A quiet summer watching nestlings grow

Summer has been quiet, but busy somehow. I have a few other projects I’ve been working on and my bird-watching has been close to home for the most part with a couple exceptions.

Scenes like this Western Tiger Swallowtail are few and far between now that we are in the depths of summer.

What was all green and lush and full of life in spring is now brown and golden with drought. This year marks the fourth summer in a row which has been a drought in Victoria. Yesterday it rained for the first time in months, but I don’t think it did much to alleviate conditions.

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The plague of plastic and reducing your plastic footprint

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll recall a little over a year ago, I wrote some posts on plastic in our lives, and some ways I was trying to reduce my own contributions to the problem of the plastic plague. Why do I care? Mostly, I care because I don’t want the oceans ending up with more plastic than plankton. I like birds. I don’t like seeing birds (and other animals – especially turtles!) dying, starving and becoming poisoned from eating too much plastic.

Birds and turtles – I wonder if they’re eating plastic?

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Garry oak ecosystems: more than just an oak tree

garry oak tree

Since moving to Canada and specifically Vancouver Island, I’ve learned a lot about the Pacific Northwest and its environments, ecosystems and geology. One of my favorite ecosystems and landscapes is the garry oak meadow or the garry oak ecosystem. As the name implies, the foundation of this zone is the garry oak tree (Quercus garryana). An ecosystem, however, by definition is not just a tree. Its a whole community of all the creatures living in the area and how they interact.

These meadows are unlike anything I grew up around out east or many places I’ve seen since. I think that’s why I like them so much; not to mention they are so full of life (especially birds)! Southeastern Vancouver Island is one of the only places in Canada to have the garry oak ecosystem. In the U.S., garry oaks are found along the western edge of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon and into northern California. The garry oak is the only native species of oak in this region.

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How glaciers carved Lake Louise & the Rockies: what remains today

Everywhere, the Canadian Rockies are scoured and marked by the power of ice. We have these powerful glaciers to thank for much of the beauty we now enjoy. Banff NP’s Lake Louise at 1,731m elevation is one example of one such famous site created by glacial erosion.

The Victoria Glacier above the head of Lake Louise, feeds the glacial lake with meltwater.

Above the head of the lake lies Victoria Glacier, a valley glacier, which feeds Lake Louise with beautiful blue-green meltwater (Britannica). Years ago, the Victoria glacier probably once extended much further into the valley while only a fraction of it remains today.

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Dressed in plastic head to toe – is plastic hiding in your closet, too?

Following on from my previous post on plastic in clothing, I decided to investigate my closet to find out how much plastic is hiding in plain sight.

I hoped for a majority natural fabrics like cotton. I distinctly dislike the way polyester feels on my skin and how it doesn’t breathe at all.

The results weren’t as bad as I was expecting overall, but there is definitely room for improvement! Here’s what I found in my everyday wardrobe…

  • All of my “woolly” sweaters and winter hats are 100% acrylic.
  • My nicer blouses for office jobs were an variety of mostly viscose, rayon and polyester with no cotton.
  • Most of my t-shirts were 100% cotton which is great. There are a couple of odd rayon shirts in the mix, but I’ll take rayon over polyester since its a natural-synthetic blend.
  • My jeans are 68% cotton, which is not too bad I suppose. Another pair of pants are 97% cotton and 3% elastane.
  • My shorts are a win at 98% cotton/2% elastane. Not bad!
  • Most of my dresses were polyester. The worst part of this are the tights that go along with them which are all 100% nylon, of course.

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Are you wearing plastic right now? Do you know where your clothing comes from?

Following up from my previous post about the earth becoming a plastic planet, I’ve been thinking more about plastic in my life. Over the last couple of years, I have been striving to be healthier and eliminate certain toxins from my life, such as chemical cleaning products and air fresheners, beauty and personal care products and making more food homemade. Maybe the next logical step is striving for less plastic both in my home and on myself!

After learning about the plastic industry taking over our clothing and how it degrades in the washing machine only to wind up polluting our oceans, I decided to learn more about what I put on my body every single day.

And it is not only the plastic fibers polluting the ocean, but also the concern of what happens to all these articles of clothing when we are done with them? Because they are basically plastic, they will not biodegrade and will persist in the environment long after we’re gone. Perhaps one solution is to wear more natural fiber clothing…

So first, I ask the question: where does our clothing come from? Fabrics are made from one of two things: natural or synthetic fibers.

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