Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Is Neuro-Conservation the New Hope for Environmental Messages?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | April 24th, 2012 | 12 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: attention deficit disorder, climate change, conservation, Eco Travel, environment, environmental media, environmentalism, forests, fossil fuels, global-warming, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, green, Green Living, green settings, happiness, health, HOPE, hopeful, hopefulness, nature, neuro-conservation, public health, travel, well-being, wellness

Letourneau Creek

Big wads of plastic in the ocean that stretch for miles and disintegrating polar ice caps are the kind of news stories that tend to make us feel hopeless regarding conservation efforts. Why bother to change our light bulbs to compact fluorescents if our planet’s imminent demise is a speeding train that can’t be stopped?

The reason we have these feelings is probably the work of environmentalists themselves. They’re sending the wrong messages, if you ascribe to the new field of neuro-conservation.

Instead of focusing the spotlight on results of scientific studies that prove our planet is rapidly warming, or on statistics about alarming species extinction rates, they should be talking about how an ocean view will make us feel happy or standing among trees will arouse our feelings of peacefulness.

After all, selling us emotions is what marketing professionals have been doing for decades. They know that we don’t just buy a car; we buy how that car makes us feel — wealthier, greener or more in control. Using the tenets of neuro-conservation may just be the boost that environmentalists need to gain support for their causes in a world that’s overrun with more scientific data than we know what to do with — or pay attention to.

Could Plastic Water Bottles Be Better for Nature Enthusiasts?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | December 29th, 2010 | 12 Comments
topic: Detox, Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: bottled water, carbon emissions, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, China, Churchill, CO2, crude oil, Eco Travel, eco-friendly, environment, environmentally friendly, fleece, garbage, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, health, hiking, landfills, nature, nature enthusiasts, oil, pet, plastic, plastic bottles, polar-bears, polyethylene terephthalate, recycling, reusable, stainless steel, stainless steel water bottles, tap, toxins, travel, waste, water bottles

Polar Bear in Chuchill

In the ten years since I’ve been embarking on nature travels, I’ve seen a lot of outdoor gear evolve. Hiking boots, thermal undergarments and GPS units are just some of the items that have undergone striking advances.

But the one essential piece of outdoor equipment that has gone through a gamut of changes, caused the most controversy and been the most intriguing is the water bottle.

If I Call for Your Attention, Will It Pick Up?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | December 18th, 2009 | 6 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: aluminum cans, David de Rothschild, garbage, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, landfill, litter, marine litter, nature, plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic containers, Plastiki, recycling, trash, waste, wilderness, wildlife

About 80 percent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch comes from trash on land. ©John H. Gaukel.

It usually starts with one plastic water bottle or one beer can, casually tossed aside, just visible in the underbrush off the side of the trail where I’m walking. My thoughts are soon torn away from nature and “What a beautiful place this is,” to “What an eyesore; what the heck was that person thinking?” And then, all of a sudden, what just a moment ago looked to me like a pristine wilderness transforms into a one-item garbage dump. All I can focus on is that one rusty can or bent bottle.