Sahba Naderi | Philanthropy

Sahba Naderi is a committed philanthropist

Tag: Environment

renewable-energy

The Pros and Cons of Renewable Energy

“Renewable energy” is a blanket term for various energy technologies from sources that are never-ending and can be replenished. Some examples are wind, solar, water, and geothermal. These are in contrast to fossil fuels such as oil and coal, which are popular sources of energy in large parts of the world, yet are also ultimately unsustainable. While this is in itself a great case for renewable energy, like anything, it’s an issue with its fair share of pros and cons, although the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. I recently read an article that looked at this exact same issue. Let’s look at the cons they pointed out, and then the pros:

Cons:

  • Its capacity still isn’t large enough: Fossil fuels still generate the vast majority of electricity today, so renewable energy can’t be solely relied upon to power the entire country overnight.  Facilities will need to be set up to meet growing demand while looking for ways to reduce energy consumption.
  • It can be unreliable: Renewable energy depends on the weather, so if conditions aren’t ideal, then renewable technologies couldn’t generate any electricity.  Yet if renewable energy generators are set up over a wide area, then that can be fixed, since weather disruptions in one area will be different than those in another.  
  • It has low-efficiency levels: Since they’re still pretty new to the market, renewable energy technologies lack plenty of efficiency, posing forecast problems that could lead investors to shying away from investing their money.  
  • It requires huge upfront capital outlay: Investors shying away from investing in capital is particularly pressing, since renewable energy facilities, while lucrative, are also extremely expensive to set up.  Wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectricity plants are all relatively expensive.  

Pros:

  • It’s eco-friendly: Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy has next to no carbon and greenhouse gas emission.  Solar and wind power emit zero toxic gasses, cutting back dramatically on air pollution.
  • It’s renewable: Fossil fuels are ultimately limited resources, and they could run out in the future.  Renewable energy, being renewable, can help developing countries avoid over-reliance on fossil fuels.  Powerful winds, heat from underneath the earth, sunshine, and moving water all offer steady energy supplies.
  • It’s reliable: Over-reliance on fossil fuels has led to world security being threatened; they’re prone to trade disputes, political instability, spikes in prices, and war.  Solar and wind energy are often seen as unreliable, yet that’s easily remedied by a solid infrastructure.  
  • It creates jobs: Renewable energy is cheaper than most traditional sources of energy, and has already helped create jobs in countries such as Germany and the UK, where renewable energy has been encouraged.  
  • It stabilizes prices: Since the cost of renewable energy depends on the initial cost of installation of renewable energy technologies as opposed to inflation and availability, it helps stabilize global energy prices.
  • It requires less maintenance: Once infrastructure is laid down, little to no maintenance is required, meaning that the owners of facilities can reap big profits while providing cheap electricity.
  • It boosts public health: Fossil fuel emissions are directly responsible for various ailments, such as heart disease, cancer, and neurological disorders.  

It empowers people in rural areas: Renewable energy generation mainly takes place in more rural settings, not only offering new sources of energy to those regions, but also helping socially and economically regenerate them.

marine-life-conservation

Summer Spotlight: Striving for Marine Conservation

While everyone is enjoying summer weather, vacation, relaxing on the beach, or even shopping on the boardwalk, there’s a major crisis happening that many are unaware of. Despite sustainable efforts and marine conservation research, the ocean is in great danger. With plastics and other contaminates making their way, not only into the water but into marine life’s environment, it’s a clear sign that the world needs to do something about it. Here are some nonprofits around the globe striving to make an impact on the environment to conserve marine life and our oceans.

Pura Vida Bracelets

Spanish for “pure life”, Pura Vida is a Costa Rican saying to encourage the appreciation of life’s simple treasures. Celebrating the good and living a slow life is what Pura Vida strives to embody. This bracelet company was founded on the philosophy of a laid back lifestyle that makes a notable impact on society.

Each bracelet is hand-crafted by artisans in Costa Rica, providing the artisans with full-time jobs and a better life. Although Pura Vida partners with over 190 charities donating to great causes, Pura Vida has a strong connection with marine life and ocean conservation. From supporting environmental causes for saving dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, orcas and more, Pura Vida is a prime example of how one small thing can make a big difference.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Including animal care and exhibits, 61% of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s profit goes towards conservation and science education programs. The aquarium attracts not only guests from all over the world, but also volunteers and supporters too. Making ocean health, ocean wildlife, climate action for the ocean, sustainable fisheries and reducing ocean plastic a priority, Monterey Bay Aquarium is fighting the good fight to a more sustainable world for the sake of the ocean and all of it’s inhabitants.

Shark Savers

Through establishing and building awareness, education, and action, Shark Savers’ main goal is to save sharks and manta rays. Over recent years, the populations of sharks and manta rays have been dwindling due to a few reasons: overfishing, contaminated oceans and even shark fin soup which is considered a delicacy in foreign countries. The “I’m FINished with FINs” campaign, Shark Savers seeks to reduce the consumption of sharks, altogether reducing sharks used for soup and cosmetics.

This program of WildAid, an environmental organization, stresses the importance of spreading awareness and inspiring action. Shark Savers provides a great example of how campaigns can make a lasting impact. Would you want shark fins in your soup?

World Wildlife Fund

Being home to more than 2 million species, marine life depends on the ocean’s biodiversity and resilient ecosystems. The ocean plays a critical role in the planet remaining inhabitable for all forms of life. From the micro bacteria to human beings, the ocean provides ample oxygen, regulates climate and circulates global carbon. With the World Wildlife Fund, this organization has a keen focus on rejuvenating the ocean’s health through sustainable livelihoods.

Norton Point

Recently, I published a blog on the dangers of plastic in the ocean. One extremely cool brand dedicated to reducing ocean plastic is Norton Point. Sea Plastic Differently is an environmental initiative from this sunglass company. Creating sustainable eyewear, Norton Point takes plastic straight from the ocean and turns it into a wearable item. Taking sustainability one step further, Norton Point also collects plastic from landfills to reduce the amount of plastic that makes its way into the ocean.

Norton Point’s ultimate passion for ocean conservation shows that it’s possible to turn trash into treasure while saving the planet at the same time. Additionally, 5% of their net profit is donated to research and educational efforts.

Together, these nonprofits and organizations are showing the world how to step up. Supporting causes for marine conservation is as simple as one donation or even getting out there to volunteer. The world can make the ocean a thriving ecosystem once again, it just takes effort around the globe.

plastic-pollution

The Dangers of Plastics in the World’s Oceans

It’s difficult today to grocery shop without coming across hundreds of products encased in plastic in some form or another, including the bags in which we carry our goods home. While this can be an everyday convenience for shoppers, it can be extremely hazardous to marine life, should that plastic reach our oceans.

Aside from packaging and bags, plastics can come in many different shapes and sizes. Microplastics for example, which are found in shampoo, toothpaste, and polyester, can easily enter waterways leading directly to the oceans. Larger plastic materials, like bags, soda and water bottles, and fishing nets pose as a serious threat to all animals within our oceans, and can even contribute to the population of microplastics after breaking down over time.

As mentioned, nearly every species of marine animal is affected greatly by plastic pollution. Sea turtles can easily mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, of which are a main part of their diets. Birds flying overhead searching for fish eggs will consume smaller plastic pellets that resemble them. Fishing nets left in the waters by fishermen entangle nearly everything in their paths, catching and eventually starving any animal that falls victim to them.

Plastic is an extremely durable material that does not break down easily. It can take up to 500 years before it is no more, which spells disaster for marine life when it reaches the oceans. There are many ways it can get there as well. Aside from careless littering, flushing plastic materials down the toilet and reaching the main sewer systems in any way can carry these materials far and wide. Though it is now illegal for fishermen and boaters in general to dump plastic overboard, that law is not always followed, and many individuals sailing the world’s oceans continue to do so regardless.

The argument that oceans are big enough for one’s pollution to never actually come in contact with a marine animal is entirely false. Ocean currents are constantly moving any and all materials found in the water, and are also popular areas for millions of fish to spend their time searching for food and breeding. One animal that was affected particularly badly was the seal. Several different species of seals were being killed at an alarming rate due to plastic entanglement back in the 1970’s, which led to 6% decrease in the seal population in 1976, and a 50% decline in Northern fur seals. Hundreds of other marine species have been harmed over time as well, leading to a plea by the American people to regulate and reduce the production of plastics.

Finally, laws were set in place restricting the dumping of plastic in oceans around the world, but there is no way for law enforcement to ensure that everyone is actually following these rules. Companies across the United States are doing their part by using more biodegradable products, but there is still plenty of plastic debris floating around today. To do your part, recycle as often as you can, take part in local cleanups, and spread the word.

Sahba Naderi

5 of the Best Environmental Charities

It is no secret that President Donald Trump is in search of methods to cut federal spending. Just days after taking office, he cut off all funding to upwards of 19 agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts.

More recently, President Trump made the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) his next target, both by proposing a 30 percent decrease in funding and trimming back on regulations to permit environmentally hazardous activities.

However, hope is not lost. There are several ways to counteract such dramatic environmental setbacks, with the most effective being making donations. Here are 5 environmental charities that deserve your attention and contributions:

1. Friends of the Earth

This organization is bold in their approach to combating environmental injustice, setting itself apart in its pursuit to “push for the reforms that are needed, not merely the ones that are politically easy.” Some of their accomplishments include: shutting down the nuclear reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in Southern California, blocking the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and reducing the number of genetically enhanced seafood products in grocery stores. Furthermore, 83 percent of FOE’s funding goes directly toward program expenses, so those who make donations know their money is being put toward the cause rather than an executive’s paycheck.

2. Greenpeace Fund

Greenpeace has been a major player in environmental activism since its inception in 1971. With several active campaigns under way, the Greenpeace team is advocating for several critical causes, such as: fighting global warming via energy reforms, saving the Arctic and the polar ice caps, and protecting our forests — and the creatures that reside in them — from depletion. All funding for Greenpeace comes from public donations, with 79.6 percent of revenue being spent on program expenses,14.2 percent on fundraising efforts, and 6.2 percent on administrative expenses.

3. Environmental Defense Fund

An international presence, the Environmental Defense Fund has been combatting environmental decay since 1967. Although the EDF is headquartered in New York, it currently boasts 12 total offices, with 9 established in the contiguous United States and 3 overseas. The organization’s current focuses are solving climate change, restoring oceanic life populations, fighting for sustainable agriculture, and advocating for safer chemicals and cleaner air. With only 2 percent of their funding coming from the United States government, the EDF receives over $132 million in public gifts and grants annually. These funds are spent in the following manner: program expenses (78.5%), fundraising expenses (15%), and administrative compensation (6.5%).

4. Rainforest Alliance

Founded in 1987, the Rainforest Alliance has been striving to build a global alliance in order to strengthen rainforests and rebuild dwindling rural communities. Now, 30 years later, the Rainforest Alliance has made serious headway in reaching that goal, with a presence in 78 countries and counting. Unfortunately, a majority of the Rainforest Alliance’s funding comes from government grants and aid, meaning that its progress could be seriously hindered by President Trump’s inevitable spending cuts. To prevent such a setback and balance the scales, consider making a contribution.

5. Union of Concerned Scientists

In 1969, the Union of Concerned Scientists was formed in retaliation to the U.S. government’s gross misuse of science. Today, the UCS is concerned with combating climate change via clean energy and vehicles, transforming the United States’ agricultural industry, and preventing the use of nuclear weapons. Funded entirely by public donations and gifts, the UCS strives to make every cent count, spending 77.8 percent on program expenses, 18.3 percent on fundraising, and a mere 3.5 percent on administrative compensation.

Sahba Naderi recycling

The Greater Impact of Recycling

Recycling is an action that is encouraged on a daily basis, but little people understand the impact it has on the world around us. For a truly beneficial change to take place, knowledge of how recycling can better our environment should be spread far and wide, allowing individuals to understand how even the smallest actions can make big differences.

One of the most obvious advantages of recycling is reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills. Trash that is not biodegradable can end up staying in landfills for many years, emitting harmful gases that can damage the ozone. The more waste that begins to build over time, the more pollutants exposed to the environment, causing a great deal of air pollution. By choosing to recycle your empty water bottles, you can avoid adding to the already existing problem of overused landfills in the United States, and successfully decrease levels of pollution.

Another impact that might not be well known is that recycling can effectively reduce levels of energy consumption. Companies that use recycled materials, like Green Toys and The ReCycle for example, require much less energy in building their products. The process of cutting down trees for paper, then throwing that paper in a standard trash bin is a large waste of resources, as paper can easily be recycled and reused. This leads to more trees being harvested for their resources, thus requiring higher levels and use of energy.

A cutback on costs is yet another benefit that recycling can offer. As mentioned, cutting down more trees when there is already enough paper in a landfill to be recycled for hundreds of other products is a huge waste of time and money. People oftentimes find that they are able to save money recycling in many different ways. For example, rather than throwing out that glass plate that shattered on the kitchen floor, turn it into your next art project. Instead of burning a pile of leaves during Fall, turn them into compost for a flourishing flower bed or garden. The more money individuals are able to save, the more likely they are to continue recycling, leading to a much larger impact on the environment.

The act of recycling can build strong bonds in communities, groups, friends, and family as well. Groups of people who come together to pick up waste alongside a local road, or collect trash from the public to recycle themselves, a stronger sense of community can manifest. Not only can this lead to a larger effort in recycling in your local area, but it can teach children the importance of it, thus leading to the continuation for generations to come.

 
Recycling is known to be a great way to contribute to the betterment of our environment. Understanding how it can do so is important in order to encourage more and more people to take part in this action, and make a greater impact on the world. The more communities that actively begin to pay attention to their waste habits, the safer, and healthier we can make our environment.

Sahba Naderi Environment

Why You Should Contribute to Environmental Conservation

Caring for the environment does not require you to be an avid protester or activist. Small everyday things that you choose to do throughout the day can have a positive impact on our world. Some examples are choosing to recycle, cleaning up litter, and conserving water or electricity. These simple tasks could pave the way for future eco-conscious decisions made by those around you on a daily basis, leading to strides in the conservation of our world.

A Clean Environment means Clean Living

With little attention paid to making eco-friendly decisions, things like smoking, driving cars that run on fossil fuels, and engaging in agricultural activities can all contribute to air pollution. This can cause respiratory diseases, and even cancer in human beings. Sewage, littering, and waste in general can all cause water pollution as well, which is responsible for 1 out of every 5 deaths among children under the age of 5 worldwide. Some ways you can help in lowering levels of air and water pollution include conserving energy, carpooling, avoiding throwing trash anywhere other than trash cans, and participating in local clean-up groups.

Protect our Wildlife

Pollution of all kinds can poison soils, waterways, and air, killing all kinds of plants and animals. One of the most common causes of pollution-related death in animals is the consumption of plastic. Each year, over 1 million birds and mammals are killed from ingesting plastic, most of which ends up in our oceans. This stresses the importance of recycling, and never littering, as definitive evidence has proven that doing so directly affects wildlife in an extremely negative way. Oil spills from ships and mining facilities also greatly harm the environment and surrounding animals.

Much like us as human beings, air pollution and the exposure to contaminants harms animals all over the world. By poisoning their food and water sources, things like acid rain, carbon dioxide, and fluctuations in air quality can all lead to the deaths of animals. Even insects directly affect the natural course of the food chain. With either increased or decreased levels of air pressure, insects are forced to relocate, eliminating a source of food for those that feed on them, and affecting plants that rely on their maintenance.

Conserve our Trees

Excess carbon dioxide produced by factories increases the global climate, affecting countless environments. Trees are Mother Nature’s solution to that problem, as they absorb CO2, filtering and releasing clean oxygen back into the air. As natural sources of shade, trees can also reduce temperatures in cities, streets, and neighborhoods by up to 10 degrees fahrenheit, conserving energy by eliminating the high demand for air conditioning. The benefits of trees go on and on, showing their importance among our ecosystem.

Moral Obligation

Lastly, it is our moral obligation as human beings to protect and conserve the environment that we were given. We owe our existence to the living world that we share with plants and animals, and to treat it negatively would be foolish. To turn the other cheek on environmental conservation is to deny the life-creating processes of the world. For more ideas on how you can help, visit IdeasForUs.org.

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