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Sunday, 21 July 2019

How we can permanently end plastic pollution

July 21, 2019 0 Comments
Plastics are everywhere. We use them for various purposes and they are a part of the everyday life of most people. They pollute our environment but more are made every second because of demand. A lot of solutions have been brought to mitigate plastic pollution but we are still getting negative news everyday. What can we do to permanently end plastic pollution, to make it a thing of the past? Read this article.
Plastic pollution

What have we been doing wrong?

We have been recycling and reusing, we have reduced our use but there are still plastic bags, bottles, etc everywhere. What are we doing wrong? Well to answer this question, let us view plastic pollution as what it is; a problem like every other problems. To end plastic pollution, we need to understand how problems are solved. To explain, i'll use an illustration.




To chop or to uproot?

We know that trees can sometimes be stubborn. Some can be chopped today and regrow before the end of the year. For such trees, they will always grow so long as their roots are still in the ground. In order to stop those tress from growing again, we either kill the root or uproot it. The bottom line is that the battle against the tree (problem we see) can only be won (solved) when we face the root (source of the problem). You see, to solve a problem, we have to find the source.
Sprout in a stump

How is the illustration above related to plastic pollution? Like all problems, we have to find the source(s) of plastic pollution. The sources include:
  • Unavailability of alternatives: Plastics can be used as bottles, bags, wraps, spoons, fashion accessories, toys, etc. Glass being an alternative to plastic bottles is not an alternative to plastic bags. You see, plastic has various uses so we need to come up with various alternatives.
  • Lack of discipline and love for the environment: Some cities in Nigeria are flooded because of bad drainage system or clogged drainage. The people in these cities know fully well that they have a role to play in order to curb the flood. They can clear the drainage system then dispose the right way so that their dirt and wastes don't block the waterway again. Well, they sometimes clear the system but they still throw their dirt anyhow. They know that their wastes cause the flood yet they still dispose anyhow. If they are disciplined or have love for their environment, they will not dispose just anyhow.
  • Increase of demand: How is the demand for plastics increasing even though we are trying to reduce our use? I'll explain with an illustration.

The sinking boat

A boat in a river has a hole in the middle and water is entering the boat through the hole. The more water enters the boat, the lower the boat becomes. How can we raise the level of the boat? Your answer will definitely be to scoop the water out. Well that's part of the solution but to permanently solve this problem, we'll need to first block the hole so that water cannot enter the boat before we remove the water which is already in the boat. Both actions taken are important but one proves to have a more lasting solution than the other. That's not all, let's see how we can use this illustration to explain how the demand of plastics is increasing. 
leaking boat

Now let's say that you have been idle in that boat and now that there's a hole, you have the job to scoop out the water. You know fully well that when the hole is closed and the water is out, you'll resume being idle so instead of closing the hole, you are very comfortable with scooping out the water. Just as doctors will go jobless when there's no sickness, people who sell coffins will close their shops if death stops, etc you will become idle if the hole is blocked.

We humans are subconsciously selfish. When will we realize that the more we come up with ways to reuse plastics, the more dependent on plastics we will be? Yes let's appreciate everyone who have come up with ideas to reuse plastics but let us also realize that plastic pollution is still increasing. Here are some ideas they brought:



  • From 2017, there have been a lot of articles online about some organisms like the waxworm which are able to eat plastic bags. Is it really worth it? Yes i agree that the waxworm eats plastics but then again what next? Can it digest it? What if another organism eats it or it finds a way to our tables (bioaccumulation)?. If we use these worms, they'll surely find a way to our tables because fishes eat them and we eat fishes. We'll indirectly be eating plastics.
  • Today, plastics are being tested in construction; some are used to construct walkways, some are shredded and mixed with mortar or melted to make bricks or roads. These innovations are good but they also make us more dependent on plastics. 
Let us solve this problem of plastic pollution from the root. No we aren't condemning the ideas because without them, we'll have even more plastics in our environment. Let us first focus on blocking the hole before we start scooping out the water. That is, let us find alternatives to plastics, reduce (or end) our demand for plastics before we channel our focus on what we can use the plastics already polluting our environment for.

When we focus on reusing plastics, we'll be fighting a never ending battle. We then can say that the more polluted the world becomes, the richer someone becomes (the person who came up with ideas on how to reuse the bottles). If we really want to permanently end plastic pollution, we should first focus our ideas on alternatives to use in order to reduce the demand, focus our energy in enlightening the public about causes, effects and solutions to pollution then come up with (or use existing) ideas to reuse the plastics already polluting the Earth. This is a fight with an end.

Step by step actions to permanently end plastic pollution

Green alternatives

We're looking for alternatives that will not cause pollution after mass production. Alternatives that are degradable (able to breakdown unlike plastics) and healthier are what we should be looking for. Instead of using plastics to wrap food items like moimoi (bean pudding) and okpa (made with bambara nut), we should use plant leaves that are traditionally used (Thaumatococcus daniellii). Come to think of it, the past sometimes offer a solution for present problems. Before plastic items were manufactured, what were our ancestors using? How can these items be modified? We can even consider a mass production of natural rubber since it is biodegradable.
Using the leaf of Thaumatococcus daniellii to wrap our food like moimoi is better than using plastic wraps

Enlightenment and enforcement

People should be enlightened and educated about pollution. They should be taught the causes of pollution, the effects of pollution (on our health and the health of our environment) and ways to end pollution like disposing the right way and only buying what we need and can consume. If these campaigns are successful, more people will value the Earth and dispose the right way. For others who are stubborn, they can be jailed or fined when they dispose anyhow. Companies involved in production of plastic items or items wrapped/contained in plastics should consider the end products of what they are making and should be fined when their products pollute the environment.

Read about a campaign we organized at Rivers state against plastic pollution at Plastic pollution campaign
Plastic pollution campaign

Controlled production rate

Even though the demand for plastics is increasing due to increase of population and discovery of more reusable ways, the rate of production should be controlled by governments or unions of manufacturers. Come to think of this; when there's a will, there's a way. If plastic production is banned, individuals and firms which previously relied on plastics will come up with a way to survive.

Recycling and reusing the plastics already polluting our environment

Now that the hole has been blocked (or is being blocked), we can focus on reusing or recycling the plastics already polluting our environment. This will be more effective in the concluding phase of the battle against plastic pollution than in the starting phase. Why? When we don't reduce the supply of plastics, people who reuse and recycle plastics will find them easily, they won't have to search for them or travel to the remote parts of the oceans where plastics are gathered. They just have to wait for people to throw their wastes away in order to find whatever kind of plastic they are looking for. When other preventive measures are taken before we focus more on reusing and recycling, we'll be sure that these people who recycle will have to search for the plastics therefore cleaning up the environment. Think of this; scavenging is an enterprise you can start with zero capital. You just have to search for a needed waste and supply it to who is willing to pay for it.
Construction of a walkway using plastic bottles, wraps and caps




The battle against plastic pollution has taken too much time. Let us permanently end plastic pollution. Thanks for reading this article to the end. Please do well to share your opinion in the comment box below. You can also share the article with your friends and family.

References:

Friday, 5 July 2019

Today's youth, tomorrow's sustainability

July 05, 2019 0 Comments
The youths these days have passions and high hopes for a better tomorrow. What are they doing to make their future exactly the way the want it? What are they missing?

It is an established fact that the only thing which never changes is "change" itself. This simply means that the way something was yesterday is not the way it is today and not the way it is going to be tomorrow. This is true for everything related to human activities because we are never satisfied and we always want to do things the easiest of ways. Asides wanting to do things the easiest of ways, humans will tend to stop doing what they have been doing when they discover that they have been doing it wrong. How do all these connect with the mindset of the youth? Can you connect the dots?

Talking about human wants, we have always wanted items and properties to ourselves but the way we get these properties has undergone a series of changes over the years. Primitive men scavenged for their properties, men in the past generations got their properties through trading by barter, men today work for others or sell goods to make money in order to afford properties... The question is "how would we earn in the future?".




A Revolution is coming

What is a revolution? Simply put, it is a very powerful and colossal change on man's operations. Before the 19th century, humans have only earned through farming, healing, researching and other ways. In the late 18th century, an industrial revolution occurred. This revolution transformed the way man earned. Now, humans earn through labor in various industries, these industries are found worldwide. So far, we have been doing well. We have companies like Chevron, Mercedes, Samsung, etc which are paying well but let's face the fact that these companies are becoming more and more useless as time goes by. They are becoming useless simply because mans' eye is opening to see the effect of the various industries in the world;

  • Emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
  • Production of non-biodegradable and greenhouse gas emitting goods.
  • Increase in the rate of Global warming in the world today.

As noted earlier, humans will stop doing what they have been doing if they find out that they have been doing it wrong. One day, a revolution will start. It is a form of revolution that will reduce or even fully stop the use of non-renewable resources, fossil fuels and production of plastics and other non-biodegradable items. When (not if but when) this revolution comes, how will we earn? What hope would the average youths have?

Read Construction of a walkway using plastic bottles

Let's talk about sustainable development 

Sustainable development in simple terms, is the use of resources or production of goods today in a manner that the resources (both raw and produced) will still be readily available to coming generations. Let us look at land as a natural resource. Instead of using the normal traditional agricultural method to get (for example) 100 tomatoes from a piece of land, we would change to the modern method of farming (vertical farming, aquaponics) to get more than 1000 tomatoes and even 10,000 fishes if we like. This method of farming reduces the amount of space, water and time used to get even more than what the traditional means can get. Enclosing the plants in a greenhouse would reduce water loss by transpiration and evaporation, planting in shelves will reduce space taken and nutrients always available will reduce the time it takes for the roots of plants to get nutrients and water therefore speeding up the growth rate of plants. Modern farming is just one of many examples of sustainability.

Here's how people in different fields can be sustainable

Sustainability is not restricted to a specific career.

  • Petitions can be made against stores that use too much packaging. These packaging cause excess waste
  • Banks should provide fewer loans to firms that pollute the Earth, more loans to firms that support sustainability
  • The government should maintain potential tourist attractions. Clean up river and sea beaches, make waterfalls accessible by cars
  • More enlightenment should be done. People should be enlightened about our natural heritage and how our actions pollute our environment
  • Doctors should tell their patients the source of their infection. For example, patients with malaria should be taught that reducing the amount of stagnant water around them would reduce the amount of mosquitoes
  • Schools should teach children about the sources, effects and control of pollution




Here's how sustainability is affecting our industries

There are several ways sustainable development is affecting our industries, here's just a few:
  • Introduction of more solar panels and biogas is reducing the demand of generators, refineries and other industries that rely on fossil fuel
  • Introduction of electric cars is reducing the demand of petrol powered cars therefore affecting automobile industries and refineries
  • Introduction of reusable and recyclable plastics has reduced the demand of single-use plastics therefore affecting refineries and industries that make plastics

Sustainable development usually doesn't need a lot of resources for maintenance and operation. This means that when the sustainable revolution occurs, a lot of the Earths resources will be saved since individuals and companies will reuse what are being produced. As you can see, introducing these eco-friendly products and services is very good but will greatly affect our major industries. What can we do? How can we the youths survive tomorrow?

Read Campaign against plastic pollution

Innovation is the key

Innovation is the only way we can survive in the future. Ask yourself: this company that I have been dreaming to work with, isn't it owned by a fellow human? If a man/woman (when he/she was a youth) could dream of owning a very big company, employing thousands of people, why can't I have similar dreams? Why must I limit my dreams to only working under someone, therefore fulfilling his/her dreams? Why can't I be creative? Just imagine when these big companies stop or reduce operations and almost all the youths are still dreaming about working with these companies. It would be a sad situation for those who were unable to dream big. Look at Nigeria as a case study; a country where many companies are fleeing from yet the youths are still hoping they can work with these companies.

Solve problems

Your innovation or creativity should be geared towards identifying and solving problems in your society or the world at large. Lets look at Obasanjo. He found the problem of hunger then invested in Agriculture. Mark Zuckerberg found the problem of lack of communication then made facebook. Now, Facebook has pledged to use only non-exhaustible resources to generate electricity before the end of 2020. Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp found the problem of transportation and made Uber. we hope Uber will make a pledge of using only electric cars as cabs in the nearest future.




The average mindset of the youth is a problem we see and shouldn't remain silent. Here are a few solutions.

Are you a youth?

  • Don't be scared to dream big
  • Discover your talents
  • Work on your talents
  • Discover your passions
  • Work on your passions
  • Look for the similarities between your talents and passions
  • Focus on these similarities because among these similarities is your purpose in life
  • Remain useful
  • Solve problems
  • Build a network of value-adding friends in your life
  • Don't stop working on yourself
  • Keep adding value to people
  • Hold a strong relationship with your God.
  • Think creativity, think innovation, think sustainability
  • Try your best to make the world a better place
  • Be The Change you want to see in the world
Reference:

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Construction of a walkway using plastic bottles

July 04, 2019 0 Comments
Students from the department of Animal and Environmental Biology, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria constructed a walkway using plastic bottles, their caps and wraps. Read this article to know why and how they constructed the walkway.

Why construct a walkway made of plastics?

Bad road

The road leading the building of the department is not very accessible especially in the rainy season. Students and staff passing through that road must walk on water or through grass. Something must be done, a road must be made.
Flooded road in the University of Port Harcourt



Plastic pollution 

Plastics are bad for our environment. They cause flooding by blocking our drainage systems, trap and kill aquatic animals, reduce the beauty of our society and they increase in number every second. We need to come up with ways to reuse plastics. AEB students (U2016 set) came up with a way to reuse the bottles. In this case, they decided to build a walkway as a form of community service to the department. Seeing the plastic bottles, caps and wraps on the walkway will teach and motivate others that wastes can be reused, we should dispose our wastes correctly and not everything we term "waste" is useless.
Plastics litter our environment
Pile of plastic bottles collected by U2016 AEB students

What were the uses of each part of the plastic bottles?

The main bottle

Most of the plastic bottles were used as kerbs (both edges of the walkway), some were used as expansion joints while others were used on a step at the entrance of the walkway.
Plastic bottles placed as kerbs

The bottle caps

The bottle caps were used to decorate the surface of the walkway. They were used to write "U2016 SET & AEB STAFF" and make several patterns and drawings.
Pretty butterfly made by plastic bottle caps
Entrance of the walkway

The wraps

The wraps of all bottles used for the construction were stripped off before the bottles were placed. While some wraps were properly disposed, we used most for decoration of some bottles. They were placed inside the bottles so that they will be visible.
Wraps placed inside the plastic bottles




How was the walkway constructed?

The bottles were filled with sharp sand, the ground was leveled with sharp sand and mortar made of cement and coarse sand was poured on the leveled ground to make the walkway surface. On the edges of the walkway, holes were dug and the bottles were placed in the holes (filled with mortar and sand). While some parts of the walkway were decorated with the cap of plastic bottles, other parts were decorated with interlocking tiles-maker.
Leveling the ground and placing the plastic bottles
Filling more plastic bottles with sand
Finished work

Other details

  • 2077 plastic bottles were used
  • 102 students participated on the construction
  • The walkway was constructed in 5 days
  • 34 hours were actively spent on the walkway construction.



What can we learn?

  • Problems can be solved, only when we are not silent about them.
  • Wastes are wastes because we are not innovative enough to have use(s) for them.
  • The youths of this generation are not all lazy, they just need to find what they can do and a
  • source of motivation.
  • Plastic bottles are the next big thing. They can be used for minor constructions, agricultural purposes, innovations and other forms of pet projects.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Major differences between 10 sets of look alike animals

February 13, 2019 0 Comments
Do you know how to identify a crocodile when it's placed with an alligator? Do you know the difference between a panther and a jaguar? What about toads and frogs? Read this article to learn the differences between 10 sets of look alike animals.

Differences between 10 sets of look alike animals

Differences between Butterflies and Moths

Butterflies and Moths are very similar insects and belong to the order Lepidoptera under the class Insecta under the phylum Arthropoda. Many actually think that moths are butterflies. Well, here are their differences:
  • You're most likely to find butterflies during the day because butterflies are diurnal which means they're more active in the day. Moths however are nocturnal meaning they're more active at night so you're most likely to find moths at night.
  • Butterflies are colorful and have beautiful patterns in their wings but Moths mostly have faded patterns and are mostly white, black and grey.
  • When at rest, butterflies stretch their wings horizontally or vertically but moths fold their wings so their abdomen is fully covered.
  • The antennae of butterfly is club-shaped, meaning that it's straight from the bottom but swelled at the top but for moth, the antennae is feathery.
Butterflies and moths




Differences between Crocodiles and Alligators

How do you know that you saw an Alligator yesterday? What makes you feel it was not a Crocodile? Well, here are the differences between Alligators and Crocodiles:
  • The snout (mouth part) of a crocodile is pointed from the body, it is v-shaped. The snout of an alligator is wide, it is u-shaped.
  • Alligators in the world can only be found in some parts of USA and China however, crocodiles can be found worldwide so if you aren't in the US or China, you're most likely to see crocodiles.
  • When their mouth is closed, the teeth of Alligators are hidden but the teeth of Crocodile are not fully covered
  • Crocodiles are generally larger in size and longer than Alligators
  • Crocodiles are more aggressive than alligators
  • Crocodiles prefer to live in saline water while Alligators prefer fresh water like swamps
Crocodiles and alligators

Differences between Toads and Frogs

Toads and frogs are both amphibians. They both start their life-cycles as tadpoles and they look alike in almost every way. How can you differentiate both?
  • Habitat: Although they both hatched  and started their life in water, toads (when matured) live in land but frogs continue to live in/around water
  • Skin: The skin of frogs is wet, smooth and slimy but that of toads is bumpy, dry and rough.
  • Limbs: They both hop but the limbs of Frogs are structured better for hopping because it is stronger and looks thicker
  • Eyes: The eyes of frogs bulge out more than the eyes of toads
  • Eggs: Toads lay their eggs connected to each other like they're in long chain but frogs lay their eggs connected to each other in a cluster-form 
Frogs and Toads

Differences between Tigers, Jaguars, Panthers, Leopards, Cheetahs, etc

They're all cats and we love them. Although, lion is also a cat, it is unique can easily be identified. Let's learn the differences between the big cats:

  • Panthers: Just so you know, there isn't an animal species called panther. "Panther" as a term refers to the melanin (fully black) version of big cats like jaguars, leopards, etc. That's how we got "Black Panther"
  • Tigers: They're the largest of the cats. They don't have spots in their body, they have stripes instead. They can be found in Asia. They're solitary. Tigers love swimming and even have webbed paws.
  • Cheetahs: They can be found in the plains of Africa. Cheetahs are the fastest land animals in the world, they're good climbers as well. The best way to identify cheetahs is the tear-mark in their face. The tear-mark is like a black line (like tears) connecting their eyes to mouth.
  • Jaguars: They can be found in central and southern America and they're the biggest cats in their habitats. They're good swimmers and love water. Jaguars, unlike Tigers, have spots on their fur. These spots called rosettes have holes in their middle.
  • Leopards: They're the smallest of the big cats in their habitat. They can be found in Africa and Asia. They also have rosettes both theirs is smaller and sometimes have no space in the middle. They're excellent swimmers but don't like water.
Clockwise from top left: tiger, jaguar, cheetah and leopard

Do you know that is unfair to call lions the kings of the jungle? Here's the reason why: 5 wrong animal stereotypes that will make you rethink nature



Differences between Sponges and Corals

They can mostly be found in the same places, they're both animals and both look like plants. Here are some differences between sponges and corals:
  • They aren't in the same phylum. Sponges are in Phylum Porifera while corals are in phylum Cnideria.
  • Sponges are more primitive than corals. Corals are related to more complex animals like sea anemones, jellyfishes, etc.
  • Sponges feed and excrete through cells in their wall that aid in diffusion. Corals however, gain nutrition through a relationship with plants like algae
  • Sponges are generally soft in texture but corals can be soft or hard
  • Sponges have pores and large openings which help in diffusion.
Corals
Image result for sponges
Sponges

Differences between Ants and Termites

Both ants and termites are mistaken for the same insects. Very few people care to know their differences because they're both feared and hated for causing harm. Is that really true? Here's their differences:
  • Although they're both in phylum Arthropoda and class Insecta, ants are in order Hymenoptera and family Formicidae while termites are in order Isoptera and can be found in several families
  • Ants are scavengers (meaning they search for food). They may live in decaying wood or other materials but they don't eat them. They send their workers to go search for food. Termites however, eats plant tissues, wood and almost anything so termites are actually the destructive species.
  • Wings: Not all of their species have wings. You can identify winged termites through their long and uniform wings (all their wings are the same in size). Winged ants can be identified through their wings almost the size of their body while some are smaller than the others.
  • Antennae: The antennae of ants is elbowed while that of termites is blunt (almost straight).
  • The waist of ants is thin so it creates a visible segmentation between the thorax and abdomen but Termites have an almost uniform body. 
Ants and termites

Differences between Bees, Wasps and Hornets

They're all stringing insects and we don't want to get close to any of them. How can you differentiate a bee from a wasp or from a hornet? Keep reading:
  • Bees: They appear fuzzy because of the many hairs in their body. Their nest which is usually big is called a beehive and it is made from wax. Bees produce honey and store it in their honeycomb. If they sting an animal, their stinger remains in the body of that animal so they may likely die. They will only sting when they feel threatened. Bees pollinate flowers.
  • Wasps: They can easily be identified by their sharp yellow and black rings coloration. They have a thin and long waist so their abdomen is distanced from their thorax. They make their nest through chewing wood to make it soft and building it in a corner. They can sting more than once and even lay eggs on their preys (humans aren't their preys). Only the females sting.
  • Hornets: They're not so different from wasps. They're generally larger, are white with black rings. Hornets and wasps are carnivorous and can sting multiple times.



Differences between Goats, Sheep and Rams

People love calling themselves sheep and hate it when they're called goats. Not all sheep have wool so how can they differentiate goats from sheep? What about rams?
  • Rams: They're simply male sheep, identified by their testicles.
  • Fur: Sheep can have wool or hair but goats have just hairs. 
  • Tail: They can easily be identified by their tails, Sheep tail bends downward but goats tail bends upwards. 
  • Beards: Sheep don't have beards but goats do.
  • Horns: Most sheep lack horns but goats have horns.
  • Odor: When male goats mature, they emit a very sharp and distinctive smell.

Differences between Monkeys, Chimpanzees, Gorillas, etc

Just like humans, they're all primates. Excluding monkeys they're all apes. Wait what? Monkeys aren't apes? Why? How? here are the ways to identify these animals

  • Monkeys: Monkeys have tails but apes don't. Monkeys are usually small and very active. Baboons are monkeys. Monkeys can be found worldwide except Antarctica
  • Apes: Apes don't have tails, they are more developed, have larger brains and closer to humans than monkeys. Apes includes chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, etc. How do we identify them?
  • Gorillas: They look strong and heavy. They're actually the largest primates. They are covered with hair ranging from black to reddish black. The older the males get, the more grey the hair color on their back becomes. Adult males are known as silver backs. They can be found in Africa
  • Chimpanzees: They're the most social apes so whenever you see one, there are great chances of others being around. They're mostly on ground an move by knuckle walking. Their arms are usually longer than their legs.
  • Orangutans: They can mostly be found in trees. They have large cheeks. They are mostly solitary. They have a dark reddish hair.

Differences between Turtles and Tortoises

They're both reptiles and have a shell. Both animals are shy in nature. People often use their names interchangeably. Well, they're different animals and here are their differences:

  • Habitat: Tortoises dwell on land but turtles live in water most of the times.
  • Tortoises are mostly found in Africa and Asia but turtles are mostly found in Africa and America
  • Shell: The shell of tortoises bulges out and looks like a dome but that of turtles is streamlined for easy movement in water
  • Feeding: Tortoises are mostly herbivorous but turtles are omnivorous.
  • Limbs: The forelimbs of turtles are straight and almost flat (streamlined) for easy swimming but the limbs of tortoises are generally thick and bent.  
Tortoises and turtles

Bonus

Differences between venomous and non-venomous snakes

Do you know the differences between venomous and non-venomous snakes? Learn these differences by reading an older article here in this blog. Read the article here: Know the differences between venomous and non venomous snakes

Did you like the article or learnt something new? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Do well to share the article with friends as well.

References:

Monday, 4 February 2019

5 wrong animal stereotypes that will make you rethink nature

February 04, 2019 2 Comments
No one knows it all. What you thought was true today may just become false tomorrow. There are a few things we know about a few animals but we don't really know if they're true or not. Read this article to learn 5 wrong animal stereotypes we've been using to judge animals

5 wrong animal stereotypes

Lions are the king of the jungle

Lions to many people, represent pride. Pride literally a group of lions. Here are some facts about lions:
  • Male lions, when in a pride, mostly relies on the females for food. The females mostly do the hunting
  • When male lions become the alpha male of a pride, they kill and (sometimes) eat the cubs of the females impregnated by other males
  • Lions don't come first in anything; not in size, strength, speed, niche, etc.
  • Most lions aren't found in the jungle or forest. They can be found in grasslands, wildernesses, savannas, etc.
  • Other animals fear lions because lions are social animals (strength in numbers), predators and scary
How can lions be the kings of the king of the jungle if they mostly aren't found in the jungle? How can lions represent pride when all they do is sleep, hunt for food and eat? Why don't lions come first in anything? Such kings they are. 




Let's talk a little about tigers:

  • Tigers are mostly solitary. They only meet each other accidentally or when it's mating time. Although they're solitary, they still hunt successfully and dominate
  • They're mostly found in the jungle/forest. In other words, they dominate the forest
  • Tigers are the biggest cats
  • Their limbs are so strong that if they die standing, they still won't fall
Now, who should be the king of the jungle?
Image result for majestic tiger
The majestic Tiger

Owls represent wisdom

This has been known for ages. Even since the time of the Greeks, Athena the goddess of wisdom was commonly associated with Owls. Well, owls are nice birds and have cool features like their neck's ability to rotate up to 270°. Owls have large eyes which make them look as if they're very cautious. Well, i can't argue that Owls can represent wisdom but i can argue that they are not the best animal to represent wisdom. For instance, can an owl match the Octopus?




Here are a few octopus' facts:

  • They're invertebrates, in the same phylum with snails, slugs, clams, etc.
  • Octopuses have neurons in all their eight arms. This makes them great at multitasking because all eight arms can function differently at the same time. More like a creature with nine brains (one central).
  • Although related to slow and immobile organisms, octopuses (as well as squids) can be very fast in water.
  • Octopus; Octo -eight, pus/podus -foot literally means eight foot while its class Cephalopods literally means head foot.
  • Looking at the octopus its head is just that small part where the eyes can be found just above the arms. The mantle cavity (which houses its stomach, anus and other vital organs) makes a cephalopod look like an organism with a very large brain.  
Well, I think the Octopus should be the real representative of wisdom


Pigs are very dirty

You'd definitely feel insulted if someone calls you a pig. We all know pigs to be very dirty. Let's study the pigs:
  • If given the chance, pigs don't poop close to where they sleep or eat.
  • Pigs don't have sweat pores so they rely on the coolness of the ground to keep their body from over heating. This means that they love the mud, not because they just want to play or become dirty but because it's their natural instinct of survival.
  • Pigs are smarter than our household pets so they're more easily trained than cats and dogs
Well, pigs need the dirt to survive. Why does your dog like to roll in the dirt?




Vultures are evil

Yes they eat the flesh of dead animals but does that mean they're evil? Let's exam the vultures:
  • They're detrivores. This means that they eat decomposing animals. Is that really bad? With this niche of vultures, they're able to speed up the time nutrients would be taken back to the ground. For instance, it may take more than 3 months for the soft parts (flesh) of a carcass to decompose and even longer for its bones. When vultures eat the carcass, it would digest and excrete it in not more than 2 days.
  • Vultures are social. Meaning they're mostly around each other. Talking of co-operation
Don't call vultures evil. They're only acting their role in nature.

Read Microorganisms; the good, the bad and the ugly

Owls and Cats are evil

This stereotype is popular in Nigeria. It is widely accepted and more Nigerians would kill any Owl or unknown Cat they find wandering in the street early in the morning. Just like Nigerians many people believe that Cats and Owls are used by or transformed into by witches and wizards.

Owls and Cats (especially owls) are nocturnal meaning they're mostly active at night. They move at night, hunt/search for food at night, poop at night and return back to their hiding place early in the morning. There's nothing witchy about them. This is among the 5 wrong animal stereotypes we should put to rest.
What the average Nigerian thinks about witches
Read Cool nature facts you may not have known


References:

Monday, 7 January 2019

Cool nature facts you may not have known

January 07, 2019 0 Comments
Nature of is beautiful, wonderful and cool. Learning more about nature is very satisfying. Some people though, may be unable to learn more about nature because of tight schedule and other reasons. Read this article to learn some random cool nature facts. The more you know, the happier you become.




Random facts about nature. Cool nature facts to blow your mind

Prepare for your mind to get blown away. There may have been some things you thought you knew in Biology. When you realize that you've been living a lie, you'll question your own existence😂

Plants breathe in Oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide

I remember when i was a child. Our teacher told us that animals breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. She told us that for plants, the process of respiration is the exact opposite of that in animals. We had to believe her because that's what everyone would say. I kept holding on to this belief until we were taught plant respiration in my 200lv. We were all surprised and didn't want to believe our lecturer when he told us that every aerobic organisms breathe the same way -oxygen inhaled and carbon dioxide exhaled.
The thing is that plants also undergo photosynthesis.This means that for plants, they respire and photosynthesize. For photosynthesis to take place, there must be sunlight (or light which the plants can photosynthesize with). Photosynthesis also requires carbon dioxide to function. As the end result, photosynthesis produces nutrient (carbohydrate, energy, ATP, whatever you call it) and also produces oxygen as a bi-product. The amount of carbon dioxide taken into the plant by photosynthesis exceeds the amount of carbon dioxide taken out of the plant by respiration so during the day, we can say that more carbon dioxide is taken into the plant and more oxygen is taken out. When there's no light (at night) however, photosynthesis cannot occur so plants inhale only oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. This means that we should not go too close to big trees at night because we'll be inhaling carbon dioxide from the plant.
Plants Inhale oxygen (O2) and exhale Carbon dioxide (CO2) like every other organisms





Euglena is the only animal-like and plant-like organism

Euglena is under the kingdom Protista. The kingdom Protista is a kingdom characterized by unicellular eukaryotic organisms (solitary organisms with nucleus and more complex cell organelles) like Amoeba, Paramecium, etc. All the Protists organisms can be classified as animal-like or plant-like. This classification is based on how they gain nutrient. The animal-like ones gain nutrient by feeding on organic components of their environment and/or feeding on smaller organisms while the plant-like ones gain nutrient through photosynthesis (This means they have Chlorophyll). Euglena as an organism is both animal-like and plant-like. It switches to the best method of gaining nutrient with the availability of sunlight.
Euglena are both animal-like and plant-like

Viruses aren't living

Viruses are in the thin line between organisms and objects. For something to be classified as living, it has to have the characteristics of living things; movement, respiration, nutrition, irritability, growth, excretion, reproduction, death, etc. Viruses cannot do most of these on their own. For viruses to function, they need to be in a host cell. When outside a host, Viruses are as useful as useless. Without the organelles of its host, a virus cannot reproduce. Asides the characteristics of living organisms, viruses are very simple in structure; they're just composed of a nucleic acid (DNA or RNA, never both) inside a protein case, also having slight differences in their outside structure with regards the type. What the viruses do is that when they're inside their host, they insert their nucleic acid into the nucleic acid of their host. With this modification, the host will start producing more viruses with identical nucleic acid as the one inserted in it. When the host has expanded and cannot hold more viruses, it bursts and releases the already made new viruses into the environment. These new ones will then drift to new hosts.

Trees communicate with and help each other

Yes, they do communicate and with and help each other. The question now is 'how?'. Trees on their own cannot help each other but for a forest to be complete, it has to have a range of organisms from trees to other organisms like animals, protists, fungi, etc. Trees can achieve this social network with the help of fungi. Organisms in kingdom Fungi aren't photosynthetic so they gain nutrient from the environment. Saprophytes grow on dead decaying organisms. Others grow on the roots of different plants. These fungi which grow on the roots of plants may grow on thee root of one or more plants at once. They can now receive excess nutrients from the plants they're anchored on. A recent study has shown that they can also transfer nutrients from one plant to another. That is a plant with more nutrients can help a plant with less nutrients with the help of fungi. This network of the roots of different plants connected with each other though the help of fungi is called Mycorrhizal network. It is very important because taller plants get more sunlight than shorter plants. Through the help of the fungi, taller plants can help shorter plants.
Trees communicate with and help each other





Viruses are very selective

You may know different types of viruses and you may even be scared of all. The fear is normal because 'virus' is now a bad term. For a virus to function, it has to enter its host. What most people don't know is that each type of viruses have their own preferred host. 'Preferred' isn't even the right word to use. For a virus to be able to enter its host, it has to be recognized as friendly. It can be recognized by he host when its surface matches the receptor molecules of the cell. The identical nature of receptor molecules on the surface of cells is the only way organisms can be multi-cellular. If the outside structure of the virus does not match the receptor molecules of the cell, the virus won't be able to enter. This is why HIV cannot infect other cells in the body except the immune cells. Its structure matches only the receptors of human immune cells.
Rotavirus Reconstruction.jpg
See the outside structure of the virus

Cyanobacteria are Photosynthetic

And so what? Right? Well, it may surprise you that for an organism to be a bacteria, it must be prokaryotic. A prokaryotic organism is an organism without a nucleus and one which has lesser amount of cell organelles as opposed to eukaryotic organisms. Only eukaryotic organisms have chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a special pigment that aid in photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria however, have chlorophyll. This means it is the only bacteria, the only prokaryotic organism that can undergo photosynthesis. As a matter of fact, scientists are suggesting (with the theory of endosymbiosis) that eukaryotic organisms evolved from other prokaryotic organisms that devoured on cyanobacteria. That however will be a discussion for another day.
Tolypothrix (Cyanobacteria).JPG
Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic

Read Microorganisms; the good, the bad and the ugly

Did you learn something new today? Please do well to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also help me by sharing the article with your friends if you loved it. Thanks very much.

References:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanobacteria
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virus
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euglena

Friday, 28 December 2018

Dispose the right way -let's make 2019 cleaner

December 28, 2018 2 Comments
What's your 2019 resolution? Have you ever thought of how your resolution can affect your environment? The issue of waste disposal is universal. Most people dispose their dirt the wrong way because they either don't know what could be the outcome or they simply don't care. With this article, please learn why you should not dispose your wastes wrongly and how you can dispose the right way.

Why should we care about the way we dispose our wastes?

See garbage affecting both plants and animals in the environment

I'll give two scenarios with two options to choose from each. After each scenario, I'll explain the outcome of the option you choose to follow then you'll rethink and do the right thing. Let's get started





Walking on the road

You're walking on the road, you just finished consuming a snack and the waste bin is far from you. Here are some options too choose from: (1) You throw it to the ground and leave it there (it's easier to do so) or (2) You discipline yourself and hold it till you get to the waste bin (requires self control and the dirt might cause inconvenience but you've been able to dispose the right way). Let's examine the outcome of both options

When you throw it away in the street, here's a few of the possible outcomes:
  • It remains in your street, littering your environment. It makes your environment look ugly
  • An animal might think it's food and eat it. The dirt, along with other toxic microbes/elements attached to it from the street, would cause illness on that animal. Who knows if the illness could be transmitted to your pets and other domestic animals. Who knows if the illness can be transmitted to you?
  • The dirt would find its way to the sea, blocking sunlight from reaching aquatic plants, making the sea look ugly or even poisoning some aquatic animals that think its food.
  • Remember that a major cause of flood in a city is blocked drainage. Guess what's blocking the drainage...




The list of negative outcomes are endless. Let's now check out some positive outcomes that might happen if we decide to dispose it the right way (taking it to the waste bin)
  • If it's recyclable or reusable, you're reducing the amount of natural resources used to produce new ones when dispose it correctly
  • If it is organic, it can be used as a source of manure, bio fuel or even feed when handled properly by people who need it
  • You're helping both plants and animals from being suffocated and/or poisoned
  • You're helping your environment to be clean and safe by just disposing correctly
Notice how the results of discipline and laziness are just words and opposite? Let's look at the next scenario

Facing a large amount of garbage 

You have some wastes at home, they're becoming too much that you think the best option will be to burn them (ease of packing stress). Well, the sad truth is that a lot of people (especially in developing countries) still burn their wastes because they feel that it is the easiest way of saying bye to a large quantity of dirt. 

What could possibly go wrong when we burn then?
  • Let's start with our fellow humans. Humans, just like other organisms, require/breathe in oxygen in respiration. Normally, there's about 20% oxygen in the air. Burning would increase the amount of toxic gases in the air and reduce the amount of oxygen therefore rendering the air unbreathable for we and the humans around us.
  • Some of the gases released into the atmosphere are greenhouse gases (they stay in the atmosphere, store heat and are the major cause of global warming today). When we burn, we're adding to the heat of the earth.
  • Talking about rain, you must've heard of acid rain but very few people realise where it goes to. You see, when the rain comes to the ground, our plants take in both the water and whatever toxic element it carries as well. These plants feed us. Do you see how we're poisoning our selves?
What could possibly go wrong when we burn our wastes?
Instead of burning dirt, why not dispose it properly so you can avoid these things? Do I really need to state the outcomes of disposing it correctly instead of burning? I don't think so. 




Like i always said, telling people to stop doing bad is not good enough. It's good you also tell them what to do to replace the bad they've been doing. Only so is it complete. How can we dispose the right way? 

How do we dispose the right way?

Well, I remember when I typed that the issue of waste disposal is universal. I am not so sure that the solution to waste disposal is universal (can be applied same way everywhere). The technology and zeal to dispose correctly are different from region to region. One thing is constant though, 'We're in this together'. If I dispose correctly but all my friends don't, am making no or very low impact on the environment. 

We can only do this when we do it together. The government and other zealous people can support as well;
  • Making waste bins more available
  • Creating factories that either recycle or only produce recyclable alternatives to non-recyclable products
  • Creating awareness campaigns like my colleagues and I did. Read about our campaign 'Environmental issues awareness and plastic pollution campaign
  • Make laws to stop burning illegally.
  • Show people more ways they can reuse their wastes or even sell them to people that can reuse them.
May I request that you consider your environment and the Earth at large in your new year resolution? Just start acting and help others act right as well. My 2019 resolution is 'consistency'. I'll keep doing what is right and showing people the way to do what is right as well. 

Reference(s):