Outdoor sports are a very cathartic and acceleration form of recreation especially in today’s world where we are all lost and busy in the mundanity of our everyday lives. It is good to sign out of everything around you and go out into the natural world to find solace and peace from time to time. There is a lot of areas to explore when it comes to outdoor activities. If you do happen to live near a body of water, one of the best and most recommended things to do is go canoeing.

There is nothing more calming than floating in the middle of a water body, away from the noise of everything else. Water is known for its ability to calm your inner energy, canoeing is the best way to let go of everything and relax. It helps you regain your mental peace and energize your inner self. There is no better way of reconnecting with your soul and your internal essence.

Before going off into the waters, read more on the place you choose and the type of canoe you intend on using. This will help you be more prepared for what is to come and what you should expect out of this trip. It is also best to read up on all the precautions you need to take because you wouldn’t want a peaceful retreat into nature to turn into a stressful accident. Especially if you haven’t done anything of the sorts before. You need to be aware of the territory and its inhabitants and most importantly, you need to be respectful towards the area and try your best to make as little of an impact to it as possible so it can remain a peaceful place for you and others to go to.

As the apex swimming predators, sharks have a very distinct and pivotal role to play in keeping a fine balance of the oceanic eco-system. Although these wonderful and strong creatures have been around for over 4 centuries and managed to survive through the last 5 major extinction events, there numbers are getting significantly reduced over the past few decades due to varioud factors that have brought certain particular species on the brink of extinction.  Every year humans are killing approximately 100 million sharks and the numbers are exponentially increasing.

We all know the obvious, they are not considered cute or friendly. They do not melt us with an “aww” moment, instead they strike fears in our hearts. It is unfortunate that over the past few decades, they have been portrayed as the silent ruthless killing human chomping monsters in so many movies which have tarnished their image even further. Not to mention that they are often sought by humans for their highly priced fins which are considered a culinary delicacy.

As we continue to risk the shark population by killing them in mass numbers, it raises the morbid question: What if, every shark in our little green planet is gone? What would the effects of such extinction be in our oceans across the globe? Based on the answer from Stefanie Brendl, the founder of Shark Allies foundation and a conservationist, it would be a world where oceans would become sick and eventually die. She has worked in the past with the Senator of the state of Hawaii, Clayton Hee to ban the possession, sales and purchase of Shark fins which are considered the main reason 75 percent from the 100 million sharks get killed each year.

Sharks are good at doing sanitation job in the ocean. They do their part by removing the dead and sick creatures thus cleansing the ocean bed from any kind of disease, just like the white blood cells do in our body. As with all eco-systems, Sharks have blended into the oceans and therefore if they are removed from the equation, the effects would be devastating as the results would disrupt the equilibrium of the ocean world. Stefanie also mentions the significance of sharks for the continuity of other oceanic life forms such as coral reefs and urchins. If sharks become extinct, it will cause an unrepairable loss and a disturbed oceanic imbalance which would be irreparable.

So the questions is, what can we humans do? While spreading awareness is one way to deal with the situation on a larger scale, we can also make small changes on individual levels that would also help the cause such as avoiding the fin soup the next time we visit our favorite seafood restaurant. There are other products such as vanity and beauty products that contain shark ingredients. Next time we shop, we can watch out for “squalene” on the product label. While the fin soup is a famous recipe, shark meat is usually considered contaminated with high volume of harmful toxins such as Urea and Mercury.

One thing to consider is, while we are vocal about other species like koalas and pandas, simply due to their calm demeanor, we should also support the conservation efforts for the continuity of sharks. They may not look friendly, but the facts indicate that most sharks wish no harm to humans. Among the total population of sharks throughout the world, 80 percent of the sharks do not exceed more than 5 feet in size during their lifespans.

Brendl rests her case by mentioning that whether we like them or not, we cannot argue their significance in maintaining a healthy oceanic eco-system for our future generations.

If you are planning to decorate your household with indoor plants that are easy to maintain and resilient, you may choose from the following 8 recommendations.

Choosing the right indoor plants that suit your household atmosphere, temperatures and habitat is essential to get the best possible results. Certain plants and flowers are too delicate or high maintenance that they need very specific environment to survive. This means that any change in the environment may spell recipe for disaster. Obviously, no one wishes to have their newly purchased plants get wasted and killed for any reason whatsoever, especially given the health benefits they bring alongside their aesthetic and Zen qualities which have a significant impact to a person’s ability to focus and feel good around them. For these simple benefits, everyone should consider adding a few green troopers to their household even if they feel overwhelmed and do not consider themselves up for the challenge of taking care of them due to some bad experiences from the past. The followings suggestions might make it easier for such people to choose from the below recommended indoor plants that require minimum efforts in terms of maintenance and house keeping.

#1 ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

If you are shopping for a plant that would be able to survive in some of the most adverse situations such as less humidity, minimal natural light and occasional drought, than the ZZ plant should definitely be in your shopping list. It is a resilient plant that can survive for prolonged periods of time (a few weeks to a month) if you forgot to water it. For lack of a better term, it is the plant that cannot be killed easily.

#2 Air plants (Tillandsia)

These beauties do not require a pot or even soil to flourish. Could it get any easier than this? According to some scientific research, these house plants are not only cute to have around the house, but they also help in clearing the air of heavy toxins and metals. They do require decent light and some water once a week, however their actual care routine may vary depending on their location and environment.

#3 Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

Jade plants are easy to care for and a treat to stare at, they are simply gorgeous! The leaves are heavy and wide and they are commonly known as lucky plant, money plant or money tree. It is a succulent plant that is known to have small white and pink flowers. The plant is native to Mozambique and South Africa. The best thing about Jade plant is, they do not need a large pot and require natural light for only a few hours each day. They do not require much water and can survive with infrequent irrigation.

#4 Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)

The cast-iron-plant is native to Japan and Taiwan and is also known in Japanese as haran. The plant is known to be very tolerant of neglect, it is considered almost indestructible.  Cast Iron plant t is widely cultivated as a indoor plant, however it can also be planted outside in shadows if the temperatures are above −5 °Centigrade or 23 ° Fahrenheit.

Cast Iron plant are also known as “ballroom plant”. Due to their ability to withstand prolonged neglect and harsher conditions that would easily kill a weaker plant, they have been given the name Cast Iron. They are ideally used as space fillers for the murky shaded areas which are hard to fill.

#5 Aloe vera

An aloe plant is cultivated for medicinal and agricultural uses. It is known for its gel which is considered a topical treatment for simple scrapes and small burns. It is also a succulent plant that looks very pleasant in various locations. While this plant is known to be quite resilient and does not require frequent irrigation, it does need substantial amounts of natural light to stay fully healthy.

#6 Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

A native to tropical West Africa, Snake plant which is also know as viper’s bowstring hemp or mother-in-law’s tongue is easy to care for indoor plant that has excellent air cleansing capabilities. It flourishes in a lot of sunlight, but it can survive easily within lesser lit environments. They do not require frequent watering but should not be neglected for extended periods of time.

#7 Potted herbs

These could be any and many! From cilantro to rosemary, from mint to basil leaves, if you appreciate fresh herbs in your dishes, you cannot go wrong with these little potted beauties. They do require good light, decent drainage and a lot of tending, but if you intend to use them frequently in your food, you would become habituated of checking on them daily and proving the necessary care and attention which they need. The not only taste great and add the extra oomph to your delicious recipes, they have excellent medicinal and health benefits as well.

#8 Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

Lucky Bamboo is native to Central Africa. It was named after the German–English gardener Henry Frederick Conrad Sander. As the name implies, it is known to bring harmony, happiness and prosperity to the house or business place that it is kept at. It is due to its charming reputation that the sales of Lucky bamboo which in fact is not real bamboo, has become high demand and they are sold in beautiful decorative pots. These are beautiful to look at and don’t require much attention other than sufficient water and avoidance of direct harsh sunlight.

The USA stands 5th in meat consumption per capita in the world. The consumption of meat exceeds the safe/healthy levels by 20 to 60% based on the recommendations in the 2015-2020 U.S Dietary Guidelines. Excessive consumption of meat, has many environmental, nutritional and health hazards. This year, the beginning of 2019, you may have heard a quote from Sebastian Gorka, a former White House aide “They want to take your pickup truck. They want to rebuild your home. They want to take away your hamburgers.”

Politics aside, modern research indicates that excessive meat consumption, especially red meat and its byproducts are associated with many health conditions include several life threatening ailments.

As indicated in a collaborated report between, United Nations Environment, World Bank Group, World Resources Institute, and others, there is a serious need to start laying the groundwork and making large scale preparations for the influx of around three (3) billion people that would be part of our civilization by 2050. The focus is to provide sustenance for everyone without any further adverse effect on the environment, fuel emissions, and forests. One of the authors in this report asks the questions: “Can we feed the world without destroying the planet?”

The simplest answer to this would be, yes! The world already produces sufficient food for everyone. It is unfortunate though that around 1/3 of this gets discarded or wasted prior to consumption. The report discusses various measures that focus on supply and demand. While there is a need to produce more, we need to also look at measures to downsize the demand of foods that require extensive production resources like red meat (beef) and its byproducts such as hotdogs and hamburgers. The report further states that ruminant livestock which include sheep, cattle and goats, will have an 88% demand growth by 2050 in comparison to the growth recorded in 2015. To ensure a sustainable future, the world’s population needs to understand the adverse effects of these high numbers and take measures to reduce them significantly.

Most Americans have strong meat cravings and preferences, hence falling in the “high ruminant meat consumer” category. Based on the report’s finding, the Europeans would also have to reduce their meat intake by 22 percent while the Americans, due to their significantly higher consumption levels, should reduce the meat sweats by 40 percent which roughly estimates to 23.72 pounds of beef per year in comparison to their prior levels of consumption back in 2010 which was recorded at 59.3 pounds per year based on the data provided by US Department of Agriculture as stated by CNN. This implies that if a hamburger patty averages around 4 ounces, people would be consuming about one and a half burger per week based on the aforementioned figures.

Apart from this report, other studies are also indicating the needs to change farming methods to avoid draining out the Earth’s natural resources and thus jeopardizing its ability to feed the inhabitants. The idea is not to force people to give up meat from their menus, but rather simply reducing the consumption in to secure a more eco-friendly future for generations to come.