We're all connected

A quick story about connections and how habitat loss can affect the rest of the ecosystem.

When I was wondering around the Exhibition Hall at the EcoSummit, I saw a table full of carved animals and was drawn to them to look at the elephants. A man quickly approached and told me the animals are used to teach children in the area about conservation in the Congo. The group teaches children about how poachers kill the silverbacks and elephants. I was saddened to be reminded of the killings of elephants in Africa, but I am glad there is something being done to educate future generations. I talked to this gentleman some more and learned more about his story with his poster and the presentation he had done. He proceeded to tell me how people were building along Lake Kivu, which sits between The Congo and Rwanda. He says eople have begun building houses along the river.  To build the houses, they tore out some of the native grasses along the river which are used for products in the village, but the biggest problem was with the lack of electricity. These new dwellers along the river cut down trees to use for heating and cooking. The leaves on the trees are eaten by worms. The worms are eaten by people and animals in the region. Because of the lack of trees, the worms will die off and then there will be a lack of food for the inhabitants. They cannot plant trees fast enough and because it is a poor country, they do not have the means to provide electricity and so the rapid deforestation in the area may continue.

Another poster presentation from Belgium mentioned how they encouraged locals not to mow their grass to allow for clover and other wild flowers to grow to be a source for bees. Bees are responsible for pollinating millions of plants and without them we'd be in big trouble. Also, did you know that honey is fully digestible by your body and leaves no waste product? Other great uses for honey can be found at http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/health-benefits-of-honey.html.

Helping each other and the earth

A couple of other things I saw at EcoSummit impressed me because of their innovation and their purpose of helping others:

• I saw a movie about how a group from Warm Heart Worlwide helped implement a clean drinking water system for people in the village of Ning Bua Thailand. They overcame many obstacles, including social and economic factors that plagued the villagers, to help them create and learn to sustain the sytem. To learn about the myriad projects by Warm Heart Worldwide, visit http://warmheartworldwide.org/.

• According to the website www.packh20.com, Greif teamed up Impact Economics and came up with an H20 Pack. Its a backpack that people in poor countries use to transport water in an ergonomical way. It holds up to 20 liters of water and collapses when empty for ease of storage and transport. To learn more about the water packs or make a donation to the cause, visit http://www.packh2o.com/about/.

• Have you heard of InnovaGreen? This Dublin-based company left the greatest positive impact on me since I was pleased that someone had the brains to come up with this idea. (And, I was greatly amused by the slogans the guy I was talking to kept rattling off-Kick butt, Litter to glitter and so on.) Cigarette butt litter is such an obvious problem, but I never knew you could recycle the cellulose acetate and that it is one of the greatest polluters, especially of our water. The company takes the butts (cellulose acetate) and turns them into concrete block filler, ashtrays and other plastic products. They have a number of containers placed around town to collect the butts. Also, volunteer highway/roadway clean up crews have collected cigarette butts for them to recycle and I hope they continue to grow their business. To learn more about InnovaGreen, visit http://www.innovagreensystems.com/faq.php.

GREEN DRINKS

The next Green Drinks event is Nov. 14 at The Woodlands Tavern in Grandview from 6-8 p.m. Come out and join me and the rest of the group for a drink ($2 drafts) and learn about local-sourced foods and farms! Then, stay after to hear local musicians.

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By: Erin Holl

11 / 5 / 12

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