I've written before about my love for TED Talks. They are thought-provoking, educational, and give us free access to some of the smartest minds in the world. It's a virtual library of some of the most fascinating and intelligent people speaking about a variety of subjects (here are 12 environmental TED talks that will make you think). This past weekend, I came across one I had not seen before by Boyan Slat, a 20-year-old who is on a mission to clean up our oceans.
Did you know that the Pacific Ocean contains so much garbage it is considered to be the world's largest landfill? It is said that the amount of garbage in the Pacific can fit a surface as large as the state of Texas. That is obviously not a good thing. There are five patches of concentrated garbage in the oceans, called gyres:
Swirling around in those gyres are plastics of every kind—bags, bottles, toys, plastic car parts—pretty much any kind of non-biodegradeable trash people throw into the ocean. So if the trash is just sitting in the ocean swirling around, what is the big deal? It's a huge deal because it causes marine life to suffer and there are human health, economic and ecological effects.
Slat recognized this problem and came up with a genius plan. Instead of nets, which had been proposed by others in the past, but proved to not be a a great option, his team creates solid floating barriers, making entanglement of wildlife impossible.The ocean current flows underneath the barriers and the lighter-than-water plastic collects in front of the floating barrier.
Take a look at this video for the full explanation of how the barriers work:
To make his plan come to life, Slat started The Ocean Cleanup. After his TED Talk, his crowdsourcing campaign to help fund the Ocean Cleanup went viral and as a result, he has raised over 2 million dollars. The campaign ended this month and all funds will be used for work involved in the project such as research and development and the building, placement, and maintenance of the barriers.
So what can you do to help clean up the oceans? The first is the most obvious...put trash where it belongs, in the trash or recycle bin. Second, you can help fund The Ocean Cleanup project by donating.
Here's why you should always choose reusable bags over plastic bags (plastic bags are a huge part of the plastic problem in the ocean) and here is a unique way to recycle and upcycle things you would normally throw in the trash.
I’m always on the lookout for great recipes. Whether it’s online though my favourite food blogs, Pinterest, or in recipe books, the hunt is never-ending. While I do have my familiar go-to’s to fall back on when I have no idea what to make for supper at 4pm, I think it’s always a good idea to try new things so I can add more go-to’s to the list.
HarperCollins Canada sent me a copy of the new vegetarian cookbook “A Modern Way to Eat” by Anna Jones. Jones, a bright cook, stylist, writer and former student of Jamie Oliver, quit her job after reading an article about following your passion. Now, years later she has published her own solo book and it is a beauty.
The book contains over 200 recipes, all vegetarian, some vegan, most, gluten-free. In it, you will find a wealth of helpful charts and resources, plus recipes for:
Oh, and speaking of vegetarian food...I don’t have to tell you again that eating less meat is healthier for you and is better for the environment, right?
HarperCollins let me pick one recipe from the book to share with you and since it’s getting a little cooler outside and we’re just a few days from the official start of fall, I decided that a soup would be the perfect choice. Jones' Lemony Lentil and Crispy Kale soup to be precise.
This soup came together quickly, it doesn’t have a long complicated ingredient list, it contains lentils (which I love!), and it is delicious and so healthy for you—all things I look for in a recipe.
Splash of olive oil
1 leek, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
Juice of 2–3 lemons
250g split red lentils
1 veg stock cube, or 1 tablespoon veg stock powder
4 handfuls of kale (or other greens), washed, trimmed and shredded
Yoghurt, stirred with a little sea salt (optional)
Get a large pan on the heat. Add a little oil and turn the heat to medium. Add the leek and fry for a few minutes, until it has softened and smells sweet, then add the spices and fry for another couple of minutes. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon and stir around to lift all the spices from the bottom of the pan.
Next, add the lentils, 1.5 litres of water and the stock cube or powder and allow to bubble away for 20–35 minutes, until the lentils are cooked and the soup has thickened.
Turn off the heat and, if you like, you can blitz the whole lot to a thin dhal consistency, then squeeze in the juice of the remaining 2 lemons, tasting as you go to make sure it doesn’t get too lemony. It may seem like a lot, but you really want the lemony tang to come through.
Just before you’re ready to serve, sauté the kale in a little olive oil until it slightly softens but begins to crisp at the edges. Ladle into bowls and top with the salted yoghurt and the crispy kale.
I'm sure you've heard the saying: "One man's trash is another man's treasure."
For students in Cateura, Paraguay, this statement could not be more true.
For most of us, music classes for our kids are easy to access and are not too difficult to turn into a reality. For kids in the Paraguay village called Cateura, a music instrument can cost more than a home! So it is not an easy dream to realize if a child has an interest in music. Which is where The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura comes in.
Take a look at this:
Oil cans, eating utensils, wood, unwanted tools and other discarded items hand-picked from landfills are used to construct the students' instruments. And the way the finished instruments sound, you would never know that they were put together using what others considered to be garbage. If you didn't watch the video above, watch it to see how amazing they sound!
The Landfill Harmonic is a feature-film documentary currently under production. It is described by the filmmakers as:
"A film about “The Recycled Orchestra”, a group of children from a Paraguayan slum who play instruments made entirely of garbage. It is a beautiful story about the transformative power of music, which also highlights two vital issues of our times: poverty and waste pollution. The world generates about a billion tons of garbage a year. Those who live with it and from it are the poor – like the people of Cateura, Paraguay. And here they are transforming it into beauty. Landfill Harmonic follows the orchestra as it takes its inspiring spectacle of trash-into-music around the world."
I am a sucker for a good documentary, and just by the description and teaser trailer above, this one has been added to my must-see list.