Skip to main content

Freely-Speaking: On the need to act with urgency.

I just read this article on the Great Barrier Reef suffering irreversible damage from climate disruption. It moved me so much that I just had to quickly post an appeal to anyone who happened to be reading this blog:

The changes happening to our environment are real, massive, and definitely caused in very large parts by human action (e.g. burning of fossil fuels for transportation, and energy, deforestation etc.) and made worse by inaction (e.g.: governments twiddling their thumbs and ignoring the problem, or afraid of shaking up the status quo).

There is some good news to all of this too though: Since it is humans causing this problem, it is also up to us to do everything in our power to fix these problems. And since Earth Week is also coming up, I would like to appeal to everyone to move to action.




The actions you take can have many forms. At a small scale, it can be as simple as:

- actually bringing and using your own grocery bags. Every bag you don't use, does not need to be manufactured which takes resources (oil) and energy (most likely some fossil resource).
- more generally reusing things over again (bring your own cup at work, and "dump" that use-me-once plastic cup (even if it is recycled or bio-based plastic).
- establishing a car-pool and car-pool and commit to car pooling at least once a week (more = better).
- committing to eating more veggies and just a little bit less meet.
- committing to buy more locally sourced food to reduce the demand on meet which is also a major source of green house gases.
- committing to buy just what you need, and eliminate throwing away food. This has the dual benefit of saving money and not releasing methane from rotten food sources.

The thing about these small things is that they don't cost much and may even save you some money. Because they don't cost much, they just require one thing: YOUR willingness to question and change your behavior.

At slightly larger scale, small investmenets can have a large effect:

- Replace all your light bulbs with LED light bulbs. If you have already done that, gift someone a set of LED lights who has not made the switch yet!
- Replace your showerhead with a more water-efficient showerhead.
- Buy a smart surge protectors that are either on a timer or turn-off zombie power for all attached devices based on a master switch.
- Are you thinking of buying a new smart phone (like I am)? Consider finding ethically sourced, or more sustainable phones (which is extremely hard). Or even better: consider a refurbished phone!

At even larger scale, when you make big purchases:

- Chose the most efficient appliance.
- Consider choosing a hybrid car, or at this point perhaps even a plug-in hybrid or electric car.
- Consider putting solar panels on your roof with perhaps even a battery storage.
- Consider putting in a grey-water recycling system that can even extract energy out of your waste water.

Even more importantly:

- Organize! You and every friend you can mobilize can make an even larger impact, be it at beach clean-ups or getting votes to get the government to actually do something.

So this is by no means a comprehensive list of things to do but just a starting point to challenge you to rethink everything you are doing and find ways to do things in a more sustainable way!

Popular posts from this blog

Focus on Algae - Part I: Bioremediation

After spending the last few blog posts on different aspects of dissimilatory bacteria, I want to switch the focus to a different class of organisms I have been interested in for a long time now. These are the algae. Algae comprise a large diversity of "sea weeds" and an even larger variety of single-celled organisms that mostly are capable of doing photosynthesis. They include the ordinary sea-weed, and make up a portion of the green slime found around the edges and the bottom of a pond. More exotic types of algae can live symbiotically - that is together with another organism in a mutually beneficial way. Lichens are an example of symbiotic relationship between algae and fungi. More information about the evolution and lineage of algae can be found in this wiki article.
Image via Wikipedia
Typically, these organisms are either not mentioned at all or only in conjunction with toxic algal blooms. But lately, algae, of course, have been in the news recently because of the promi…

Journal Club:”Direct Exchange of Electrons Within Aggregates of an Evolved Syntrophic Coculture of Anaerobic Bacteria” - OR: How Bacteria Hook up to Share Energy

Another curious observation made the science rounds the past week: wired, electric bacteria. Reading this article reminded me of a review article on dissimilatory bacteria I read before, and one of the most interesting talks I ever attended in my life titled "Eavesdropping on Bacterial Conversations".

What did they do?


Summers, who is Microbiologist working in the Lovley lab at the University of Massachusetts, was studying Fe(III) reducing bacteria in the soil. They wondered what would happen when Fe(III) reducing bacteria would deplete Fe(III) available in the soil. In order to study this question, the research group co-cultured two strains of geobacter bacteria: Geobacter metallireducens and Geobacter sulfurreducens. The research team thought that combining the former bacteria that can oxidize ethanol in order to obtain energy, but normally must pass obtained electrons onto Fe(III) which was not present in the solution, with the latter strain which cannot metabolize, but c…