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  • Ways to produce less trash in 2021

  • Alligators can regenerate their tails

  • Could eating invasive species help the planet?

  • Welcome back Tasmanian Devil

  • An Arctic expedition for the ages

It’s our first newsletter of 2021 and before we get into some noteworthy stories and events of this week, in the spirit of making some positive changes, we thought we would provide some helpful pointers on something we ALL should be striving for – producing LESS trash.
Progress on this front is accessible for all, so pick a couple of our suggestions below and try to adopt them. You’ll feel better we promise!
There are over 2 billion tons of waste produced each year across the world, of which 30-50% is not handled in even the remotest of environmentally friendly ways.  For those of you looking to move to Canada if life in the US has you questioning things, Les Habitants (yeah that’s a hockey reference) produces the most waste per capita than any country in the world.  What gives, eh?
So here are some accessible ways to cut down on your contribution to the waste epidemic in 2021
1) Invest in a thermos, maybe 2 or 3. Keep one in the car, at home, at the office. Some even come with filters so you can drink water safely from anywhere, like this affordable one from Brita
2) Get a tote bag or grocery tote. It boggles our minds that so many are still hauling home bags from the store and often paying $0.10 for them. They sell totes IN the grocery store! They can be $4-$6 but will last you all year and then some. Or pick up one of the last remaining Animalia totes, they are almost gone and on sale for $15 🙂
3) Look for recycling labels on food packaging. Some examples below. You look at nutrition info already, so look at these. If food packaging DOES NOT have one of these, please don’t try to recycle it. This can contaminate recycling hauls overall and lead to even more waste.
4) Cook more. Some of you have rekindled your love of cooking during the pandemic. Some of you still hate it. But like exercise, there is probably some form out there that you can tolerate or enjoy. Takeout and food delivery are the biggest culprits of non-recyclable materials since they are so bottom-line driven. It’s ok to use these, but just try to cook 1-2 more meals per week from where you are today. When you do order in, tell them you DON’T NEED plastic cutlery, use your own.
5) Cancel Junk Mail. Did you even know you can do this? Well yes you can. Just hit up the ole FTC here and get your name off junk mail lists.
6) Stop Putting Vegetables in Plastic. We all do this. But why? We’re gonna wash the vegetables before we eat them anyhow? Skip the plastic baggies and put them directly in your bag or cart. You should be thoroughly washing them at home regardless.
7) Cut Back Paper Towels. Paper towels are the new plastic straws. We use way too much – 100+ rolls per household per year in the US. They can’t be recycled and are energy intensive to produce. But we get there are times they might be needed – a pet going potty in the house, or a nasty greasy mess that would render a cloth unusable after – but for 80% of occasions, use a cloth or sponge and keep it clean. You can also get these awesome bamboo paper towels which not only can be reused multiple times but naturally decompose.
8) Bar Soap. Drop the liquid soap and go for the bar. It’s a better clean and eliminates the need to recycle the container. Sharing soap with others and grossed out by that? Invest in individual shower sponges and lather those up with soap instead of directly on your body.
9) Compost Perishable Food Scrapings. Building a compost is super easy and requires little space + produces great soiling for planting – great breakdown here. If you don’t have the space for it however, that’s ok, in every city there are local composts you can drop scraps off at or just dump them in those green compost containers.
10) Tupperware Party. Why are people still putting leftovers in plastic bags or using aluminum foil? Invest in tupperware and reduce your waste. It will last you for years, it will SAVE you money when you add up all the plastic bags and foil purchases, and reduces your footprint.
BONUS – want to reduce waste and treat yourself? The Tushy portable Bidet will cut back on toilet paper and give your anus a little party.
Alligators can Regenerate Tails
You probably know several lizard species such as geckos, anoles, and iguanas can regenerate lost tails. But now for the first time it is confirmed that young alligators are able to do the same.
This was discovered recently at Arizona State University, where biologist Kenro Kusumi was sent a tail from a recently deceased gator in 2017 that appeared to have been regenerated. After further exploration since then, it is now confirmed.
Now, we all regenerate to a degree due to stem cells – for example when you cut your hand, skin and blood vessels will regenerate. But very few can regenerate limbs. Seeing a reptile of this size do it may open up more insight into how this could be done in larger species that may help us one day do the same.
If nothing else, this confirms what we already know – alligators are just awesome, badass, incredible animals. We remind you that they date back to the prehistoric days to the Triassic period. Outside of insects, only gators and sea turtles made it through the meteor driven mass extinction of the Jurassic period that followed by surviving for decades in mud flaps containing pockets of oxygen and food.
BlackAFinStem x Animalia Blackbird Indigo Dyed Long Sleeve Tee
You spoke, and we heard you! Due to popular demand we are bringing back our popular BlackAFinStem x Animalia Blackbird Tee. These tees support BlackAFinStem and will be used to finance Adventure Packs they are providing to members of the Black community to encourage outdoor exploration and adventure.
This is a limited run, so make sure you snag yours quick before someone else does!
Could Eating Invasive Species Save the Planet?
You know by now we are big proponents of plant-based diets and cutting back on all forms of meat consumption given the greenhouse gases that come from livestock and the inhumane conditions they are kept in.  We also are extremely tolerant that this is not accessible for all and applaud anyone for making any steps in this direction, however small.
However, perhaps consuming selective invasive species could actually be good for the environment.  Invasive species are an issue in many parts of the world.  This is due to the constant migratory nature of humans and the critters that follow.  From animals like the nutria (aka ‘swamp rat’) and lionfish to plants such as kudzu, invasive species can cause major problems with local biodiversity and ecosystem health.
One way to keep this in check could be to turn them into food.
The Return of Tasmanian Devils
Of course another way to protect against invasive species is to reintroduce the natural, apex predators to help keep things in balance.
The Tasmanian devil was forced out of Australia nearly 3,000 years ago, likely due to dingos that were introduced to the continent 3,500 years ago. Europeans then brought over cats and foxes which hurt dingo populations due to food and habitat competition.
Sadly dingos have been on the decline and are now forced to live in restricted conservation zones. This has allowed cats in particular to run wild, killing over 2 billion wild animals in Australia each year.
Barrington Tops, a protected national park north of Sydney, was deemed safe for the reintroduction of Tasmanian devils, and back they are indeed. These carnivorous marsupials may be critical to re-establishing traditional ecosystems in Australia, as they are well equipped to out-duel the invasive cats by dominating nocturnal hunting. This doesn’t mean the cats will disappear, this just means their hunting time will be shortened which will allow some of their prey to thrive, since they kill at a much higher rate than devils.
Want to know why they are called ‘Devils’? They have one of the strongest bites in the world, as seen in this video:
Furthermore, reintroduction to Australia may help fight a gruesome cancerous face tumor that has been inflicting devils recently by separating ensuring only healthy, uninfected individuals are reintroduced. Although lately, the devils have been forming their own natural adaptations to this cancer which could really help us humans do the same if we can pinpoint how. You can read more about that here.
An Arctic Expedition for the Ages
Finally, we leave you this week with the story of an incredible arctic expedition you’ll have to see to believe.
Read about it here. It’s epic.

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