By Frank La Sorte and Kyle Horton
Millions of birds travel between their breeding and wintering grounds during spring and autumn migration, creating one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world. These journeys often span incredible distances. For example, the Blackpoll warbler, which weighs less than half an ounce, may travel up to 1,500 miles between its nesting grounds in Canada and its wintering grounds in the Caribbean and South America.
Blackpoll warbler. PJTurgeon / Wikipedia<p>We used this information to determine how the number of migratory bird species varies based on each city's level of <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/light-pollution" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">light pollution</a> – brightening of the night sky caused by artificial light sources, such as buildings and streetlights. We also explored how species numbers vary based on the quantity of tree canopy cover and impervious surface, such as concrete and asphalt, within each city. Our findings show that cities can help migrating birds by planting more trees and reducing light pollution, especially during spring and autumn migration.</p>
Declining Bird Populations<p>Urban areas contain numerous dangers for migratory birds. The biggest threat is the risk of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-13-090.1" target="_blank">colliding with buildings or communication towers</a>. Many migratory bird populations have <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaw1313" target="_blank">declined over the past 50 years</a>, and it is possible that light pollution from cities is contributing to these losses.</p><p>Scientists widely agree that light pollution can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708574114" target="_blank">severely disorient migratory birds</a> and make it hard for them to navigate. Studies have shown that birds will cluster around brightly lit structures, much like insects flying around a porch light at night. Cities are the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.2029" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">primary source of light pollution for migratory birds</a>, and these species tend to be more abundant within cities <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.13792" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">during migration</a>, especially in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2020.103892" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">city parks</a>.</p>
Composite image of the continental U.S. at night from satellite photos. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
The Power of Citizen Science<p>It's not easy to observe and document bird migration, especially for species that migrate at night. The main challenge is that many of these species are very small, which limits scientists' ability to use electronic tracking devices.</p><p>With the growth of the internet and other information technologies, new data resources are becoming available that are making it possible to overcome some of these challenges. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-07106-5" target="_blank">Citizen science initiatives</a> in which volunteers use online portals to enter their observations of the natural world have become an important resource for researchers.</p><p>One such initiative, <a href="https://ebird.org/home" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eBird</a>, allows bird-watchers around the globe to share their observations from any location and time. This has produced one of the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.04632" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">largest ecological citizen-science databases in the world</a>. To date, eBird contains over 922 million bird observations compiled by over 617,000 participants.</p>
Light Pollution Both Attracts and Repels Migratory Birds<p>Migratory bird species have evolved to use certain migration routes and types of habitat, such as forests, grasslands or marshes. While humans may enjoy seeing migratory birds appear in urban areas, it's generally not good for bird populations. In addition to the many hazards that exist in urban areas, cities typically lack the food resources and cover that birds need during migration or when raising their young. As scientists, we're concerned when we see evidence that migratory birds are being drawn away from their traditional migration routes and natural habitats.</p><p>Through our analysis of eBird data, we found that cities contained the greatest numbers of migratory bird species during spring and autumn migration. Higher levels of light pollution were associated with more species during migration – evidence that light pollution attracts migratory birds to cities across the U.S. This is cause for concern, as it shows that the influence of light pollution on migratory behavior is strong enough to increase the number of species that would normally be found in urban areas.</p><p>In contrast, we found that higher levels of light pollution were associated with fewer migratory bird species during the summer and winter. This is likely due to the scarcity of suitable habitat in cities, such as large forest patches, in combination with the adverse affects of light pollution on bird behavior and health. In addition, during these seasons, migratory birds are active only during the day and their populations are largely stationary, creating few opportunities for light pollution to attract them to urban areas.</p>
Trees and Pavement<p>We found that tree canopy cover was associated with more migratory bird species during spring migration and the summer. Trees provide important habitat for migratory birds during migration and the breeding season, so the presence of trees can have a strong effect on the number of migratory bird species that occur in cities.</p><p>Finally, we found that higher levels of impervious surface were associated with more migratory bird species during the winter. This result is somewhat surprising. It could be a product of the <a href="https://www.epa.gov/heatislands" target="_blank">urban heat island effect</a> – the fact that structures and paved surfaces in cities absorb and reemit more of the sun's heat than natural surfaces. Replacing vegetation with buildings, roads and parking lots can therefore make cities significantly warmer than surrounding lands. This effect could reduce cold stress on birds and increase food resources, such as insect populations, during the winter.</p><p>Our research adds to our understanding of how conditions in cities can both help and hurt migratory bird populations. We hope that our findings will inform urban planning initiatives and strategies to reduce the harmful effects of cities on migratory birds through such measures as <a href="https://www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/index.cfm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">planting more trees</a> and initiating <a href="https://aeroecolab.com/uslights" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">lights-out programs</a>. Efforts to make it easier for migratory birds to complete their incredible journeys will help maintain their populations into the future.</p><p><em><span style="background-color: initial;"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frank-la-sorte-1191494" target="_blank">Frank La Sorte</a> is a r</span>esearch associate at the </em><em>Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University. <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kyle-horton-1191498" target="_blank">Kyle Horton</a> is an assistant professor of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the Colorado State University.</em></p><p><em></em><em>Disclosure statement: Frank La Sorte receives funding from The Wolf Creek Charitable Foundation and the National Science Foundation (DBI-1939187). K</em><em>yle Horton does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/cities-can-help-migrating-birds-on-their-way-by-planting-more-trees-and-turning-lights-off-at-night-152573" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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By Marie Quinney and Gabriela Martinez
This article is part of The Davos Agenda.
During 2020, many of us saw images of deserted urban areas being reclaimed by animals and heard reports of carbon dioxide emissions plummeting as transportation ground to a halt. A new analysis shows that the U.S. had reached its lowest level of emissions in three decades.
NO₂ levels in the air above India (U.S. date format). World Economic Forum
Human activity is destroying our natural world. World Economic Forum Nature Risk Rising
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By Sage Lenier
Sage Lenier, an environmental activist and graduate from UC Berkeley, created a wildly popular course at her university dedicated to sustainable solutions and circular systems thinking against the broader backdrop of environmental justice. In Spring 2020, the course enrolled more than 300 students eager to learn how they can drive the shift toward a more ethical and sustainable society. The World Economic Forum sat down with Sage for a quick Q&A.
Meal kit services offer pre-portioned recipes and a fun cooking experience. But what options are best for the earth-conscious family?
For those looking for a quick and convenient way to eat delicious, hearty meals with little to no hassle, there are plenty of meal kit delivery services to choose from. But out of all of the brands available, which is the best meal delivery service?
Sun Basket<p>Sun Basket is our favorite organic meal kit brand. Sun Basket delivers a box of 100% <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/ewg-2018-shoppers-guide-2558737028.html" target="_blank">organic produce</a>, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat, and farm-fresh eggs. Their approach to sourcing <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/sustainable-seafood-oceana-2641150021.html" target="_blank">wild seafood</a> was named Best Choice or Good Alternative by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® Program.</p><p>Sun Basket aims to support farmers who push for sustainable water management and crop rotations, as well as ranchers and fisherman who treat the planet with respect. </p><p>Read our full <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/sunbasket-reviews-2649520242.html" data-linked-post="2649520242" target="_blank">Sun Basket review</a> to learn more about the brand's sustainability efforts.</p><strong>Cost</strong>: Three meals each week for two people costs $71.94 plus $7.99 shipping. That's $11.99 per serving<p><br><br><a href="https://sun-basket-meal-delivery-purchase.sjv.io/c/1402679/954808/8078" target="_blank">Join Now</a></p>
Purple Carrot<p>According to researchers, you could cut the <a href="https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/11/15/how-much-would-giving-up-meat-help-the-environment" target="_blank">carbon footprint of your diet by 60%</a> by eating plant-based meals for two-thirds of your diet.</p><p>Now, if sustainability is about achieving a balance between human consumption and the environments we impact, plant-based is the way to go. Purple Carrot offers all <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/plant-based-meat-fast-food-2648888749.html" target="_blank">plant-based</a> meal kits in a variety of tasty menu items. There's even a black bean burger if you want to prepare the vegan-skeptic member of your family a familiar plate. </p><p>Purple Carrot meal kits, in many ways, support the idea that many small, smart choices can add up to a big impact. </p><p><strong data-redactor-tag="strong">Cost</strong>: Purple Carrot costs $11.99 per serving for two people and $9.99 per serving for the four-plate plan. With introductory discounts, the first week costs $50 to $60. </p>
Green Chef<p>Green Chef is a certified organic company with meal kit plans that include <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/keto-report-ketogenic-diet-2640662624.html" target="_blank">keto</a>, paleo, and plant-based options. You can schedule a weekly delivery or stagger deliveries during the month, depending on your personal needs or how often you choose to cook. Green Chef has a wide variety of recipe options, and according to its website, it <span style="background-color: initial;">"offsets 100% of its direct carbon emissions and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/us-plastics-pact-recycling-2647098576.html" target="_blank">plastic packaging</a>" through its sustainability efforts.</span></p><p><strong>Cost</strong>: Price is based on the plan chosen, but costs are generally $11.49 per meal for the Keto + Paleo option, $10.49 per meal for the Balanced Living option, and $10.49 per meal for the Plant-Powered option. Shipping and handling costs are additional.</p>
Freshly<p>Freshly is the only service we came across that offered corporate options. We liked the idea of a cost-efficient way to serve a large group a healthy meal. Freshly boxes in the office fridge would be a nice reprieve from the typical mid-day exodus to the nearest quick food option. All Freshly meals come in recyclable packaging and the single portions mean <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/food-waste-people-in-need-2649698860.html" target="_blank">less food going to waste</a> during preparation.</p><p>Freshly meals are also ideal for those who don't have the time or space to prepare meals from a kit. They come in microwavable containers and only take three minutes to heat up.</p><p><strong>Cost</strong>: Individual meals are $8.99 to $12.50 per serving with free shipping.</p>
Every Plate<p>If you're looking for <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/organic-vs-conventional-food-ewg-2630725070.html" target="_blank">organic ingredients</a>, simple recipe cards, and a highly affordable option, Every Plate is for you. Every Plate uses less packaging than most other delivery services due to their simpler packages that contain fewer spice and sauce packets. Most Every Plate meals can be made in under 30 minutes, which makes this as close as you can come to fast and "cheap" meals with clean ingredients. </p><p><strong data-redactor-tag="strong">Cost</strong>: Weekly boxes of two or four servings for as little as $4.99 per serving.</p>
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Keeping a reusable straw in your purse, pocket, on your key ring, or in the glove compartment of your car makes it easy to skip single-use plastic when you're on the go. In fact, purchasing reusable straws, made from materials like bamboo, glass, silicone, and stainless steel, is one of the simplest ways to reduce your waste.
5. Best Metal Straw: Friendly Straw Six Pack<p>Looking for the best no-frills metal straw? Try the <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZYWF89S/ref=syn_sd_onsite_desktop_176?uh_it=b42943e063b1b6d741ac68241cb0fd23_CT&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzQk1YNkMyWElBNE9PJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwOTQ3Nzc3RzUwSEpHM0lCU1Y3JmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA3MTA5NjczMUpFWVJHREk1Mk1JJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c2Rfb25zaXRlX2Rlc2t0b3AmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl&th=1" target="_blank">Friendly Straw Six Pack</a>. This set of three straight and three bent straws lets you choose the ideal angle for sipping your favorite beverages. All are dishwasher safe, come with a carrying pouch, and include a brush to make cleaning a breeze.</p> <p><strong>Customer Rating:</strong> 4.4 out of 5 stars</p><p><strong>Why Buy: </strong>Dishwasher safe; Rust-proof stainless steel; Carrying pouch and cleaning brush included; Paper packaging</p>
Buyer's Guide: Which Reusable Straw Is Right For You?<p>We've listed 10 of the best reusable straws to choose from, but which one is best for you? When buying a reusable straw, you'll want to take into account f<strong></strong>actors such as whether you want to take your straw on the go — and, thus, whether it folds down or has a carrying case of some sort — and whether it's important that it's dishwasher safe.<br></p><p>You'll also want to choose which material you prefer:</p><ul><li><strong>Silicone:</strong> If you're a habitual straw biter or have young children, Silicone will likely be your best bet. These soft reusable straws are ultra flexible, nontoxic, and are available in many different colors. They don't hold a shape as well as some alternative materials, but that's precisely what many users like about them.</li><li><strong>Stainless steel:</strong> Metal straws made with food-grade stainless steel are often a cheap option, but they hold up over time. While some people complain about a metallic taste and heating up when drinking hot beverages, others prefer these straws for their durability. Additionally, some stainless-steel straws come with silicone tips that can be used if you don't like how hard the metal is on your teeth.</li><li><strong>Glass:</strong> Glass reusable straws have a smooth mouthfeel, are lightweight, and can come in a variety of aesthetically pleasing hues. You can rest assured they won't be made with BPA or other <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/a-toxin-in-every-household-2595496112.html" target="_self">harmful toxins</a>, but one common concern with glass straws is how breakable they are. To combat this, look for straws made from a material like borosilicate glass that's more shatter-resistant.</li><li><strong>Bamboo:</strong> Reusable straws made from bamboo are <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/biodegradable-straws-cutlery-2647876041.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1" target="_self">completely biodegradable</a>, making them especially sustainable. Like glass, they're lightweight and have a smooth mouthfeel, however, they can have a slight woody taste. And if you want a bent straw, you'll need to choose another material — these only come stick-straight. </li></ul>
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By Joe Timmerman
Few leaves are still falling off trees and down the ever-running water of the National Wild and Scenic Little Miami River, where they float through five counties and 111 miles of Southwest Ohio, into the Ohio River and toward the Mississippi before eventually finding their way into the Gulf of Mexico. Today, these 111 miles of Little Miami River are the cleanest that they have been in the last 40 years, and as the world may seem largely disconnected due to the coronavirus pandemic, a connection between people over time is helping to create the river's lasting sustainability.
A ripple in the water caused by a fish moves below fall trees as the sun rises in Loveland, Ohio, on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. The Little Miami River flows through 5 counties and 111 miles of Southwest Ohio, including Clermont County and Hamilton County where Loveland lies between. Joe Timmerman<p>Since its origin, the conservancy has worked with agencies like the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), who records the condition of the Little Miami River every 10 years by sampling fish life. In the 1980s, only 4% of the Little Miami River was in full attainment of water quality health, but in recent years, the chart has flipped, and as of 2007, the river is at 96% attainment of health, <a href="https://epa.ohio.gov/portals/35/tmdl/Lower%20LMR_TMDL%20Report_FINAL_FINAL_Nov11.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">according to OEPA research</a>.</p>
Eric Partee, executive director of the Little Miami Conservancy, holds one of nine water quality sondes that are found all along the length of the river, this one in Milford, Ohio, on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2020. A water quality sonde uses sensors to measure dissolved oxygen in the river, which is recorded every 15 minutes in 3-month spans and is checked once a week by Partee and volunteers of the conservancy. "Ninety-six percent of the river is in full attainment with exceptional habitat quality, it's just in fantastic condition. The challenge is to keep it that way," Partee said. Joe Timmerman<p>A short walk from the doors of the conservancy is the Loveland Canoe and Kayak Livery, owned by Mark and Robyn Bersani, which is just one of the many businesses along the Little Miami River that rely on its health as their main resource for income. The Bersanis work closely with the conservancy each year by offering and volunteering for cleanups as well as generous donations. This year, along with two other liveries including Rivers Edge and Scenic River, their combined donation to the Little Miami Conservancy's effort was $56,000, according to Bersani.</p><p>"We're involved from a grassroots portion, to actually helping with cleanups, to keeping an eye on the river, as well as donating and continuing to fund the good work that they do," Bersani said in an interview. "It comes down to the people that live along the river, people that visit the river, the people in the community, if the river is going to stay clean. This river is very natural, it looks like it did 300 years ago … it is vital that the citizens all realize they have a role in this."</p><p>Up the road at Loveland High School, Amy Aspenwall, an AP environmental science teacher teaches teenagers the importance of environmental awareness through hands-on experiences in places like the Little Miami River.</p><p>In an interview over Zoom, Aspenwall talked about the importance of students getting out into nature to actually see how humans fit in the environment, because "if you don't see it, it's really not your problem," Aspenwall said. From understanding <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/food-waste">food waste</a> to the water drinking system to sewer treatment facilities, her goal is to allow students the opportunity to realize a sense of civic responsibility.</p><p>"It's important for students to start to think of themselves as a bigger picture rather than just someone following teacher instructions," Aspenwall said. "I want them to start thinking on their own and realize how powerful they are as a consumer."</p><p>Although the Little Miami River is of "exceptional quality," <a href="https://epa.ohio.gov/dsw/tmdl/LittleMiamiRiver#118215922-monitoring" target="_blank">according to a 2010 water quality monitoring report by the OEPA</a>, "the tributaries were generally of a lower quality."</p>
People bike on a section of the Loveland Bike Trail alongside the Little Miami River in Loveland, Ohio, on Monday, Nov. 8, 2020. Joe Timmerman<p>Between the shared relationships of the Little Miami Conservancy, OEPA, local government officials, developers, landowners, non-profits, teachers, and local business owners, a community has come together and worked toward the common effort to make a positive, sustainable change in the health of the river.<br></p><p>The timelessness of the Little Miami River will carry on as long as its water continues to run. And as it always has been, it's still up to the people alongside the riverbank to make sure that the water runs clean for generations to come. As the late author Nelson Henderson said, and Eric Partee paraphrased when we talked together, "The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."</p><p><em>Note: The next OEPA Little Miami River Watershed TMDL Report will be produced and published by 2022, according to the last OEPA TMDL report. </em></p><p><em><a href="https://www.josephmtimmerman.com/" target="_blank">Joe Timmerman</a> is a sophomore journalism and photojournalism student at E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the School of Visual Communications at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Joe is passionate about finding natural connections between people and sharing those stories he finds.</em></p>
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