank, and that greatness and happiness are things outside of us that we have to search for and find. But in reality, greatness is within us all along. Our job is to plant it, cultivate it, and help it grow.

If the conditions are right, a humble acorn can become a mighty oak. We can create the right conditions by paying attention to what makes us happy and fulfilled, and moving toward that as much as possible. Make the effort to surround yourself with good people, places, and experiences, and it’s like fertilizer to a hungry seed.

Think of yourself as a perfect acorn, with a tall oak tree inside you. You already have the power to become that tree, so believe in yourself and start growing!

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Bird Rescue!

I had a bird rescue adventure over the weekend. Friday night I saw something flapping on the sidewalk outside, so I went out to check. It was a little bird, soaked to the skin from the rain and barely moving. šŸ˜¢

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I brought it inside, and it was able to dry off and get a good night’s sleep on a nice warm towel. It perked up and was eating and looking around the next morning.

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I’m not sure, but I think it could be a sparrow? It looks pretty similar to this photo from TheSpruce:

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I found a bird rescue near town and dropped it off on Saturday along with a $20 donation. Hopefully they can help it recover from whatever happened.

Good luck to you, little bird!

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First signs of Autumn!

It’s been a long, hot summer, but here in the northern hemisphere we’re heading into autumn! The cool weather took its time getting here, but I’m starting to see signs of the turn of the season in the nature around my home.

Most of the leaves are still summer green, but there are a few hints of changing leaves; the oak in my front yard dropped this lovely red leaf, and the dogwood is just beginning to turn yellow.

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The dogwood is also popping out shiny, bright red berries.

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And the oak tree has been dropping acorns for a while now.

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One of my neighbors is excited to see the cool weather too! šŸ™‚

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I love autumn, how about you? I’m looking forward to colorful leaves, fresh apples, and lots of nice long walks with the dog!

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