An infographic showing the top 15 countries that took part in 2014’s series of clean-ups and highlighting some of the more peculiar items found either adrift at sea or on one of the planet’s many coastlines. Click image to enlarge. (Images: ICC 2015 report)Mathiba MolefeAbout 2 720 cigarette butts, 15 488 food wrappers and just over 71 000 items in total were collected by the South African volunteers during Ocean Conservancy’s series of clean-ups in 2014. Just under 12 000 kilograms of rubbish was collected along 133 kilometres of shoreline – an average of 90.22kg per kilometre.The sheer amount of waste strewn along South Africa’s coastlines and river banks has been cause for alarm for some of the country’s marine and freshwater conservationists and has led to various bodies such as Plastics South Africa and Nampak committing to playing an active role in mitigating the impact of their products on marine biology.Their efforts are compounded by those of Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit environmental advocacy group based in Washington DC.Human rubbish has a devastating effect on ocean ecosystems. Sea birds, for example, often mistake small pieces of floating plastic, such as bottle tops, for food. The indigestible material then accumulates in their stomachs, slowly starving the birds. The result has been graphically documented by photographer Chris Jordan.Watch a short film by photographer Chris Jordan and the MidWay Film team documenting the effect marine pollution has on the delicate balance of nature:Each year for the past 29 years, hundreds of thousands of volunteers all over the world have taken time out of their day-to-day lives to head to the nearest body of water and take part in Ocean Conservancy’s global effort to remove rubbish from the planet’s coastlines and major waterways to root out the sources of the massive amount of debris that finds its way into our oceans every day.According to the conservancy’s 2015 report, in 2014 more than 7 million kilograms or 7 000 metric tons of waste were collected from the beaches and waterways of the 91 countries involved in the clean-up. Leading the pack in terms of the sheer weight of the waste collected was the USA, where volunteers picked up just under 1.9 million kilograms of rubbish from some 29 000 kilometres shoreline. This is an average of 65.5kg per kilometre.A few fascinating insights into the volume of garbage collected – and the scale of the volunteers’ global efforts. Click image for a larger view.The drive to preserve the integrity of the planet’s oceans and waterways received huge buy-in from all over the world in 2014. More than 560 000 volunteers covered a distance equivalent to 2.5 times the total length of the Great Wall of China or 509 marathons.Ocean Conservancy chief executive officer Andreas Merkl said he was thoroughly impressed by the collective effort spanning nearly three decades, making it “the largest of its kind on the planet”.“I am deeply appreciative of the men, women and children who dedicate their time to remove unsightly and dangerous trash from the ocean and the rivers, lakes and streams that flow into it, especially the 150 country and state who delivered more than 5 500 clean-ups in 2014 alone.”He also expressed his gratitude towards all of the governmental agencies, foundations and corporations that provided the funding the organisation needed to “pull off” a global clean-up of this magnitude.Estimated at more than 1.5 million pieces measuring less than 2.5cm, plastic outnumbered any other type of material collected during the year’s efforts. Foam pieces numbered just over 1.25 million and glass about 0.55 million pieces collected globally.In terms of items picked up, cigarette butts were by far the most common, with more than 2.2 million of them collected globally, almost twice as many as the second most common item, food wrappers, which numbered just under 1.4 million.According to a recent study performed by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, between five and twelve metric tons of plastics enter the ocean from inland sources.The top ten items collected globally during 2014, according to Ocean Conservancy’s 2015 report, were:Cigarette butts – 2 248 065Food wrappers – 1 376 133Plastic bottles – 988 965Plastic bottle caps – 811 871Straws and stirrers – 519 911Plastic bags e.g. bread packets – 489 968Grocery bags – 485 204Glass bottles – 396 121Beverage cans – 382 608Plastic crockery – 376 479
The first ever Fine Homebuilding Summit is less than 3 months away, and we’re getting more and more excited the closer we get. Why? Because planning the event means that we’ve had the pleasure of talking to each of our 12 expert presenters about the specifics of their classes. Let’s just say that holding the event from Wednesday evening through Friday afternoon is ideal, because attendees will need the rest of the weekend to recover from the amount of knowledge we are going to cram into this 2 day seminar. To give you a taste, here’s a look at just a couple of the topics: Stucc-oh-no-you-don’t!Stucco is the topic that keeps many building experts up at night, and for good reason: Code-minimum installation guidelines are a recipe for disaster, and many big builders are rolling the dice on their liability because they calculate their share of remediation will still be less expensive than doing it right in the first place. Luckily, we will have Christine Williamson—a building scientist, consultant, and the creator of the educational @buildingsciencefightclub on Instagram—in the house to explain what we’re up against, how we got here, and the specific solutions designers and builders can put in place to more intelligently manage risk of stucco failures.Design with a builder in mindA cutting-edge, high-performance house may be fun to dream up on paper, but it can be a real challenge for the builder who’s charged with making it happen. Often these builders are dragged out of their comfort zone and faced with new methods, new materials, and new metrics and measurements of what makes a “good” job. Recognizing this as a major hurdle to quality results in energy efficiency, Architect Steve Baczek has made it his mission to bring high-performance building back into the comfort zone of the common man. You don’t want to miss his insights on material selection and education, creating drawings that go far beyond the standard generic details, and corralling a group of subcontractors across different trades and getting them all to buy in.Learn more and register here!
All of us have had circumstances in our lives that cause us to lose our equilibrium, that make us feel like a fishing bobber that’s been yanked under water. We can feel like we’re drowning, that we don’t know which way is up. But one way or another, we usually work our way back to the surface. We find our equilibrium. We adapt to the “new normal.”That’s what resilience is. When changes that are unexpected or out of our control cause us to feel confused, lost, afraid, angry or even a little panicky, resilience is our ability to muster our inner resources and find our bearings again.No one needs resilience quite like military families! Change comes early, often and usually without much notice. Military families are often characterized as resilient by nature. But the ability to bounce back from stressful circumstances shouldn’t be taken for granted as a given for military families. We may be hard wired as human beings to seek equilibrium but our ability to find it quickly, in positive ways, over and over again, is a function of resources (both inner and outer), support, and lots of practice.It’s the youngest members of military families who are most in need of extra support and understanding when their world is shaken up like a snowglobe because of separation from or reunion with a deployed parent, or any of the other jarring experiences that can happen in military families.As a caregiver and teacher of young military children, you play an incredibly important role in helping them build their resiliency skills and attitudes in the face of repeated “shake-ups.”Keys to ResilienceOne author* suggests 12 “keys” that contribute to resilience in children:ChoiceOptimismCourageRealistic GoalsHumorSelf-ConfidenceAppreciation of SelfAcceptance and ComfortProcessing Life through Productive ActionCreativitySpiritualityServiceAs you look at your own work with young children, can you identify ways that you encourage each of these factors? Can you see how they strengthen children’s ability to bounce back from big changes? In what ways could you be intentional about fostering resiliency skills and attitudes in young children?We’ve gathered some resources for you, to help you learn more about resilience in young children and to give you strategies and tools to intentionally support children experiencing stressful changes.We hope you’ll use them, share them, and add to them in the comments.Webinars/web-based courses/videos:Developing Resiliency in Young Military ChildrenFact Sheets/Articles:Understanding and Promoting Resilience in Military Families Coping Skills that Build ResilienceBooks:“Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure: 50 Activities to Promote Resilience in Young Children” by Nefertiti Bruce and Karen Cairone“Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings” by Kenneth R. Ginsberg“Resiliency: What We Have Learned” by Bonnie Benard“Resiliency in Action: Practical Ideas for Overcoming Risks and Building Strengths in Youth, Families, and Communities,” edited by Nan HendersonFor Families:FOCUS Family Resiliency Training*Linda Goldman in “Raising Our Children to Be Resilient: A Guide to Helping Children Cope with Trauma in Today’s World”(2004).This blog post was written by Kathy Reschke, Child Care Leader at Military Families Learning Network.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was made in-charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, did her job but the party and its workers could not rise to the occasion, the party’s State unit chief Raj Babbar said on Monday.Disappointed with the results that gave the Congress just one seat out of 80 in the State and a nationwide tally of 52, Mr. Babbar said the poor showing at the hustings had pained party president Rahul Gandhi.Mr. Gandhi lost from his family bastion Amethi, which voted in BJP’s Smriti Irani to the Lok Sabha this time, but won from Wayanad in Kerala. “He never viewed it (Amethi) as his constituency. Now, family members have given such a verdict,” the U.P. Congress chief said, expressing concern that a person who considered Amethi as his family and gave an identity to the place was not allowed to emerge victorious in the polls.On why Ms. Vadra did not have the desired impact, the actor-turned-politician said party workers and local leaders failed to rise to the occasion.“She did her job. But party workers, local leaders, candidates and the organisation could not accumulate the (electoral) benefits from it. Rahul ji worked so hard and Priyanka ji worked with such a high degree of enthusiasm,” Mr. Babbar said in his first interview after the election results. “We [party workers, local leaders and candidates] were unable to prove ourselves and rise to the occasion.”Asked about the future course of action, the 66-year-old Congress leader said Uttar Pradesh cannot be analysed in a single line.“You have to take steps after a lot of deliberations and strengthen the organisation,” he said.The lone victory for the party came from Rae Bareli, where UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi retained her seat. The BJP won 62 seats in the State, the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party combine 15 and the Apna Dal two.‘Must accept defeat’Refusing to give any one particular factor behind the party’s poll drubbing, Mr. Babbar said, “First, we must accept our defeat and acknowledge the victory of the winner. Having said so, I cannot sit alone and deliberate upon the possible reasons for the defeat. Everyone has to sit together.”Mr. Babbar himself lost the election from the Fatehpur Sikri Lok Sabha seat despite opting for it, after being initially named as party candidate from Moradabad.