' Green Boarding Pass
Sunday, September 15, 2019

What is The Minimalist Lifestyle?

Today's capitalist world is based on the idea of consumption. We are constantly getting advertisements on TV, social media and on the outside world about products that in theory would bring us lots of benefits and happiness. 

Have you noticed that each time you search for anything on Google, you will start getting ads on social media about the same thing you were searching just a few minutes ago? This is not a coincidence! We get constantly bombarded with ads unconsciously telling us that we need to spend money on materials and therefore encourage a materialistic mentality.

Technology consumption is, in my opinion, the most clear example of how our current society works. Apple recently released the iPhone 11, becoming a trending topic everywhere, and thousands of people around the globe were queuing for hours simply to buy or advertise this phone. This indirectly sends the message that you are not good enough if you don't owe the latest iPhone available in the market.

However, are these objects really going to make us better or happier? Trying to answer this question to yourself is when the idea of a minimalist lifestyle comes into play. 

Minimalism is about owning fewer possessions and ultimately blocking those distractions caused by the obsession with consumerism.

Just think about it, if you spend less time thinking about getting a new phone to have the latest technology available or if you spend less time shopping when there is no more space in your wardrobe, that means you could spend more time with your family, spend more time with your friends or spend more time on your passions

The two key questions to ask yourself and considering starting a minimalist lifestyle are:

  1. Do I really need this possession? (or Do I really need this I am about to buy?)
  2. How this purchase will make me any better/happier? 

If you find yourself struggling to give an answer to any of those two questions then it may be a better idea to not buy anything and save your money for something of real value to yourself! 😉

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Conclusions About The Fires in The Amazon Rainforest

The Amazon Rainforest has been on the news and social media the last few weeks since the number of fires in 2019 has increased by 80% in comparison to the number of fires in 2018. These are terrible news for such a precious part of the world. 

However, it is important to understand why this is happening and not just believe everything that is published on social media. In occasions, these disasters are used the for manipulation of people and it's always recommended to have a background reading on the issue. 

Why do the fires occur in the Amazon Rainforest? 

The Amazon Rainforest is shared between Brazil (who has the largest forest cover), Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname. The economy of these countries is highly dependant on agriculture and stockbreeding, being Brazil the biggest economy which depends heavily on soy and livestock exports. Consequently, the Amazon Rainforest has been suffering deforestation for decades to clear the land from dense vegetation making it suitable for agriculture or stockbreeding.

Fire is commonly used by farmers as a method to open land from dense vegetation as it is a faster method than cutting down trees one by one. Most recent news only mention the fires started in Brazil, but also fires have been spotted in Bolivia. However, more controversy has been created on the Brazilian side as president Jair Bolsonaro initially denied the magnitude of the fires and rejected international help. 

Why is important to preserve the Amazon Rainforest? 

For those who think that the Amazon Rainforest is the 'lung of the Earth', I am sorry to communicate that this is false. At least 50% of the world's oxygen is produced by microscopical organisms called phytoplankton that live at the oceans water surface and are a source of food to a large list of aquatic animals such as whales, dolphins, seabirds and so on.

Trees intake carbon dioxide and release oxygen to the atmosphere during their lifetime in the process of photosynthesis. However, the same amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by trees during their lifetime is released to the atmosphere when they die. Therefore oxygen production is not the main reason why the Amazon Rainforest should be preserved.

The most important attribute of the Amazon Rainforest is its biodiversity. There is an extensive number of animal and plant species that can not be found anywhere else in the world. This rainforest is also home to indigenous communities that are an important part of our human heritage.

From an environmental point of view, the Amazon Rainforest is a barrier against erosion and desertification which keep alive rivers and streams

How reliable is the information provided by the media and are donations the best way to help?

The sad truth is that not only the Amazon Rainforest but many other forests around the world are suffering from intentional and unintentional fires. Headings about the fires in the Amazon are obviously more catchy to the eye than the recent very harmful fires in the Canary Islands (Spain).

Data recently revealed indicates that most of the fires in the Amazon Rainforest have taken placed in deforested areas and virgin rainforest has not been as impacted as emphasised by the media. 

This is important to keep in mind as I am sure that you have recently received emails, ads and notifications from different NGO's asking for donations to help the Amazon Rainforest. This sudden donation emergency to help the Amazon is questionable when fires have been taking place in this rainforest for decades. I would recommend thinking twice before donating to an NGO that you know little of. 

How can WE help the Amazon Rainforest?

The good news is that the 'Amazon Countries' have met last Friday the 6th of September to find a solution to the current situation in the Amazon. The meeting concluded with the commitment from all parts to set a plan of action to protect the Amazon Rainforest. Hopefully, this commitment will be reflected on the Amazon in years to come! 

When it comes to us as individuals, there isn't A LOT that we can do to help DIRECTLY the Amazon Rainforest, considering that is located thousands of kilometres away. With that said, it is great that people are protesting and expressing their opinion on environmental matters

However, INDIRECTLY there is a lot that we can do as individuals to help the Amazon Rainforest. Simply start by caring about your local or national natural areas (local parks, national parks, rivers, streams, etc) by keeping it clean, collecting any rubbish you spot and similar actions. Click here to read about five simple actions you can take to protect the environment. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Short Escapes From The City (Post 2) : Killarney National Park and Skellig Islands

Monday, August 26, 2019

Zero Waste Shops in Dublin

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Palm Oil: All you Need to Know